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Honorifics in Chinese


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self-deprecation = putting yourself down to show respect to the person you are speaking to. I would consider bowing or kneeling to be an act of honouring the person who is bowed or knelt to; using language in the same way seems to fit the category of honorific properly to me

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In linguistic terms, humble language is certainly a part of the language, and was culturally required in Ming and Qing Imperial Mandarin. Anyone who has learnt modern Japanese 謙譲語 kenjougo will know how essential "humble language" is as part of the system of honorifics. Self-deprecation was not and is still not a huge part of jocular self-expression in East Asia, but a huge part of societal requirement, unlike in modern English or in many European languages, although I agree the cultural differences are just points on a continuum.

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On 10/28/2019 at 6:07 AM, Tomsima said:

self-deprecation = putting yourself down to show respect to the person you are speaking to.


Polite Question: 您贵姓?

Polite Answer: 免贵姓 -- 李,张,周,etc.  or 免贵,姓 -- 李,张,周,etc. 

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I have found that the original Wikipedia page for Chinese honorifics was flagged for being too technical and has now been replaced with an oversimplified overview of the topic. The original page is still available via archive.org for those who are looking for this resource:




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