Chinese Greetings

2011-08-21 05:48:40

 Chinese, like all languages, has its own set of unique greetings which may be seemingly strange to learners of the language, especially to the Westerners whose culture is vastly different from ours.
 While Westerners greet others by saying "Hi" or "Hello", in China, a popular greeting is "Have you had your meal?" Surely, nobody will think "do you want to treat me to a dinner?" Then, why don't Chinese greet each other by saying "Have you had your drinks?"
 Apparently it is a bit of a "hangover" from the days when people didn't always have a lot to eat so it was polite to ask if they had meal or not. perhaps a meal may be offered to those more needy. That is one of the reasons I have heard. It appears that the ways of greetings tell much about the lifestyles of local people. We also greet each other by saying "Where are you going" if we meet a friend or someone we know. 
 Actually, we do not use these sentences like "Have you had your meal?" as greetings when seeing our friends or acquaintances at any time. Generally, we use these greetings around the meal time.
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张力平,IT行业资深分析师。Zhang Liping, aka Sevencastles,a senior analyst in IT industry and the owner of Seven Castles,'a Shanghai blog featuring news and views of great interest'.