"Doctor Wang is not Chinese."


December 10, 2017

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So the title always comes after the name in Chinese? I wrote 医生王不是中国人 and it was incorrect.

[deactivated user]

    Yeah, it's similar to how Japanese honorifics work. FYI, the word doctor (in the sense of having a pHd) is 博士 in Chinese (I'm a native speaker).


    谢谢! I assumed 医生 was medical doctor. Is it the same for describing a person of any profession, or only certain titles? I don't know any Japanese.



    Generally, the profession or title must have no more than two characters and is usually honorable in the traditional view. But actually the rule is not very clear.

    traditionally honorable jobs

    王老师(teacher): good

    王教授(professor): good

    王医生(doctor): good

    王经理(manager): good

    political titles

    王总统(president): good

    王主席(chairman): good

    王总理(premier): good

    王首相(prime minister): Never seen, but it does work on foreign prime ministers.

    王国王(king) / 皇帝(emperor): Not for monarchs in East Asia. Sometimes okay for monarchs of other countries.

    common jobs

    王司机(driver): okay, but not for addressing people

    王警察(police): same as above

    王学生(student): okay, but almost never used

    王工人(worker): weird

    王农民(farmer): weird

    王师傅(master): for addressing workers traditionally regarded as "craftsmen", which includes most physical laborers in modern world like drivers, plumbers, etc. except farmers. Here "master" means guild master in old times.

    common titles

    王先生(Mr.) good

    王小姐(Miss.) good

    王夫人(Mrs.) good


    thank you for that. Loved the ones that sounded weird, will use


    Just to let not stand the sentence by evanpipta ("I assumed 医生 was medical doctor") there uncommented:
    医生 IS in fact the medical doctor.
    博士 is the PhD.
    And in both cases, the titel comes after the name, just as Cinnamon elaborated in detail.

    [deactivated user]

      Most professions don't have titles you can refer them to eg you can't say 工程师李 or 李工程师 if Li is an engineer.


      Hi, i wrote that and it's wrong


      Fun fact, in English, the word "Chinese" is ambiguous, as it could mean either "Chinese Citizen" or someone who is "Ethnically Chinese". In Chinese, there are separate terms for those.

      中国人 refers to Chinese citizens.

      华人(hua2 ren2) refers to ethnically Chinese people.


      1. People in China will often use 中国人 to mean both, but mostly because they assume every ethnically Chinese person is also a Chinese citizen. When I went to China some people were confused why I didn't have a Chinese passport even though I am ethnically Chinese.

      2. Recent Chinese immigrants that gave up Chinese citizenship may still identify themselves as 中国人.

      3. Malaysians and Singaporeans of Chinese descent tend to distinguish between 中国人 and 华人 very clearly, and may get offended if they get called 中国人.

      Source: I'm ethnically Chinese but not a Chinese citizen (I'm Canadian).


      How do you think this duolingo exercise's exact sentence would be interpreted by a well-educated, wordly and somewhat-westernized PRC-Chinese?

      Mr Wang is "not a PRC citizen"? (I.e., even if he may be of chinese ancestry raised somewhere else)

      Or "Mr Wang is not ethnically Chinese"? (I.e., maybe Mr Wang could be an adoptee with no chinese ancestry)

      Or would it be totally unclear and more context needed.

      Bonus Q.: Is there coheremt linguistic way to express the idea of "Mr Wang IS a Chinese (PRC) citizen but NOT chinese (of Chinese ancestry)."


      Generally, it will be interpreted as "not a PRC citizen". When the nationality is not important or meaningful in the context, like in historical novels. It could be interpreted as "not ethnically Chinese".

      Related words:

      • 华人: ethnically / culturally Chinese, including those who born and/or live outside PRC.
      • 汉人: Han Chinese.
      • 华裔: people of Chinese ancestry.
      • 中国公民/中国籍: citizen of PRC / one with PRC nationality.


      Likewise, as comment below, didn't realize title came after the name. What other titles apply?


      Please help, does ren2 mean the individual or person Dr Wang or does it pertain to Chinese? Yes, we're British has ren2 on the end that sentence but targets no individual.


      The rén pertains to the demonym(what a person from a country is called) In english the demonym is complicated:

      France-french United kingdom-british America-american India-indian Iraq-iraqi

      But in chinese it's just ,人

      法国,法国人 (fǎ guó) (--rén) 英国,英国人 (yīng guó) (--rén) 美国,美国人 (měi guó) (--rén) 印度,印度人 (yìn dù) (--rén) 伊拉克,伊拉克人 (yī lā kè) (--rén)

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