- Mandarin Directions I - 东南西北 vs North, South, East, West in Chinese
- 1. Fengshui Influence in Chinese Belief
- 2. Why 东南西北 East, South, West, North in Chinese?
- 3. Table of 8 Directions
- 4. 20 Vocabulary: Mandarin Directions
- • 5 Q&A - Geographic Position
- 5. 15 Vocabulary: Cultures & Continental Location
- • 10 Sentence Examples - Culture & Location
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Fengshui Influence in Chinese Belief
2. Why 东南西北 East, South, West, North in Chinese?
3. Table of 8 Chinese Directions
4. 20 Vocabulary: NSEW in Chinese
• 5 Sets of Q&A on Geographic Position
5. 15 Vocabulary: Eastern, Western Culture and Continental Location
• 10 Sentence Examples
Mandarin Directions I – 东南西北 vs North, South, East, West in Chinese
You learn about Mandarin Directions 东南西北 Dōngnán xīběi on a geographic position – North, South, East, West in Chinese and its inter-cardinal points – North-West, South-West, North-East and South-West. The next section is a little introduction to consult a geomancer (aka Feng Shui) in Asia, namely Singapore of where I come. You can scroll down the page if you have no interest to read about Feng Shui.
Fengshui Influence in Chinese Belief
Many Chinese people like to know the directions – North, South, East, West when buying a house, especially in Singapore. As Singapore is humid and hot throughout the year with a temperature between 28° – 35°C, people avoid buying a unit with windows directly facing the sun facing the west for fear of getting too much heat in the house.
For some other countries that I know of such as China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, consulting the Feng Shui before buying a house is a big deal. They believe a well-positioned house direction can bring luck, wealth and prosperity in their lives, improving their career and relationship.
In the Western world, people do not care about such stuff due to lack of information or feel that Fengshui is not scientifically proven. Quite a few that I know of are interested to know about how the geomancy works and believes in the power of a good Fengshui.
Today, we are not going to discuss geomancy and its relevancy but on the Chinese cardinal directions – North, South, East, West aka 东南西北 in Mandarin.
Why 东南西北 East, South, West, North in Chinese?
In the Chinese language, we do not call the directions literally as North, South, East, West but East, South, West, North which is 东南西北 Dōngnán xīběi. Even the Chinese tile-based game, Mahjong, uses the four directions 东南西北 as one of its rules.
The four diagonal directions (Inter-cardinal or Ordinal) are North-East (NE), South-East (SE), South-West (SW), and North-West (NW). The table below will give you the exact directions in Chinese.
The translation of the inter-cardinal points in English is the opposite direction in Mandarin. Eg. North-East in English would read as East-North 东北 Dōngběi in Chinese and South-East in English would be East-South 东南 Dōngnán. Very confusing. I know.
Table of North, South, East, West in Chinese Directions and Their Inter-Cardinal Positions
Chinese people also believe in doing things in a clockwise direction and not in an anti-clockwise position where possible. Hence, the audio below will read 东、南、西、北、东北、东南、西南、西北 in a clockwise direction instead of the horizontal line. Therefore, do not be confused.
20 Vocabulary Relating to Mandarin Directions – North, South East, West in Chinese
|World Map||世界地图||Shìjiè dìtú|
|Direction||方位, 方向||Fāngwèi, Fāngxiàng|
|Geographic Position||地理位置||Dìlǐ wèizhì|
|Where||哪里，在什么地方||Nǎlǐ, Zài shénme dìfāng|
|Towards, To||向，朝，往||Xiàng, Cháo, Wǎng|
|Sense of Direction||方向感||Fāngxiàng gǎn|
|Lose One’s Way||迷失方向，迷路||Míshī fāngxiàng, Mílù|
|East, Eastern Part||东部||Dōngbù|
|South, Southern Part||南部||Nánbù|
|West, Western Part||西部||Xībù|
|North, Northern Part||北部||Běibù|
|Clockwise Direction||顺时针方向||Shùn shízhēn fāngxiàng|
|Anti-Clockwise Direction||逆时针方向||Nì shízhēn fāngxiàng|
Questions and Answers on Geographic Position
Below are 5 sets of questions and answers to ask about the geographic location of a country, city or place. One common term relating to directions in Chinese is 位于 Wèiyú which means “located” or “situated”.
Where is China geographic position on the world map?
Zhōng guó dì lǐ wèi zhì zài shì jiè dì tú nǎ lǐ?
China is located in the eastern part of Asia in the Western Pacific Ocean.
Zhōng guó wèi yú yà zhōu dōng bù, tài píng yáng xī’àn.
Beijing is in which part of China?
Běi jīng zài zhōng guó de shén me fāng wèi?
Beijing is in the Northern part of China.
Běi jīng zài zhōng guó běi bù.
Jiuzhaigou is situated at which place?
Jiǔ sāi gōu wèi yú shén me dì fāng?
Jiuzhaigou is situated in Sichuan Province, one of the three provinces in Southwest China.
Jiǔ sāi gōu wèi yú sì chuān shěng, shì zhōng guó xī nán dì qū de sān dà shěng fèn zhī yī.
Where is Harbin in Heilongjiang?
Hā’ěr bīn zài hēi lóng jiāng nǎ lǐ?
Harbin belongs to Heilongjiang Province in the northern geographic region of Northeast China (Dongbei). Harbin is the capital of Heilongjiang, located in the South of Heilongjiang.
Hā’ěr bīn shǔ yú hēi lóng jiāng zhōng guó dōng běi běi bù dì qū. Hā’ěr bīn shì hēi lóng jiāng de shǒu dū, wèi yú hēi lóng jiāng nán bù.
Which direction should I walk if I am lost in the forest? My sense of direction is not that good.
Rú guǒ wǒ zài sēn lín mí shī fāng xiàng, wǎng nǎ lǐ zǒu? Wǒ de fāng xiàng gǎn bù shì tài hǎo.
If you are lost in the forest, always head towards the north.
Rú guǒ nǐ zài sēn lín lǐ mí lù, yǒng yuǎn cháo běi fāng xiàng zǒu.
15 Vocabulary for Eastern, Western Culture and Continental Location
The Chinese terms of adjectives and nouns describe the people, culture and the location name of the continent.
|Oriental People||东方人||Dōngfāng rén|
|Eastern Countries||东方国家||Dōngfāng wénhuà|
|Western Culture||西方国家||Xīfāng wénhuà|
|Eastern Culture||东方文化||Dōngfāng wénhuà|
|Western Culture||西方文化||Xīfāng wénhuà|
|Chinese and Western Culture||中西方文化||Zhōng xīfāng wénhuà|
|North America||北美，北美洲||Běiměi, Běi měizhōu|
|South America||南美，南美洲||Nánměi, Nán měizhōu|
|Latin America||拉美，拉丁美洲||Lāměi, Lādīng měizhōu|
Sentence Examples – Culture and Location
The sentences examples are vocabulary that you have learnt above.
Which western country do you want to travel the most?
Nǐ zuì xiǎng qù nǎ ge xī fāng guó jiā lǚ xíng?
Oriental refers to the people of the East, generally refers to Asians.
Dōng fāng rén shì zhǐ dōng fāng guó jiā de rén, yī bān zhǐ yà zhōu rén.
Although I am a Westerner, I am very interested in Eastern (Oriental) culture.
Suī rán wǒ shì xī fāng rén, wǒ què duì dōng fāng wén huà fēi cháng gǎn xìng qù.
What is the difference between the Western and Eastern culture?
Xī fāng wén huà yǔ dōng fāng wén huà yǒu shé me qū bié?
I want to travel to South America, especially in Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Argentina.
Wǒ xiǎng qù nán měi zhōu lǚ xíng, yóu qí shì bā xī, gē lún bǐ yǎ, zhì lì hé ā gēn tíng.
The five Nordic countries in Northern Europe are Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Běi’ōu wǔ guó shì wèi yú běi’ōu de dān mài, fēn lán, bīng dǎo, nuó wēi hé ruì diǎn.
Eastern Europe’s economy is not better than the countries in Western Europe.
Dōng’ōu jīng jì bú bǐ xī’ōu guó jiā lái dé hǎo.
In South France, Nice is a famous Gold Coast.
Zài nán fǎ, ní sī shì gè zhù míng de huáng jīn hǎi’àn.
How many countries are there in Southeast Asia?
Dōng nán yà yī gòng yǒu jǐ gè guó jiā?
Southeast Asia has a total of 11 countries. They are Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Dōng nán yà yī gòng yǒu 11 gè guó jiā. Tā men shì wén lái, jiǎn pǔ zhài, dōng dì wèn, yìn dù ní xī yà, lǎo wō, mǎ lái xī yà, miǎn diàn, fēi lǜ bīn, xīn jiā pō, tài guó hé yuè nán.
Next: Mandarin Directions Part II
Hope you enjoy the lesson today understanding more on North, South, East, West in Chinese. Learn the next two parts of Mandarin Directions: –
- Part II – How to Ask Questions for Directions in Chinese?
- Part III – How to Give Directions in Chinese? with words like left, right, straight, ahead, behind etc.