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Culture-Difference between north and south indicating direction

In northern cities of China, knowing 东(dōng)(east)、南(nán)(south)、 西(xī)(west)、 北(běi)(north) is very important.


For example, in Beijing, the architectural layout is well organized and neat. People like to use 东(dōng)、南(nán)、西(xī)、北(běi) to indicate directions.

Besides, if there are many gates in some buildings, they prefer to name the gates “东门(dōngmén)(East gate)、西门(xīmén)(West gate)、南门(nánmén)(South gate)、北门(běimén)(North gate)……”.

Different from northern cities, there are many waterways and rugged terrain in southern cities, so people prefer to use 上(shàng)(up)、下(xià)(down)、左(zuǒ)(left)、右(yòu)(right) to indicate direction.

When people from south of China go to north of China, it is difficult for them to find out the way, and vice versa.

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Introduction to Chinese: Conversation

Shanghai International Studies University (SISU)

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