Skip main navigation

Culture-Difference between north and south indicating direction

The difference between north and south in 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.

Culture-Difference between north and south indicating direction Image 1

© Shanghai International Studies University
This article is from the free online

Learn Chinese: Introduction to Chinese Conversation

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now