This is how Chinese people learn English during the Qing Dynasty 150 years ago - The Coverage

This is how Chinese people learn English during the Qing Dynasty 150 years ago

Many may agree that Chinese is one of the hardest language to learn, but what about learning English using Chinese characters during the mid-19th century?

Last week, a Chinese collector from Chengdu revealed a text book which was apparently used for teaching Chinese people on how to speak English in the late Qing dynasty (1644-1911). A note printed on the book reads, “Emperor Xianfeng’s 10th year of reign,” which would be 1860, as reported by Chengdu Business Daily.

The book is filled with useful terms such as, “You want cheap go buy other man,” “Tomorrow I give you answer” and “Very much this silk.”

Along with words of wisdoms such as, “Don’t stop half way and fail” and “Don’t answer at random.”

At the top, it is the Chinese translation of the English phrases, meanwhile below is a chain of nonsensical character meant for assisting learners on how to pronounce all the English words phonetically.


Clearly, China has came a long way in 150 years. Earlier this summer, Hangzhou published a pronunciation guide before the G20 Summit to help residents greet foreign visitors.  The “English made easy” booklet included 100 English phrases along with Chinese characters complementing each sentence which is meant to imitate the sound of the original English.

For example, “Welcome to Hangzhou” became “wai-kan-mu tu Hang Zhou” and “Hangzhou, the most beautiful city in China” became “Hangzhou, mou-si-te, bu-you-te-fu si-ti yin qian-a.)


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ahmad1

    May 3, 2020 at 07:55

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