Spoken communication has been a problem in China for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Different people from different regions separated by rivers and mountains tend to speak differently from each other. There are hundreds of different dialects in China. Mandarin ChineseAnd many of them are like totally different languages, though they are all lumped together into the category "Chinese." The official language of China is Mandarin Chinese, actually a northern dialect, and this is what the people of Beijing speak. Often when Chinese people from the countryside or far-flung regions of the country come to Beijing, they have a hard time communicating. So if you are having difficulty making yourself understood, you are not alone! Most hotel staff can speak English, so this is not a big problem. But on the street it may be difficult to communicate. If you are going to take a taxi, get someone to write down the address of your destination in Chinese. Street signs have characters as well as pinyin (Chinese Romanization), so if you have a map, it is easier to figure out where you are, Also, nowadays most young people are studying English, so for simple directions and help, you can most likely get assistance from a younger person. If they can't help you, they will most likely do their best to find someone who can.

When addressing somebody, remember that in China, the surname comes before the given name, there are hundreds of surnames, the most common being Zhang, Li, Wang, Zhao and Liu, so if a woman's name is Wu Runmei ,you should call her Ms. Wu. names are usually composed of two or three character. If a person has four character name, the first two are the surname and the second two are their given name. Women keep their own surname after marriage, so if somebody's husband's surname is Wang, it doesn't mean that she is Mrs. Wang. She is still Mrs. Whatever.

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