BBC Learning English – Ask About Britain
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Mysterious Chinese? 神秘的中国人?
A: For hundreds of years the Chinese had this reputation of being inscrutable.
B: I do think that generally speaking there is a tradition in Britain of people thinking
the Chinese are a little mysterious.
C: The Chinese are very disciplined, very hard-working, very productive, which is
why British people think they are mysterious.
Finn: Hello and welcome to Ask About Britain. Today’s question is about
what British people think about Chinese people. I’m Finn.
Yang Li: 大家好，我是杨莉。今天的英国问答节目我们将回答Jessica 通过电子邮件提出
What do the British people think about Chinese people? Do they think we are (来源：EnglishCN.com)
Yang Li: 英国人对中国人怎么看，是不是觉得中国人具有神秘感？
Finn: Well, the first English person we talked to is Barry who works as a
cultural consultant in London:
For hundreds of years the Chinese had this reputation of being inscrutable, which
means they are mysterious, which means no one knows what they are thinking.
Finn: According to Barry the Chinese have a reputation for being inscrutable,
another way of saying mysterious:
Yang Li: 难以理解的 inscrutable；神秘的mysterious.
Finn: But why do they have this reputation?
The answer is, I think, to do with two things – facial expression and body language.
It’s quite well-known now, that Chinese people don’t normally smile unless there’s
something to smile about; whereas Westerners smile even if they don’t have
something to smile about, because they want to show friendliness. The second thing,
I think, is that the Chinese also don’t use strong body language unless they are
Yang Li: Barry 觉得这种所谓神秘感的背后主要有两个原因：
Finn: Facial expression and body language.
Yang Li: 面部表情和肢体语言。
Finn: He said that Chinese people don't normally smile and they don't use
strong body language unless they are angry.
Yang Li: 首先中国人不面带笑容。其次，除非在生气的时候，中国人很少使用夸张的肢体语
言strong body language.
Finn: Well, Li to be honest, I’m not sure I entirely agree with him, because I
can see that you are smiling right now.
Yang Li: That’s because I am presenting this programme with you.
Finn: But of course. Next we talked to two students from the London School
A: In general I think Chinese are very disciplined, very hard-working, very
productive, which is why British people think they are mysterious because they work
long hours and study very, very hard.
B: They are very, very hard-working, very goal-orientated, they’re just really very
focused and I think that’s a massive difference between the Chinese and maybe
more European side of the world I’d say.
Finn: They suggested that British people’s impression of Chinese as being
mysterious may have something to do with the following
characteristics: firstly, being hard-working.
Yang Li: 勤奋的。
Finn: And focused.
Yang Li: 专注的。
Finn: And goal-orientated.
Yang Li: 有追求的。
Finn: As well as disciplined.
Yang Li: 能够自律的。这两个女学生认为上述这些与西方人不同的特点，往往给人造成了中
Finn: The final clip is from our colleague William who shared an amusing
story with us:
And I was very amused to learn very recently that about 150 years ago, when British
sailors were trading with Chinese merchants, a lot of them thought that the Chinese
language was basically something the Chinese had made up in order to confuse them
– and I think that’s partly because British people just couldn’t possibly conceive of a
language as difficult as Chinese.