Chinese Calligraphy

Lesson 1

Verbs used for introduction

As in English there are different ways of introducing oneself or other people in Chinese. The choice of the suitable verb depends on the situation. In Chinese culture the family name is mentioned before the given name. The most common verbs to be used for introducing oneself or another person are 姓 (xìng), 叫 (jiào) or 是 (shì).

The noun and verb 姓 (xìng)

姓 (xìng) can be both used as a noun and a verb. In the first and second example 姓 (xìng) is used as a verb in the sense of "named" or "called". In the third example 姓 (xìng) is used as a noun in the sense of "name". 姓 (xìng) is used to ask for somebody's family name or to say one's own family name.


The verb 叫 (jiào)

The verb 叫 (jiào) is used before a person's family name and given name or only before a person's given name. In the first example we are using it to mention our full name and in the second example we are using it to mention another person's given name:


The verb 是 (shì)

If you introduce yourself or another person together with your or the other persons's title (e.g. Mr., Mrs., Dr.), then you should use the verb 是 (shì). The verb 是 (shì) is one of the most common verbs in Chinese and has many different meanings which will all be introduced step by step in this course. The basic meaning of 是 (shì) is 'to be'.


Unlike English, a person's family name, e.g. Wáng or , is mentioned before the person's title, e.g. xiānshēng (Mr.) or bóshì (Dr.).