A proper way to address a stranger 师傅 or 先生

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wangll08
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A proper way to address a stranger 师傅 or 先生

Post by wangll08 » Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:30 am

http://blog.chinesehour.com/wp-content/ ... driver.jpg
It is always correct to address a man “先生 xiansheng (Sir)” and a girl “小姐 xiaojie (Miss)” all the time at different circumastances in China. But if you want to speak more specificly in a Chinese way, you should know the most common expression “师傅 shifu”. Just like “Sir/Madam”, 师傅 shīfu is a very common and polite Chinese term to call the skilled workers from working class , such as taxi-drivers, shop assistant, construction workers, repairmen, dustmen, doormen, cook, barbers, elderly workers, bakers, or anyone (elder people most of time) in the street when you want to ask for help but you don’t know their name. It can be used to address men as well as women, more likely to be male than female. If we know the skilled worker’s family name (Zhang, Wang or something), we address him/her 张师傅 Zhang Shifu or 王师傅 Wang Shifu.

If you really want to match an equavalent English translation to “师傅 shīfu “, “Sir” is all right, they are still not the same in a formal way in terms of their social context. However, “Sir 先生 (xiansheng) /Madam 女士(nvshi) /Miss 小姐 (xiaojie)” is a borrowed term from English and French to formally and politely address a person who is somewhat from upper class. We often call a stranger at a meeting or other public gatherings “Sir 先生(xiansheng) /Madam女士(nvshi) /Miss 小姐(xiaojie)” to start a conversation, just because you know eaxactly they are not workers.

For the staff in a restaurant, we call a waiter or waitress “服务员” (wufu yuan), which means a staff to serve (fuwu). At a hotel, we also call a roomkeeper “服务员” (wufu yuan) . Alternatively, you may call the female staff “小姐” (xiaojie, Miss) all the time for a polite manner. But we still call the taxi-drivers, doormen and the bellmen 师傅 (shifu) most of the time.

Examples for comparion:

— (To a taxi driver) 师傅, 请送我去机场.

Shifu, qing song wo chu jichang.

Sir, please drive me to the airport.

— (At a banquet to ask a person sitting beside)

先生, 请问您在哪个部门工作?

Xiansheng, qingwen nin zai nage bumen gongzuo?

Sir, which department do you work, please?

— (At a hotel) 服务员, 帮我开一下门。 我忘记带钥匙了。

Fuwu yuan, bang wo kai yixia men. Wo wangji dai yaoshi le.

Miss, open the door for me please. I left the key in the room.

_________________________________

Also, 师傅 shīfu can be used as 师父 shīfu (师shī - teacher, 父 fu - like a father) for a common address to a monk or nun, and a martial arts instructor. In the classic novel “Xi You Ji” (西游记,Journey to the West), you may find that Money King always called the monk Tang-Seng “师父 shīfu”. Chinese people traditionally respect their teachers as equally as their own parents, that is the reason why 师 shī is for a teacher, and 父 fu is like a father. Both “师傅” and “师父” are read “shifu”. Although in modern Chinese, lots of people mix them, they are still not the same in a formal way in terms of their social context.

_________________________

More examples:

1.—(In a shop) Shīfu, zhèige lǐngdài duōshao qián?

师傅,这个领带多少钱?Excuse me, sir. How much is this tie?

2.— (On a strreet) Shīfù, qǐngwèn fùjìn yǒu yínháng ma ?

师傅,请问附近有银行吗 ? Sir, is there a bank nearby ?

— Qiánmian jiùshì Zhōngguó Yínháng.

前面就是中国银行。To the front is Bank of China.

3. — (At a repair shop) Shīfù, wǒde shǒubiǎo huài le. Kěyǐ xiū ma ?

师傅,我的手表坏了。可以修吗?Sir, my watch doesn’t work. Can you have it fixed ?

— Ràng wǒ kànkan.

让我看看。Let me have a look. [img]
From: http://blog.chinesehour.com
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Re: A proper way to address a stranger 师傅 or 先生

Post by facebook » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:52 pm

Xiansheng, qingwen nin zai nage bumen gongzuo?

Sir, which department do you work, please?

— (At a hotel) 服务员, 帮我开一下门。 我忘记带钥匙了。

Fuwu yuan, bang wo kai yixia men. Wo wangji dai yaoshi le.

Miss, open the door for me please. I left the key in the room.

_________________________________

Also, 师傅 shīfu can be used as 师父 shīfu (师shī - teacher, 父 fu - like a father) for a common address to a monk or nun, and a martial arts instructor. In the classic novel “Xi You Ji” (西游记,Journey to the West), you may find that Money King always called the monk Tang-Seng “师父 shīfu”. Chinese people traditionally respect their teachers as equally as their own parents, that is the reason why 师 shī is for a teacher, and 父 fu is like a father. Both “师傅” and “师父” are read “shifu”. Although in modern Chinese, lots of people mix them, they are still not the same in a formal way in terms of their social context.
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Re: A proper way to address a stranger 师傅 or 先生

Post by facebook » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:46 pm

dailyearner
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Re: A proper way to address a stranger 师傅 or 先生

Post by dailyearner » Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:42 pm

say 先生 is properly
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bluereg133
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Re: A proper way to address a stranger 师傅 or 先生

Post by bluereg133 » Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:07 am

I am very interested about it. It is really great.A proper way to address a stranger 师傅 or 先生 :lol:


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hane
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Re: A proper way to address a stranger 师傅 or 先生

Post by hane » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:17 pm

Chinese is a great language. Thanks to know about a proper way to address a stranger 先生. :lol:

Chichi
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