Chinese Mandarin :Chinese Mandarin Level
Registered on : 2010-04-15
Language : English, Amharic, Esperanto, Sanskrit, Swahili, Uzbek
Posts : 5
Responses : 7
Comments : 0

From :   Dr Amore

Date : 2010-05-24 / 11:19PM

Wan Shang Hao Benny!

Just wondering is there a difference between ‘zao shang’ and ‘shang wu’? Both mean morning – is one before the other? and what about ‘zao chen’? I was initially taught ‘zao chen hao’ to mean good morning, but I have never ever heard this (I live in China)

Also, I know there is shang wu, xia wu, and wan shang – is there such a thing as wan xia?

A lot of questions, I know. Thanks for the help.

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Chinese Mandarin :Chinese Mandarin Level
Registered on : 2007-01-01
Language : English, Mandarin Chinese
Posts : 0
Responses : 2359
Comments : 75
 Benny the Mandarin Teacher askbenny.net 
2010-05-27 / 11:09PM

Hi Dr,

In fact, “Shang wu” means “late morning”. between 10-12

And zao shang means “early morning” between 6-10


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Chinese Mandarin :Chinese Mandarin Level
Registered on : 2007-11-08
Language : English
Posts : 111
Responses : 156
Comments : 12
 Roland Parijs yahoo.com 
2010-05-30 / 02:45PM

Hello Dr Amore,

That is a very good question!
To my knowledge there is no xiawan or shangwan, meaning “evening”.
You have shàng wǔ 上午 and shàng wǔ 上午 which litetery means below or before midday forenoon and above or after midday = afternoon.
However wǎn shàng 晚上 with shang (above) after the noun evening, I think, is the same structure as bào zhǐ shàng 报纸上 which means in or on the evening.

This is what I think, hope it will help you in your stydies.



Responses Owner
 Jonathan Callahan gmail.com 
2013-05-09 / 10:33PM

“Shàng(上)” is a preposition meaning “on top of” with an implication of “getting onto” or “arriving at” something, as “xià(下)” is a preposition for “under”, with an implication of “getting off” or “leaving from” something. In this way, we can observe the time phrases as a sort of linear concept, where all of the times of day are used to refer to the position of the sun. First, a breakdown into the different parts of the time phrases:
Zǎo(早)-early, beginning
Shàng(上)-getting onto
Wǔ(午)-noon(middle of the sky)
Xià(下)-getting off of
Wǎn(晚)-late, approaching an end
Now imagine the sky as a surface, as it probably appeared to the people creating the language, and the sun is a person or god “walking” across the sky.
“Zǎo Shàng(早上)” would therefore indicate the beginning of the sun’s arc across the sky, as the sun is “getting onto” the beginning of the arc of the sky.
“Shàng wǔ(上午)” is indicating that the sun is starting to “climb onto” the middle of the sky.
“Zhōng wǔ(中午)” is just saying that the sun is DIRECTLY in the middle of the sky.
“Xià wǔ(下午)” indicates the sun “getting off of” the middle of the sky, but still somewhat near it.
“Wǎn Shàng(晚上)” is saying that the sun’s journey is ending, and the sun is at the end of the arc, preparing to get off of it for the end of the day.

I hope this helped place the time phrases in a context that will be applicable to a multitude of scenarios, and give some insight into how the language developed. I find that thinking of Chinese in this way instead of just trying to remember the words makes it much easier to remember and learn.


(I am aware that I am posting this very late. The main purpose of my post is for people reading this from now on, though if it manages to help the person who originally posted the question, I will be very happy. _)


Chinese Mandarin :Chinese Mandarin Level
Registered on : 2013-04-26
Language : English
Posts : 0
Responses : 2
Comments : 3
 Luke yahoo.com.au 
2013-05-13 / 04:04PM
To : Jonathan Callahan

That is a great and informative answer and a very good way of thinking about it. Thanks!

Responses Owner
 Jane gmail.com 
2020-10-19 / 08:51PM
To : Jonathan Callahan

This is (reading it some years after it was posted!) not only a really helpful answer but also super interesting! Thanks for posting.

Responses Owner
 Julie live.com 
2021-01-15 / 09:30PM
To : Jonathan Callahan

Reading it in 2021 :D Your answer was really good!!!



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