Three ways of showing gratitude in Chinese
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Christina’s Kickstarter campaign: Multi Entry – Telling the Stories of Young, Creative China:
You know the (mostly untrue) saying about all the Eskimo words for snow? That’s kind of true for gratitude in Chinese. Here are a few, to thank you.
orz and m(_ _)m
Two commonly seen “posture emoticons” which look like a person on their knees, touching their head to the ground in respect (from the side and the front, respectively). This gesture is used to mean a lot of different things: admiration and awe, respect, pleading, and also extreme gratitude.
The widespread prevalence of English education in China has made toying with English a popular past-time. Here, “Thank You” is abbreviated into a bilingual homonym—3 in Chinese is pronounced “san”. If you’re looking to up your online forum posting game, here are some animated GIFs that incorporate this cute abbreviation.
抱拳 (bao quan)
This gesture (closed fist punching an open hand) is kind of the ancient Chinese way of faving someone’s tweet in real-life. It’s lowkey, full of gratitude, and needs to be brought to the US—preferably in emoji form. Unfortunately, “kung fu greeting” is currently the best translation of this available so far. I’m taking suggestions in the comments.