Wǒ zhī dào!

17 06 2011

Wǒ zhī dào – 我知道 = I know

This is a very common statement. In a way though it is much more common than we could expect when compared to English or European languages.

Chinese people use “I know” even when they do not know, but they have just learnt something or how to do something. Sometimes the meaning they give to “I know” is more like “I understand“, “oh, I see” therefore intending: “now I know because you told me!”.

Now, before I did learn this, I had a couple of frustrating exchanges with colleagues, because of course when they speak a broken English they do not know many variation of a possible sentence. So once I was telling one colleague he was doing something wrong, and the conversation went as follow:

Me: “wait wait, you should not test like..”
Colleague:  “I know”
Me:  “No, you do not know!! That is why you have to do this like this and that..”
Colleague, looking innocent and nodding: “I know, I know..”
Me: “oh, you know, so how you are going to test?”
Colleague: “I do not know, can you please show me?”
Me, getting nervous and confused (I’m not the most patient person in the world!): “I was telling you, but you said you know.. ah, forget, you should do like this..”
Colleague, looking innocent and nodding: “I know, I know..”
Me: ☠☠☠☠ *bang* *nuclear mushroom* *head exploding* ☠☠☠☠

I should be patient, you say?

Wǒ zhī dào!!!

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One response

20 06 2011
Karsten

Looks to me like this is one of those valuable cultural and linguistic insights which gives value to a year of work in china 😉

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