Chinglish 2: ‘Understand’ & ‘Realise’

Mount Fuji, Japan.jpg

In the last post, I looked at (what I call) a ‘Chinglish Verb’. So, what’s a Chinglish Verb? It’s a verb in Chinese which has two verbs in English. Yes, English often makes it complicated by having two verbs for something which in Chinese is just one verb. This leads to ‘Chinglish’ mistakes.

Now, let’s look at:     understand    &    realise.

In Chinese, a single verb (sounding like ‘li-ow jie’) is used. In class, I often hear incorrect (‘Chinglish’) sentences such as:

1. I can never realise what they mean.

2. The teacher tried hard to make us realise.

3. I didn’t understand how upset she was.

Understand means ‘get it’ or ‘know’ or ‘perceive’, and often about thinking.

We need to better understand human nature

I don’t understand why you did that.

Realise means ‘to be aware of’, and is often about feeling.

She didn’t realise she was breaking a rule.

We realised we were in the wrong place.

Sometimes both verbs can be used – but often one of them is better, or more natural, than the other. One final word: the Americans spell ‘realise’ as ‘realize’.

So, look at the picture at the top. You probably realised this is Mount Fuji, Japan, but do you understand Japanese?

Got it?