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First off I'm not really sure what we would call 劝ing in English, it's not really exhorting or admonishing as dictionaries would lead people to believe - it's more like actively sticking your nose where it doesn't belong to tell people, who don't really care, what to do.

Moral propaganda encourages people to 劝一劝. Complete strangers will approach you on the street to 劝 you.

So what's the deal?

Why is 劝ing so common and popular?

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At first it did mean exhorting or admonishing in classic Chinese, but gradually the meaning broadened. Now any advice of suggestion could be called 劝.

  • Your parents are having a fight? You 劝 them to stop.
  • A stranger smoking in public? You 劝 him to give up.
  • Your student can't form a proper sentence? You 劝 him to learn some grammar.

This is a process the linguists call semantic shift. Dog used to be a specific canine species, but gradually it becomes canine in general. Bird used to mean "young bird" then it becomes avian of all age.

Humans are fallible, whether as individuals or as a species.

  • Still didn't answer: Why is 劝ing so common and popular? – user3306356 Nov 24 '14 at 5:32
  • So you are asking about the culture instead of the language -- Because in this stupid culture everyone older than you is automatically a parent figure, and everyone of similar age a brother figure. Also because usually it's useless calling the lawyer or police. Also because you are a nice and easygoing guy. If you wear a cold face no one would bother to 劝 you :) – Wang Dingwei Nov 24 '14 at 6:09
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In my opinion,the mean of 劝 is what you said above.

But why is 劝ing so common and popular?

I think the reason is the attitude of the person who wanna 劝 you.

Use 劝,the attitude is very soft ,not tough.劝 is neither teach nor order .

If the person wanna 劝 you,he tells you something that you may ignore or not get a clear understanding from his kindness.

And you can make a judgement from what he has said,not must accept what he said.

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