I need to talk about a spreadsheet remotely with a colleague of mine. In order to do that I need some good terms for

  • column
  • row

row is henghang I believe (not sure about the characters though but I can't really find something convincing for 'column'. It must also be some sort of 'hang' as well.

  • row: 行(hang2)
  • column: 列(lie4)

I don't know what is henghang(横行?) . Chinese don't use this word.

  • 横行/竖列 are just verbose way of saying the same thing. Some old people would use 行 for both dimensions and call 列 as 竖行. For them just saying 行 might be ambiguous. Hence 横行. Almost all young people use 行/列 now.
    – jf328
    Oct 12 '18 at 12:40

In mainland China,

row = 行, column = 列.

行(hang2)meaning 橫(heng2)or horizontal; 列(lie4)meaning 竖(shu4)or vertical

While in Taiwan,

row = 列, column = 行.

Yes, it is really confusing! Though I'm from Taiwan, I actually prefer the mainland way, because it "sounds" the same as its meaning. The same tone gives a feeling of the same meaning. People just always mix up 行 and 列 in Taiwan.

  • Do you think this has anything to do with the writing direction? Since Mainland writes horizontally and (I think) Taiwan writes vertically?
    – dROOOze
    Oct 14 '18 at 10:20
  • Yes, especially in books. Most books from Taiwan are written vertically. That's quite an interesting question. I'm no expert, but maybe that's the reason ;)
    – johan
    Oct 14 '18 at 10:44

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