While speaking to Chinese Speakers, I sometimes notice that words are left out of a sentence. I have also read this thread on Chinese Contractions. When longer phrases are shortened in Chinese is this the same thing as a contraction? I know I have heard of this but I cannot seem to recall one at the moment. Are there some common examples of 缩约?


3 Answers 3


Actually, when you speak really fast, 缩约 is necessary.

It would be more natural to speak 'duo shao qian' as 'duo ao qian'.

Accent take a crucial part here. People From south china (e.g., Guangdong) speak quite 'clearly', but we don't think it nice or sweet. In fact, it sounds strange.

When longer phrases are shortened in Chinese is this the same thing as a contraction?

No. Contraction is more about a natural way to speak, while shortening a phrases is something like 'LOL' or 'BTW' in english.

Are there some common examples of 缩约?

知道(zhi dao) -> 'zao'

不知道(bu zhi dao) -> 'bu dao' -----> here, 'zhi' is missed out because it's kind of hard to pronounce.

Something like 'zh' or 'sh' is more likely to be ignored or simplified as 'z' or 's' in real world. BTW, these contractions are not encouraged especially when your Chinese is not that good. It seems to be cute, but it could be confusing and unpredictable somehow.

  • This is vary widely depending on the area of China.These examples have strong Guangdong accent.
    – sfy
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 14:04
  • I've been wondering for long if zhi dao -> zao really happens. As a southerner, it never happens to my ears that 知道 and 造 becomes indistinguishable from each other. The time duration of /z/ (actually [ts]) in the 'contraction' of 知道 is longer than that in 造. Northerners may just be insensitive to this subtle difference.
    – user58955
    Commented Oct 18, 2014 at 9:38

Some examples would be:

全国人民代表大会 is shortened as "人大"

超級女聲 is shortened as "超女"

中央電視台 is shorten as "央視"


In China, airline names are often shortened. Air China, 中国航空公司, is contracted to 国航. Also some phrases are contracted such as 怎么样(zen ma yang) can be shortened to 咋样(za yang). Or "what are you saying 说什么(shuo shen me)" can go to "说啥" (shuo sha).

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