If I want to explain the word "condescending" in Chinese using a scenario, what can I do?

Thank you so much for your attention!

  • You can use 屈尊俯就 – Mo. Sep 6 '14 at 8:48
  • @user3306356: Thank you. I want some scenario to illustrate this word :) – Megadeth Sep 6 '14 at 9:03
  • Hard to find a scenario. The paradox is, it is the universities that are crowded with neurotics; construction workers, peasants and other labourers are generally cheerful and are not so easily offended at all. – George Chen Sep 6 '14 at 10:18
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    From the question and comments, I am not clear which part of this ask is related to Chinese? Especially considering the upvoted answers are completely in English. – NS.X. Sep 6 '14 at 20:36
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about the Chinese language – Mo. Sep 7 '14 at 1:53

I can give you a real life scenario that illustrates this. Some ten (?) years ago, the government of a certain place tried to pass a law that might infringe on citizens' right. When a high level government official was asked whether more discussions and consultation with the general public was necessary, she said something like this: (sorry I don't remember the exact wording, but it was to the effect) "Do you think taxi-drivers and cleaning ladies will have any interest or contribution to this?" Now if that is not condescension, I don't know what is. Needless to say, there was a huge outrage.

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  • Right! Right! Exactly! – Megadeth Sep 6 '14 at 23:20
  • It is more fallacious than condescending, because some taxi-drivers and cleaning ladies are very knowledgeable. Would Balzac and Dickens ever have been able to write that kind work if they had never travelled in those circles? – George Chen Sep 10 '14 at 11:55
  • As far as I know, some Beijing's taxi-drivers talk like they have seats in the central politburo. – George Chen Sep 10 '14 at 12:00
  • And some cleaning ladies know every detail of their employer's board books. – George Chen Sep 10 '14 at 12:32
  • If she knew what you know, that taxi-drivers and cleaning ladies can be very knowledgeable and capable of carrying on an intelligent discussion on many political issues, she would not have made that condescending comment. Shall we say, her condescension was born out of her ignorance. – monalisa Sep 11 '14 at 3:33

Here is a possible scenario.

A student who is enrolled in an intermediate level calculus course is having some difficulty understanding her most recent lesson. The student asks an older student acquaintance for help, because this other student has taken three calculus courses and is enrolled in an advanced math degree. The second student does help the first student, and explains the lesson clearly. However, he does so in an unpleasant way, reviewing some introductory concepts from algebra such as "what is a variable?" and treating the first student as if she is an intellectual insect. When he is done, he smirks in a self satisfied manner. The first student feels humiliated, because she is not stupid, on the contrary she is an intelligent person; but she has been treated as if she were stupid. She vows that if she needs more math help, she will find a different tutor, because the boy who just helped her was so condescending.

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I seriously doubt whether the Chinese have developed this level of sensibility yet.

The translation 居高临下 actually means arrogant, overbearing, literally means "like from high to low." At the core of it is rudeness.

But, if I'm not mistaken, condescending is not rude at all. It has more to do with the beholder's perception. If the beholder lacks self-esteem, he or she may view the other as condescending.

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  • Thank you. The point you made is interesting. My opinion is, in general, that from time to time we consider someone s condescending when s really says something that a normal person n will never say unless n thinks n is more superior than the beholders of n. In SE's, for instance, we can easily come across many condescending comments or even answers that usually take a form such as explaining the ABC concepts of your question. – Megadeth Sep 6 '14 at 8:16
  • Maybe I haven't grasped condescending yet. To me, it means over polite, which is the opposite of the Chinese translation. – George Chen Sep 6 '14 at 8:20
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    Here's Chinese proverb 礼多人不怪 which says "no one is going blame you for being too polite." – George Chen Sep 6 '14 at 8:25
  • Thank you for your interest:) I too am not sure about the meaning. I guess "condescending" connotes "avuncular". And being avuncular is treating people as a baby (I am exaggerating). Rare people would like to be treated as a baby. – Megadeth Sep 6 '14 at 8:28

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