Real World Chinese – Subways Signs 2

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Real World Chinese: Subway Signs 2

Wouldn’t it be more fun to know how to navigate the subway systems when traveling to China? The Chinese subway systems are quite new, and many Chinese people may be just like you, using the subway for the very first time. Guess what, there are about 20 subways running in different cities and some of them were built less than 10 years ago. Also, there are about 15 new railroad developments currently under construction. For this reason, there are many signs in the subways designed to help people buy tickets, find restrooms and more importantly, keep them from getting lost.

Where is the Restroom?

Restrooms in the subway may not be easy to find. So if you really need to use a restroom, look for this sign 卫生间 [wèi shēng jiān]. 卫生 [ wèi shēng ] means “hygiene” and 间 [ jiān ] means room. Together, you get the meaning “hygiene room”.

What is a W.C.?

When you travel to China, you will see a sign written “W.C.” The sign is showing you where the restroom is located. W.C. is an abbreviation and it stands for “water closet”. Because many foreigners have commented about the confusion of the term “W.C.”, Chinese people decided to adopt the international English standard, changing the sign from W.C. to “toilet”. This change will take some time to complete as China is a big country. For this reason, you still need to look for W.C. signs when searching for a restroom in public.

Promoting Courteous Culture in the Chinese Subway System

Whenever you see the characters 爱心 [ ài xīn ], it means this is a courtesy area for someone who needs assistance. 爱心专坐 [ ài xīn zhuān zuò ] 爱 [ ài ] means “love”. And you probably have heard people say 我爱你 [wǒ ài nǐ] “I love you”. The second character 心 [ xīn ] means “heart”. We need it here to describe the kind of love that has empathy and respect. So爱心 [ ài xīn ] means love with empathy and respect. Next, 专 [ zhuān ] means special and 坐 [ zuò ] means seat. These special seats are priority seats for people who are in the conditions of 老弱病残孕专坐 [ lǎo ruò bìng cán yùn zhuān zuò ], meaning “old” “weak” “sick” “disabled” and “pregnant”. So if you are not in any of these situations, you should not sit those seats.

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Subway Related Terms

English Meaning Pinyin Chinese Characters
subway dì tiě 地铁
restroom wèi shēng jiān 卫生间
where is the restroom? wèi shēng jiān zài nǎ lǐ 卫生间在哪里?
love with empathy and respect ài xīn 爱心
l love uou wǒ ài nǐ 我爱你
special seat zhuān zuò 专坐
old lǎo
weak ruò
sick bìng
disabled cán
pregnant yùn