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Are They China’s Baby Boomers-“80后(bālínghòu)” and “90后 (jiǔlínghòu)”

Apr. 4, 2015

One basic meaning of “后(hòu)” is “after or later”, such as “一周后(yìzhōuhòu) after a week” and “三天后(sāntiānhòu) three days later.”


Wǒ sāntiān hòu qù běijīng.
我   三天     后    去 北京。
I will leave for Beijing in three days.

At some point you will come across the word “后(hòu)” used in phrases like: “80后(bālínghòu) children of the 80’s” or “90后(jiǔlínghòu) children of the 90’s.” In these cases, “后(hòu)” followed by a number refers to the group of people who were born in that decade. For example, “80后(bālínghòu)” or “八零后(bālínghòu)” refers to the generation born in the 1980’s.

In daily conversations, when someone asks about your age, you can say that you are “80后(bālínghòu).” This is handy if you don’t want others to know your exact age.

Each generation is characterized by different social backgrounds and living experiences. In China,  “80后 (bālínghòu) children of the 80’s” grew up wearing cartoon T-shirts and playing with transformers. Nowadays, they use emoticons to communicate with their friends, and they also like to talk with their friends on the telephone. Many 80’s Babies are comparatively stronger than the younger generation belonging to “90后 (jiǔlínghòu) the 90’s generation.”

“90后 (jiǔlínghòu)” are those who were born in the 1990’s. In China, they love to doodle on their school uniforms and play PSP. They have been greatly influenced by the internet. Most of them like to use “Martian Language” on the internet. The "Martian Language" is a term used to describe words in the Chinese speaking cyberspace that are not commonly recognized. The words are a combination of English letters, Chinese characters, Internet slang and symbols. They are very curious about everything and easily accept new concepts. They are confident and open-minded, but sometimes they are very sensitive.

Many people like to compare the 80’s generation with the 90’s generation. Actually, because people have different characteristics in different environments, both of these two groups have admirable and not so admirable qualities. We cannot expect those born in the 80’s or the 90’s to be perfect, but we can certainly learn something from both groups.


Amy: Nǐ zhème xǐhuan yǔquánde gē,  nǐ shì bālínghòu ba?
Amy: 你 这么    喜欢     羽泉的      歌,你 是  80后         吧?
Amy: You love Yu Quan’s (a popular Chinese group) songs so much. You belong to the 80’s generation, don’t you?

Bob: Duìa,  gāozhōng de shíhou, xuéxiào guǎngbō jīngcháng fàng tāmende gē.
Bob: 对啊,高中          的  时候,  学校      广播        经常          放    他们的     歌。
Bob: Yeah. I often heard their songs when I was in high school.

Lǐhóng shì ge diǎnxíng de jiǔlínghòu; tā tèbié xǐhuān yòng huǒxīngwén xiě bókè.
李 红    是  个  典型       的   九零后;  他 特别   喜欢     用    火星文         写  博客。
Li Hong is a typical child of the 90’s; he loves to use Martian Language when he writes blogs.


1. What does “我两周后去上海。(Wǒ liǎngzhōuhòu qù Shànghǎi.)” mean?

A. I went to Shanghai two weeks ago.

B. I will go to Shanghai in two weeks.

C. I will stay in Shanghai for two weeks.

2. If we say someone belongs to “80后(bālínghòu),” when was he or she probably born?

A. Dec. 10th, 1991

B. Jan. 1st, 1983

C. May 4th, 2003

3. Which of the following is incorrect?

A. Children of the 90’s love to play PSP.

B. Children of the 80’s are comparatively stronger than those born in the 90’s.

C. Children of the 80’s are greatly influenced by the internet.

See Answers

Chinese Popular Words (Fun Stuff)

HSK Test

General Chinese (Beginner Level)

General Chinese (Intermediate Level)


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