How to Say “pedestrian” in Chinese

The following photo was taken close to a pedestrian crossing in Taiwan. The sign in the photo shows a good example of how the word ‘pedestrian’ might be used, and asks for people not to park their vehicles here as to let people pass.

行人

Pinyin: xíng rén
English: pedestrian
Notes: The character 行 here means to “walk” and while it is itself a Chinese radical (行), it also contains the 彳 radical which means “step”.

How to say pedestrian in Chinese 行人

The sign reads:

請勿停車,行人通道(请勿停车,行人通道 qǐng wù tíngchē, xíngrén tōngdào)
No Parking (please), pedestrian thoroughfare

It’s not evident in the photo but the sign was actually working – without it, the corner of the street would have been completely blocked with scooters, essentially trapping pedestrians in.

Here’s the rest of the words from the example:

請(请)

Pinyin: qǐng
English: please

Pinyin:
English: do not

停車(停车)

Pinyin: tíng chē
English: to park. Literally “stop vehicle”

通道

Pinyin: tōng dào
English: passageway; thoroughfare
Notes: Just like 行 uses the 彳 radical for “walk”, both 通 and 道 also use a radical that means “walk” – the 辵 radical (in one of its variations) which actually does look a bit like a foot.

  • Jo

    I love that character. When I returned to the US after my first year of study in China, I laughed out loud when I saw the “PED XING” signs at crosswalks. “When did they start putting Pinyin on American signs” I wondered. I loved it that the meaning of X-ing (crossing)and Xing (go or move) converged. Either way, the sign had meaning. Thanks for posting this.

    • Oh yeah, interesting, I am sure I have seen the signs that say ‘xing’ before, quite apt then!

  • Yu Tseng Liao

    the sign should be read from right to left.
    行人通道,請勿停車

    • Hi Tseng Liao, thanks for the comment, you are right. Though both sentences 行人通道,請勿停車 and 請勿停車,行人通道 are both fine and the meaning remains the same.

  • F I MacIllFhinnein

    Surely it would be more conventional to read that the other way round – from the right-hand column first: 行人通道 請勿停車 (left to right here).