Learn to speak basic Chinese

Speak Basic Chinese

World Peace! Make friends with your Chinese neighbours or when travelling in China, learn to speak a few basic Chinese words and phrases. Communication is the best way for cultures to interact and knowing a word or two of the other culture's language will always bring the two cultures so much closer together.


The Chinese Language and dialects
It is estimated that one in four persons in the world is a Chinese or speaks Chinese. With Chinese economy and culture on a blazing path, many people, inside and outside China are keen to learn Chinese.

Chinese has also surpassed English as the largest commercial language. More people do business in Chinese than they do in English or any other language.

How can you learn Chinese when each province, each city and even each village in China speak their own dialect? There are hundreds of Chinese dialects in China so much so that each dialect speaker is not likely to understand another dialect speaker from another village or city. Fortunately, Mandarin, the official dialect of China, is understood by almost all other dialect speakers. If you learn Mandarin, you will practically be able to communicate with almost everyone in China as it is the common dialect or language across China.

Mandarin is also common and popular with Chinese population around the world including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia and the various Chinatowns around the world. Hence, the ability to speak Mandarin will help you make friends in many parts of the world!

Let's learn a few useful basic and common Chinese words and phrases that will help you break barriers with your Chinese friends.

Many of my readers had asked me what is the best way to learn Chinese. Unfortunately, Chinese is one of the most difficult language in the world to learn on your own. Books, tapes and videos seldom work because they're all one-dimensional; ie you learn in a vacuum with no one to interact with, to practise with or to correct your mistake.

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Learn Basic Chinese words and phrases

How are You? Ni Hao Ma

Also commonly shorten to Ni Hao.

This is likely to be the first Chinese words that you will ever need to learn. Useful as a greeting or a ice-breaker. Suitable for use with Chinese friends of all ages and professions. Remember to use the Chinese phrase, Ni Hao, whenever you meet a Chinese friend or neighbor.

Very Good Hen Hao.

This is useful when giving praise for a job or task well done. Also useful as a reply to anyone who says "Ni Hao Ma?' to you.

Q: Ni Hao Ma? (How are you?)

A: Hen Hao (Very Good)

The same phrase, Hen Hao, can also be used as a praise or compliment to someone who has done a good job.

No Good Bu Hao.

This is useful when there is a need to comment on a shoddy or incomplete job or task. Can also be used as a reply to Ni Hao Ma but may not be such a good reply.

Q: Ni Hao Ma? (How are you?)

A: Bu Hao (No Good)

Thank You Xie Xie.

Saying Thank you is another basic and polite term that is easy to remember and use.

Very Expensive Hen Gui.

When bargaining at the shops, Hen Gui, is the best term to use when driving a hard bargain.

Don't want or No Bu Yao.

This is the best term to use for touts - street hawkers who approach you at every tourist stop to ask you to buy things. Bu Yao....will stop them in their track.

This is beautiful Hen Piao Liang.

Use this phrase to praise something that is nice or beautiful. May also be used when meeting a pretty girl too!

Taxi De Shi.

De Shi is the correct term but you should be understood even if you use the English word for Taxi. They sound alike anyway. In many mainland Chinese cities, they also use the term DaDi for Taxi.

Good Bye or See You Again Zai Jian.

Well, I guess this is another term that will be easily understood. With young people, it is now common to say 'Bye' as well.

Excuse Me Jie Guo.

China is a very crowded country and there is always a crowd in major touristy areas and shopping malls. There are so many Chinese who wants to see the same monuments as you too. Rather than push your way through the crowd, using the term Jie Guo may just open the path ahead for you!

Receipt Fa Piao.

Always ask for the receipt or Fa Piao at the shops or from a taxi. This may be useful if you need to complain about a fraud or shoddy product. Also useful if you happen to leave behind your bag or camera in the taxi.

I don't want Wo Bu Yao.

Useful when refusing a tout who is too pushy with selling you something on the streets or when your Chinese friend offer a drink too many at the Dinner table.

Good friends Hao Peng You

Met someone who treated you well and you want to be a friend? Just use the phrase Hao Peng You

 


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