Basic Mandarin (Chinese) words and phrases

By: Ken Cheong

The Chinese Language and dialects Each province, eachcity and even each village speaks their own dialect. There arehundreds of Chinese dialects in China so much so that eachdialect speaker is not likely to understand another dialectspeaker from another village or city. Fortunately, Mandarin, theofficial dialect, is understood by all dialect speakers.

Let's learn a few useful basic and common Mandarin words andphrases that will help you break barriers with your Chinesefriends.

How are You? -Ni Hao Ma

Also commonly shorten to Ni Hao.

This is likely to be the first Mandarin phrase that you willever learn. Useful as a greeting or a ice-breaker. Suitable foruse with all ages and professions.

Thank You -Xie Xie.

Another polite term that is easy to remember and use.

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.

Ni Hao Ma? -How are you?

Hen Hao (Very Good)

No Good -Bu Hao

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

Ni Hao Ma? -How are you?-

Bu Hao (No Good)

Very Expensive -Hen Gui.

When bargaining at the shops, this is the best term to use whendriving a hard bargain.

Don't want or -No Bu Yao.

This is the best term to use for touts - street hawkers whoapproach you at every tourist stop to ask you to buy things. BuYao....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 ifyou use the English word for Taxi. They sound alike anyway.

Good Bye or See You Again -Zai Jian.

Well, I guess this is another term that will be easilyunderstood even if the English word is used.

Excuse Me -Jie Guo.

There is always a crowd in touristy areas. There are so manyChinese who wants to see the same monuments too. Rather thanpush your way through the crowd, using the term Jie Guo may justopen the path ahead for you!

Receipt -Fa Piao.

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

I don't want -Wo Bu Yao.

Useful when refusing a tout or when offered a drink too many atthe Dinner table.

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