Chinese is a quite difficult language for English speakers. Let us suggest, if you’re going to China, taking the time to learn few basics. The words below appear both in Chinese characters and in pinyin. Pinyin is the form of Chinese that can be written with the Roman/English alphabet. In addition,there is some accent that indicate the tone of each word.
- Standard “Hello: Nǐ hǎo (Literally “You Good”)
- “Hello” greeting when addressing elders, or teachers: Nǐn hǎo
- When Chinese people when they answer the phone: Wèi?
- See you again: Zài jian
- See you tomorrow: Míngtian jian
- Baibái, From English “Bye-Bye”. Used in most urbanized parts of Mainland China. On social media, 88 means Bye Bye (In Chinese, 8 is pronouncedbā, 88 is pronounced bābā).
How are you?
- Nǐ hǎo ma?
- Nǐn hǎo ma?: Same as “Nǐ hǎo ma?” used as a more polite form.
- What’s up?: Nǐ zěn me yàng?
- How are you today?: Jīntiān nǐ hǎo ma?
- Have you eaten?: Nǐ chī le ma? It’s a way to express that you care.
- I’ve eaten, how about you?: (answer) “Chī le, nǐ ne?”
- Where are you going? Qù nǎ er?: Commonly used when you run into someone, to express that people care by showing interest.
- Long time no see!: Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn?
Responding to “How are you?”
- I’m doing great, thank you: Wŏ hĕnhăo, xièxie
- I’m not doing well: Wŏ bútàihăo
- So-so: Mămăhūhū ……. literally “Horse horse tiger tiger.”
- I’m okay: Háixíng
- I’m fine: Tĭnghăode