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How to speak basic Chinese in a day

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Learn the "four tones" of Mandarin as much as you can. Search Google for "tones of Mandarin Chinese". Do not be too concerned if you cannot get it right, it can be very hard. A bit of "foreign" tone makes you sound interesting.




Learn to say "Ni Hao". "Ni Hao" literally translates into "You Good" and can be a very generic greeting term. It is pronounced like "nee how". You can say it when you shake hands with your Chinese friends, when you walk by them in the hallway, when you sit down next to a new friend at dinner. It can be loosely used in all situations where you may say "hi" or "hello" in American English.

学会说"你好"。"你好"字面翻译就是"You Good",它是最普遍的问候语。它的发音像"nee how"。你可以在与中国朋友握手的时候、过道里与他们碰到的时候、吃饭时与新朋友坐在一起的时候使用这个问候语。你用美语说"hi"或者"hello"的任何情况下,都同样可以使用这个问候语。



Learn to say "Xie Xie". "Xie Xie" means "Thank you". It is pronounced like "shi-e shi-e". It can be used whenever you want to say thank you to someone.

学会说"谢谢"。"谢谢"的意思是"Thank you"。它的发音像"shi-e shi-e"。你可以在向某人表达谢意的时候使用它。



Learn to say "Bu Ke Qi". "Bu Ke Qi" means "You're welcome". It is pronounced like "Boo Ker Chi".

学会说"不客气"。"不客气"的意思是"You’re welcome"。它的发音像"Boo Ker Chi"。



Learn to say "Tai Hao Le!" "Tai Hao Le!" means "Wonderful". It is pronounced like "Thai Hao Lah". This can be applied to many situations such as someone agreeing to see you again, someone giving you a business card, etc.

学会说"太好了"。"太好了"的意思是"Wonderful"。它的发音像"Thai Hao Lah"。例如某人同意和你再次见面或者某人给了你一张名片的情况下可以使用它。



Learn to say "Na Li Na Li". "Na Li Na Li", pronounced as "Nah Lee Nah Lee", is a standard response to any compliment. Do not say "Xie Xie" when you receive compliments. It is not the Chinese way. Instead, say "Na Li Na Li".

学会说"哪里哪里"。"哪里哪里"发音像"Nah Lee Nah Lee",是对赞美的标准回答。当你受到别人的赞美的时候,不要说"谢谢",那样回答不符合中国人的习惯。你应该回答说"哪里哪里"。



Learn to pronounce your name in Chinese. Ask your Chinese friend ahead of time how to say your name in Chinese and practice it. Then when you shake hands with your Chinese host/hostess/guests, say "Wo Jiao [insert your name here]". "Wo Jiao" means "My name is". For instance, you say say "Wuo Jiao John" but pronounce "John" the Chinese way which actually sounds like "Yue Hahn". You can also say "Wuo de ming zi shi [insert name here]".

学会说自己的中文名字。事先问问你的中国朋友如何说自己的中文名字,然后开始练习。当你和中国的主人、女主人或者客人握手的时候,你可以说"我叫+你的名字"。"我叫"的意思是"My name is"。例如,你可以说"我叫Jonn",但是"John"的中文说法的发音实际上是"Yue Hahn"。你也可以说"我的名字是+你的名字"。



Say every phrase twice. Except for "Na Li Na Li" which is already a repetitive phrase, everything above can be said twice to make you really sound like a native. For instance, instead of saying "Ni Hao", say "Ni Hao Ni Hao". Instead of "Xie Xie", say "Xie Xie Xie Xie".




Say "Da Jia Hao!" when opening a speech. You may be asked to make a speech. Open the speech by saying "Da Jia Hao!" which can be loosely translated into "How's everyone today?" or "Good day, everyone!"

演讲的时候以"大家好"开头。或许你会被邀请去发表演讲,你可以在演讲开头的时候说"大家好",意思大概就是"How's everyone today?"或者"Good day, everyone!"



Use a Chinese phrase before you answer wherever you can. Chances are you have a translator or your Chinese friends speak English. Try to use a Chinese phrase before you move on to talking normally in English. This will really differentiate you from any other foreigners they meet and leave them very good impressions.



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