How to Speak Chinese in a Day

Topics related to learning Mandarin Chinese.
User avatar
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:53 am

How to Speak Chinese in a Day

Post by wangll08 »

Want to impress your Chinese host/hostess/guests and you have one day to prepare yourself? No fear! Teachers at prepare some suggestion to help you speak Mandarin like a Chinese in a day. Chances are you have a translator or your Chinese friends know how to speak English, but you can still shine by doing what this article is about to tell you.
Learn the "four tones" of Mandarin as much as you can.

There are many resources on the web that tell about the four tones. Search Google for "tones of Mandarin Chinese". These are the basics of Mandarin pronunciation. 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, and are what set you apart from a silly American trying to speak Chinese and a fluent Chinese speaker.

Learn to say "Ni Hao" 你好.

"Ni Hao 你好" 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, etc.etc. It can be loosely used in all situations where you may say "hi" or "hello" in American English.

Learn to say "Xie Xie" 谢谢.

"Xie Xie 谢谢" means "Thank you". It is pronounced like "Shi-e Shi-e". It can be used whenever someone says "Thank you" to you.

Learn to say "Bu Ke Qi" 不客气.

"Bu Ke Qi 不客气" means "You're welcome". It is pronounced like "Boo Ker(British accent without the "r") Chi".

Learn to say "Tai Hao Le!" 太好了

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

Learn to say "Na Li Na Li" 哪里哪里!.

"Na Li Na Li 哪里哪里!" is a standard response to any compliment, including compliments to your spouse. Do not say "Xie Xie 谢谢" (Thank you) when you receive compliments. It is not the Chinese way. Instead, say "Na Li Na Li 哪里哪里!" (pronounced as "Nah Lee Nah Lee").

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 as you shake hands with your Chinese host/hostess/guests, say "Wuo Jiao 我叫. . .[insert your name here]". "Wuo Jiao 我叫. . ." 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 je shi [insert name here], which also means "my name is."

Say every phrase twice.

Except for "Na Li Na Li 哪里-哪里!" 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 你好", say "Ni Hao Ni Hao! 你好-你好!". Instead of "Xie Xie 谢谢", say "Xie Xie Xie Xie 谢谢-谢谢" (I know it may sound crazy but trust me, this is how a native Chinese would say it.) Say the phase a little softer the second time, and keep repeating to fade out smoothly. So here you go again: Ni Hao Ni Hao! (你好-你好!) Xie Xie Xie Xie! (谢谢-谢谢!) Bu Ke Qi Bu Ke Qi! (不客气-不客气!) Tai Hao Le Tai Hao Le! (太好了-太好了!)

Say "Da Jia Hao! 大家好!" when opening a speech.

You may be asked to make a speech. Open the speech by saying "Da Jia Hao! 大家好!" which can be loosely translated into "How's everyone today?" or "Hello everyone!" or "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. Even then, 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.


Tips:Learn to speak Mandarin? Learn to speak Chinese? Learn to speak Putonghua? Personnally recommend for you to give a flavour for the study of Chinese (Mandarin Chinese, putonghua). This fantastic Chinese learning site provides Chinese Learning Software, interactive self-paced Online Course, Online Distance Lessons and FREE Chinese-English E-magazines for Chinese learning.