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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Society Traditions

Basic Mandarin Phrases

The Chinese language is a complicated communication system that has numerous written characters as well as a number of different dialects. If you are interested in learning how to speak Mandarin, you will first need to understand the basics of this Chinese dialect.
Mandarin was originally defines as a group of dialects that was spoken by the people of Beijing as well as the area of northern China. The term is now used to describe the standard Chinese language, in which case it is the type that is spoken by the largest amount of Chinese people. This language is spoken in the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and is one of four official languages that are spoken in Singapore. This factor means that your knowledge of this language will allow for easier communication with the greatest number of Chinese-speaking countries, making your decision to learn to speak Mandarin a good one.

The mandarin language utilizes the Pinyin alphabet, which is Latin based and uses four different tones. There are many Web sites that allow you to hear these tones as you learn to speak Mandarin. The following are a few basic phrases that you can learn to help you to become acquainted with the Mandarin pronunciation.

1. Ni Hao - Pronounced like Nee How. Translates into How Are You and can be used as a greeting.

2. Xie Xie - Pronounced like Shi-e Shi-e. It means Thank you in Mandarin.

3. Bu Ke Qi - Pronounced like Boo Ker Chi. It means You're Welcome.

4. Tai Hao Le - Pronounced like Thai Hao Lah. It means Wonderful.

5. Na Li Na Li - Pronounced Nah Lee Nah Lee. This phrase is the proper Chinese response when someone compliments you or your spouse. You should not use the term "Xie Xie" as this is not the way the Chinese respond to compliments.

6. Wo Jiao - Pronounced Wah Jee Ow. It means My Name is and you should fill in your name.

7. Wu de ming je shi - Pronounced Wuu Duh Meeng Jee Shiâ.. It also means "My name is"

8. Da Jia Hao - Pronounced as Dah Jee Ah How. Loosely translated, it means "Hello, everyone," Good day, everyone," or "wish everyone well." This is a good opening if you are planning on making a speech to a Mandarin-speaking audience.

9. Zao Shang - Pronounced like Zow Shahng. It means Good Morning.

10. Xia Shang - Pronounced like Shee ah Shahng. It means Good Afternoon.

11. Wan Shang - Pronounced like Wahn Shahng. It means Good Evening.

12. Zai Jian - Pronounced like Zigh Jee In.It means Goodbye.

13. Wo Hui Yi Dianr Zhong Wen - Pronounced like Waw Hway Ee Dee In A Zah Hoong Wun It Means: speak a little Chinese.

These are just a few basic conversational phrases that you can use when you learn to speak Mandarin. There are a few helpful tips that you may want to keep in mind when using these phrases. You should always repeat them as this is the way the Chinese conduct themselves during a conversation. You should smile as this is part of the Chinese etiquette system and avoid shrugging, as this has no meaning in the Chinese culture.

When you want to learn to speak Mandarin, you must also be sure to have the proper tone in your speech as well as maintaining Chinese etiquette, so that you can be clearly understood while giving no offense.  

About the Author

Are you looking for an affordable learn Chinese course that will teach you speak Chinese fast? Shun Minh is a native Chinese professor and has been teaching the Chinese language for over 10 years. His website offers free tips on how to speak Chinese fast and efficiently: