Learning to greet people in Chinese 101

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Learning Chinese is often seen as difficult but I think that it isn’t too hard to learn to speak not too hard to understand poor Chinese, which less face it, is better than no Chinese! So lets start at the begining with how to greet people. In the lists below I’ve placed the English meaning first followed by the pinyin (the formal way of writing Chinese spelling) followed by my attempt to make the pronunciation of Chinese easy for untrained learners!

Hello is Ni Hao (spoken “Knee how”)

How are you? is Ni Hao Ma? ( “Knee how ma”)

Notice that how are you is just hello with a “ma’ on the end. Ma is the question thingy in Chinese language and we can use it with a lot of other phrases to turn them into a question. “Ni Hao” means “You Good” Ni being You and Hao being good!

Now we need some titles for people to use, people are often called by their surname and then by a “Mr” “Miss” etc…

Mr is Xiansheng ( Sean SH-UNG)

Miss is XiaoJie ( Shh-ow J-air)

now surnames come before the MR so MR Brown in Chinese would be Brown Mr, or Brown Xiansheng.

In Chinese when you meet somebody you don’t know you can just call them sir or miss, and you can just use the two words above that I’ve just taught you! I don’t want to get you in too deep in our first lesson, and please do let me know if you want me to continue writing more future lessons, so I’ll just teach you a few more words.

Good Morning Ni Zao ( Knee Z-ow) which is you early!

Good Afternoon Xiawu Hao ( Sh-a woo how) which is evening good.

Good Evening Wangshang Hao. (W-UNG Sh-ung how) which is night good.

And lastly good bye! Zai Jian  ( Z-eye gen) which is again see.


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