Living in China: Basic Phrases in Chinese

When I first started thinking about teaching English in China I was really worried about my lack of Chinese skills but when I arrived I realized I didn’t need any Chinese to teach in the classroom and EF provides lots of really great basic Chinese courses to help you get up to scratch.
We’re going to present some basic words and phrases they might be useful when you come across with a mandarin speaker.

We have included a few polite phrases and some easy ones to help you when you first arrive.

 

1. qing wen yi xia请问一下

Meaning: please may I ask?
When to use: you use this phrase when you’re maybe in the street and you don’t know someone
but you really need to ask them a question so you go and say qing wen yi xia请问一下and get their attention. Then ask the question that you want to ask.

 

2. dui bu qi 对不起

Meaning: sorry excuse me
When to use: So you use this phrase if you maybe you’re in the metro and you’ve bumped
into someone you say dui bu qi 对不起 to say sorry and apologize to them and then you
can carry on.

 

3. mei guan xi 没关系.

Meaning: don’t worry about it it’s nothing
When to use: So when someone has thanked you for doing something you can say make one seat to say like no worries, it’s okay, no problem.

 

4. ni hui shuo ying wen ma 你会说英文吗?

Meaning: can you speak English?
When to use: I’ve used this phrase a lot actually when I’m in a situation where I really can’t speak Chinese I maybe try to begin with Chinese but if I can’t manage I go with ni hui shuo ying wen ma 你会说英文吗 to ask if they can speak English and then maybe we can switch into English if the conversation is too elaborate.

 

5. shenme shihou 什么时候

Meaning: when? or what time?
When to use: I would use this when making arrangements with my Chinese Friends and I don’t know the time.

 

6. zen me qu na li 怎么去哪里

Meaning: How do I get there
When to use: so this is really good to ask if you need to know the direction to somewhere maybe you’ve got out at a metro stop that you don’t really know and you can ask one of the attendants how do you get to a certain place.

 

7. zhe ge zhong wen zen me shuo 这个中文怎么说?

Meaning: how can I say this in Chinese?
When to use: this is a great phrase to use when you’re learning Chinese the whole area around you everything you see can be a way of learning more and you can use
this phrase to ask anyone around so if you see something that you want to know
the name of you just say zhe ge zhong wen zen me shuo and they’ll hopefully tell you the right word back.

 

8. duo shao qian 多少钱

Meaning: How much is it?
When to use :this is a really important phrase when you first arrive obviously when you when
you first begin you’ll be eating lots of tasty Chinese food lots of street food.
In those situations it’s important to know how much is it duo shao qian 多少钱
and they’ll obviously tell you.

 

9. Hen gao xing ren shi ni 很高兴认识你

Meaning: nice to meet you
When to use: so this is actually used more in formal situations. You would use this maybe when you’re meeting someone more important. but when you first meet them shake the hand you can
say hen gao xing ren shi ni 很高兴认识你and it’s a very polite way of saying nice to meet you
for less formal situations among friends you can say ni hao 你好.

 

 

 

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