Impress Chinese guests with basic Mandarin

  • 08 February 2016

Mandarin has more native speakers than any other language in the world, with nearly a billion people speaking it. When entertaining Chinese guests make their day by using a few Mandarin words.

Nǐhǎo - Nice to see you

Pronounced: ‘Nee – how’

The most common greeting used in China is nǐhǎo, which translates into “Nice to see you”.  

Wèi - Hello

Pronounced: ‘Way’

Wèi is almost exclusively a telephone greeting. In person, Chinese people greet each other with Nǐhǎo.

Nǐ hǎo ma? - How are you? 

Pronounced: ‘Nee-haoww-mah?’

"Nǐ hǎo ma?" translates literally into "You good?" but is interchangeable with “How are you?”

Hǎobùhǎo? - Good or bad?

Pronounced: ‘Haoww-boo-haoww?’

Hǎo means ‘good’ or okay, Bùhǎo means ‘not good’. Combining the two gives you "Hǎobùhǎo?", which means ‘Good or not good?’ or, as we would say, ‘Is it ok?’

Xièxie  - Thank you 

Pronounced: ‘Sshyeah-sshyeah’

Duìbuqǐ - I'm sorry

Pronounced: ‘Dway-boo-chee’

Duìbuqǐ can be used to apologise, or as “excuse me” for mishearing.