Common Chinese Phrases

Mandarin Chinese is the official language of China. It has 4 distinct tones (with a 5th neutral tone that is rarely used), no alphabet, and is notoriously difficult to learn. But this basic guide will help you to recognize and hopefully pronounce some common Chinese words that may be useful in your travels.

Tones
There are 4 tones in the Mandarin Chinese language:

1st tone (ā)
Flat, high pitch. Sing “ah.”

2nd tone (á)
Rising pitch. Like when you say “What?” when you’re surprised.

3rd tone (ǎ)
Begin on a higher pitch, dip down to a lower pitch, and rise up to the higher pitch again.

4th tone (à)
Drop in pitch. Sounds like a command, like when you say “Stop!”

Basic Words and Phrases

English

Chinese Character

Pronunciation

Hello

你好

Nǐ hǎo

Good Morning

您早

Nǐn zǎo

Good Evening

晚上好

Wǎn shàng hǎo

Please

Qǐng (the “q” is pronounced like a “ch”)

Thank you

谢谢

Xièxiè (“x” is pronounced as a “sh”)

You’re welcome

不客气

Bú kèqi

Excuse me (getting attention)

请问

qǐng wèn

I’m sorry

对不起

Duìbùqǐ

Goodbye

再见

Zàijiàn (the “z” is pronounced like in “zebra”)

Hotel

酒店

jíu dìan

Taxi

出租车

Chūzū chē

Entrance

入口

rùkǒu

Exit

出口

chūkǒu

Push

tuī

Pull

Restroom

厕所 / 洗手间

Cè suǒ/ xǐ shǒu jiān

Men

nán

Women

Forbidden

禁止

Jìn zhǐ

 

Basic Sentences

English

Chinese Character

Pronunciation

Can you speak English?

你会说英语吗?

Nǐ huì shuō Yīngyǔ ma?

I can’t speak Chinese

我不会说中文

Wǒ bú huì shuō zhōngwén

Where’s the restroom?

厕所在那里?

Cèsuǒ zài nǎli?

I’m lost

我迷路了

Wǒ mílù le

May I use your phone?

我可以打个电话吗?

Wǒ kěyǐ dǎ ge diànhuà ma?

Let me see who called you

让我看看是谁打电话给你

Ràn wǒ kàn kàn shì shuí dá geí ní

How much is this?

这个多少钱?

Zhège duōshǎo qián?

Do you have this in my size?

有没有我的尺寸?

yǒu méiyǒu wǒde chǐcùn?

Can this be a little cheaper?

这个可以便宜一些吗?

Zhè gè kěyǐ pǐan yǐ yī xīe ma?

I don’t want it

我不要

Wǒ bù yào

Please take me to _____

请带我去_____

 qǐng dài wǒ qù _____

How do you get to ____ hotel?

____酒店怎么走?

_____ jíu dìan zěn me (pronounced “muh”) zǒu?

I want to exchange money

我想要换钱

Wǒ xǐang yào huàn qǐan

 

One thought on “Common Chinese Phrases

  1. Pingback: New Updates « China Vacation

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