Greg Rodgers is a freelance writer and also photographer indigenous Kentucky. He's been extending all points Asia for since 2010.

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A small About Mandarin Chinese

Although there are number of variations, Mandarin is the closest point to a common, unified language in China. You will encounter Mandarin while travel in Beijing, and also because that is the "speech the officials," knowing just how to say hello in Mandarin is valuable everywhere friend go. Mandarin serves as the aboriginal language for around 1 billion people, and many more have learned to speak it.

First tone: flat (means "mother")Second tone: climbing ( method "hemp")Third tone: falling then increasing ( way "horse")Fourth tone: falling ( method "scold")No tone: Ma with a neutral/no tone turns a statement right into a question.

Words tend to be shorter than in English (2 – 4 letters), for this reason one word can have numerous different interpretations depending ~ above the tone pronounced. As the famous instance with (ma) over shows, making use of the dorn tones in ~ the wrong times have the right to cause good confusion.

As for reading and also writing, don't feel negative if you're baffled when faced with Chinese characters; civilization from various regions in China regularly have trouble connecting with each other! That's why we begin by learning exactly how to use Pinyin.

The Easiest method to to speak Hello in Chinese

Ni hao (pronounced "nee haow") is the basic, default greeting in Chinese. that is written as 你好 / nǐ hǎo. The literal meaning translation is "you ok/good," but this is the easiest means to say "hello" in Chinese.

Although both indigenous in Pinyin are significant as third tone (nǐ hǎo), the pronunciation changes a bit because two consecutive third tones occur earlier to back. In this instance, the first word (nǐ) is pronounced through a second tone that rises in key instead. The second word (hǎo) keeps the third tone and also is pronounced with a "dip," a falling-then-rising tone.

Some people, particularly in Taiwan, pick to enhance the greeting by adding the interrogative "ma" come the finish to kind "ni hao ma?" Turning "you good" right into a concern essentially alters the an interpretation to a trusted "how space you?" yet this isn't provided as regularly in Beijing as language travel guide seem to think that is. Once traveling mainland China, a an easy ni hao will certainly suffice!

You will more than likely hear "hi" and "hello" frequently when gift greeting together a Westerner in Beijing. You deserve to reply v ni hao for a little fun and also practice.

speak Hello in formal Occasions

Following the ide of saving confront in Asia, elders and also those of higher social standing should constantly be presented a tiny extra respect. Including just one added letter (ni i do not care nin)will make your greeting a bit an ext formal. Useninhao(pronouned "neen haow") — a an ext polite sports of the conventional greeting — as soon as greeting larger people. The first word (nin) is quiet a rising tone.

You can likewise make nin hao right into "how space you?" by including the inquiry word ma to the end for nin hao ma?

basic Responses in Chinese

You can simply answers to gift greeted by providing a ni hao in return, however taking the greeting one step more is sure to get a smile throughout the interaction. Regardless, you have to reply with something — not acknowledging someone"s trusted ni hao is bad etiquette.

Hao: goodHen Hao: an extremely goodBu Hao: not an excellent (bad)Xie Xie: thank you (pronounced similar to "zh-yeh zh-yeh" through two falling tones) is optional and also can be included to the end.Ni ne: and also you? (pronounced "nee nuh")

exactly how to speak Hello in Cantonese

Although it"s similar to Mandarin, Cantonese, talked in Hong Kong and also southern components of China, has actually a contempt modified greeting.Neih hou(pronounced "nay hoe") replace instead instead ni hao; both words have actually a increasing tone.

Given Hong Kong's English history, you'll frequently hear "ha-lo" together a trusted hello! however reserve "ha-lo" for casual and also informal situations. All other times, you must be speak neih hou.

should I Bow as soon as Saying Hello in Chinese?

No. Unlike in Japan where bowing is common, civilization tend to only bow in China during martial arts, together an apology, or to show deep respect in ~ funerals. Many Chinese human being opt to shake hands, but don"t expect the normal firm, Western-style handshake. Eye contact and also a smile are important.

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Although bowing in China is rare, make certain you return one if you get a bow. As when bowing in Japan, maintaining eye contact as girlfriend bow is seen as a martial arts challenge!

exactly how to say Cheers in Chinese

After saying hello in Chinese, girlfriend may end up making brand-new friends — particularly if in ~ a banquet or in a drink establishment. Be prepared; there space some rules for ideal drinking etiquette. Girlfriend should absolutely know just how to say cheers in Chinese!

Along v knowing exactly how to say hello in Chinese, finding out some beneficial phrases in Mandarin prior to traveling in China is a great idea.