Chinese Greetings You Need to Know

//Chinese Greetings You Need to Know

Chinese Greetings You Need to Know

This post is also available in: fr es de ru it da nl pt-br

The proper use of Mandarin Chinese greetings can pave the way for establishing good relationships. How does one use correct expressions when meeting someone for the first time? Let me explain that to you. Here is a sample dialogue:

A:你好!(nǐhǎo! Hi!)
B:你好!( nǐhǎo! Hi!)
A:你好吗?( nǐhǎo ma? How are you?)
B:我很好,你呢?( wǒhěnhǎo, nǐ ne? I am fine, and you?)
A:我也很好。(wǒyěhěnhǎo. I am fine too.)
B:你家人好吗?( nǐjiārénhǎo ma? How are your family?)
A:他们都很好,谢谢。(tāmendōuhěnhǎo, xièxiè. They are all fine, thank you.)

你好! (Nĭhăo!) is a very common expression used in Chinese greeting to show friendliness or respect. In English, it means “Hello”, “Hi”, and “good day!” etc. It may be used at any time on meeting someone or on being introduced. Usually The response to it is also你好! (Nĭhăo!)

吗?(ma) One of the most common ways of forming a simple question in Chinese is to add the interrogative particle吗 at the end of a declarative.
Hence 你好! (Hi!) becomes 你好吗? (How are you?)

呢?(ne)Particle 呢 supplies the means of cutting a question down to a topic. It shows that the same question as that asked previously is to be raised about a new topic. Its meaning is equivalent to “and you?” “what about you?” or “how about you?”. Here are some examples:

A:你忙吗?( nǐmáng ma? Are you busy?)
B:我很忙,你呢?( wǒhěnmáng, nǐ ne? I am busy, how about you?)
A:我不忙。(wǒbùmáng. I am not busy.)

很(hěn)here does not carry the meaning of degree “very”. It is simply because to say 我好 is a bit abrupt and hence awkward with only a monosyllabic adjective好as the predicate of the sentence. Therefore people usually add 很 before 好 to make the sentence sound natural:

我很好 in this case does not necessarily mean “I am very well”, it may simply convey the meaning of “I am fine”.

好(hǎo, good)and忙(máng, busy)are both adjectives, When adjectives form the predicate to describe the subject, they function as verbs(stative verb ). There is no additional word for ‘to be’. For instance:

我很忙。Wǒhěnmáng. I am busy.

Note that the Chinese verb, be it a stative or an action verb, has no morphological changes whatsoever resulting from person, gender, number, time, etc.

Adverbs such as 很, 不,也, 都 come immediately before the verb and can only be separated from it by another adverb. (Negation word不,When you negate a Chinese sentence, you simply place the adverb before the predicative verb.) Thus:

爸爸很高,妈妈不高。Bàbahěngāo, māmābùgāo.
My father is tall, yet my mother is not.
你不累,我也不累。Nǐbùlèi, wǒyěbúlèi. You are not tied, me neither.
我们都是老师。Wǒmendōushìlǎoshī. We are both/all teachers.


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