Have you ever heard someone says“it’s almost impossible to learn Chinese” or “Chinese is too hard, I can’tlearn it”? Chinese is vastly regarded as one of the hardest languages to learn,but the best way to practice is by starting simple conversations! Here are somebasic phrases that’ll help you get started!
1、How to say “hello” in Chinese
One of the first words people learn to say inChinese is “你好 (nǐ hǎo)!” This means “hello” “hi” in Chinese. However, did you know that nativeChinese speakers rarely use this when talking to people they’ve alreadymet?
In fact, the real meaning of “你好 (nǐ hǎo)” is closer to “nice to meet you.” Of course, no one willbe upset if you use “你好” to greet them. But if you want to sound more like a native speaker,you can try some of the greetings below:
Instead of saying “你好” to someone you’ve already met, you can say:
早上好 (zǎo shàng hǎo) = good morning
下午好 (xià wǔ hǎo) = good afternoon
晚上好(wǎn shàng hǎo) = good evening
“吃饭了吗(chī fàn lema)”is also a popular way to greet someone you already know in Chinese,especially among the older generation. It means “have you eaten?” To be clear,this is not an invitation to eat a meal with the person. This phrase stems fromwhen food was scarce in rural China, when asking “have you eaten” was aninquiry to the other person’s wellbeing.
“好久不见（hǎo jǐu bú jiàn）”
This phrase is usually used for a long time didn’tsee each other between acquaintances. Like when you meet your friend amonth later, you can say “好久不见”。 This sentence usually also means“ how are you”?
2. How To Say “goodbye” in Chinese
“Goodbye” in Chinese is “再见 (zài jiàn).” Itliterally means “See you again!” You can say this to everyone, even if youdon’t plan on seeing them again.
Shopkeepers and taxi drivers may usethe phrase “慢走 (màn zǒu)” to say goodbye to customers. It translates into “goslowly.” You may wonder why a shopkeeper would ask you to walk slowly! Thecultural meaning of “walk slowly” is similar to that of “take care” in English.Walk slowly, and you won’t fall down, and hope to serve you next time .
3、How To Say “Thank You” in Chinese
Chinese people value humility, so knowing how toexpress thanks is a great way to sound humble and likeable. “Thank you” inChinese is “谢谢 (xièxie).”
If you want to sound even morefluent, you can try saying “你太客气了 (nǐ tài kè qì le)!” This means “You’re too kind!” and can be usedwhen receiving a gift, or when someone treats you to dinner.
4、How To Say Yes / No in Chinese
How to say “yes” and “no” are one of the basicthings when you are learning a new language. The answer to this question is abit more complex in Chinese. If you plug it into Google translate, you get thefollowing:
Yes = 是 (shì)
No = 不 (bù)
However, “是” does not always mean “yes.” It is a form of “is / are.” For example,the sentence “你是中国人吗?” translates to “Are you Chinese?”
“不” on theother hand, is a negation-marker. It marks something as negative. Think of “不” as the word “not” in English. You can say “我不是中国人,” which would be “I am not Chinese.” If someone asksyou “are you Chinese?” and you want to respond “No”, you need to say “不是 (bù shì), am not.”
Here are other alternatives showingyou affirmative vs negative answers in Chinese:
好 (hǎo) / 不好 (bù hǎo) = good, not good
能(néng) / 不能 (bù néng) = able, unable
对 （duì) / 不对 (bú duì) = correct, not correct
The other negation-marker you need toknow is “没 (méi),” which means “not have.”
有(yǒu) / 没有 (méi yǒu) = have, not have
Translation: Do you have a younger brother?
Translation: “I do not have.”
5、How To Say “I love you” in Chinese
“I love you” in Chinese is “我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ).” However, this is often seen as a very “strong”display of emotion, and thus not commonly said among native speakers. Chinesepeople, especially the older generation, often prefer to express their feelingsvia actions, because they believe Actionspeaks louder than words.