Useful Tips

Hello in Chinese and other common phrases


I’ll give you the most common list of how to say hi in Chinese, not limited to a simple “no hao”. Let's start with the most banal phrases that everyone starts with, they are the simplest and most common. You can speak them everywhere, everyone and always, and then we will analyze the various options for greetings.

The simplest greetings in Chinese:

  • 你好! nǐhǎo- Hello!
  • 您好! nínhǎo - Hello! (respectfully)
  • 你们 好 nǐmen hǎo! - Hello! (for a group of persons)
  • 大家 好 dàjiā hǎo! - Hello everyone! (for a group of people, more informal)

The following phrases are very informal in nature, a bit in a Western fashion. So you can say hello to very good friends.

  • 你 好呀, 哥们 儿! nǐhǎoya, gēmenr - Salute, bro! (options: “bro”, “dude”, “boy” - a very colloquial and informal appeal to a male person)
  • 今天 怎么 样 , 女士? jīntiān zěnme yàng, nǚshì - How are you, lady? (also a colloquial form, since the address is usually at the beginning of the phrase)
  • 哈 喽! hālou - Halou! (phonetic tracing-paper from English “Hello”)

Standard greetings based on time of day.

  • 早上 好! zǎoshàng hǎo - Good morning! (usually accentuates the time until 10:00 in the morning, although no one forbids you to say this phrase at 10:30, for example.)
  • 上午 好! shàngwǔ hǎo - Good morning! (emphasis on time from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
  • 中午 好! zhōngwǔ hǎo - Good afternoon! (emphasis on time around 12:00 p.m., i.e. noon)
  • 下午 好! xiàwǔ hǎo - Good afternoon! (emphasis on the time from 12:00 p.m. to sunset)
  • 晚上 好! wǎnshàng hǎo - Good evening! (emphasis on time from sunset to midnight)

Formal greetings:

You can say hello to a person and focusing on his position. For example, this is how you can say hello to your boss, teacher, doctor you know, etc. And first you say to whom you are addressing, and then greet this person:

  • 老师 , 您好! lǎoshī, nín hǎo - Hello teacher!
  • 王先生 , 您好! Wáng xiānsheng, nín hǎo - Mr. Wang, hello
  • 王大夫 , 您好! Wáng dàifu, nín hǎo - Doctor Wang, hello

More common welcome questions:

However, there are more complex options for such welcome questions. It is not possible to predict all the options, because, most often, they are based on the communication situation, that is, for example, from where you are headed or what you have already done. For example, the most common question is the question of food:

  • 吃过 饭 了 吗? chī guò fàn le ma 吃饭 了 吗? chī fàn le ma 吃 了 吗? chī le ma - Have you eaten yet?

Question-greeting, based on the assumptions of the speaker:

  • 去 图书馆 吗? qù túshūguǎn ma - Are you going to the library?
  • 去买 东西 吗? qù mǎi dōngxī ma - Are you shopping?
  • 上班 去 啊? shàngbān qù ā - To work?
  • 下班 了 吗? xiàbān le ma - From work?
  • 去 上学 吗? qù shàngxué ma - To study?

Such questions usually do not require complete and detailed answers. The Chinese are not expecting them from you. This is as part of etiquette. By asking such questions, the Chinese are trying to show their participation and interest in your affairs.

Hello Chinese sound

The tones in Chinese speech determine the meaning of the spoken phrase. The correct pronunciation will make you clear. For this, the transliteration of hieroglyphs in Russian letters and Latin is presented, but it does not convey tones. The square brackets indicate how the transcription is written. In quotation marks how to pronounce. Filling the correct sound of words is much easier if you regularly listen to audio recordings of dialogues in Chinese. This is how you need to learn a language.

The most common greeting in China is “no hao” nǐ hǎo - hello. This is a formal phrase appropriate when referring to strangers. Literally "you" and "good." Such treatment is acceptable in the letter.

Respectfully, to people of age or out of respect for “nin hao” nín hǎo. In modern China, it is rarely used.

Or “hai” hāi - anyway how to say “hello” in Chinese, a more common form arose under the influence of English.

Say hello to the company: nimen hao nǐmén hǎo. Or dàjiā hǎo - hello to everyone.

Friends can be greeted by simply calling by name. If this is a service relationship, then the position: doctor, professor or boss.

As presented in Chinese

Presentation is an elementary form of politeness. It is enough to name your name. Literally, this can be translated as "they call me." “In” Wǒ + (Name). The hieroglyph has the meaning of the pronoun "I".

For interrogative constructions in Chinese, the particle “ne” ne is used. Often used not for simple questions, implying a monosyllabic answer. The context gives meaning, when pronouncing, the particle is emotionally stained. Also used in rhetorical matters. In affirmative sentences, it has an incentive meaning.

So, introducing yourself, you do not need to repeat the question for the interlocutor to clarify his name. Just add a particle. The meaning is like in Russian: “what about you?” Or “what about you?”.

Example: Wǒ + (Name), nǐ ne?

What's your name

Acquaintance on the street in China is not accepted. There is a tradition, on weekends in Shanghai Park arrange a dating fair. Post profiles of those who wish to marry. They indicate age, gender and circle of interests. But the most important information is growth. Sometimes they come in person. An exception for foreigners with a typical European appearance. The Chinese are happy to welcome them, are ready to make an acquaintance and add to friends on social networks.

What's your name? - nǐ jiào shénme míngzi? "No jiao sheng ma min zi?"

Nice to meet you! “Zhen Shi Ni Heng Gao Xing.”

The traditional question asked out of politeness is not an offer to eat or share a meal. Have you eaten? - Nǐ chīle ma? "Not chi le ma?". The kind of greeting originated in the countryside. Attention, non-binding. The answer is also provided by etiquette: chīle, nǐ ne? "Chi le, ne?" Approval and return question.

How's it going?

There is a version that the phrase “how are you?” Was introduced into the everyday life of Chinese speech by the colonists. The British are usually interested in how things are going even with unfamiliar people. What can not be said about oriental culture. This expression is widespread, is in any phrasebook. But mainly tourists use it in everyday speech. As a continuation of the greeting. A question is formulated with the addition of a questioning particle at the end.

In Chinese, “How are you?” - Nǐ hǎo ma? "No hao ma?" It is appropriate to use if you are asking about the patient’s health or want to offer help. More comparable to the Russian, interrogative option "is everything all right?". A similar question is: “no hai hao ba” Nǐ hái hǎo ba ?.

In China, they are interested in “how are things going?”, “How are you?” In two ways: Nǐ zěnme? "No zenme?" And “Zui jin hao ma?” Zuìjìn hǎo ma ?. By value, they are synonymous. The answer depends on what kind of relationship you have. As in Western culture, this question is asked not out of idle interest, but out of politeness. A long-time acquaintance can keep things up to date. More often respond with affirmative nods.

When talking on the phone, you can use the universal expression "no hao" nǐ hǎo - hello. Or “weyi” wéi, which also means “hello”, but is not used for personal communication. An analogue of the Russian "hello".

Long time no see!

You can turn to a person whom you know and have not seen for some time: “hao jo joo jen!” Hǎojiǔ bùjiàn - have not seen each other for a long time.

Thank you - gǎn xiè nǐ "gan sie ni" or thank you - xiè xiè "sie sie".

In the tea tradition, it is customary to tap in gratitude. Outstretched fingers, forefinger and middle, right hand - hit the table a couple of times. Thus expressing the tea master that I liked everything. In response, they say “mei shi” méi shì for appreciation - please.

“Please” as an appeal of a request - wǒ qǐng nǐ “no matter what”.

Bonus 你好! (no hao!) / 您好 (Ning hao!) - “Hello!” / “Hello!”

In case you have just started to study Chinese, or you are a simple tourist who is not even going to learn the language, but has already issued a visa to China.

“No hao” is the first thing that all foreigners study. And even those who are completely unfamiliar with the language know that if you want to say “hello” in Chinese, say “no hao”. If translated literally, the meaning will be in tune with our “hello”: “neither” - you, “hao” - good.

In fact, locals rarely use this phrase, since it sounds too formal. “Ning hao” is a respectful form (“nin” is you). Most often used to greet teachers or superiors. In this form, it is actively used.

Also quite often, even in the first lessons of Chinese, they study: if you add an interrogative particle to “no hao”, then the greeting turns into the question “how are you” (“no hao ma?”). However, this will immediately give you a foreigner. The Chinese use this kind of turnover not to ask how you are doing, but to make sure that everything is in order. That is, saying “no chaos”, you focus on the fact that a person looks, to put it mildly, it does not matter and you want to know if he is healthy.

早! (Zao!) - "Good morning!"

Zao is short for 早上 好! ("Zao shan hao!"), Which means "good morning." This is one of the popular ways to say hello in Chinese. The only case when the use of this word is inappropriate is if it is evening on the street.

If you were asked, “Nee chi le ma?”, Do not rush to talk about the delicious sandwich you ate for breakfast, or look around for food.

For the Chinese, this is not an invitation to dinner, but a way to ask how you are doing. Just answer: “Chi le. None? ”(“ I ate, and you? ”). So you express unobtrusive care for a person. Do not worry, if you ask so, no one will demand treats from you, but it is quite possible that the attitude of local people will become a few degrees warmer. The Chinese love foreigners who not only know how to say “hello” in Chinese, but are not surprised at the issue of food.

去 哪儿? (Chu Nar?) - "Where are you going?"

"No chu folk?" - a way of saying in Chinese "hello" when you are faced with someone. By our standards, such a question may seem like excessive curiosity, especially when the person you are talking to is a wise acquaintance. However, for the Chinese, this is only a way to show participation and show some respect for the person.

Often a question form is used where the location is already indicated. For example, when faced with a student or schoolchild, you may ask: “Chu shan ky le?” (“Are you going to a lesson / couples?”).

Little but

As you probably know, Chinese is the tone language. One and the same word spoken in a different tone may mean a completely different one. Of course, if you are a tourist, and even fair-haired, then the good-natured Chinese will definitely make a discount on this. But if you want to sound like a local, keep in mind: it’s not enough to know how to say “hello” in Chinese. Pronunciation also plays an important role.

There is a very simple option for those who are not going to seriously study the language - fill in the phrase with an online translator with the ability to listen to the typed text and just try to copy the speaker's intonation. This is much easier than understanding the nuances of one of the most difficult to learn languages ​​in the world.

Above all, do not be afraid to speak. The Chinese are always happy to tell you how to. Especially if in response you take a picture with them and teach a couple of phrases in Russian or English. Or buy something if the noodle merchant helped you.