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Asia > China > Shanghai > Useful Info
Submitted on Aug 09, 2020 Useful Info

Basic Mandarin Words and Phrases you Need to Know Before Visiting China

Interesting Facts About Mandarin Chinese

  1. Mandarin Chinese has 4 different tones and an additional tone which is neutral.
  2. Tones differentiate word meanings in Mandarin.
  3. Mandarin Chinese has over 100,000 characters.
  4. Logograms are used in Mandarin to represent a word or a phrase.
  5. The Chart of Common Characters of Modern Chinese has only about 2,500 common characters.
  6. Mandarin isn't the only language in China! In fact, Cantonese is widely spoken in Southern China and in Hong Kong.
  7. Mandarin Chinese has over a billion speakers. It has speakers from mainland China and other parts of the globe.
  8. It is the most natively spoken language in the world.
  9. Mandarin as a language was developed to unify most parts of China.

Basic Mandarin Chinese Words

Nihao, pronounced Nee How. Mandarin for hello

  • Use this simple greeting to say hi to your fellow passengers, taxi driver, seller, hotel receptionist etc.

Zao, pronounced zhow. Mandarin for good morning.

  • Chinese are quite friendly and would appreciate being greeted in the morning.

Wan'ān, pronounced one-un. Mandarin for goodnight.

  • Use this on your friends and family when retiring to bed.

Xièxiè, pronounced shieh- shieh. Mandarin for thank you.

  • Use this to show appreciation.

Bù kèqì, pronounced as Boo kuh- chi. Mandarin for you're welcome.

  • It's always polite to reply bù kèqì when someone tells you xièxiè.

Basic Mandarin Chinese Phrases

Dūo shao, pronounced as Dwuh shauh. Mandarin for how much.

  • You'll probably want to buy stuff during your stay in China and this is just how to start.

Hào chī, pronounced how chir. Mandarin for delicious.

  • You'll probably enjoy the delicious meals in Chinatown or in the streets of Shanghai.
  • Use the word as a polite way to say the food was tasty.

Måi dān, pronounced my dahn. Mandarin for check please!

  • Use this after you've finished the food and don't forget to add hào chī.