Learning How to Speak Chinese For Beginners

As Chinese is a national language in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macau, you’ll have a much easier time in your travels around Asia if you first learn Chinese. The official Chinese dialect of China and the other listed countries is Mandarin, also called “Putonghua”. More than 70% of the Chinese population speaks Mandarin, but there are also several other major dialects in use in China: Yue (Cantonese), Xiang (Hunanese), Min dialect, Gan dialect, Wu dialect, and Kejia or Hakka dialect. Luckily for new Chinese learners though, Mandarin will be enough to help you get around and communicate. 

While traveling in the major cities, many of the young people will speak English. However, this doesn’t take anything away from the importance of learning Chinese. For people who didn’t grow up learning English, it’s very possible that you won’t be able to communicate with them in the slightest. Even for those who do speak English, they will appreciate that you’re trying to speak their language! 

How to Learn Chinese Fast

When you listen to Chinese, it probably doesn’t give the impression of being a particularly easy language. Truth is, learning how to speak Chinese fluently is much, much easier than it sounds, even for complete beginners. The first step is to learn pinyin so that you can more easily learn pronunciation. Check out our post on what pinyin is here. Using Du Chinese to jumpstart your Chinese learning journey will help as you can listen to the lessons being pronounced by a native Chinese speaker. You’ll have the means to immerse yourself in a Chinese speaking environment via our audio files and English translations on a daily basis. This way, you can gradually improve your listening comprehension, vocabulary, pronunciation, sentence structure, and grammar until you eventually reach fluency. 

Common Chinese Phrases for Travel

Once you have the gist of how Chinese sounds, take a look at the below chart for a list of common Chinese survival phrases that you can use in your travels. So with the pronunciation in mind, go ahead and familiarize yourself with the essential phrases listed below. You can even print it out and use it as a cheat sheet when you’re on your Chinese travel adventure! 

HelloNǐ hǎo (你好)
How are you?Nǐ hǎo ma? (你好嗎?)
I’m fineWǒ hěn hǎo (我很好)
And you?Nǐ ne (你呢)
What’s your name?Nǐ jiào shénme míngzì? (你叫什麼名字?)
My name is…Wǒ de míngzì shì… (我的名字是…)
Nice to meet youHěn gāoxìng rènshí nǐ (很高興认识你)
Where are you from?Nǐ cóng nǎlǐ lái? (你從哪裡來?)
I’m from…Wǒ cóng … lái  (我從 … 來)
Good morningZǎoshang hǎo (早上好)
Good afternoonXiàwǔ hǎo (下午好)
Good eveningWǎnshàng hǎo (晚上好)
GoodnightWǎn’ān (晚安)
GoodbyeZàijiàn (再見)
Have a nice dayZhù nǐ jīntiān yúkuài (祝你今天愉快)
Let’s eat!Chī ba! (吃吧!)
I don’t understandWǒ bù míngbái (我不明白)
I understandWǒ míngbái (我明白)
Excuse meDuìbùqǐ (對不起)
SorryBàoqiàn (抱歉)
Thank youXièxiè (謝謝)
You’re welcomeBié kèqì (別客氣)
Good luck!Zhù hǎoyùn (祝好運)
Have a good trip!Lǚxíng yúkuài! (旅行愉快!)
Where’s the restroom?Xǐshǒujiān zài nǎ 洗手间在哪
How much is this?Zhège duōshǎo qián? 这个多少钱?
How do you say …in Chinese?Nǐ zěnme shuō … yòng zhōngwén? (你怎麼說 …用中文?)
Can you please help me?Nǐ néng bāng wǒ ma? (你能幫我嗎?)
Please say that againQǐng zàishuō yīcì (請再說一次)
Can you take me to…?Nǐ néng dài wǒ qù … ma? (你能帶我去 … 嗎?)
What are you doing?Nǐ zài zuò shénme? (你在做什麼?)
How old are you?Nǐ jǐ suì? (你幾歲?)
I don’t knowWǒ bù zhīdào (我不知道)
PleaseQǐng (請)
YesShì (是)
NoBù (不)

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