Friday, September 15, 2006


Chinese has a reputation as one of the world's hardest languages, and deservedly so, but it's not that hard to learn a few phrases. Being able to say even the simplest things will make your stay in China a whole lot more enjoyable, as well as delight the Beijingers you meet.

The first thing to know about is the tones-even if you then never bother with them again.

1 - 'high and flat' mā - mother, jī - chicken
2 - Rising - má - numb, jí - hurried
3 - Down then up - mă - horse, jĭ- how many?
4 - Falling - mà - scold or insult, jì - remember, make a note of

And now you've perfected those, here are a few of the phrases you might want to use: (õ=o3)

Nĭhăo - hello

Xièxie - thanks (X is pronounced as ‘sy’)

Zàijian - bye

Cèsuõ zài năr? - Where's the loo? (C is pronounced like the ts in pots)

Wõ xiăng qù Tiānānmén – I want to go to Tiananmen (q is pronounced ‘ch’)

Wõ è le – I’m hungry

Zhōnguó tài bàng le! – China’s great! (Zh is pronounced like the j in jam)

Wõ bù huì yòng kuàizi! – I can’t use chopsticks!

Yīnguó duì jiāyóu! – Come on England!

Biàntài! Zõukāi! – Freak! Go away!