Language and communication

Mandarin writing is very different from Western languages. If you don't know any basics, you may be completely lost during your trip. Below you'll find a brief description of the language.

Mandarin is the official language of China. In most regions and in large cities, Chinese is the official language. However, 1.3 billion people including 56 ethnic groups, each have a different culture and dialect. There are eight major dialects, but there are indeed more than that. For example, in remote areas, you will find it difficult to communicate especially in small villages where there is a strong cultural identity. The guide will be essential in these parts to assist you in communicating with the locals.

English, although considered a universal language, is spoken very little in China. Employees at major airports and hotels are expected to speak English. At other institutions, however, it may be harder to find someone that speaks even broken English. The major cities do have signs on roads and the subway that are in English so this helps when traveling on foot or by public transit.

To prevent from being completely cut off from the locals, you can learn simple, Chinese sentences to use for everyday life. Although you will not be by yourself during this journey, you may be able to strike up a better bargain in the marketplace with local vendors that are delighted that you took the trouble to learn a little Chinese.

1. Chinese: pronunciation and writing

To speak Mandarin, you must master the four tones Mandarin. To Westerners, it can be difficult to tell the difference, which can result in a beginners understanding of a whole sentence incorrectly. The Chinese characters, which are characters in Chinese writing, make a difference in writing. Although learning the tones may require some practice both writing and speaking Chinese may add to the enjoyment of a trip.

Chinese pinyin uses the Western alphabet. It shows the pronunciation of a Chinese character. It is equivalent to a phonetic transcription of characters that will aid you in learning Chinese.

Here is an example of the most often used pinyin to show the importance of proper pronunciation.

Pinyin

Chinese Characters

Meaning

Mom

Curse

Horse

Fiber, Sesame, etc...

 
Here are some words and phrases in everyday life that can help you during your trip. This is a must have and we recommend you carry it with you as an everyday document. Or you can download some Chinese learning applications to your phone and those will help you a lot on the trip to China

The greetings

 

 

Hello, Hi

你好

nǐhǎo

Good Morning

早上好

zǎoshànghǎo

Good Afternoon

下午好

xiàwǔ hǎo

Good Evening

晚上好

wǎnshànghǎo

How are you?

您好吗

nín hǎo ma

What is your name?

您贵姓

Nínguìxìng

Good Bye

再见

zàijiàn

See you tomorrow

明天见

míngtiān jiàn

 

Common words

 

 

Yes

是 的

Shì de

Right

Duì

Fine

Hăo

No

不 是

Bushì

No, thanks

不用了 谢谢

búyòng le, xièxiè

Thanks

谢谢你

xièxiè

You’re welcome

不用谢

búyòngxiè

Sorry

对不起

duìbuqǐ

What did you say?

您说什么?

nín shuō shénme ?

Could you speak slowly

您能说慢一点吗?

nín néng shuō màn yīdiǎn ma?

Do you speak English?

您说英语马?

nín shuō yīngyǔ mǎ?

Do you speak Germany

您说德语马?

nín shuō déyǔ mǎ ?

I can speak a little Chinese

我说一点汉语

wǒ shuō yīdiǎn hànyǔ

Make Sense/I see

我明白了

wǒ míngbai le

I want

我想要

wǒ xiǎngyào

I like

我喜欢

wǒ xǐhuān

I don’t like

我不喜欢

wǒ bú xǐhuān

How much?

多少钱?

duōshǎo qián ?

That’s too expensive

太贵了

tài guì le

No, thanks, I don’t need it

不,谢谢,我不卖

bù xièxiè wǒ bù mài

Restroom/ Toilet

厕所

cèsuǒ

Where is the restroom/toilet

厕所在那理?

cèsuǒ zài nà lǐ

I am thirsty

我渴了

wǒ kě le

Where can I buy water

我在哪里可以卖水?

wǒ zài nǎli kěyǐ mài shuǐ

I need a bottle of water

我要一瓶水

wǒ yāo yī píng shuǐ

I am hungry

我饿了

wǒ è le

Where can I find restaurant?

我在哪里可以找到餐厅?

wǒ zài nǎli kěyǐ zhǎodào cāntīng ?

Where is the phone?

电话在那里?

diànhuà zài nàli ?

What is it?

这是什么?

zhè shì shénme ?

How to use it?

这个怎么用?

zhègè zěnme yòng ?

Can I shoot here?

这里可以照相吗?

zhèlǐ kěyǐ zhàoxiàng mǎ ?

Does here need special permit?

这里要许可证吗?

zhèlǐ yāo xǔkě zhèng ma?

How long? / How soon?

多久?

Duōjiǔ?

Internet

互联网

hùliánwǎng

 

Travel words

 

 

How much is from … to…

到...多少钱

dào …duōshǎo qián

Taxi

出租车

chūzū chē

Train

火车

huǒchē

Airplane

飞机

fēijī

Vehicle

汽车

qìchē

Bike

自行车

zìxíngchē

Bus

公交车

gōng jiāo chē

Metro

地铁

dìtiě

…is over there.

…在那里

zài nàli

Bus station

车站

chēzhàn

Train station

火车站

huǒchēzhàn

Airport

机场

jīchǎng

Street

街道

jiēdào

House

房子

fángzǐ

Architecture

建筑

jiànzhù

I need a ticket to …

请买一张到...

qǐng mǎi yī zhǎng dào

 

How to take a taxi

 

 

I would to

dào

Please open the taximeter

请开计价表

qǐng kāi jì jià biǎo

Please park here.

请在这里停车

qǐng zài zhèlǐ tíngchē

Turn left

左转

zuǒ zhuǎn

Turn right

右转

yòu zhuǎn

Move forward

向前

xiàngqián

 

At airport or train station

 

 

I would like to buy a ticket to…

我要买一张到。。。的机票

qīng mài yǐ zhǎng dào de jī piào

Where is the boarding gate? Where is the entrance?

入口在哪里?

rùkǒu zài nǎli

When will the flight leave

什么时侯起飞?

shénme shí hóu qǐfēi

When will the flight arrive

什么时候到达?

shénmēshíhòu dàodá

When will the train leave

什么时候发车?

shénmēshíhòu fā chē

 

At a restaurant

 

 

Restaurant

饭馆

fànguǎn

Tea House

茶馆

cháguǎn

Table

桌子

zhuōzi

Plate

盘子

pánzi

Glass / Cup

杯子

bēizi

Pot

Chopstick

筷子

kuàizi

Tableware

餐具

cānjù

I need a set of tableware

我要一套餐具!

Wǒ yāo yī tào cānjù

Bill / Check

账单

zhàngdān

Beverage

饮料

yǐnliào

Potato

土豆

tǔdòu

Tomato

番茄

fānqié

Hot pepper / Chili

辣椒

làjiāo

Watermelon

西瓜

xīguā

Fruit

水果

shuǐguǒ

Spicy

Sweet

tián

Sour

suān

Is this a spicy dish

这菜辣吗?

zhè cài là ma

No chili, please

请不要辣的

qǐng búyào là de

Dessert

饭后甜点

fàn hòu tián diǎn

Beer

啤酒

píjiǔ

Have a meal

吃饭

chīfàn

Rice

米饭

Noodles

面条

miàntiáo

Meat

ròu

Pork

猪肉

zhūròu

Beef

牛肉

niúròu

Chicken

鸡肉

jī ròu

Duck

鸭肉

yā ròu

Fish

Sea food

海鲜

hǎixiān

Vegetable

蔬菜

shūcài

Spinach

菠菜

bōcài

White Wine

白酒

báijiǔ

Red Wine

红酒

hóngjiǔ

Tea

chá

Coca cola

可乐

kě lè

Water

shuǐ

I want/ I need

我要

wǒ yāo

Cheers

干杯

gānbēi

Foot the bill

付帐

fù zhàng

 

In a hotel

 

 

Hotel

酒店

jiǔdiàn

Do you have any vacancy?

有房吗

yǒu fáng ma

I would like to stay  for …day(s)

我住。。。天

wǒ zhù tiān

How much per night?

一间房多少钱?

yī jiān fáng duōshǎo qiǎn

Bathroom

浴室

yùshì

Entrance guard

门卫

ménwèi

I want to exchange

我要兑换

wǒ yào duìhuàn

I need a taxi

叫一辆出租

jiào yī liàng chūzū

Could you write down the address for me?

您能帮我写下地址码

nín néng bāng wǒ xiě xiàdì zhǐ mǎ

 

Shopping

 

 

Where can I buy…?

我在哪里可以买?

wǒ zài nǎli kěyǐ mǎi

Store / Shop

商店

shāngdiàn

Supermarket

超市

chāoshì

Do you have?

有。。。吗?

Yǒu ma

No, we don’t have it

没有

méiyǒu

Roll film

胶卷

jiāojuǎn

I need photo processing

我要洗照片

wǒ yào xǐ zhàopiàn

Cigarette

yān

Lighter

打火机

dǎhuǒjī

Book

shū

Postcard

风景明信片

fēngjǐng míngxìnpiàn

City Map

城市地图

chéngshì dìtú

 

Post office

 

 

Post office

邮政局

yóuzhèng jú

Letter

xìn

Postcard

明信片

míngxìnpiàn

Stamp

邮票

yóupiào

How much to send a letter?

寄一封信多少钱?

jì yī fēng xìn duōshǎo qiǎn

Pack

包裹

bāoguǒ

How long will it take?

要多久

yào duōjiǔ

Airmail

航空邮件

hángkōng yóujiàn

 

Time

 

 

What is the time

几点钟了?

jǐ diǎn zhōng le

Morning

早上

zǎoshang

Noon

中午

zhōngwǔ

Evening

晚上

wǎnshàng

Day

白天

báitiān

Night

晚上

wǎnshàng

 

See a doctor

 

 

Doctor

医生

yīshēng

Hospital

医院

yīyuàn

I get pain here

我这里痛

wǒ zhèlǐ tòng

Diarrhea

腹泻

fùxiè

Headache

头疼

tóu téng

Fever

发烧

Fāshāo

Catch a cold

感冒

Gǎnmào

Stomachache

肚子痛

Dùzǐtòng

Sore throat

喉咙痛

Hóulóngtòng

Cough

咳嗽

Kèsòu

Medicine

药品

yàopǐn

Western Medicine

西药

Xīyào

Aspirin

阿斯匹林

āsīpǐlín

Tablet/Drug

药片

yàopiàn

Take an injection

打针

dǎzhēn

 

About direction

 

 

Where can I find

哪里有。。。

nǎli yǒu

…is over there

…在那里

zài nàli

Left

左方

zuǒ fāng

Right

右方

yǒufāng

Front

前方

qiánfāng

There

那里

nàli

Here

这里

zhèlǐ

East

dōng

West

西

South

nán

North

běi

 

Presentation

 

 

I

You

He/She

他 、 她 、 它

Tā, tā, tā

We

我们

wǒmen

You

你们

nǐmen

My name is/I am

我叫

wǒ jiào

I live in….

我住在

wǒ zhùzài

I am … years old

我 ... 岁了

wǒ suì le

 

Talk to someone

 

 

Mr.

先生

xiānshēng

Ms./Miss./Mrs.

小姐

xiǎojiě

Madam

女士

nú shì

 

Countries and continents

 

 

Austria

奥地利

Aòdìlì

Swiss

瑞士

Ruìshì

USA

美国

Měiguó

Britain

英国

Yīngguó

France

法国

fǎguó

Japan

日本

rìběn

Holland

荷兰

Hélán

Australia

澳大利亚

Aòdàlìyà

Europe

欧洲

ōuzhōu

Asia

亚洲

Yàzhōu

 

China

 

 

China

中国

Zhōngguó

Chinese

中国人

zhōngguórén

Beijing

北京

Běijing

The Great Wall

长城

Chángchéng

The Terracotta Army

兵马俑

bīng mǎ yǒng

Chinese/Mandarin

汉语

hànyǔ

Chinese characters

汉字

hànzì

Temple

Temple

miào

Confucius

孔子

kǒngzǐ

Hong Kong

香港

Xiānggǎng

 

Days of the Week

 

 

Monday

星期一

xīngqīyī

Tuesday

星期二

xīngqīèr

Wednesday

星期三

xīngqīsān

Thursday

星期四

xìnqísì

Friday

星期五

xīngqīwǔ

Saturday

星期六

xīngqīliù

Sunday

星期天

xīngqītiān

 

Months

 

 

 

January

一月

yīyuè

February

二月

èryuè

March

三月

sānyuè

April

四月

sìyuè

May

五月

wǔyuè

June

六月

liùyuè

July

七月

qīyuè

August

八月

bāyuè

September

九月

jiǔyuè

October

十月

shíyuè

November

十一月

shíyīyuè

December

十二月

shíéryuè

 

Unit

 

 

Meter

Kilometer

公里

gōng lǐ

Kilogramme

公斤

gōng jīn

Many/Much/Over/lot

duō

Far/Remote

yuǎn

Close/Near

jìn

Heavy

zhòng

Light

qīng

Big/Large

Small/Little

xiǎo

Too little

太少

tài shǎo

Too much/ Too many

太多

tài duō

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