5 Important Chinese Words and Phrases – Level 1

1. Hi Nǐ hǎo! 你好!

This is the most common way to say hello to others in Chinese. If one wants to say “Hi” in an even more polite way, one can say Nín hǎo 您好. The sign nín 您 (you, polite [nin]) is a sign composed of ‘heart’ xīn 心 and ‘you’ nǐ 你.

2. Thanks Xièxie 谢谢 [hsj-i-e hsj-i-e]

Chinese culture is a high-context culture, where great emphasis is placed on the use of symbols. You show courtesy (lǐmào 礼貌) by using both body movements and what you say orally.

3. Goodbye Zàijiàn 再见!

4. Appologize Duìbùqǐ 对不起! [do-e-i bo tji]

The term duìbùqǐ 对不起 is used when one has made a mistake and wants to ask for forgiveness.

5. Please Qǐng 请

When doing business in the Chinese high-context culture, guānxì 关系 or ‘relationships’ are important. Through mutual trust and courtesy, it is easier to build good relationships. This term can be used as a simple word when you want customers to provide themselves with food/drink, or it can be used with other verbs such as Qǐngzuò! ‘Please sit down!’

Feel free to contact us with questions regarding Chinese culture, language, communication and translations.

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