Chinese language Fundamental Phrases and Phrases for Journey

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Chinese Basic Words and Phrases

Why You Have to Know Chinese language Fundamental Phrases and Phrases

For those who’re going to journey in China, you then actually have to study just a few widespread Chinese language phrases. I converse from expertise once I say that touring in China with out realizing no less than some fundamental Chinese language phrases and sentences is extremely irritating.

Even should you’ve traveled in dozens of different international locations with out talking the native language, the language barrier you’ll come up towards in China will likely be not like something you’ve skilled earlier than.

However the excellent news is, studying simply the very fundamentals of Chinese language will actually go a great distance. And who is aware of, it’s possible you’ll fall in love with the language like I did and need to continue to learn!

Once I first began studying fundamental Mandarin in 2009, I noticed it purely as a survival tactic. Nick and I have been working in Guangzhou, China on and off for just a few weeks, and in between work stints we had a lot of time to discover the nation.

For our first brief journey in China, we selected the distant Western Chinese language province of Gansu. This was not the wisest alternative we might have made. Fascinating because it was to discover such an off the crushed monitor a part of China, we acquired ourselves into all types of hassle. 

We even wandered into an out of bounds space and located ourselves surrounded by a S.W.A.T. crew of half a dozen cops! In fact, we might have prevented all of this if we had simply recognized some Mandarin fundamentals.

For those who memorize just some Chinese language phrases and phrases from the checklist beneath, like “please”, “thanks”, “sorry” and the very helpful “I don’t perceive”, this can already make your journey loads smoother.

And for the phrases you possibly can’t bear in mind, simply maintain them available so you possibly can present them to individuals as wanted.

Ought to I Study Simplified or Conventional Chinese language Characters?

Chinese lanterns Zhangye night market
Writing in simplified Chinese language on a lantern at an evening market in Zhangye, China

Within the checklist beneath, every phrase is written in each simplified Chinese language and conventional Chinese language characters. So, which one must you present to locals when making an attempt to speak with them? Nicely, it will depend on the place you’re touring.

The simplified Chinese language script is used all through mainland China and likewise in Singapore. Conventional Chinese language characters, then again, are utilized in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

In Malaysia, colleges switched to educating simplified Chinese language within the Nineteen Eighties, however most Chinese language audio system there are capable of learn each units of characters with out a lot problem.

Chinese language-speaking communities in different elements of the world are most likely extra probably to make use of conventional characters, however this can be altering over time with new waves of immigration. For those who’re undecided, you possibly can simply level to each.

Chinese language, Mandarin, Cantonese … What’s the Distinction?

Chinese character for travel
This character, used within the phrases “tour”, “tour information” and different travel-related phrases, is pronounced in a different way however written the identical within the numerous Chinese language languages.

When individuals discover out that I’m learning Chinese language, they usually ask me if I’m studying Mandarin or Cantonese. The reply is, I’m studying Mandarin, however these are usually not the one two types of spoken Chinese language.

Whereas Mandarin is the lingua franca in China, there are literally a number of hundred completely different Chinese language languages! And that’s simply the “Sinitic” languages spoken by the bulk ethnic group, the Han. There are additionally about 300 minority languages spoken by minority teams in locations like Tibet and Yunnan.

However even the Chinese language languages are as completely different from one another as English is from German, or as Spanish is from French.

Nonetheless, these variations solely present up in spoken kind. The written type of Chinese language, which is predicated on Mandarin, is standardized all through the nation.

In actual fact, it’s fairly widespread for Chinese language individuals who converse completely different languages to resort to writing issues down in an effort to talk with one another. So, should you level to one of many written phrases on this checklist to get your level throughout, this received’t be seen as bizarre.

Though, it’s extra enjoyable to attempt announcing them your self! Only one phrase of warning, although. Don’t attempt to pronounce Mandarin phrases or phrases with out realizing one thing about tones first.

Mandarin Pronunciation and Tones

Chinese traditional Trumpet player
For those who’re musically inclined, there’s a great likelihood that you simply’ll decide up Chinese language tones very simply.

Mandarin is a tonal language, and you actually do have to get the tones proper if you wish to be understood.

For those who say the syllable “ma” with a rising tone (“ma?”) as an alternative of a falling tone (“ma!”), for instance, you’ll find yourself saying a totally completely different phrase. 

That is the place pinyin turns out to be useful. Pinyin is a system for romanizing Chinese language, which implies writing Chinese language phrases phonetically utilizing the Latin alphabet. 

A tone marker over is written over every syllable to point whether or not it’s pronounced as a primary tone (mā), second tone (má), third tone (mǎ), fourth tone (mà) or impartial tone (ma).

For every of the essential Mandarin phrases and phrases within the checklist beneath, you’ll discover the pinyin with tone markers subsequent to it within the right-hand column.

In fact, you continue to have to know what the completely different tones sound like in an effort to pronounce them correctly. 

Extra Assets for Studying Fundamental Mandarin


“Say it Proper” is a free Chinese language pronunciation course supplied by ChinesePod.

It will be foolish of me to attempt to train you tone pronunciation in a written article, so as an alternative I’ll direct you over to ChinesePod, one in every of my favourite assets for studying Chinese language.

The parents there have put collectively an excellent video course referred to as Say It Proper that’s all about Chinese language tones and pronunciation. It’s completely free; you simply want to enroll in a free account.

And take a look at a few of their Beginner classes while you’re there, that are actually participating and enjoyable. I began out by castually listening to a couple of their Beginner classes again in 2009 and ended up sticking with all of it the best way to the Superior stage.


For those who’re not involved in studying Chinese language to a sophisticated stage and simply need to have some widespread Chinese language phrases at your fingertips, then uTalk is a good possibility

Contained in the uTalk smartphone app, you’ll discover a whole bunch of helpful Chinese language phrases and phrases on all types of subjects starting from asking instructions to watching a soccer match.

I’ve already included within the checklist beneath the Chinese language phrases that I’ve discovered most helpful when touring. These begin with commonest Chinese language phrases and phrases, like say “thanks” in Chinese language, say “how are you” in Chinese language, and say “the place are you from?” in Chinese language.

As well as, the checklist beneath additionally covers the primary subjects of consuming out in eating places, utilizing public transport and checking out and in of accommation. I’ve restricted the checklist to about 100 phrases and phrases to maintain it a manageable measurement for a weblog put up.

However should you’d wish to have a extra in depth checklist of Chinese language phrases in English translation, masking dozens of different subjects, then do try uTalk. 

Even should you don’t plan to really study all of the phrases within the app, it additionally works as a very useful digital phrasebook. Simply sort in a phrase resembling “prepare”, and also you’ll immediately see all of the revelant phrases, like “the prepare is canceled”, “the prepare is delayed” and “when is the final prepare?”.

uTalk has some actually inexpensive month-to-month subscription plans, and you may even get 20% off by means of this hyperlink. This low cost is legitimate for any of the 140+ languages uTalk presents, not simply Chinese language. Oh, and so they do supply Cantonese and Shanghainese in addition to Mandarin!

Chinese language Journey Phrases

And now right here’s that checklist of Chinese language journey phrases I promised you. I created this checklist primarily based on my a few years of expertise learning Chinese language, and I additionally checked it with a local speaker. So you possibly can make sure that all the pieces right here is appropriate and sounds pure in Chinese language.

Most Widespread Chinese language Phrases and Phrases

English Chinese language (Simplified) Chinese language (Conventional) Pinyin
Hello 你好 你好 nǐ hǎo
Good morning 早上好 早上好 zǎo shàng hǎo
Good morning (Taiwan) 早安 zǎo ān
Good afternoon 下午好 下午好 xià wǔ hǎo
Good night 晚上好 晚上好 wǎn shàng hǎo
Sure 对, 是 對, 是 duì , shì
No 不对, 不是 不對, 不是 bú duì , bú shì
Please qǐng
Thanks 谢谢 謝謝 xiè xie
You’re welcome 不客气 不客氣 bú kè qi
Two èr
Three sān
Excuse me 不好意思 不好意思 bù hǎo yī si
I’m sorry 对不起 對不起 duì bu qǐ
What’s your title? 你叫什么呢? 你叫什麼呢? nǐ jiào shén me ne?
My title is … 我叫 。。。 我叫 。。。 wò jiào
Good to satisfy you 很高兴认识你 很高興認識你 hěn gāo xìng rèn shi nǐ
How are you? 你最近怎么样? 你最近怎麼樣? nǐ zuì jìn zěn me yàng ?
High quality, thanks. 我很好,谢谢 我很好,謝謝 wǒ hěn hǎo , xiè xie
The place are you from? 你是哪里人? 你是哪裡人? nǐ shì nǎ lǐ rén ?
I’m from [the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada]. 我是【美国,英国,澳大利亚,加拿大】人。 我是【美國,英國,澳大利亞,加拿大】人。 wǒ shì [měi guó , yīng guó , ào dà lì yà , jiā ná dà ] rén .
Do you converse English? 你会说英语吗? 你會說英語嗎? nǐ huì shuō yīng yǔ ma?
I don’t converse Chinese language. 我不会说汉语。 我不會說漢語。 wǒ bú huì shuō hàn yǔ .
I don’t converse Chinese language (Taiwan) 我不會說國語 wǒ bú huì shuō guó yǔ.
I converse slightly Chinese language. 我会说一点汉语。 我會說一點漢語。 wǒ huì shuō yì diǎn hàn yǔ .
I converse slightly Chinese language (Taiwan) 我會說一點國語。 wǒ huì shuō yì diǎn guó yǔ.
I don’t perceive. 我不明白。 我不明白。 wǒ bù míng bái .
Are you able to repeat that, please? 请再说一遍。 請再說一遍。 qǐng zài shuō yí biàn .
How a lot does it value? 这个多少钱? 這個多少錢? zhè geduō shǎo qián ?
Might I’ve a reduction? 可以打折吗? 可以打折嗎? kě yǐ dǎ zhé ma?
The place are the bathrooms? 洗手间在哪里? 洗手間在哪裡? xǐ shǒu jiān zài nǎ lǐ ?
The place is the closest ATM? 最近的取款机在哪里? 最近的取款機在哪裡? zuì jìn de qǔ kuǎn jī zài nǎ lǐ ?
Goodbye 拜拜 拜拜 bái bái
Goodbye! 再见 再見 zài jiàn

Chinese language Restaurant Phrases

Chinese steamed buns
How are you aware what’s in these buns? Use these useful phrases to ask!

These phrases will certainly turn out to be useful when ordering meals in a restaurant in Chinese language. This checklist consists of phrases for explaining meals allergy symptoms and for ordering vegetarian or vegan meals, which you received’t discover in most phrasebooks.

Remember that the Chinese language phrase for “vegan” is generally utilized in Taiwan (the place veganism may be very standard) however is unlikely to be understood in China. There are literally two phrases for “vegan” in Taiwan. The one I’ve used beneath is “全素” or “full vegetarian”, however you might additionally say “純素” or “pure vegetarian”.

Both approach, in China you’ll most likely want to clarify what meaning.

However don’t fear, I’ve additionally included within the checklist phrases like “I don’t eat any animal merchandise” and “I don’t eat meat, fish, eggs or dairy merchandise” that will help you just do that.

English Chinese language (Simplified) Chinese language (Conventional) Pinyin
A desk for 2, please. 两个人的餐桌,谢谢 兩個人的餐桌,謝謝 liǎng ge rén de cān zhōu , xiè xie
Might I see the menu? 我可以看一下菜单吗? 我可以看一下菜單嗎? wǒ kě yǐ kàn yí xià cài dān ma?
To eat in 这里吃 這裡吃 zhè lǐ chī
To remove 带走 帶走 dài zǒu
I’m vegetarian 我是素食者 我是素食者 wǒ shì sù shǐ zhě
I’m vegan 我是全素食者 我是全素食者 wǒ shì quán sù shí zhě
We’re vegan 我们是全素食者 我們是全素食者 wǒ males shì quán sù shí zhě
I don’t eat any animal merchandise. 我不吃任何动物产品。 我不吃任何動物產品。 wǒ bù chī rèn hē dòng wù chǎn pǐn
I don’t eat meat, fish, eggs or dairy merchandise. 肉,鱼,鸡蛋,奶制品我都不吃。 肉,魚,雞蛋,奶製品我都不吃。 ròu ,yú ,jī dàn ,nǎi zhì pǐn wǒ dōu bù chī
I eat greens, grains, legumes, nuts, fruit, and so forth. 我吃蔬菜,谷物,豆类,坚果,水果,什么的。 我吃蔬菜,穀物,豆類,堅果,水果,什麼的。 wǒ chī shū cài ,liáng shí ,dòu lèi ,jiān guǒ ,shuǐ guǐ shén me de.
I don’t drink alcohol. 我不喝酒。 我不喝酒。 wǒ bù hē jiǔ
Does this comprise [eggs, dairy products etc.]? 里面有没有【鸡蛋,奶制品,什么的】? 裡面有沒有【雞蛋,奶制品,什麼的】? lǐ miàn yǒu méi yǒu [jī dàn , nǎi zhì pǐn shén me de]?
Are you able to make it with out [meat, eggs, etc.]? 可以不放【肉,鸡蛋,什么的】吗? 可以不放【肉,雞蛋,什麼的】嗎? kě yǐ bú fàng [ròu ,jī dàn shén me de]ma?
Are you able to substitute it with [beans, tofu, etc.]? 可以用【豆,豆腐 什么的】代替吗? 可以用【豆,豆腐 什麼的】代替嗎? kě yǐ yòng [dòu ,dòu fǔ shén me de]dài tì ma?
What’s this? 这是什么? 這是什麼? zhè shì shén me?
Do you will have …. [soy milk, tofu, veggie burger, etc.]? 有没有【豆浆, 豆腐,素汉堡什么的】? 有沒有【豆漿, 豆腐,素漢堡什麼的】? yǒu méi yǒu [dòu jiāng ,dòu fǔ ,sù hàn bǎo shén me de?
I want … 我要 。。。 我要 。。。 wǒ yào …
I don’t want … 我不要 。。。 我不要 。。。 wǒ bú yào …
I’m allergic to … 我对 。。。 过敏 我對 。。。 過敏 wǒ duì …guò mǐn
Meat ròu
Chicken 鸡肉 雞肉 jī ròu
Pork 猪肉 豬肉 zhū ròu
Eggs 鸡蛋 雞蛋 jī dàn
Dairy products 奶制品 奶制品 nǎi zhì pǐn
Milk 牛奶 牛奶 niú nǎi
Cheese 奶酪 奶酪 nǎi lào
Butter 奶油 奶油 nǎi yóu
Lard 猪油 豬油 zhū yóu
Beef broth 牛肉汤 牛肉湯 niú ròu tāng
Chicken broth 鸡汤 雞湯 jī tāng
Vegetable broth 蔬菜汤 蔬菜湯 shū cài tāng
Mayonnaise 蛋黄酱 蛋黃醬 dàn huáng jiàng
Garlic suàn
Onion 洋葱 洋蔥 yáng cōng
Shellfish 贝类 貝類 bèi lèi
Gluten 麸质 麩質 fū zhì
Nuts 坚果 堅果 jiān guǒ
Mustard 芥末 芥末 jiè mo
Soy milk 豆浆 豆漿 dòu jiāng
Honey 蜂蜜 蜂蜜 fēngmì
No straw, please. 不要吸管,谢谢 不要吸管,謝謝 bú yào xī guǎn, xiè xie
The bill, please. 买单 買單 mǎi dān

Chinese Transportation Phrases

Chinese National Day bus station
Maneuvering through a crowded Chinese bus or train station is never easy, but these phrases will certainly help.
English Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Pinyin
Bus 巴士 巴士 bā shì
Train 火车 火車 huǒ chē
Plane 飞机 飛機 fēi jī
Where is the railway station? 火车站在哪里? 火車站在哪裡? huǒ chē zhàn zài nǎ lǐ?
Where I can buy a ticket? 在哪里买票? 在哪裡買票? zài nǎ lǐ mǎi piào?
one-way ticket 单程票 單程票 dān chéng piào
return ticket 往返票 往返票 wǎng fǎn piào
Is this train going to [Beijing]? 这趟火车去[北京]吗? 這趟火車去[北京]嗎? zhè tàng huǒ chē qù [běi jīng] ma?
Do I would like to alter buses/trains? 我要转车吗? 我要轉車嗎? wǒ yào zhuǎn chē ma?
Is that this the suitable platform? 这个站台对吗? 這個站台對嗎? zhè gè zhàn tái duì ma?
The place do I get off? 我应该在哪里下车? 我應該在哪裡下車? wǒ yīng gāi zài nǎ lǐ xià chē?
What time does the prepare go away? 火车几点出发? 火車幾點出發? huǒ chē jǐ diǎn chū fā?
What time does the prepare arrive? 火车几点到达? 火車幾點到達? huǒ chē jǐ diǎn dào dá?
The place are we? 我们在哪里? 我們在哪裡? wǒ males zài nǎ lǐ?

Chinese language Lodging Phrases

A typical budget hotel room in Taiwan
A typical finances lodge room in Taiwan
English Chinese language (Simplified) Chinese language (Conventional) Pinyin
The place can I discover a lodge? 哪里有宾馆? 哪裡有賓館? nǎ lǐ yǒu bīn guǎn
I’d wish to test in. 我想入住 我想入住 wǒ xiǎng rù zhù
I’d like to take a look at. 我想退房 我想退房 wǒ xiǎng tuì fáng
What time do I would like to take a look at? 我需要几点钟退房? 我需要幾點鐘退房? wǒ xū yào jǐ diǎn zhōng tuì fáng?
I’ve a room booked. 我预定了一个房间 我預定了一個房間 wǒ yù dìng le yí gè fáng jiān
single room 单人间 單人間 dān rén jiān
double room 双人间 雙人間 shuāng rén jiān
twin room 标准间 標准間 biāo zhǔn jiān
For what number of nights? 住几晚? 住幾晚? zhù jǐ wǎn?
How a lot is the room per night time? 这个房间多少钱一晚? 這個房間多少錢一晚? zhè ge fáng jiān duō shǎo qián yī wǎn?
Can I see the room? 我可以看一下房间吗? 我可以看一下房間嗎? wǒ kě yǐ kàn yí xià fáng jiān ma?
Is breakfast included? 包含早饭吗? 包含早飯嗎? bāo hán zǎo fàn ma?
What time is breakfast? 早饭几点钟? 早飯幾點鐘? zǎo fàn jǐ diǎn zhōng?
The place can I go away my baggage? 行李放在哪里? 行李放在哪裡? xíng lǐ fàng zài nǎ lǐ?

Wish to study much more Chinese language phrases and phrases? And learn to pronounce them appropriately?

Keep in mind to take a look at ChinesePod and uTalk. These are the highest two assets I like to recommend for individuals touring to China or some other vacation spot the place Chinese language is spoken. 一路平安 (Bon Voyage)!

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