Get Around as a Tourist with Ease
I travelled toVietnam this Spring Festival. Most of the locals I met couldn’t speak English or Chinese, but they were all friendly and nice to me. I wanted to communicate, to show my appreciation and more importantly I also wanted to feed myself. I tried to pick up some Vietnamese any way I could: bilingual signs, google translation, guessing and so on. The whole experience reminded me of GoEast team building event on Jeju island, where we had difficulties because of language as well, and we struggled to figure out the meaning of words we needed to use everyday.
All of a sudden, it dawned on me that you probably will need similar words when you first arrive in China. This blog post is for people who are not able to speak any Chinese but still would like to communicate with locals.
Trust me, these 20 words are going to help you be friendly and get around.
|English Phrase||Chinese Character||Chinese Pinyin||Sounds Like This in English||Explanation|
|Yes||对||duì||Dway||There is no actually equivalence like yes or no in Chinese, but “对” means “correct” and “不” is a negative word added before a word.|
|Don’t Want||不要||bú yào||Boo-yao||People will want to sell things to you when you look like a tourist, so this is the word you need to decline.|
|Hello||你好||nǐ hǎo||Knee-how||remember do not pronounce the "how" too completely, but short and firm.|
|Thank You||谢谢||xièxie||Shieh Shieh||Exhale slightly while pronouncing both syllables|
|Sorry||对不起||duì bu qǐ||Dway bu Chi||Say it quickly, non-stop|
|See you||再见||zài jiàn||Dzai jee-en||The last syllable is said without pause|
|How much?||多少钱？||duōshǎo qián||Dwosshao Chyen||“钱” means money in Chinese and “多少” is asking for amount|
|Bill, please||买单||mǎi dān||My Daan||Since the second syllable is in first tone, the second syllable should have a consistent slightly higher tone|
|Chicken||鸡肉||jī ròu||Gee hroe||“肉” is the general word for meat, add a word which means an animal before it, the new word becomes the meat of a certain animal. So you may have guessed: “鸡” means chicken, “牛” means cow, and “猪” means pig.|
|Beef||牛肉||niú ròu||New hroe|
|Pork||猪肉||zhū ròu||JJoo roe|
|Vegetables||蔬菜||shū cài||Shoe Tsai||Notice that the pronunciation of cài doesn’t involve a hard C sound!|
|Noodle||面||miàn||Myen||People in the northern part love it. You have to try the special ones in Beiing, Xi'an and Henan!|
|Rice||饭||fàn||Fan||In southern China, we eat “饭” three times a day.|
|Icy water||冰水||bīng shuǐ||Ping Shway||You are served with hot water in China if you don’t ask for “冰水”. The B in bīng sounds almost like a P sound that isn’t aspirated.|
|good||很好||hěn hǎo||Hhen How||It is the same all around the world that people like to be praised and appreciated. So take care and make sure you learn these well!|
|Yummy||好吃||hǎo chī||How Churr|
- Chinese characters are the writing system the Chinese use, and it will be the ones you will see on signs or menus.
- Chinese pinyin is a system to help people understand how to pronunce Chinese characters. You might see it on some signs together with Chinese characters.