Learn Mandarin is Easy
Speak Mandarin is Fun

One Word One Syllable

This is the primary feature of Chinese langauge. Either you are speaking Mandarin, Cantonese or any other dialects, the same rule applies.

Pinyin (Phonetic) System

The Government of The People’s Republic of China has standardized Mandarin pronunciations and adopted the Pinyin system in 1979. Speak Mandarin and learn Mandarin is made easy for Chinese as well as foreigners.

Each word has a beginning and ending sound. Combine them together to form one syllable. Some words have only an ending sound. Each combination has four tones. Different tone has different meaning. You have to be very carefully with tones or it could mean something else and could be embarrassing.

Let's learn a few easy phrases for travel purposes.

Frequently Used Mandarin Phrases for Travel Purposes

勞駕 Excuse me / please

Usually use to start a conversation, especially when you want to get someone’s help.

It can also mean ‘thank you’ when you receive a little favor.

Beginning Ending Tone
l áo 2
j 4

你好嗎 How are you? (You would expect an answer.)

你好 Regards (You won’t expect an answer. You can say this whenever seeing someone. You are just sending regards and wishing them well.)

Beginning Ending Tone
n í 2
h ăo 3
m a  

很好 I’m fine

Beginning Ending Tone
h én 2
h ăo 3

早上好 Good morning

Beginning Ending Tone
z ăo 3
sh àng 4
h ăo 3

謝謝 Thank you
When you buy something, the salesman will say 謝謝to you. You can also say this when receiving a gift.

Beginning Ending Tone
x 4
x ie  

很好吃 Yummy, very delicious

Beginning Ending Tone
h én 2
h ăo 3
ch ī 1

埋單 give me my bill please

Beginning Ending Tone
m ái 2
d ān 1

多少錢 How much?

Beginning Ending Tone
d 1
sh ăo 3
q ián 2

打折嗎 discount please

Beginning Ending Tone
d a 3
zh e 2
m a  

Chinese Greetings

Formal greetings - In Chinese formal greetings, we call people by their family names. Like this:

Greeting Pronunciation English
胡先生 H ú    xi ān     sh ēng     Mr. Hu
胡小姐 H ú    xi áo     j iě    Ms. Hu
胡太太 H ú    t ài       t ai    Mrs. Hu

Now, base on what you’ve learned to practice greeting Mr. Hu, Ms. Hu and Mrs. Hu in Mandarin.

B>Casual greetings - As a tourist, you don’t have much chance to greet people in a formal way. However, there are two types of people you will deal with mostly – your tour guide and your driver.

Tour guides usually ask their clients to call them Xiao family name. For example, Xiao Hu, it doesn’t matter whether Xiao Hu is Mr. Hu or Ms. Hu.

In mainland China, people usually call drivers Shifu. Let’s see the rationale behind.

Greeting Pronunciation English
小胡 Xi ăo     H ú Calling someone junior or younger than you.
師傅 Sh ī    f ù Shifu is someone good at something. Beijing people call drivers Shifu which is some kind of a compliment meaning he is good at driving.

Anna's Notes
Learn Mandarin is easy. Speak Mandarin is fun. However learn Mandarin online is just a shortcut to fulfil our travel needs. It is more a matter of practicing and refreshing. Best is to learn from a person and learn interactively.

If you want to learn more keywords, do drop me an email. I am happy to help.

China travel tip: Chinese Language
In China, staff members from main hotels, restaurants and shops will all speak English. However you should carry around with you something that bears your hotel name and address, preferably in Chinese, to show to taxi drivers. Five-star hotels usually have cards ready for you. Otherwise just ask the front office for one.

Continue to learn Cantonese

A travel story about my
Mandarin Study Tour at Peking University