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The Way Chinese people Say Hi in Mandarin

At the beginning of learning Chinese, many Chinese learners will mistakenly think that the Chinese way of greeting is “hi” in Mandarin. However, this is not the common way for Chinese people in real life. So, how do the Chinese greet others? Let’s have a look.

chinese greeting
Chinese Greetings

First, simple greetings.

你好。Nǐ hǎo。

您好。Nín hǎo。

Yes, it’s so simple, and it’s the most commonly used one! If you are acquaintances, you can just say “hello.” If you meet for the first time or are not so familiar, you can say “hello” and use “you” to show respect. At this point, you may think, “it’s too simple. I want to be more friendly.” What will I say to people I have already bonded with? Well, it’s very easy. In those cases, just be enthusiastic. Smile at him and say, “hello.” Very authentic!

Second, different greetings to say hi in mandarin.

Lǎoshī hǎo。

老师好。(Hello Teacher.)

Shūshu hǎo。

叔叔好。(Hello, uncle.)

Ā yí hǎo。

阿姨好。Hello, auntie.

These are disguised expressions of “hello”, which are very suitable for different occasions. It shows the basic politeness and self-restraint required in social conventions. It’s also very simple to say, as long as the identity of the other party plus a “good” word is on the line. For example, if you study in China and see a teacher, please say “Hello, teacher,” It will certainly impress the teacher. If you work in China and want to go for an interview, you will say “hello to the interviewer.”

That way, when you enter the interview room, he will surely feel that you have a good Chinese foundation. If you have a Chinese girlfriend, you don’t need to say “good girlfriend.” when you meet her, but you need to say “Hello uncle and aunt” when you meet her parents. Your uncle and aunt will certainly take your politeness into account. Through these little things, people will adore you better. Politeness plays a huge role in Chinese values. If you exemplify this, Chinese people will certainly like you.

That’s the question. How to say hello to the couple? Good question. As for lovers, it will always be a special case. There’s no specific greeting when it comes to couples. It’s not like playing cards that require a specific set.  Communication between couples is more non-verbal. Consequently, you can use more body language, such as waving, smiling, blinking an eye, or giving her a warm hug. You can also ask her “what did you do today.” But please don’t say “hello,” Don’t translate “how are you” and “are you alright” into English. Don’t say, don’t say, don’t say important things three times. Because the former will make you look very dull, the latter will make her look very silly. These are the two effects that you want your partner to pick up.

Third, different greetings at different times.

早啊! Zǎo a!

This kind of greeting is also very common.”Good morning” is more intimate than “good morning.” It’s not good to say “afternoon” or “afternoon” according to Chinese people. The most common thing to hear is “morning”. That’s pretty much commonsense. It’s inappropriate to say “good evening to a person who just woke up. If you happen to meet someone in the morning, “Good morning” is your best bet.

Fourth, different ways of greeting.

来啦?Lái la ?

忙呢?Máng ne?

散步呢?Sànbù ne ?

吃饭呢?Chīfàn ne ?

回去啦?Huíqù la ?

干啥去?Gàn sha qù ? …

If you’re a conversation initiator, just briefly describe what he’s doing. However, most of the time, you are not the originator of the conversation. You will be the one responding.

If you are doing something, you will inevitably meet an acquaintance who asks you what you are doing.  For beginners, this will be overwhelming. You may be thinking, “is there any question? What should I answer?”

Don’t panic. Keep you cool. He’s probably just saying hello to you. You don’t have to answer this question specifically. You just have to say yes and then ask back.

For example, you can say, “yes, how about you?”, If he’s asking “what’s up” or “what’s going on?” you can say, “Hello, what’s up, what are you doing?” Or “something’s wrong, how about you?”.

This is a traditional Chinese way of greeting. In fact, the constant change is that greeting is to show concern and friendship. So you just have to respond in a friendly way, and you don’t need to give specific answers to specific questions. The same way of communication is often used in English, British people’s common greeting is not “how are you”, but “are you right”. In response to “are you right?” The common way is to reply “yes” and ask “you are right?” Instead of answering “I’m right” directly. Remember that the response to questions is relative to the level of friendship you have. For some, you can get away with just a hello. For others, you may want to have a casual conversation.

Now more and more people are learning Chinese, and more and more foreigners can speak Chinese. Many Chinese go to work and study abroad, and many foreigners come to China to exchange and work. We have a different language and different kinds of social norms. People’s communication and contact frequency are rapidly increasing. So in this matter of saying hi in mandarin, different ways may be influencing each other and tend to be similar.

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