Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Fun &Easy Chinese by ChineseClass101.com!
(Hài dàjiā hǎo, Wǒ shì Lǐ Yīnrú.)
Hi everyone, Yinru Li here.
Can you say “hello” in Chinese?
Greetings are one of the first things someone learns when studying a new language.
They’re the key to ensure people you talk to have a good impression of you right from the beginning.
There are different Chinese greetings for a number of occasion, such as...
你好!(Nǐ hǎo!)
大家好!(Dà jiā hǎo!)
早上好!(Zǎoshang hǎo!)
吃了吗?(Chī le ma?)
最近怎么样?(Zuìjìn zěnmeyàng?)
好久不见 (Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn)
喂? (Wéi?)
These are the most common greetings you can use in China.
In this lesson, we’ll learn all about these greetings.
Let’s start with the most well known one...
你好!(Nǐhǎo!)[slow] 你好 (nǐhǎo)
Most of you should know this phrase, but I’m going to tell you some little known facts about 你好 (nǐhǎo).
First, 你好 (nǐhǎo) literally means “you good”.
你(nǐ) means “you”. 你(nǐ)
好(hǎo) means “good”. 好(hǎo)
So, 你好 (nǐhǎo) “you good”.
Second, 你好 (nǐhǎo) is often used in formal situations and with people you don’t know very well yet.
The third point regarding 你好 (nǐhǎo) is that we can replace this word 你(nǐ) with other words to make more specific greetings, such as 您好 (nín hǎo).
您(Nín) is the honorific term of “you,” 你(nǐ).
We use 您(Nín) to address people who are older or at a senior position, because 您(Nín) shows respect.
你好 (nǐhǎo)
您好 (nín hǎo)
We can also replace 你(nǐ) with titles such as 老师 (lǎoshī).
老师 (lǎoshī) means “teacher”; so 老师好 (lǎoshī hǎo) means “hello teacher”.
老师好 (lǎoshī hǎo)
If we replace 你(nǐ) with this title 阿姨 (ā yí)...
阿姨 (ā yí) means “auntie”, so 阿姨好 (ā yí hǎo), “hello auntie" is a greeting that you can use for any female who is around your mother's age, no matter you know them or not.
阿姨好 (ā yí hǎo).
Another commonly used greeting 大家好 (dàjiā hǎo).
This means “hello everybody”, 大家(dàjiā) means “everybody”; so 大家好 (dàjiā hǎo) “hello everybody”.
Now let's look at a sample dialogue.
Amy, whose Chinese name is 艾米(àimǐ), is from the United States. Today is her first day at her new international company in Shanghai.
小吴(Xiao Wu), a girl working at the HR office is the first person she meets. They are exchanging greetings while introducing themselves.
(àimǐ: Nǐhǎo, Wǒ jiào Amy.)
“Amy: Hello. My name is Amy.”
小吴: 你好,你可以叫我小吴。
(Xiǎo Wú: Nǐ hǎo,nǐ kě yǐ jiào Wǒ Xiǎo Wú.)
“Xiao Wu: Hello, you can call me Xiao Wu.”
The second greeting phrase is 嗨 (hài), which looks like this in Chinese character.
嗨 (Hài)
嗨 (Hài) is a very informal and casual greeting and it is used mostly by younger people.
Simply say 嗨 (Hài) as you say it in English, because it’s translated from English based on the pronunciation “Hi”.
The next set of greetings is used during certain times of the day...
早上好 (zǎoshàng hǎo), means “good morning.”
早上好 (zǎoshàng hǎo).
It is safe to use this phrase around sunrise to about 10 am.
A shortened version of 早上好 (zǎoshàng hǎo) is 早(zǎo). It is short for 早上(zǎoshàng), which means "morning."
Next one...
下午好 (xiàwǔ hǎo)
下午 (xiàwǔ) means "afternoon”.
下午好 (xiàwǔ hǎo)
下午好 (xiàwǔ hǎo) is often used in formal situations, such
as in a meeting. And it is often used between noon and about sunset. 下午好 (xiàwǔ hǎo).
And this one...
晚上好 (Wǎn shàng hǎo), what time is it for? It's for the evening.
晚上好 (Wǎn shàng hǎo)
“good evening”, which is quite formal as well.
Next, 吃了吗?(Chī le ma?) This is a very typical, very native way to greet in Chinese.
吃了吗?(Chī le ma?) means “Did you eat?” or “Have you eaten?”
吃(Chī) "to eat" is the first tone, high and flat. And 了吗(le ma) they are both neutral tone, which means
there is no stress, so you say it quick and kind of quiet.
吃了吗?(Chī le ma?)
If you use 吃了吗?(Chī le ma?) to greet your Chinese friends, they would be very impressed and instantly get the feeling of warmth and friendliness.
吃了吗?(Chī le ma?)
Ok, I’ve been asked this question a lot:
Yinru, ‘How do you say “How are you?” in Chinese?’
And I often hesitated to say that How are you in Chinese is 你好吗?(Nǐhǎo ma?)
你好吗?(Nǐhǎo ma?) is probably the closest translation of English to Chinese. But 你好吗 (Nǐhǎo ma?) is not often used by native speakers.
When Chinese are going to ask about the other person’s well being, it usually happens when they haven’t seen each other for a while. In this case, we often use 最近怎么样?(Zuì jìn zěn me yàng?)
最近(zuìjìn) means “recently”. 最近(zuìjìn).
And 怎么样(zěnmeyàng) means “how”. 怎么样(zěnmeyàng).
最近怎么样?(Zuì jìn zěn me yàng?)
Notice the subject 你(nǐ) is missing, is omitted here.
Of course, you could add 你最近怎么样?(Nǐ zuì jìn zěn me yàng?), which sounds perfectly fine, it's fine as well.
你最近怎么样?(Nǐ zuìjìn zěnmeyàng?)
When you haven’t seen someone for a long time, another commonly used greeting is 好久不见 (Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn)
好久不见 (Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn) literally means “long time no see”. This English phrase "long time no see" is believed, by some people, to come from the Chinese 好久不见 (Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn).
And we can use 好久不见 (Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn) in formal and informal situations, and of course, it is used when you haven't seen someone for a while.
好久不见 (Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn)
Well, the last greeting of this lesson is used on the phone.
喂? (Wéi?)
喂? (Wéi?) is pronounced with the second rising tone Wéi? as if asking a question, but some people, especially men, like to say it with the fourth falling tone, wèi.
To make it sound more polite, I recommend putting 你好(nǐhǎo) after 喂(wéi) when answering your phone, to say 喂,你好。(Wéi, nǐhǎo.)
喂,你好。(Wéi, nǐhǎo.)
The phone is ringing on Xiao Wu’s office desk. She does not recognize the number. So she is answering this call with formal and polite Chinese.
(Xiǎo Wú: Wéi, nínhǎo.)
“Xiao Wu: Hello.”
(Xiǎo Wú: Duì, Wǒ jiùshì Xiǎo Wú.)
“Xiao Wu: Yes, this is her, Xiao Wu.”
Let’s recap.
Do you remember the most common phrase which is often used in formal situations with people you don’t know well yet?
And what phrase would you use to greet a group of people, to say “hello everybody”?
大家好 (dàjiā hǎo).
And what would you use to greet your buddy around meal time?
吃了吗?(Chī le ma?)
And what is the phrase to greet in the morning?
早上好 (zǎoshàng hǎo).
Or 早 (zǎo) in short. 早 (zǎo).
How about the phrase for “Long time no see”?
好久不见 (Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn)
And many times, 好久不见 (Hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn) is followed by a question asking how someone has been doing, which is…
最近怎么样?(Zuì jìn zěn me yàng?)
And what is the word that is used for answering the phone?
喂? (Wéi?)
Great job!
See you next time! 再见!(Zài jiàn!)

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