Dialogue

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Lesson Transcript

Start speaking Chinese in minutes and grasp the language, culture and customs in just minutes more with Chinese survival phrases, a completely new way to master the basics of Chinese. To get more Chinese lessons and for free, go to chineseclass101.com and sign up for your free lifetime account. Signing up takes less than a minute and you will find more great lessons just like this one. To get more free Chinese lessons, go to chineseclass101.com
Michael: All right. Today we are going to cover the basic greetings for the appropriate time of the day. As there are quite a few to cover, let’s jump right in. First of all, there is the all purpose greeting "你好吗(Nǐ hǎo ma)?". This can be used any time, any situation. You can use it with your friends, with your boss, This is perfect for anything. This might be the only one you actually have to remember. Now let’s go over the pronunciation 你好吗(Nǐ hǎo ma), one more time, 你好吗(Nǐ hǎo ma). All right, the tones for this are third tone, third tone and then no tone on ma, all right. And so we remember that two-third tones in a row means that the first, third tone becomes a second tone which is a rising tone. So first it’s a rising tone and then a rising, falling tone and then a syllable with no tone, ma. All right, so it goes 你好吗(Ní hǎo ma). All right, one more time, 你好吗(Ní hǎo ma). Now you have to be careful. A lot of foreigners say really, really awful sounding 你好吗(Ní hǎo ma). It’s not even so much that they like. They sound awful to the foreigners. The foreigners can’t even tell. The foreigners go 你好吗(Ní háo ma). That does not sound right. I always get complimented by Chinese people because they say, "Oh your 你好(Ní hǎo) sounds so good.". You wanted to sound sort of dirty and guttural. So like 你好吗(Ní hǎo ma). Let’s try it again, 你好吗(Ní hǎo ma)? Make it come from the back of your throat. It’s not a light chirpy phrase. It’s not something you say oh the sky is so blue and the birds are flying. It’s not 你好吗(Ní háo ma), it’s 你好吗(Ní hǎo ma). All right guys, I hope you can get this. If you really want to, you can make it shorter and you can say "你好(Ní hǎo)". Most people, they just say "你好(Ní hǎo)", they don’t even include the "ma". The "ma" makes a phrase a question. It’s like putting a question mark at the end of a sentence. When you put ma at the end of a sentence, you are saying this sentence is a question but with 你好(Ní hǎo), you don’t need that. So let’s break down the meaning of the phrase 你(nǐ) means you, 好(hǎo) means good and 吗(ma) makes a sentence a question. All right "ma" is like putting a question mark at the end of a sentence. So you say "You good ?" and it means "How are you doing?". A lot of times people don’t even answer "Oh I am doing well". They just might say how are you doing. It’s like saying what’s up in English. Most of the time people just say yeah, what’s up. It just means "hello". You can even leave off that last "ma". Many Chinese people when they are just being informal, when they are walking by in the morning and they see you, they say "你好啊(Ní hǎo a)", you just say "你好啊(Ní hǎo a)", no "ma", just the 啊(Ní hǎo a) at the end, 你好啊(Ní hǎo a). Let’s try that one more time a little bit slower, 你好啊(Ní hǎo a). The next one we will do is good morning. Good morning is 早上好(Zǎoshàng hǎo), one more time, 早上好(Zǎoshàng hǎo). So guys, let’s break down the meaning, 早上好(Zǎoshàng hǎo), 早上(zǎo shàng) means morning and 好(hǎo) means good. So morning good or good morning just like English. Let’s go over the tones now, all right. 早上好(Zǎoshàng hǎo) is third tone, fourth tone and then third tone again. So it’s a falling, rising tone, the falling tone and then the falling, rising tone again. So 早上好(Zǎoshang hǎo), one more time guys, 早上好(Zǎoshang hǎo). All right, my boss wants me to introduce good evening and good afternoon but he doesn’t really know that in Chinese, people don’t really say that. So during those times, we will just use 你好(Ní hǎo), so we can just say you know I already taught you that but to cover the last little bit of time, we will introduce an informal way to say good morning. You can just say 早啊(Zǎo a). So the informal way to say 早上好(Zǎoshang hǎo) or good morning is 早啊(Zǎo a), it just means early. It’s just a shortening of 早上好(Zǎoshang hǎo), you just use the first syllable and then add an "a", 早啊(Zǎo a). A lot of times people in Chinese, they like to add 啊(a) to the end of things to give it more of a heartfelt feeling you know pushing out the feeling from the gut 早啊(Zǎo a). It’s just sort of the feeling of Chinese. All right, now look I am from Beijing. So I speak the Beijing or what’s considered the standard dialect of Chinese but I want to know lots of other things. So if anybody out there knows hello, good morning, any of those in a different dialect of Chinese feel free to leave us a post. I am waiting.
All right, to close our today’s lesson, we’d like you to practice what we’ve just learned. I will provide you with the English equivalent of a phrase and you are responsible for shouting it out loud. You will have a few seconds before I give you the answer. So 加油(Jiā yóu)! Okay here we go. Hello, 你好吗(Ní hǎo ma)? Good morning, 早上好(Zǎoshang hǎo).
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13 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Good day! Please leave a comment with the Chinese greeting you like most!

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 05:44 AM
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你好 robert groulx,


谢谢 for posting and studying with us. If you have any questions, please let us know.😄


Kind regards,

Levente

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Monday at 11:35 PM
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thank you for the lesson


my favorite word (Ní hǎo ma)


robert

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 12:16 PM
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Hello Jason,


Thank you for your comment. 你好吗?(Nǐ hǎo ma?) is used but very rarely, it's more common for people to ask "Have you eaten?" 吃了吗?(Chī le ma?) 😄


As always, let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Jason
Saturday at 12:11 AM
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Do Chinese people actually ask

你好吗?Nǐ hǎo ma? One YouTube vlogger is I follow who has lived in China for several years and speaks fluent Chinese insists it's a phrase nobody ever uses. Confused! 😕

ChineseClass101.com
Tuesday at 11:55 PM
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Hello Steven, MD AZAM,


We're glad to hear from you! 😄

Thank you for learning with us. Let us know if you have any questions.


Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

MD AZAM
Monday at 08:38 PM
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Thanks

Steven
Saturday at 08:14 PM
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我愛學習講中文

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 05:23 AM
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@Bouks

Haha, I like the greeting 早上好 as well! Where do you live?


@ReneS

你好!Thanks for your comments! :grin:

Regarding 早上好, 上 (shang) by itself is 4th tone, but when combined as 早上, it becomes 5th tone, therefore there is no tone indication.


@Kesha Alexander

You're right! Good catch! We've edited it to avoid further confusion :sweat_smile:


Olivia

Team ChineseClass101.com

Kesha Alexander
Tuesday at 01:11 PM
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Nǐ hǎo is translated as "How are you?" in this lesson, yet it doesn't end with "ma" which means that a question is being asked. Shouldn't it translate into "Hello"?

ReneS
Friday at 04:39 AM
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Quick question: the lesson audio says that the tones for 早上好 are:

zao3 shang4 hao3, but the Pinyin in the lesson doesn't indicate tone for 上 (shang). Is this a mistake in the Pinyin?