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Mandarin Chinese Phrases

Mandarin is the main language of government, the media and education in China and Taiwan, and one of the four official languages in Singapore. There are also significant communities of Mandarin speakers in Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia, the USA, Mongolia, Vietnam, Brunei, South AfricaThailand, Laos, Cambodia, Hong Kong, the UK and Mauritius.

Mandarin is spoken by about 870 million people as a first language. An additional 180 million or so people speak Mandarin as a second language. The total number of speakers is over 1 billion.

Mandarin is known as the 'common language' in China, 'national language' in Taiwan, and as the 'Chinese language' in Singapore and Malaysia.

Written Chinese is based on spoken Mandarin, although the written language tends to be more concise than the spoken language. Speakers of other varieties of Chinese have to learn the grammar and vocabulary of Mandarin in order to read and write Chinese.


Pronunciation

Most letters will be pronounced as in English with the exception of a few:

a: as in 'father'

ai: as in 'high'

ao: as in the 'ow' in 'cow'

e: as in the 'u' in 'fur'

ei: as in the 'ei' in 'weigh'

i: as in the 'ee' in 'meet' or like 'oo' in 'book' if after c, ch, r, s, sh, z, or zh.

ian: as in 'yen'

ie: like the word 'yeah'

o: as in 'or'

ou: as the 'oa' in 'boat'

u: as in 'flute'

ui: as in the word 'way'

uo: like a 'w' followed by a 'o'

yu: as in the German 'ü'

ü: as above

 

c: like the 'ts' in 'bits'

ch: as in 'chop'

h: as in 'hay'

q: like the 'ch' in 'cheese'

r: like the 's' in 'pleasure'

sh: as in 'ship'

x: as in the 'sh' in 'ship'

z: like the 'dz' in thuds'

zh: like to 'j' in judge

 

Basics

Hello: Ni hao

Good bye: zaijian

Thank you: Xiexie

You're welcome: Bukeqi

I'm sorry: Duibuqi

What's your name?: Nin guixing?

Where are you from? Ni shi cong nar laide?

No (don't have): Mei you

No (not so): Bushi

I don't understand: Wo fingbudong

Do you understand?: Dong ma?

 

Accommodation

Hotel: luguan

Single room: danrenfang

Double room: shuangrenfang

Can I see the room?: Wo neng kankan fangjian ma?

 

Directions

Where is the...?: ...zai nail?

Post office: youju

Telephone: dian hua

Airport: feijichang

Turn left: zuo zhuan

Turn right: you zhuan

Straight ahead: Yizhi zou

 

Time

What time is it?: Ji dian?

Now: xianzai

Today: jintian

Tomorrow: mingtian

Yesterday: zuotian

 

Numbers

1: yi, yao

2: er, liang

3: san

4: si

5: wu

6: liu

7: qi

8: ba

9: jiu

10: shi

To learn Mandarin why not consider some Foreign Language Tution?

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