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Speak Chinese Instantly

Updated on March 31, 2016


It's amazing the amount of Chinese people there are. Wherever you are in the world you probably know at least one Chinese person. They are lovely people and yet, not many of us can speak Chinese. We don't really need to as most Chinese can speak other languages beside their own, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to communicate in that singy-song language.


The Mandarin Chinese Language is the most widely spoken language in the world. It is part of the Sino-Tibetan language family, spoken in China, Taiwan and Singapore. In this article we will not be learning to speak the entire language, but 10 phrases that you will certainly need to use at some stage of your stay in the far east. Speak Chinese Instantly Using English Words To Help Pronunciation.

Exercise 1 : Hello

Let's begin with saying hello. This will, probably, be the first word you speak to everybody. I know there are formal greetings we can learn, but we are on vacation so we will use the informal word:

nǐ hǎo___你好

Where possible the chinese characters are included, but as we are only learning to speak and not read, these are for reference only. Obviously, for speaking, I'm using transliteration with English words to help with pronunciation. I will also use video of native speakers, so we can hear the subtle tones and vocal idiosyncrasies that would be too hard to explain in words.

Chinese phrase : nǐ hǎo.

What it means : Hello.

English words : bee-cow.

Pronounced : knee-how.

Thanks To LearnHowToChinese

Exercise 2 : Where Are The Toilets?

At some stage on our holiday we will need to know where the toilets are. For me it's usually when we arrive at our destination, in the airport or at the railway station. We already know how to say hello to someone. Now let's find out where the toilets are.

xǐ shǒu jiān zài nǎlǐ___ 洗手间在哪里

Try these English words: tee-now-ten--a-barlee. We are actually saying; the bathroom where is?

Chinese phrase : Xǐ shǒu jiān zài nǎlǐ

What it means : Where are the toilets?

English words : tee-now-ten--a-barlee.

Pronounced : see-shou-jyen--za-narlee.

The video isn't strictly the phrase we are learning, but it is still worth listening to.

Excellent Howcast Video

Exercise 3 : Thank You

This is just a great word that we can use for thousands of situations.

xiè xiè___謝謝

Try these two English words together: bay-bay.

Chinese phrase : xiè xiè.

What it means : Thank you.

English words : bay-bay.

Pronounced : shay-shay.

Skip To 2:00 To Hear The Phrase From Learnchinesewithemma

Exercise 4 : Excuse me

Here is another phrase we are bound to use on our vacation. To attract someones attention in a shop or to pass somebody in a busy market. It is so much more polite than shouting "Beep Beep".

bù hǎo yì si___不好意思

A word about the "si" part of this phrase. Put your tongue behind your top front teeth and say "sir". It should sound like "se". It becomes more clear hearing the native speaker.

Try these English words: low-now-lisa.

Chinese phrase : bù hǎo yì si.

What it means : Excuse me.

English words : low-now-lisa.

Pronounced : bow-hao-ee-se.


Exercise 5 : How Much is it?

This phrase is essential for when we go shopping. We are bound to want to know the price of something sooner or later, especially on markets where you might end up bartering. It helps in shops or anywhere, where there is no price displayed.

duō shǎo qián___多少钱

Try these English words: low-cow-ten.

When watching the videos, we can skip to the phrase that is revelant to us, but it's still good practise to hear the Chinese speaking to get the feel for how they speak. This applies to any language.

Chinese phrase : duō shǎo qián

What it means : How much is it?

English words : low-cow-ten.

Pronounced : dow-shou-shyen.

I recommend listening to all the videos, but you can skip to 1:15 to hear the phrase. If the English words I have used are not the words you would use then replace them with your own.


Exercise 6 : I Would Like

I would like or I want are always handy to know. Even if you only point to what it is that you need. The phrase to use is:

wǒ xiǎng___我想

Try these English words: low-clang. The "g" at the end is only just pronounced. It is importart to listen to the tones the Chinese use, which can only be grasped by hearing them.

Chinese phrase : wǒ xiǎng.

What it means : I would like.

English words : low-clang.

Pronounce : woh-shyang

Another Great Howcast Video

Exercise 7 : Drinks

Obviously we can't learn every single item we might want to buy while we're on our holidays, so we will narrow it down to some drinks we may want in a cafe or a bar. Hence there is quite a few words and phrases to get through.



Chinese phrase : Yībēi kāfēi...Yībēi chá.

What it means : A cup of coffee...A cup of tea.

English words :

Pronounced : ebay-cafe...ebay-char

Chinese phrase : Yībēi píjiǔ...Niúnǎi...Pútáojiǔ...Shuǐ.

What it means : A glass of

English words : me-pay--me-joe...bee-untie...cut-out-so...sway.

Pronounced : ebay--pee-jyo...nee-yunigh...put-out-jyoh...shway.

Learn Chinese with New Concept Mandarin

Exercise 8 : Numbers

When we are ordering our drinks we might want more than one so we will need to learn some numbers. Here they are one to five.

Yī'...èr...sān...sì...wǔ___一 二 三 四 五

Chinese phrase : Yī'...èr...sān...sì...wǔ.

What it means : One...Two...Three...Four...Five.

English words : bee-bar-pan-burr-moo.

Pronounced : ee-are-san-sir-oo.

Learn Chinese with

Exercise 9 : The Bill / The Check

Unfortunately, in China they tend to charge you money for keeping you refreshed, when we have finished all our drinks we are going to have to pay. So we will need the bill.

Zhè xiàng___这项

Chinese phrase : Zhè xiàng.

What it means : The bill, please / The check, please.

English Words : mayor-sang.

Pronounced : jayer-shang.

Skip to 2:21 on the video.


Exercise 10 : Goodbye

We began with hello so why don't we end with goodbye?


Chinese phrase : Zàijiàn.

What it means : Goodbye.

English words : bye-ken.

Pronounced : sigh-syen.

The video in exercise 3 includes the phrase for goodbye. Skip to 2:38.

Goodbye China

The Holiday has come to an end, sadly, but I hope when you go to China these phrases will help. Why not try these phrases out on any Chinese friends you may have? Good luck!


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