The oldest and most beautiful language in the world, every single character in the Chinese language is a portrait of meaning and traditions. The sound, the gesture, the power, BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH…. Let’s face it, the history of Chinese characters has no real use in our everyday lives; we don’t really need to know the story of the Chinese zodiac signs order or the details of Confucius theories to buy groceries or to order beers in Shanghai bars. We just need miming skills and to know a few basics words. So, since I cannot really help you with the history lesson, I’ll just tell you a few key phrases that will help you communicate with the locals:
  • GREETINGS & COURTESY:   你好 – NI HAO – Hello [audio:|titles=NI HAO] 认识您(你),很高兴 – REN SHI NIN (or NI), HEN GAOXING- Nice to meet you [audio:|titles=REN SHI NIN, HEN GAOXING]   好久不见了 – HAO JIU BU JIAN LE – Long time no see [audio:|titles=HAO JIU BU JIAN LE]
  • QUESTIONS   请问 – QING WEN – Excuse me [audio:|titles=QING WEN]   ]到__怎么走? – DAO ___ ZENME ZOU? – How to go to ___? (insert CHAOSHI for market, JIUBA for bar, WAI TAN for Bund, KAFEI TING for cafe’, DAXUE for university, HUOCHE ZHAN for train station, JICHANG for airport)[audio:…-ZENME-ZOU.mp3|titles=DAO… ZENME ZOU]   这是干什么用的? – ZHE SHI GAN SHENME YONG DE ? – What is this used for? [audio:|titles=ZHE SHI GAN SHENME YONG DE]
  • SHOPPING   我想买 __ – WO XIANG MAI __ – I want to buy __ (insert MIANBAO for bread, JIDAN for eggs, NIUNAI for milk, HANBAOBAO for hamburger, BINGJILING for ice-cream, NIUZAIKU for jeans, XIEZI for shoes, ZIXINGCHE for bike) [audio:….mp3|titles=WO XIANG MAI..]   可以试穿吗? – KEYI SHI CHUAN MA? – May I try this on? [audio:|titles=KEYI SHI CHUAN MA]   这个多少钱? – ZHE GE DUOSHAO QIAN? – How much for this? [audio:|titles=ZHE GE DUO SHAO QIAN]   让我再考虑考虑吧 – RANG WO ZAI KAOLU KAOLU BA – Let me think about it again [audio:|titles=RANG WO ZAI KAOLU KAOLU BA]   便宜一点儿吧 – PIANYI YI DIANR BA – A little bit cheaper, please [audio:|titles=PIANYI YI DIANR BA]   我想退货 – WO XIANG TUI HUO – I would like to return it [audio:|titles=WO XIANG TUI HUO]
  • RESTAURANTS / SHERPAS & BARS   我想点菜 – WO XIANG DIAN CAI – I would like to order some food [audio:|titles=WO XIANG DIAN CAI]   请给我菜单 – QING GEI WO CAI DAN – Please give me the menu [audio:|titles=QING GEI WO CAIDAN]   我点的菜还没来 – WO DIAN DE CAI HAI MEI LAI – My order hasn’t come yet [audio:|titles=WO DIAN DE CAI HAI MEI LAI]   我想喝__ – WO XIANG HE __ – I would like to drink __ (insert KAFEI for coffee, PIJIU for beer, PUTAOJIU for wine, XIANGBINJIU for Champagne, KELE for Coke, SHUI for water, JIWEIJIU for cocktail, WEISHIJI for whiskey) [audio:|titles=WO XIANG HE]   今天去喝两杯怎么样 – JINTIAN QU HE LIANG BEI ZENMEYANG? – How about going to have a drink today?[audio:|titles=JINTIAN QU HE LIANG BEI ZENMEYANG]
  • HOUSE PROBLEMS   厕所堵了 – CE SUO DU LE – The toilet is clogged [audio:|titles=CE SUO DU LE]   空调不好 – KONGTIAO BU HAO – The air-conditioner does not work well [audio:|titles=KONGTIAO BU HAO]   不出热水 – BU CHU RE SHUI – There is no hot water [audio:|titles=BU CHU RE SHUI]   请给我发票 – QING GEI WO FAPIAO – Please give me the invoice/receipt [audio:|titles=QING GEI WO FAPIAO]
  • FLIRTING   这是我的名片 – ZHE SHI WO DE MING PIAN – This is my business card [audio:|titles=ZHE SHI WO DE MING PIAN]   请在这里等一会儿 – QING ZAI ZHELI DENG YI HUIR – Please wait here for a minute [audio:|titles=QING ZAI ZHELI DENG YI HUIR]   一个小钟头少钱?- YI GE ZHONGTOU DUO SHAO QIAN? – How much for 1 hour? (for desperate)[audio:|titles=YI GE ZHONGTOU DUOSHAO QIAN]   我想预约今天晚上的饭店 – WO XIANG YUYUE JINTIAN WANSHANG DE FANDIAN – I would like to book a room for tonight [audio:|titles=WO XIANG YUYUE JINTIAN WANSHANG DE FANDIAN]   ]我的房间号码是__ – WO DE FANGJIAN HAOMA SHI __ – My room number is __ [audio:….mp3|titles=WO DE FANGJIAN HAOMA SHI…]
  • For more phrases you can refer to this amazing website. For more vocabulary, check this link.
再见 – ZAI JIAN – Goodbye [audio:|titles=ZAIJIAN]
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