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A Laowai`s Guide to Chinese

Views:748 Time:2/19/2014 12:00:00 AM

( Editor`s note: Bryan Spencer in Shanghai, a student for Kansas, shares his experiences of learning Chinese in Nanjing University )

I spent a semester studying Mandarin and international communication at Nanjing University. Living in Nanjing was a great experience for me, and being able to interact with Chinese people on a daily basis vastly improved my language skills. While my experience in the classroom was valuable for learning how to write characters, I found myself learning a lot more about the language from my Chinese friends I made during the semester. 

I put together a guide to colloquial Mandarin I picked up and sent it to a few friends, calling it "A Laowai's Guide to Chinese." This could be useful if you are trying to teach yourself Chinese or are learning from abroad and want to be able to sound more local. So here is a compressed, 10 word version, of "A Laowai's Guide to Chinese."

English Word Chinese Textbook  Colloquial Term
Hello/Hi/Hey Ni hao Hei/Wei?(ansering the phone or getting someone`s attention
What`s up  Nichi le ma? Ganma?/ Shenme shi?
Great! Hen hao! Tai bang le!
I also think… Wo ye… wo tongyi/ Jiu shi(online/text/you can say "9494"
But Dan shi Ke shi
Not Bad Hao bu cuo
I am busy  Wo mang wo you shi

Bryan Spencer `s "A Laowai's Guide to Chinese."

These are informal and should (generally) just be used amongst friends. While not by any means an exhausting list, you can impress Chinese people, especially if you respond to a text with "9494!"

Bryan Spencer in Shanghai


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