10 Extraordinarily Useful Mandarin Chinese Phrases, Pub’d on Matador

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(photo by Nathan Sudds)

Matador just published my piece on 10 Extraordinarily Useful Mandarin Chinese Phrases, which covers everything from receiving compliments to refusing that extra helping of cai. Here’s a snippet:

You’re just as likely to hear “Ni Hao” as “Hello” in my home. After living in China for five and a half years, I returned to the US with a Chinese husband, the fluency to be a freelance Chinese translator, and a heaping rice bowl of expressions in Mandarin.

If you’re traveling to China and looking to dig your own linguistic chopsticks into Chinese culture, I recommend these 10 extraordinarily useful phrases.

Head on over to Matador to read the entire article. And as always, if you love it, share it. Thanks!

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4 thoughts on “10 Extraordinarily Useful Mandarin Chinese Phrases, Pub’d on Matador

  • April 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    You have listed some wonderfully useful phrases for a laowai to impress the Chinese with. Some of those are also commonly used here in Malaysia. I particularly like 不好意思有事要走了(I am sorry, I have something to do, I must go) and of course 一起吃饭我请客.(Let’s go out to eat, my treat). Even though Malaysia has a small population, sometimes whenever things don’t get going fast we also lament 没办法人太多(There’s nothing you can do, too many people).

  • April 22, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Excellent! Thanks for these. You could really set up a section on your blog for ‘real life’ Mandarin 🙂

  • April 22, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I just tried saying the Yǒu yuán qiānlǐ lái xiānghuì.
    “We have the destiny to meet across a thousand miles.”
    to my boyfriend this morning, but unfortunately my pronunciation is not that great yet .. so i had to say it a few times before he caught on (guessed) what I was trying to say. But he thought it was very romantic. The list is great. I will try out a few more another time ^^

  • July 7, 2014 at 6:21 pm



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