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Languages & Phrases

Ni hao Nee how Hello/Hi
Zaijian Zaijian Good Bye!
Ni jiang Yingyu Ma / Putonhua Nee jang Ing You Mah / Poh Tun Hoo Ah Do you speak English / Mandarin?
Wo shi   War she My name is…
Ni neng bangzhu wo ma? Nee neng bang-zoo war mah Can you help me?
Wo zhao… War jow I’m looking for…
Shi / Fou She / Foo Yes / No
Xiexie Sheh-sheh Mr / Mrs / Miss
Jintian / Xianzai Jin-tee-en / See-an-zai Today / Now
Mingtian / Zuotian Ming-tee-en / Doo-oh-tee-en Tomorrow / Yesterday
Zhege / Nage / Zai Zheli / Nali Jeh-geh / Nah-geh / Zai Zeh-lee / Nah-lee This / That / Here / There



Above are a few common Mandarin phrases to help you get around.


China houses over fifty ethnic groups and almost three-hundred languages. Within it, the collective languages of Chinese origin are known as Hanyu and they span eight primary branches which sound and are spoken in completely different ways. The main variety of the Chinese language spoken is Mandarin, also known as Standard Chinese, which is spoken by 70% of the population. Other common varieties spoken are Cantonese, Wu, Yue, Min, Xiang, Gan and Hakka.

Besides the native Chinese languages, other state languages include Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur and Zhuang. Other common languages include English, which is taught in all schools, as well as Arabic, Portuguese, Russian and Japanese.