How to GREET in Chinese?

As we all know, there are tons of greetings in English, such as “Hello!” “Hi!” “Hey!” “Good morning!” “Good afternoon!” “Good evening!” as well as “How are you?” “How do you do?” The Chinese language is the same: we also have different sayings to greet someone. But different sayings should be used under different circumstances.

Greetings From Mickey Mouse

Greetings From Mickey Mouse@ Disneyland Orlando

Greetings In Formal Circumstances…

As known to us all, “Hello” is the English expression for greetings in the most formal circumstances, such as greetings exchanged during people’s first meeting or greetings at the beginning of a business negotiation. “Hello” is translated as “你好” in Chinese. What’s more, “你好” is also used when elderly people greet each other.

Chinese Character/Saying for Hello_formal 

Greetings Between Different Generations…

It is different when an elder greets a young person and when young people greet the elderly.

An elder people will usually say “你好” when he greets a young person, which hopefully you remember from the first circumstance we talked about just now.

However, a youth will greet one who is elder than him in another way to express his respect. He will greet by saying “您好!” “您”means the same as “你”, both meaning “you” in Chinese. But “您” sounds more polite and decent than “你.”

Chinese Character/Saying for Hello_with respect 

Greetings Between People Who Know Each Other Well…

Americans greet someone whom they know well with “hi” or “hey.” “嗨.” The interesting thing is that we have two Chinese characters with exactly both the same meaning and the same pronunciation in Chinese.

Check this out. “嗨” stands for “hi” while “嘿” means “hey.”

Chinese Character/Saying for Hi 

Chinese Character/Saying for Hey 

Easy, huh?

Some “Weird” Greetings In Chinese…

The above greetings don’t show too many differences between the Chinese and American cultures.

Americans will feel offended when they are asked by a friend where they are going or what they are going to do. They will consider these questions quite personal and private. So you may find these Chinese greetings quite frustrating and weird.

Usually, we Chinese greet friends without directly saying “hi” or the like. Rather, we ask a question. such as “干嘛去?”which means “What are you going to do?”“去哪儿呀?”which means “Where are you going?” or “吃了吗?” which means “Have you eaten?”

Chinese Character/Saying for What Are You Going To Do  

Chinese Character/Saying for Where Are You Going  

Chinese Character/Saying for Have You Eaten 

See how interesting that is? It is always interesting to learn about a different culture when we learn a different language.

Xuan's Greeting From Underwater

Xuan's Greeting From Underwater


  Got more GREETINGS to share with us?

  Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!

  by Xuan♥.

Our Course Syllabus

Hey, everyone! Greeting to you all with my new post! Today you will get to know the draft-version of our Chinese class syllabus. Now please check this out! Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in a sense that we can better our learning process together!

For a better understanding of the syllabus, here are a few points I would invite you to go through first.

1. The order of these phases doesn’t necessarily indicate the hierarchy of the knowledge. If, however, you are a Chinese learner without any previous learning background or instruction from others, I strongly suggest you go through the whole learning process within the order I listed.

2.  The levels in different phases doesn’t necessarily indicate the easiness of the content. That said, some of them are on the same level of easiness with others, while some are the foundation of others. Anyone who wants to skip and learn can refer to the detailed description of every future class/post.

3.  The number of lessons within every phases is not finally decided. I will decide the number of the lessons according to my self-prepared teaching plan with the up-to-date references. Please refer to the actual lessons for the “official” decision. I will try my best to balance the contents and workload within every lesson.

4. You may encounter a lot of news words/terminologies in this syllabus, which will be covered with detailed explanations later in the course!

5. Regard to the terminologies mentioned in the last item, there are no standard ways of saying that!( I suppose everyone knows that translation can never convey the authentic meaning.) But I will try to choose the most appropriate and the easiest way to let you guys get the true meaning of them.

6. For a fun learning process, you will be told to have achieved some certain VICTORIES while your learning. In other words, learning another language can be a time-consuming course and the learners always want to know how far they have gone. My “VICTORY” notes will tell you by when and by what you have learnt will enable you to actually use Chinese in a practical setting.

A trophy indicating Victories(a copyright free image)


Phase One-Playing With the Pinyin (Spelling, Reading and Writing)

We Chinese learn English with the phonetic alphabet, here I will teach you to learn Chinese using Pinyin!

  • Level One  Introduction to Pinyin
  •              Lesson One What is Pinyin? How is Pinyin constructed? How does Pinyin work in reading and writing Chinese?
  • Level Two Getting to Know Different Parts of Pinyin
  •              Lesson One__23 Initials (of Pinyin)
  •              Lesson Two__24 Finals(of Pinyin)    (including 6 single finals, 9 plural finals, 5 front-nasal finals and 4 post-nasal finals)
  •              Lesson Three__16 Whole-Reading Syllables

Victory One: Now you can text your Chinese friends with pinyin, even if you only have English operating system in your cell phone!


Phase Two-Playing with The Four Tones  in Chinese Characters

An American friend of mine once told me, “The fours tones in Chinese are just like singing!”Level One  4 Tones

  •              Level Two__Several Reading Rules Under Some Specific Circumstances
  •              Level Three__Getting to Know A New Way of Typing Pinyin with Tones on your Own Computer

Phase Three-Playing with The Chinese Characters

  •               Level One__A General Introduction to the Basic Structure Types of Chinese Characters
  •                  Lessons will cover the Chinese names for the structure types, the Pinyin for them and their applications in Chinese characters.
  •               Level Two__Introduction to the 8 Most Basic Strokes of Chinese Characters
  •                 Lessons will cover the Chinese names for the stokes, the Pinyin for them, their writing orders and rules and their applications in Chinese characters.
  •                 Lesson One 横(heng2)
  •                 Lesson Two 竖(shu4)
  •                 Lesson Three 撇(pie3)
  •                 Lesson Four  捺(na4)
  •                 Lesson Five   点(dian3)
  •                 Lesson Six  折(zhe2)(including several types of 折)
  •                 Lesson Seven 勾(gou1) (including several types of 勾)
  •                 Lesson Eight 提(ti2) (overlapping with some 折 and 勾)
  •               Level Three__Introduction to Some Basic Types of Fixed Radicals(Components of Chinese Characters) And Their Applications
  •               Level Four__The Origins of Onomatopoetic Characters and Pictographic Characters and Their Practical Applications for Chinese learners