Learn Mandarin
(Commonly Used Daily and Emergency
Phrases)



Recently I received a number of emails from those who are interested to learn Mandarin (like each one of us) and they are requesting more info on other Mandarin learning coursewares that I could recommend - free or fee-based courses.
I'm working out the Learn Mandarin courseware list on this page at the moment and would be posting a coursework or top-notch school on this part of the site, so please feel free to return here. For the meantime, I wanted to share with you some of the most common phrases that we can all use in and out of China. I've added some 'twist' to the learning experience so as to make the subjects a bit 'sexier'.


Also, please take some time to browse the free links and free courseware from MIT, USA through this link or let us know if you have some other Free learning stuff or great Mandarin schools that you discovered and experienced, that you want to share and we'll try to cover them here, ping us through our Contact Us form.

Tools of the "Learn Mandarin Chinese Trade"

I'm not a Chinese language expert but I've lived in East Western parts of China and spent most of my single days in South China for a while and know something about the crowd and environment so, basically, as a PC technician's tools are screwdrivers, so as a Mandarin learner's are his/her hands and tongue : )== .
I recommend we, beginners use our hands or gestures while we work-out our Mandarin tongue in the hands-on below or if ever you're stuck with a local who's an only native tongue.

Real Life Learn Mandarin
( Daily Chinese Language Phrases)

So now you're in China and ready to speak-out or probably just preparing for your Beijing 2008 Olympics learn Mandarin bag of tricks that you want to pack up or probably anticipating a pretty chick, handsome dude, up in the East West or South to learn Mandarin with? Let's begin with some of the phrases you may encounter on a regular basis. I've included the Simplified Chinese characters, PinYin, and audio just beside the words.
Format is:
English (Pin Yin) (Chinese characters ) (Audio sample). So, what are you waiting for, have your hands, feet, pen and paper handy, or fire up your handhelds and go!
Oh, by the way, check your Firefox, IE or Opera character encoding settings before diving through the Learn Mandarin pages as the chinese characters might not be viewable.

  1. How to say sleep in Chinese?

  2. SLEEP (shuì jiào) (睡觉)
    This is a very 'fragile','sexy' and 'mouth-watering' word to use so be aware of it and use with discretion : )
    USAGE/SCENARIOS:
    * You are tired and wanted to rest
    * You wanted to have sex (Fragile! Watchout! Censored! Boom!)
    * Your computer is sleeping or on standby (something for the Geeks)
    NOTES:
    Bear in mind that the pinyin "shuì jiào" for the word sleep(睡觉)is also pinyin'ed "shuĭ jiăo" for Chinese dumpling(水饺).The points of distinction are of course the tones.

    What if they don't get it?

    SOLUTION:

    At times they won't understand what you're talking about in vain. So...don't forget to put your hands on top of each other (sleeping gesture), just beside your ears, bending your thighs a bit towards your right or left to visualize the methods explained above as a last resort, while you speak and express what you mean.
    Look straight between the eyes, but avoid putting your tongue out when you speak "sleep" ; )==

  3. How to say door keys in mandarin
    Point to a door and say yào shĭ or mén yào shĭ ( 门钥匙). "men" is door while "yao shi" is the key.

  4. How to say "you're handsome in mandarin"
    suì ( 俊 ) - the trick is to use the 4th tone (falling) just like a swift pronunciation/combination of the word "su" and then the word "why". (su+why=suwhy)
    "sui" is usually used for male admirations only.
    Well, how about for ladies? Read on...


  5. How to say "you're beautiful"
    piào lìang( 漂亮 ) - again, the trick is to swiftly say on both 4th tones on both words (pyaw+lyang=pyawlyang).
    Sometimes piào lìang is used on some objects such as a work of art or scenaries (paintings and mountains)- nude art anyone? : )==


  6. How to say I Love You in Mandarin
    wŏ aì nĭ (我爱你) - no more introductions for this no brainer.Tones are 3rd+4th+3rd. Tone-trick (uo + ai + ni = uo, ai, ni).Say it slowly with sincerity but beware as some folks think you're serious enough to marry her, well perhaps him? Chinese ladies tend to 'bend' more on roses while the gents, might need more tricks, (sorry I don't know ).


  7. How to say "your" in Mandarin (ex. your friend)
    nĭ de ( 你的 ) Tone-trick: (knee + da = knee, da). Speak slowly, imagine looking straight at a person. If you want to show more respect (as for the elderly), you may use the other word: nín de (Tone-trick: kneen + da = kneen, da) instead of nĭ de. Overall, use nĭ de, it's a modern China, anyway.


  8. The words "no more" how to say it in Mandarin
    没有了 (meí yŏu le) - something like "everything's gone" (Tone-trick: mey yow la). You may also use meí le.


  9. How to say building in mandarin - do you mean a building or architecture?
    lǒu( 楼 ) - (Tone-trick: low (as in "hi and low" but using the 3rd tone, gently falling on "lo", then rising on "w".)


  10. How to say i want to have sex in pinyin or Mandarin - this is very fragile, dude, but you asked for it, so use with caution, come on let's be liberal now! But for conservatives, and the shy type, why not try the word "make love" instead?
    zuò aì (做爱) - (Tone-trick: zhwo + ay both in the 4th falling tones, successively, gently. Remember, the caution not the cushion).


  11. How to say i am a fool or stupid in Mandarin or pinyin
    bèn ( 笨 ) - (Tone-trick: on the 4th falling tone say the word "bèn" rapidly, say for example the "ben" in the name "Benjamin").We'll tackle only a short-form of "bèn" for the meantime so you won't get confused; point at yourself and say "bèn" and please don't point at others, though, you're the only one who's a fool, at this time, right?


  12. How to say face in Mandarin or pinyin
    lián (脸 ) - if you meant your own face for example - (Tone-trick: lee + yen = lián ). Say it gently, slowly.


  13. How to say what are you talking about in pinyin or Mandarin
    shén mė (什么) - well of course, add in a "question mark" after that word. This is our short-form of the phrase, might not be very polite, but, it's a new world, don't waste time. If you want to "soften" things up, here's the trick: (Tone-trick: shen + ma = shén mė ). Say it slowly, adding some words up front such as: ahh (pause here at least 1 second ) then say the word "shén mė", there you go, sincerely, respectfully, yours, the learn mandarin, way...


  14. How to say "south" in mandarin or pinyin
    nán ( 南 ) - (Tone-trick: n + an = nan ). Slowly, rising, 2nd tone.


  15. How to say ladies in mandarin
    nyŭ shi men ( 女士们 ) (Tone-trick: knee+yeew + shi+ men ). Complex? No. Try to say "knee+yeew" linked /pasted, at the same time on a rising 3rd tone - imagine the elevator going up a bit faster than normal, and then as soon as the elevator is about to reach the destination, connect the tone trick words "shi" and then "men" separately (elevator door opening upon reaching its destination ). You may try this "elevator tone-trick" in most of the rising 3rd tones in this lab. Well, just a personal tone-trick, though, for your enjoyment in this learn mandarin lab.


  16. How to say police or cop in Mandarin
    gūng ān - ( 公安 ) (Tone-trick: goong + an ). All in first tones.


  17. How to say your friend in Mandarin
    nĭ de pĕng yǒu( 你的朋友 ) (Tone-trick: knee + da + pong + yow). Speak slowly and you'll get understood - third tones, rising - falling tones.
  18. How to say let's eat in the "Learn Mandarin" language
    chī fàn ( 吃 饭 ) - (Tone-trick: (put your tongue up at the back of your upper mouth ["ceiling"] while just like almost, sneezing, saying only the first half of the word "China" ( stop just before the 2nd syllable "ina" in "China" - divide your work like - "Ch (tongue up on ceiling and stick it up there) / (don't pronounce the "ina") THEN pronounce or "spit" the 2nd half of the "chī fàn " pinyin "fan" using the 4th down tone. Difficult?Nope, just look in the mirror, listen and practice. Time to eat now.....


  19. Learn Mandarin Lab - How to say i want to buy something
    măi dōng xī( 买东西 ) (Tone-trick: ma+yee + dong + xee). Try to pronounce the ma+yee close enough to each other a little bit separated and rising to the fourth higher tone on the dong+xee part.


  20. How to say "come" - well depends on what you're thinking, plain "dirty"(sexy) or "clean"?Got it? It all applies!
    lái ( 来 ) (Tone-trick: pronounce the English word "lie" as in to lie on the bed or not to speak the truth. - 2nd rising tone (elevator-rising style, remember ?).
    You may also use the word "lái" if you want to command somebody to come over your side, as in, "come here".


  21. How to say "a little bit"
    yì diăn diăn ( 一点点 ) (Tone=trick: yee + dyen + dyen ) 4th tone on "yee" then gently slowing down 2nd and 3rd tones on both "dyen's"


  22. How to say"Oh no" the learn mandarin lab way:
    où bù ( 哦,不 ) (Tone-trick: oh + boo both in 4th downward tones. Just pronounce the "Oh" in "Oh no" the English way or you could just say "bù" and omit the "où". Make sure to express yourself of course, the normal, surprised, way.


  23. Learn Mandarin Lab: How to say I want to marry you
    wŏ yào hé nĭ jié hūn ( 我要和你结婚 ) (Tone-trick: wo + yau + huh+ knee + jye + hoon ). Try to pronounce in syllables of 2, something like putting a comma after: wo yao, he ni, jie hun. Tones should be 3rd 4th, 2nd 3rd, 2nd 1st. Well, of course, say it with feelings and you could be understood. Make sure you hold her / his hand, then when the time comes to say "jie hun", hold the hand tight, then kiss, then, touch (where?)(Excuse me...)


  24. What is the word for slow?
    ( màn )( 慢 )(Tone-trick: "man" - as in the word "human" say it in the 4th tone, quickly).


  25. Learn Mandarin: I love food or I like food
    wŏ xĭ huān shí pín or wŏ aì shí pín( 我喜欢食品 or 我爱食品 )(Tone trick: uo + xee + hwan + shee + peen OR uo + ay + shee + peen)
    Try to accomplish a combination of rising and falling 3rd tones + 4th tones, imagine a "freaky" elevator going up and down randomly.


Catch you later here at the Learn Mandarin lab. We'll experiment later and perhaps add some sounds on the pinyins so you may have a clear 'picture' on how to apply the daily Chinese phrases in the Learning Mandarin Lab.


Learn Mandarin - Emergency Phrases

Let's get to the point now, we all have our emergencies everywhere we go and if it happens in China we wished we've never come here? No! expect the unexpected but keep living in Xiamen : )


Let's face the music and admit it, we can not perfect Mandarin at a glance, so, when emergencies arise in South China, forget the Learn Mandarin lab for awhile but have the following handy:

  1. your emergency contact numbers - 110 (police), 119 (fire deparment), 120 (ambulance)
  2. a backpack, flashlight, matches, lighter, extra laptop batteries, extra mobile phone batteries, extra food, blankets, clothing and related items for different kinds of weathers
  3. your friend's contact numbers and addresses
  4. your consulate or embassies' contact numbers - make sure that you had registered earlier before or after arriving in China so you and your families' whereabouts are known. Also don't forget to register at the local Chinese police station.
    If you are not a "believer" on safety deposit boxes or the bank, make sure that you have one handy but fire/fool-proof box or suitcase at home to stash all documents or valuables so when the need arises that you need to run you'll just grab that box and hit the stairs or the road even if you're just on your underwear. : )=
    How about an earthquake? We'll talk about that real-life experience later and cite earthquake as a scenario in our Learn Mandarin for emergencies tutorials below.

SCENARIO: You're asleep (say around 1:00 am) on the 17th floor of a high rise building and an earthquake with a magnitude of 2.5 to 5.4 (can be felt but probably causes some minor damages) sways you in your sleep a bit. You were dreaming that you were in a date with Britney Spears and you were suddenly awaken by a faint (but understandable) voice coming thru your condo walls echoing from your neighbors.


SOLUTION:


Learn the emergency Mandarin word:
Earthquake (dì zhèn) ( 地震 ) - this is another fragile word to use so please only use it within serious scenarios.



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