Mandarin Chinese Lessons (Standard Pinyin)

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These Mandarin Chinese lessons have been designed to provide practical travel vocabulary and a foundation for basic conversational skills through a simple listen and repeat format. Don't get frustrated if you find some of the phrases difficult to pronounce at first. Many of the sounds will be new, and saying them may be a challenge in the beginning. With practice you'll soon notice your ability to recognize and produce the sounds of Mandarin developing naturally. You may also download a complete audio transcript for listening in your car.

If you don't see audio links below, or if they're not working for you, please click here for help.

For my EZ pinyin, please click here.

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Pinyin: nǐ hǎo
Literally:you good
Hello is a combination of two words - the word for you and the word for good.
Pinyin: hǎo
So to say hello in Mandarin, you literally say you good:
Pinyin: nǐ hǎo
Literally:you good
To convert that into the question How are you?, or literally You good?, all you have to do is add the following syllable at the end:
English:(Add this word to make a statement into a question)
Pinyin:mah / muh
English:How are you?
Pinyin: nǐ hǎo ma
Literally:you good +?
In China, you'd only ask this in formal situations. Chinese don't use this phrase as casually as Americans do. Here are some simple responses:
English:Good (a positive answer)
Pinyin: hǎo
Pinyin: hěn
English:Very good
Pinyin: hěn hǎo
English:I'm very good
Pinyin: wǒ hěn hǎo
Literally:I very good
English:Not good
Pinyin: bù hǎo
Pinyin: zài
English:To see
Pinyin: jiàn
Pinyin: zài jiàn
Literally:again see
Again, if you're new to Mandarin, don't be worried if you are unable to pronounce these words perfectly. You'll find that with repeated exposure/listening, your ability to recognize and reproduce Chinese tones will become easier.

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