学汉语 — 有用的话。

(Crazy) useful phrases for a Mandarin Learner

I’m starting to learn Chinese and I wanted to make a list of the words and phrases that have been the most useful as I’ve been moving forward with the language. Hope this comes in handy for ya!

我开始学汉语。

(用汉语)怎么说 [insert word] 。

  • (Yong4 han4yu3) zen3me shuo1 [insert word].

This is hands down the most useful phrase I know in Mandarin. Learn this before anything else and use it more than anything else. I don’t think I need to explain this one :)

我有一个问题。

  • Wo3 you3 yi1 ge wen4ti2.

You can also preface this with excuse me (qing wen, 请问) If you want to be on the polite side.

你能再说一遍吗?

  • ni2 neng2 zai4 shuo3 yi1 bian4 ma?

I use this one with my mandarin tutor all the time. I’m still working through the tones and it’s pretty tough to understand normal conversational speed so this just lets me call out when I need something again. You can also throw in a “say it slower” (man yidianer shou, 慢一点儿说)

我明白了。

  • Wo3 ming2 bai3 le.

This signifies a deeper level of understanding of something. Like I “get it” as opposed to “i know”. Use it sparingly so as not to be a boy who cried wolf.

我知道。

  • Wo3 zhi1dao.

This is more loosely used but means “I know” or “gotcha”

意思。

  • Yi4 si4.

Really useful. You should generally use it in a sentence like “what does that mean” (zhe you shenme yisi, 这有什么意思)

Thanks for reading! Edits or comments welcome.

一点儿见!

Product Manager + Software Developer. Interested in Travel, Culture, and the Internet.

Product Manager + Software Developer. Interested in Travel, Culture, and the Internet.