If you are reading and understanding this article, chances are you find any Chinese dialect to be hugely intimidating. This is because Chinese languages, such as Mandarin and Cantonese, are character-based languages, structured entirely differently from Latin and Germanic languages, included in which is English.
Do not be intimidated, though, because many language scholars agree that learning a Chinese language can, perhaps surprisingly, come easily to many people. It requires a lot of studying and memorization, but like anything, it can be mastered. What is important is your ability to recognize symbols, and once you have a good foundation and knowledge in many of the more widely used characters, you have already begun to master the language.
Still, one of the most challenging aspects of learning a Chinese dialect is the pronunciation. The same word pronounced four different ways could mean four totally different things. The best way to start learning is to dive right in, though, and now is the time to do it. Below is a list of 10 simple, common and very important basic phrases in Mandarin to jump-start your learning.
Shì – Yes
Bù – No
Búyòngxìe – You’re welcome.
Kenéng – Maybe
Xièxie – Thank You
Wo de zhongwén shuode bùhao. – I do not speak Chinese well.)
*Wo shuo yingwén. – I speak English.
Wo mílù le. – I am lost.
Wo bù dong. – I do not understand.
Qing ni zài shuo yícì, haoma? – Can you repeat, please?
Dig Mandarin – Your Guide To The Chinese Learning Jungle.