Sorry, I don't speak Mandarin!

Chinese Language (Mandarin) Survival Guide: Basic Words, Phrases, and Sentences

I promised myself that I would learn to speak and write at least two new languages (to at least somewhat-acceptable conversational level) within the next three years, that means my deadline is by the end 2021. ⏳ But why Mandarin, the standard Chinese language?

Statistically speaking it is obvious: Mandarin is spoken by 1.2 billion people! It’s de facto the #1 most spoken language on Earth. It’s shocking to me when I learned this but there are more people speaking Mandarin than English! 😎

So when I get this life goal done, then I would have 1.2 billion potential new friends. Not bad to keep myself busy for the next 12000 years, I guess. 😂 The not-so-amazing news is, Mandarin is notorious for being probably the most difficult language in the world. 😅

Maybe if I stare hard enough at Chinese language, it will translate itself.

Maybe if I stare hard enough at Chinese language, it will translate itself.

Thankfully, I have an amazing instructor and friend, Florentin Anggraini Purnama, B.Sc., who is very patient with me in this process. 👏

And why am I writing this on my blog? As John C. Maxwell said, if you want to do something, then be committed, and make your commitment public, then finish what you started.

My first baby steps would be to learn the most basic and common words and phrases in Mandarin, and I’ll be sharing them with you here, and I’ll update them as I progress. My plan is to learn at least one key phrase per day. Of course, I wouldn’t mind 1000 phrases per day if my brain would support it haha. I hope my notes will be as useful to you as it is (should be) to me. 🙏

Basic and Common Mandarin Words and Phrases

  1. Ni hao. 你好. Hello.
  2. Nin hao. 您好! Hello (polite). (hint: the heart shape 心)
  3. Ni hao ma? 你好吗? How are you?
  4. Wo hen hao, Ni ne? 我很好!你呢? I am fine, you?
  5. Zai tjian. 再见. Good bye.
  6. Zao an. 早安. Good morning.
  7. Wu an. 午安. Good afternoon.
  8. Ni yeshi. 你也是. You too.
  9. Ni jiao shenme mingzi? 你叫什么名字?What is your name?
  10. Xie xie. 谢谢. Thank you.
  11. Jiayou! 加油! Come on!
  12. Haha. 哈哈. Haha.
  13. Wo bu dong. 我不懂. I don’t know.

Basic words:

  1. Wo. 我. I.
  2. Hen. 很. Very.
  3. Jintian, zuotian. 今天, 昨天. Today, yesterday.
  4. Xuexi. 学习. Learn.
  5. Ge. 哥. Brother.
  6. -mei / xiaojie. – 妹 / 小姐. Sister.
  7. Qizi. 妻子. Wife.
  8. Juede. 觉得. Feel.
  9. Baoqian / Duibuqi. 抱歉 / 对不起. Sorry.
  10. Daoqian. 道歉. Apology.
  11. Diannao. 电脑. Computer.
  12. Kan. 看. See.
  13. Bu. 不. No/not.
  14. Bu dao. 不到. Cannot.
  15. Laoshi. 老师. Teacher.
  16. Pin yin. 拼音. Alphabet.
  17. Feiji. 飞机. Aircraft.
  18. Rongyi. 容易. Easy.
  19. Wen. 问. Ask.
  20. Ye. 也. Also.
  21. Xiwang. 希望. Hope.
  22. Wan long. 万隆. Bandung.
  23. Hao hao. 好好. Good.
  24. Gangcai. 刚才. Just.
  25. Zuo. 坐. Sit (ride).
  26. Huoche. 火车. Train.
  27. Motuoche. 摩托车. Motorbike.
  28. Daxue. 大学. Campus.
  29. Taoyan. 讨厌. Upset.
  30. Jianyi. 建议. Suggest.
  31. Xiayu. 下雨. Rain.
  32. Hunli. 婚礼. Wedding reception.
  33. Ruanjian. 软件. Software.
  34. Wangji. 忘记. Forget.
  35. Huida / da’an. 回答 / 答案. Answer (verb) / (noun).
  36. Landuo. 懒惰. Lazy.
  37. Kaiwanxiao. 开玩笑. Kidding.

Sample complete sentences: (I won’t translate them, you’ll have to actually read them 😉)

  1. Anggi 早安,今天你好?
  2. Hendy 哥您好!我今天觉得很好!你呢?
  3. 谢谢,我也希望你好好
  4. 不,我刚才坐火车
  5. 对不起我昨天忘记回答

So, what do you think about Mandarin?

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