Useful Vocabulary

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Useful Vocabulary

The Chinese languages are the languages of the Han people, the major ethnic group of China. The Chinese languages are spoken by over one billion people. Approximately 95 percent of the Chinese population speaks Chinese, as opposed to the non-Chinese languages such as Tibetan, Mongolian, Lolo, Miao, and Tai spoken by minorities.

Chinese belongs to the family of Sino-Tibetan languages. Besides a core vocabulary and sounds, Chinese has features that distinguish itself from most Western languages: it is monosyllabic, has little inflection, and is tonal. In order to indicate differences in meaning between words similar in sound, tone languages assign to words a distinctive relative pitch-high or low-or a distinctive pitch contour-level, rising, or falling.

Spoken Chinese comprises many regional variants, generally referred to as dialects. Most Chinese speak one of the Mandarin dialects, which are largely mutually intelligible.

The need to establish an official national language was felt as early as the 17th century when the Qing dynasty established a number of "correct pronunciation institutes" to teach standard Peking pronunciation, particularly in the Cantonese and Fukienese-speaking southern provinces. The concept of a national language coalesced around 1910. In 1913, the Ministry of Education convened a Commission on the Unification of Pronunciation to establish a standard national tongue.

After several previous attempts to write Chinese using the letters of the roman alphabet, pinyin, a 58-symbol writing system was finally adopted in 1958. Its main aims are to facilitate the spread of putonghua, and the learning of Chinese characters.

In mainland China a simplified writing system is used, whereas in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and overseas regions the traditional script is being used. The simplified writing system differs in two ways from the traditional writing system: (1) a reduction of the number of strokes per character and (2) the reduction of the number of characters in common use (two different characters are now written with the same character). Hereunder list some most frequently used one-for-one corresponding of English version and Chinese character for you.

English Version

Pinyin Code

Chinese Character

Hello, How are you?

Ni hao?

你好

Thank you

Xie xie

谢谢

Goodbye

Zai jian

再见

I'm sorry/Excuse me

Dui bu qi

对不起

No problem

Mei wen ti

没关系

Wait a moment

Deng yi xia

等一下

It doesn't matter

Mei you guan xi

没有关系

No,don't have

Mei you

没有

Do not know

Bu zhi dao

不知道

How much?

Duo shao qian

多少钱?

Good

Hao

Not good

Bu hao

不好

Not bad

Bu huai

不坏

Not possible

Bu xing

不行

Hotel

Fandian/Binguan

饭店/宾馆

Restaurant

Canting/fandian

餐厅/饭店

Taxi

Chuzu Qiche

出租汽车

Telephone

Dianhua

电话

Toilet

Cesuo

厕所

Where is the toilet?

Cesuo Zai Nali?

厕所在哪里?

Beer(ice cold beer)

Pijiu (Bing Pijiu)

啤酒(冰啤酒)

Train

Huoche

火车

Airplane

Feiji

飞机

China

Zhongguo

中国

I love China.

Wo Ai Zhongguo

我爱中国

Chinese dish

Zhongguo Cai

中国菜

Delicious

Haochi

好吃

Bottoms up

Ganbei

干杯

Morning

Zao

Good morning

Zaoshang Hao

早上好

North

Bei

South

Nan

East

Dong

West

Xi

西

Too expensive

Taiguile

太贵了

Beautiful

Piaoliang

漂亮

Everyone is here.

Doudaole

都到了

Door/Gate

Men

Laundry bag

Xiyidai

洗衣袋

A cup of tea

Yibeicha

一杯茶

Too hot

Tairele

太热了

Too cold

Tailengle

太冷了

Too much

Taiduole

太多了

Chinese

Zhongguoren

中国人

Foreigner

Waiguoren

外国人

Airport

Jichang

机场

Railway station

Huochezhan

火车站