Hello in Chinese

Feeling like nǐhǎo (你好) is no longer sufficient for saying hello to your Chinese-speaking friends? You've come to the right place! Here in this free lesson, you will learn different ways to greet friends and families, colleagues and even strangers.

Be sure to listen to the recordings and practice saying those terms. Once you've mastered the "hello" scene, it's a lot more easier to segue the conversation into areas that you are really passionate about!

How to say "hello" in Chinese

We are extremely lucky to be living in an era where modern, or vernacular, Chinese is in vogue. In older times, saying hello could be a handful as the term to be used differs according to the time of the year, the person you are speaking with, the purpose of such conversation and so on. Nowadays, people more or less just go with simple "hello" and "hi", or maybe have a word play with phrases as casual as nǐ zěnmeyàng (你怎么样?), meaning "what's up?", to the more polite zuìjìn hǎoma (最近好吗? ), or "how is it going?".

As Chinese people aren't exactly big fans of hand shaking, cheek kissing or hugging, these hello's alone will get you a long way. So don't be shy when you practice saying them!

Pronouncing "hello" in Chinese

Chinese women - How are you?

The only tricky part in saying hello is that there are two ways of saying "you" in Chinese - the formal nín (您) and the casual (你). Just make sure to use nín (您) when you are addressing to someone you're meeting for the first time, a senior in terms of age or ranking, and a respected figure.

Now, let's give those terms a try!

Sometimes, people might even just say "hello" and "hi" as in English when meeting friends or families. And just in case you are seeing someone who you haven't seen in a long time, the classic "long time no see" comes in handy! Let's give them some practice, shall we?

And now, to follow right behind those "hello's" and "hi's", here are some useful phrases.

Lastly, if you want to make a perfect impression on someone that you're meeting for the first time (think potential boss or future in-laws), you have to nail these extremely polite and smooth lines!

Great job! Now that you have a proper idea how to meet someone and start a conversation, why not explore more Chinese with us? Until the next lesson.

If you want more lessons on Chinese salutations then I recommend that you check out the following:

Xià  jiàn (下次见)

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Lin Ping
Rocket Chinese


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Improve your understanding of spoken Chinese. With Hear it Say it! you can tune your ear to Chinese, increase your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation at the same time! Ready?

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Write it! helps you to improve your written Chinese and your understanding of sentence structures. Just listen to the audio and type in what you hear!

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Know It!

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