Introductions in Chinese - Lesson 05

"Hello" or "你好 ‹ nǐhǎo ›" in Chinese is the first word said when meeting someone, whether a friend or a stranger. In this mandarin lesson, you will learn how to introduce yourself briefly.

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1. Vocabulary

We believe that to learn a language, vocabulary is needed before learning conversation. Thus, we suggest you to learn a first list of Chinese words. We recommend that you train yourself to write and pronounce several times each of them, which will improve your memorization process.

Dialogue Vocabulary

  Word Pinyin Translation  
1 你好 nǐhǎo hello
2 I; me
3 you
4 he; him
5 she; her
6 他们 tāmen they; them
7 jiào to be called; to call
8 什么 shénme what; which
9 名字 míngzi name
10 shì to be
11 shéi / shuí who
12 guó country
13 rén person
14 also; too
15 ma (particle to form closed-ended questions, placed at the end of a sentence)
16 ne (interrogative particle for known contexts, placed at the end of a sentence)
17 how; which
18 not (negative form for verbs)
19 中国 Zhōngguó China; Middle Kingdom
20 美国 Měiguó America
21 法国 Fǎguó France
22 英国 Yīngguó England

To say someone's nationality in Chinese, we add "" to the name of the country. Example : 中国+ ("China" + "person") = 中国人 which therefore means "Chinese".

Names and first names

  Word Pinyin Translation  
1 大卫 Dàwèi David
2 王丽 Wàng Lì Wang Li
3 马克 Mǎkè Mark

More Vocabulary

  Word Pinyin Translation  
1 我们 wǒmen we
2 你们 nǐmen you (plural)
3 她们 tāmen they (feminine)

2. Grammar

Before starting dialogues, let's have a look at our first grammar rules and at how to form basic sentences in Chinese.

A. Simple sentences

A Chinese simple sentence is composed as follows:

Subject + Verb + Object
  • 我 是 法国人。 ‹ Wǒ shì Fǎguórén. ›
    I am French.

B. Negative Sentences

A Chinese negative sentence uses the following structure:

Subject + + Verb + Object
  • 是 美国人。 ‹ Wǒ búshì Měiguórén.
    I am not American.

- ‹ bù › is in 4th tone, but before a verb in 4th tone, it turns into 2d tone.
- ‹ bù › is used almost in all cases, except for the verb "to have" ‹ yào › which we will see how it is used later.

C. The adverb 也 ‹ yě › "also"

In Chinese, adverbs are put before the verb, just as ‹ bù ›, seen above. A sentence with the adverb "also" ‹ yě › is no exception to the rule.

Subject + ADV + Verb + Object
Subject + + Verb + Object
  • 是 法国人。 ‹ Tā yě shì Fǎguórén. ›
    He is also French.

D. Closed-ended questions with 吗 ‹ ma ›

Closed-ended questions, encouraging the answers "yes" or "no" can be formed by adding the particle ‹ ma › at the end of an affirmative sentence.

Subject + Verb + Object + 吗?
  • 他是中国人 吗? ‹ Tā shì Zhōngguórén ma? ›
    Is he Chinese ?

E. Questions with ‹ ne ›

Using the particle ‹ ne › allow to form reciprocal questions or, more commonly, to shortly ask a question about a topic that has just been addressed.

Sentence, + Subject + 呢?
  • 我 是 法国人,你 呢? ‹ Wǒ shì Fǎguórén, nǐ ne? ›
    I am French, and you ?
  • 他 叫 大卫,她 呢? ‹ Tā jiào Dàwèi, tā ne? ›
    His name is David, what about her ?

F. Other forms of question

There are other interrogative particles used to ask questions like ‹ nǎ ›, ‹ shéi ›. In Chinese, the answer resume exactly the question by replacing the interrogative words by the response :

  • Q: 他们是 国人? ‹ Tāmen shì nǎ guó rén?
    Q: What is their nationality ?
    R: 他们是 美国人 ‹ Tāmen shì Měiguórén. ›
    R: They are of American Nationality.
  • Q: 她是 谁? ‹ Tā shì shéi ?
    Q: Who is she ?
    R: 她是 王丽 ‹ Tā shì Wàng Lì. ›
    R: She is Wang Li.
  • Q: 是美国人? ‹ Shéi shì Měiguórén? ›
    Q: Who is American ?
    R: 大卫 是美国人。 ‹ Dàwèi shì Měiguórén. ›
    R: David is American.

3. Dialogues

Try to understand these dialogues in spoken and written, without looking at the translation. If you do not understand, review again the vocabulary and grammar. We also recommend you to repeat and memorize the dialogues because it will boost your memorization process and be useful in everyday life.

Dialogue N° 1


- 你好。 ‹ Nǐhǎo. ›
- 你好。 ‹ Nǐhǎo. ›
- 我叫大卫。你叫什么名字? ‹ Wǒ jiào Dàwèi. Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi? ›
- 我叫王丽。 ‹ Wǒ jiào Wàng Lì. ›

Translation :

- Hello.
- Hello
- My name is David. What is your name ?
- My name is Wang Li.

Dialogue N° 2


- 他们是谁? ‹ Tāmen shì shéi? ›
- 她是王丽,她是中国人。他是马克,他是美国人。 ‹ Tā shì Wàng Lì, tā shì Zhōngguórén. Tā shì Mǎkè, tā shì Měiguórén. ›
- 你也是美国人吗? ‹ Nǐ yě shì Měiguórén ma? ›
- 不是,我是加拿大人。你呢?你是哪国人? ‹ Bú shì. Wǒ shì Jiānádàrén. Nǐ ne? Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén? ›
- 我是法国人。 ‹ Wǒ shì Fǎguórén. ›

Translation :

- Who are they ?
- She is Wang Li; she is Chinese. He is Mark, he is American.
- Are you American too ?
- No, I am Canadian, and you ? What is your Nationality?
- I am French.

4. Exercise

Try to answer the following question in Chinese :

- 你好。我叫大卫。你叫什么名字? ‹ Nǐhǎo. Wǒ jiào Dàwèi. Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi? ›

If you don't know how to say your name in Chinese, you can use our first name phonetic translator or get a "Chinese" name according to your personality here.

Chinese numbers