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Learning Article : How Do You Really Greet In Chinese?

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How Do You Really Greet In Chinese?

Chinese people don't say 你好! as often as foreigners do because it is pragmatically not the equivalent of Hello, but rather How do you do? Check out how people in China really greet!

Jan 27, 2015 12:00 AM
Comments · 31

AARGH! Reading this excellent article put me in a good mood, but now seeing the five million “Where's the pinyin?!" comments has got me feeling very peevish!

Requesting a Chinese native speaker transliterate everything they write into pinyin is very gauche. It's the equivalent of asking an English native speaker to transcribe all their text into phonetic alphabet (it's not so bad here, actually, as the writer is a teacher. But I cringe every time I see learners on this site ask regular Chinese users "Can you please write in pinyin?")

There are some very easy solutions to this:

1. Download the browser extension "zhongwen", which shows pinyin whenever you hover your mouse pointer over the characters.

2. Copy and paste the characters into Google Translate, translate them into any language. Surprise! The pinyin shows up automatically below the Chinese text.

3. Pleco's very useful "Clipboard" feature shows you the Chinese characters AND the pinyin AND the English translation!!! (

By the way, I personally agree with the writer's decision to omit the pinyin. If you struggle even with very basic characters like 你最近怎么样?then you clearly need the reading practice.

Probably a lot of people reading this will think I'm being a grouch, but I'm actually trying to be are the three links you need to never have to ask for pinyin ever again.

October 13, 2016

Hello! That's a great article! But as a total beginner I haven't yet learnt those characters =( Really wanted them to be written in pīnyīn as well...

March 3, 2015

Great Article Grace! I agree with everything you said and the comments above. I am also a foreigner in China.

I suggest though that you add pinyin to your article, it will make your article more useful to the beginner learners.

August 10, 2015

Looks like a great in depth article ... I could really use this for work but as you have written all the phrases in the script I cannot ! 


Total beginner so pinyin would have been helpful. 



September 17, 2015

Hey, that was a great article! When i first came to China i was so confused as to why people kept asking me whether i had eaten or not when they saw me. 

Alot of friends greet me with 你去哪里啊when they pass me on the street and like you say i don't think they are really actually wanting to know so I'm still not to sure what i actually reply with! 


Thanks for the read. 



February 11, 2015
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, German
Learning Language