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Do You Speak Mandarin?

Practicing Mandarin

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Be sure to practice your Mandarin every chance you get. With just a few words and phrases, you can have a simple conversation with a Mandarin speaker.

Here are a few useful phrases to explain your level of Mandarin and whether you understand or not. Note that there is a difference between understanding spoken Mandarin (tīng dé dǒng) and written Chinese (kàn dé dǒng) – the difference between understanding the sound (tīng) and the sight (kàn) of the language.

Audio clips are marked with ►

I Speak A Little Mandarin

I speak a little Mandarin.
Wǒ huì shuō yīdiǎndiǎn Zhōngwén.
(trad) 我會說一點點中文。
(simp) 我会说一点点中文。

Do you speak Mandarin?
Nǐ huì shuō Zhōngwén ma?
(trad) 你會說中文嗎?
(simp) 你会说中文吗?

Yes, a little.
Huì, yī diǎn diǎn.
(trad) 會,一點點。
(simp) 会,一点点。

Not very well.
Bú tài hǎo.
不太好。

I speak Mandarin.
Wǒ huì shuō Zhōngwén.
(trad) 我會說中文。
(simp) 我会说中文。

My Mandarin is not good.
Wǒ de Zhōngwén bù hǎo.
我的中文不好。

I only know a few words.
Wǒ zhǐ zhīdao jǐge zì.
(trad) 我只知道幾個字。
(simp) 我只知道几个字。

Does your friend speak Mandarin?
Nǐ de péngyou huì shuō Zhōngwén ma?
(trad) 你的朋友會說中文嗎?
(simp) 你的朋友会说中文吗?

No, my friend doesn’t speak Mandarin.
Bú huì, wǒ de péngyou bú huì shuō Zhōngwén.
(trad) 不會, 我的朋友不會說中文。
(simp) 不会, 我的朋友不会说中文。

Do you understand (spoken) Mandarin?
Nǐ tīng dé dǒng Zhōngwén ma?
(trad) 你聽得懂中文嗎?
(simp) 你听得懂中文吗?

Do you understand (written) Mandarin?
Nǐ kàn dé dǒng Zhōngwén ma?
(trad) 你看得懂中文嗎?
(simp) 你看得懂中文吗?

I can speak Mandarin, but I can’t read it.
Wǒ huì shuō Zhōngwén dànshì wǒ kàn bùdǒng.
(trad) 我會說中文但是我看不懂。
(simp) 我会说中文但是我看不懂。

I can read Chinese characters, but I can’t write them.
Wǒ kàn dé dǒng Zhōngwén zì dànshì wǒ bú huì xiě.
(trad) 我看得懂中文字但是我不會寫。
(simp) 我看得懂中文字但是我不会写。

My pronunciation is not very good.
Wǒ de fāyīn búshì hěnhǎo.
(trad) 我的發音不是很好。
(simp) 我的发音不是很好。

Do you understand me?
Nǐ tīng dé dǒng wǒ shuō shénme ma?
(trad) 你聽得懂我說什麼嗎?
(simp) 你听得懂我说什么吗?

Yes, I can understand you.
Shì, wǒ tīng dé dǒng.
(trad) 是, 我聽得懂。
(simp) 是, 我听得懂。

I can’t understand you very well.
Wǒ tīng bú tài dǒng nǐ shuō shénme.
(trad) 我聽不太懂你說什麼。
(simp) 我听不太懂你说什么。

Please speak more slowly.
Qǐng shuō màn yīdiǎn.
(trad) 請說慢一點。
(simp) 请说慢一点。

Please repeat that.
Qǐng zài shuō yīcì.
(trad) 請再說一次。
(simp) 请再说一次。

I don’t understand.
Wǒ tīng bú dǒng.
(trad) 我聽不懂。
(simp) 我听不懂。

How do you say XXX in Mandarin?
XXX Zhōngwén zěnme shuō?
(trad) XXX 中文怎麼說?
(simp) XXX 中文怎么说?

Take The Quiz

Now that you're familiar with the phrases in this lesson, take the audio quiz to test your knowledge.

Do You Speak Mandarin audio quiz

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