Chinese, like all languages, has its own set of unique greetings which may be seemingly strange to learners of the language (this is particularly true if the two cultures are vastly different). Below, you will find commonly-used Mandarin greetings and farewells, along with corresponding pinyin pronunciations.
- 你好。 nǐ hǎo; The standard "hello" greeting. Literally means "you good."
- 您好。 nín hǎo; The same "hello" greeting as above, except that 您 (nín), like in many European languages, is the polite form of "you", used when addressing elders, or teachers etc.
- 你好吗? nǐ hǎo ma?; More often used following a greeting than not, however, this can be used as a "How are you?.
- 您好嗎? nín hǎo ma?; The same as the "nǐ hǎo ma?" above, again, except that this is used as a more polite form.
- 你怎么样? nǐ zěnmeyàng?; "What's up?", "How are you doing?"
- 幸會 xìnghuì! "Nice to meet you!"
- 久仰 jiǔyǎng; An extremely polite greeting that is not commonly used between friends, but rather between professionals meeting for the first time.
- 久聞大名 jiǔwéndàmíng; This greeting should be reserved for use towards those whom you have extreme respect for. Literal translation: "Your name is famous" / "I have heard much about you"
- 早 zǎo; Also good morning.
- 午安 wǔ'an; note: seldom used in the Mainland. Mostly used in the Republic of China and the rest of the Chinese speaking world.
- 下午好 xìawǔ hǎo! Seldom used in the Republic of China and in the Chinese speaking world.
Good evening / Good night
- 再見 zàijian; Literally "See you again".
- 明天見 míngtian jiàn; Literally "See you tomorrow".
- 拜拜 bāibāi/báibái; From English "Bye-Bye". Widely used in Hong Kong, Taiwan (ROC) and most urbanised parts of mainland China. 掰掰 (báibái) is the variant character form that is gaining popularity in ROC.
- 回頭見 huítóujiàn: roughly equivalent to "see you soon", used in northern China.
- 回見 huíjiàn; usually used in Beijing or written Chinese.
- 再會 zàihuì: Literally "[we'll] hello again". Usually used in Shanghai or other parts of China, and sometimes used at the end of TV programs.