Beginner Chinese – Self-Introduction Posted by sasha on Feb 21, 2013 in grammar, Vocabulary
When learning a new language, one of the first things you need to learn how to do is introduce yourself. It’s also a good idea to learn how to ask questions to others so you can get to know them. Today I’ll provide a basic guide for how to do so.
- Q: What’s your name? (你叫什么名字？nǐ jiào shén me míng zì)
A: My name is… (我叫… – wǒ jiào…) OR (我的名字是… – wǒ de míng zì shì…)
This is a very common and informal way to ask someone’s name. Both answers can be used, but it’s probably easier and more common to use the first one. Sometimes, less is more. This is the equivalent of asking someone’s first name in English.
- Q: What’s your surname? (您贵姓? – nín guì xìng)
A: My surname is… (我姓… – wǒ xìng…)
This is a more formal and polite way to ask someone’s name. Note the use of 您 as opposed to 你 – it is a more formal way to say “you” in Chinese. Think when you’re talking to an elder, a teacher, or someone you should show respect to.
- Q: Which country are you from? (你是哪国人? – nǐ shì nǎ guó rén)
A: I’m from… (我是… 人 – wǒ shì… rén)
Since you’re a foreigner in China, this is the most common way someone will ask you where you’re from. To answer, simply insert the Chinese name for your country into the phrase “我是… 人.” For example, I would answer “I’m American” (我是美国人 – wǒ shì měi guó rén).
- Q: Where are you from? (你是哪里的人 – nǐ shì nǎ lǐ de rén)
A: I’m from… (我是… 的 – wǒ shì… de)
This is the question you can ask a Chinese person to find out where they are from in this massive country. You may hear an answer like, “I’m a Beijinger” (我是北京的 – wǒ shì běi jīng de).
- Q: What’s your job? (你做什么工作? – nǐ zuò shén me gōng zuò)
A: I’m a/an… (我是… – wǒ shì…)
Just learn the Chinese word for your job title and add it to the end of your answer. For example, “I’m an English teacher” (我是英语老师 – wǒ shì yīng yǔ lǎo shī). This post I wrote about my job includes in Chinese should help you learn to talk about yours.
- Q: How old are you? (你多大? – nǐ duō dà)
A: I’m… years old. (我… 岁 – wǒ… suì)
To answer this one, just insert the number for your age. As for myself, I’d currently answer, “‘I’m 27 years old” (我二十七岁 – wǒ èr shí qī suì). Of course, you might not want to ask a lady older than you for her age. It’s not such a stigma here in China as it is in Western cultures, but it is catching on a little and some women might not want to answer this one.
- Q: How many people are in your family? (你家有几个人? – nǐ jiā yǒu jǐ gè rén)
A: There are… people in my family. (我家有… 个人 – wǒ jiā yǒu… gè rén)
Just add the number of people into the middle of the sentence. To answer this question, I say, “There are 9 people in my family” (我家有九个人 – wǒ jiā yǒu jiǔ gè rén). To learn more detailed vocabulary and grammar structures for talking about family, you can read this post I made in Chinese about my family.
- Q: Are you married? (你结婚了吗? – nǐ jié hūn le ma)
A: Yes, I’m married. (我结婚了 – wǒ jié hūn le); No, I’m not. (没有 – méi yǒu)
- Q: Do you have children? (你有孩子吗? – nǐ yǒu hái zi ma)
A: Yes, I do. (有 – yǒu); No, I don’t. (没有 – méi yǒu)
If you do have kids, you might want to learn a few more words, such as “son” (儿子 – Ér zi) and “daughter” (女儿 – nǚ’ér).
- Q: What are your hobbies? (你的爱好是什么? – nǐ de ài hào shì shén me)
A: My hobbies are… (我的爱好是… – wǒ de ài hào shì…)
Of course there are tons of words you could learn on the topic of hobbies. To help you out more with that one, here’s an article I wrote in Chinese about my hobbies.
All of the information from this post condensed into a short video.
Well, there you go. Use these questions and practice introducing yourself. Get out there and meet someone else who speaks Chinese and try them out. Once you’ve introduced yourself and met a new person, you can say “I’m pleased to meet you” (我很高兴认识你 – wǒ hěn gāo xìng rèn shi nǐ). To review all of the vocabulary and phrases from this post, check out a post I made a while back introducing myself in Chinese.
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