Chinese Language Blog

Greetings and Salutations! Posted by on Jan 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

When beginning to learn mandarin, finding someone to practice speaking with (and endure your tonal deficiencies) is no easy task. Even in China, the wrong pronunciation or a wrong word will leave you with a blank smiling face, and more and more frequently now, a response in English.

Here are some greetings and salutations that will help get a conversation going. Remember, in Chinese culture, interactions between people are often based on their 关系 (guān ) or relationships based on trust, honor and friendship. Endear yourself to some native Chinese speakers and your mandarin will improve overnight.


你怎么样? (Nǐ zěnme yàng?): “What’s up?” or “How are you doing?”

幸会 (Xìng huì): “Nice to meet you!” or “It’s a pleasure”

久仰 (Jiǔyǎng): An extremely polite greeting that is not commonly used between friends, but rather between professionals meeting for the first time. This phrase is used to show one’s humble attitude and professional demeanor.

久闻大名 (Jiǔwén dàmíng) This greeting should be reserved for use towards those whom you have extreme respect for, or who is quite well-known. Literally translates: “Your name is famous” which roughly means “I have heard much about you”.


親愛的… (qīn’aì de): “Dear (beloved), …” Often used for leaders and loved ones.

尊敬的… (zūnjìng de): “Revered …” For spiritual, political and famous persons.

敬愛的… (jìng’aì de): “Dear esteemed …” Often used for colleagues and distinguished persons.



再见 (Zàijiàn), which literally translates as “See you again”.

明天见 Míngtiān jiàn; Literally “See you tomorrow”.

拜拜 (Bàibài), which is a hybrid form of a Chinglish homonym for “Bye-Bye”. Widely used in Hong Kong, Taiwan (ROC) and most urbanised parts of mainland China. 掰掰 is the variant character form that has gained so much popularity, it has actually been inducted into the official Xinhua dictionary.

回头见 (Huítóujiàn), which roughly translates to “see you soon”. Used in northern China.

再会 Zàihuì: Literally “adieu”. Usually used in Shanghai or other part of China, and sometimes used at the end of TV programs, soaps and sitcoms.

Follow Steve on Twitter: @seeitbelieveit

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About the Author: Stephen

Writer and blogger for all things China related. Follow me on twitter: @seeitbelieveit -- My Background: Fluent Mandarin speaker with 3+ years working, living, studying and teaching throughout the mainland. Student of Kung Fu and avid photographer and documentarian.


  1. Robert:

    nice post

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