Saturday, July 6, 2013

You good, me good, everyone good - 你好, 我好, 大家好!

So we've all heard of the greeting 你好, Ni Hao. I get this a lot from non-Asian people trying to strike up a conversation with me. Although the effort is appreciated, it sounds a bit pretentious and mocking at times, depending on the way the speaker says it. 

To a natural Mandarin speaker, 你好 is usually followed by 吗? So together it would be, "你好吗?". Literally translated, it means, "You good?" Make sure the intonation is correct, because this is what makes or breaks it. 

The listener would usually respond with, "我很好", which means "I very good". Or "不太好", which means "not so good". (Normally one wouldn't say "我不好“, which literally means "I no good").

Essentially, a whole conversation could be started with 你好:(I have indicated the pronunciations with the Pin Yin and corresponding tone after each Chinese phrase).

A: 你好吗?Ni2 hao3 ma1? How are you?

B: 我很好。你呢?Wo3 hen3 hao3, ni3 ne1?. Very good and you?

A: 我也很好. Wo3 ye3 hen3 hao3. I am good as well.

B:    那就好. Na4 jiu4 hao4. That's good. 

So you see, 好 is a very important word in Chinese. Here are some useful adjectives in Chinese:

不好 = not good

很好 = very good

最好 = the best

That's it for this post. Good luck with practicing 好! 祝你好运! Zhu4 ni3 hao3 yun4! 

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