ni hao ma or not ni hao ma?

It all began with a poll I developed on facebook asking people’s opinion ~ above the renowned Chinese phrase “ni hao ma”…


Originally i only provided 3 options, the other choices were included by others and here room the 3 choices I provided:

nǐ hǎo ma?ní hǎo ma?Chinese never use “how are you” to greet people.

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Are you prepared for the cold tough truth? Chinese never use “how room you” come greet people. Boom! walk you gain it right?

Let me an initial summarise the result of this poll:

76 world participated in the pollOnly 11.8% of people (9 the end of 76) determined the correct answer (Chinese never use “how space you” to greet people). 3 out of the 9 votes were voted by Chinese. So really there is only 8.2% of people (6 out of 73) obtained it right.91.8% of human being (67 out of 73) obtained it wrong

Surprise! Yes, i am serious. I was born and raised in Beijing. I’ve never heard aboriginal Chinese greet one an additional with “ni hao ma/你好吗” in my whole life! I’ve just heard this greeting native non-native speakers, i m sorry is backed up through the statistics.

Why was i taught “ni hao ma 你好吗” then?

Because friend asked because that it. “How room you” is the many common means to greet world in English, because of this it’s organic for an English speak to ask a Chinese exactly how to say “how room you?” Well, precise translating “how space you” into Chinese is “ni hao ma”. You get what girlfriend ask for.

But sadly, what you desire is not always what you need. Friend were not told the this is no the method Chinese greet one another. If you’ve learnt “ni hao ma” from a Chinese language course, chances are the food is draft by one English speaker not a aboriginal Chinese.

nǐ hǎo or ní hǎo?

Another thing I’d choose to point out is the together of ni hao 你好. As you can see indigenous the poll:

82.6% of human being voted for “nǐ hǎo ma”. (38 the end of 46 people)17.4% of human being voted because that “ní hǎo ma”. (8 out of 46 people)

If you have actually learnt about the Chinese tones, you would certainly probably know that “ni 你” is a 3rd tone character and also “hao 好” is also a third tone character. Climate you put these two characters together you acquire “nǐ hǎo”, right? Wrong. When you have actually two 3rd tone personalities put with each other the first character is pronounce in the 2nd tone. for this reason the correct pronunciation must be “ní hǎo”. You’ll actually find it difficult to express both characters in the 3rd tone fast. Just 17.4% of people got this one right.

I know some world may get pedantic around the tone marks. Although that is pronounced as “ní hǎo”, the pinyin should still be composed as “nǐ hǎo”. In mine opinion, it’s more important come teach human being the ideal pronunciation than to teach castle the right pinyin marks. Since at the end of the day, what’s great about composing out perfect pinyin clues while getting the joint wrong? top top the various other hand, ns think it’s probably okay to store the initial tone clues and plainly explain come the learner why the 3rd tone is express in the 2nd tone.

How perform Chinese greet one one more then?

Here space the most typical ways:

nǐ zuì jìn hǎo ma? 你最近好吗?Have you been well lately?

Adding words zuì jìn (lately) makes enough difference to do the distinction between a aboriginal speaker and a international speaker. Unequal “how are you” in English, this sentence is generally considered to it is in genuinely caring for the person being asked and not just merely saying hi to people.

nǐ zuì jìn zěn me yàng? 你最近怎么样?How are you lately?

This is one of the most popular Chinese greetings. If in doubt, just use this one.

nǐ zuì jìn máng shén me ne? 你最近忙什么呢?What are you busy through lately?

People room busy nowadays, and therefore questioning what they space up to is quite common.

háo jǐu bú jiàn. 好久不见. Long time no see.

This one is right forward enough. Just a note on the pronunciation:

hǎo jǐu is pronounced as háo jǐu.bù jiàn is pronounced as bú jiàn.

chī le ma? 吃了吗?Have you eaten yet?

This is not a joke. This supplied to it is in a really popular expression for greetings yet not anymore. Specifically in Beijing. World used to ask the other human being if castle have consumed yet to suggest “come eat in ~ my place”. If the other human replies with “yes, i have.” then you would certainly say “eat a little more” (in mine place). Otherwise, the other person would to speak “no, yet going come eat now.” to politely refuse the request. No one uses this expression now because it’s just too the end of date.

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When talking to a friend

Often times ní hǎo 你好 is unnecessarynǐ can be omitted native “nǐ zuì jìn zěn me yàng” and “nǐ zuì jìn hǎo ma”

There you have actually it. The Chinese ways to greet one another.