To all the Chinese Learners, the first Chinese word you learn may be 你好“nihao”. But nobody told you that early to ask “How are you?” is to simply add 吗“ma” after “nihao”. So today, we’ll see in the following some Chinese greeting customs. Then you’ll know, in China, to properly ask “How are you?” is something more than just “Nihao ma?”.
First of all, the most common form of greeting in China is “ni hao”. Its literal meaning is “You are well” but usually translated as “Good day”. The same greeting phrased as a question (How are you?) is “ni hao ma”. The response is usually “ni hao”. You may use it on any occasion regardless of the time of the day or the social status of the person you are greeting.
Next, it is also very common to say “ni chi fan le ma” to your friend in the moring, noon or night. It just means that you show your kindness and careness rather than inviting them to have a meal. To understand this hidden meaning in “ni chi fan le ma” is very vital in your social life. This is a
Moreover, you may also hear these two phrases very often: “Mang shenme ne?”忙什么呢？(What are you busying doing these days?) and “Zuijin ruhe?” 最近如何？(How are you doing recently?). These two phrases are usually used by family members and friends, which of course show your affection and devotion.
近来可好 is basically equivalent to 最近怎么样. You can reply with “tǐnɡ hǎo de”挺好的,” hái hánɡ” 还行，”wǒ hěn hǎo”我很好,which would be similar to “I’m fine” in Chinese. Of course, you could just say a few lines about how things are going.
Many western countries accept hugs and kisses as a popular form of greeting although a handshake is still the formal way of greeting people. In China, a handshake or a simple and kind salutation is common. Handshaking was first introduced into China after the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty at the beginning of 20th Century. In ancient China, when people first met or came across in the street, they would shake hands with each other to show the sincerity to make friends of thier kindness. Now, it is also quite prevalent.
Finally, it’s also getting popular to greet your close friends with a hug and greet a business partner with a firm handshake. As we all know, Chinese people may be the worst at expressing themselves with body gestures. But nowadays, it is quite common to see two Chinese people hug together instead of just saying careless “how are you” to each other.
Watch the video below, and you will learn how to say how are you in Chinese more clearly and easily.
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Thank you for reading my post, if you have any questions about Chinese learning, please feel free to comment below.