Learn To Speak Mandarin Chinese For Beginners

Hello and Welcome

To another dose of Chris’s Class on ”Working”  Mandarin Chinese

Chinese mandarin ”PUTONGHUA”   > expressed as PU TONG HUA

Following on from my last introduction to Chinese basic usage for travelers street use.

the purpose of this simple approach is to offer the understanding of tones

Do you remember the 4 tones?

Let’s Dive in on them below


Pinyin uses either numbers or tone marks to indicate the tones. Here is the word ‘ma’ with numbers and then tone marks:


  • 1st tone: ma1 or mā       [ Numbers Directly after the Pinyin (ma1) represents the tonal sounds ]
  • 2nd tone: ma2 or 
  • 3rd tone: ma3 or 
  • 4th tone: ma4 or 



4 tones graph

Graph of tones


Travel basics lesson:2 

[Frequently uses Phrases}

one of many entrance Wutong Mountain

Wutong Mountain Entrance


go to  > zhuǎn dào    …………   wo yao [i want] to go to [zhuan dao]  toilet [ce suo]

where is >  zài nǎ li

toilet/wc >  cè suǒ      ………….[zai na]  where is  the toilet  [ce suo]

Bank >  yín háng       ………….zai na le  [ yin yang] where is then bank

Buy > mǎi       ….     ………..    [wo yao] mai de [bing qi ling]  [ice-cream]

Doctor > yī shēng                . zai na le  ………where is  the doctor

Dentist > yá yī                       zai na le.  ………where is the dentist

Hospital  >  yī yuàn                zai nal le ………where is the hospital

Sorry     > Dui Bu Qi,

nǐ shì    >   you are

bu zhi dao  > dont understand

zài jiàn >     goodbye


Speaking Exercise:

In Mandarin there is no specific words for saying “yes” and “no.” but Instead, the verb which is used in the Mandarin question is used to make a positive or negative reply.

conversion chart

ABC learn fruit chart


For Example The Question:

Do you like rice?    Nǐ3 xǐ huan3 fàn4 ma?

The answer would be:

I like.                     ni xi huan
I don’t like.            wo bu xi huan


Mandarin Questions and Answers

Q: Nǐ yǒu bǐ ma?
Do you have a pen?

A: Méi yǒu.
No (don’t have).

Q: Nǐ yào bú yào mǎi?
Do you want to buy (it)?

A: Yào.
Yes (want).

Q: Jīntiān shì xīng qī yī ma?
Is today Monday?

A: Shì.
Yes (is)



Chinese ”Putonghua” is the language of instruction in Chinese school system, and as recent as 2014, approx 30% of the Chinese population do not speak Putonghua.
Those not speaking  Putonghua typically live in rural areas and belong to an ethnic minority group of the older generation Chinese
Exercise for you:
how to say or write:
  •  I like ice-cream
  • You are a Doctor
  • I don’t understand


This Approach

Is to GUIDE you into the basic Language gently, so attempt is to keep it simple and useful.




  • Did this post offer useful info for you?
  • Did it answer Questions or leave you wanting?
  • Would you consider living in Shenzhen?
  • Is China now a more interesting possible destination?


All comments will be responded to below.



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  • This was very informational and very interesting facts and ways to pronounce syllables and words. That is interesting how the older generation do not speak Putonghua, is it because they refuse to learn, or is it because they are very into tradition and speaking the ancient language? Would love to see posts on more words and sentences, this is great for someone traveling to China.

    • Hi Robert appreciate the kind words.Yes i will put together more on basics of mandarin in my next post,
      then older generation do speak putonghua but it is very specific to the areas they live as in dialect difference, it is a strain of mandarin but in fact they dont understand each other?
      it is incredibly big and with several provinces and smaller towns and villages make it unrivaled in variety of cuisine and language

      there are in fact traditional mandarin [more complicated to read and write] even the new generation cant speak or write it much!
      then there is simplified Chinese [the modern version] around the Mao-zi dong era


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