"hello" in Mandarin Chinese
In the previous lesson we learned how to say "hello" in Mandarin Chinese. Here are some other common greetings. Audio links are marked with ► .
"GOOD MORNING" IN MANDARIN CHINESE
There are three ways to say "good morning" in Mandarin Chinese:
►zǎo ān 早安
zǎo shàng hǎo 早上好
EXPLANATION OF 早
早 (zǎo) means “morning.” It is a noun and can also be used by itself as a greeting meaning "good morning".
The Chinese character 早 (zǎo) is a composite of two character components: 日 (rì) which means "sun" and 十. The character component 十 is an old form of 甲 (jiǎ), which means “first” or “armor.” A literal interpretation of the character 早 (zǎo), therefore, is “first sun.”
EXPLANATION OF 早安
The first character 早 is explained above. The second character 安 (ān) means "peace." So, the literal translation of 早安 (zǎo ān) is "morning peace".
EXPLANATION OF 早上好
A more formal way to say "good morning" is 早上好 (zǎo shàng hǎo). We know hǎo - 好 from our first lesson. It means "good". On its own, 上 (shàng) means "up" or "upon." But in this case, 早上 (zǎo shàng) is a compound meaning "early morning." So the literal translation of 早上好 (zǎo shàng hǎo) is "early morning good".
"GOOD EVENING" IN MANDARIN CHINESE
晚上好 (wǎn shàng hǎo) means "good evening" in Chinese.
EXPLANATION OF 晚
晚 is composed of two parts: 日 and 免 (miǎn).
As established before, 日 means sun. 免 means "free" or "absolve." Thus, put together the character represents the concept of being free of the sun.
EXPLANATION OF 晚上好 AND 晚安
In the same pattern as 早上好 (zǎo shàng hǎo), we can say "good evening" with 晚上好 (wǎn shàng hǎo). The literal translation of 晚上好 (wǎn shàng hǎo) is "evening good".
Unlike 早安 (zǎo ān), 晚安 (wǎn ān) is not usually used as a greeting but rather as a farewell. The phrase means "good night," but more in terms of sending people off or saying to people before they go to bed.
These greetings should be said at the appropriate time of the day. Morning greetings should be said up to about 10 a.m. Evening greetings are usually said between about 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The standard greeting 你好 (nǐ hǎo) can be used at any time of the day or night.
As a reminder, the Pinyin Romanization used in these lessons use tone marks. Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, which means that the meanings of words depend on which tone they use. There are four tones in Mandarin:
high and level
falling and rising