Compared to other languages in the western countries, Chinese seems to be one of the more difficult languages for English speakers or for me as a German. As in any other language Chinese has a lot of different dialects e.g. Cantonese which is mostly spoken around Hongkong. However, Mandarin is the most spoken dialect. If you don’t have the time to learn this beautiful language with it’s more than 50.000 different signs, it’s at least useful to know some basic words as not everyone in Taiwan can speak English.
You can use these vocabulary in restaurants, at the night markets, bars, shops or maybe if you want to get a massage. There will be a lot of situations where you will be happy to know at least some words.
ni hao – hello
bai bai – goodbye Easy to remember because it sounds like the English bye bye. Literally it means “worship worship”.
xiexie (Schae schae) – thanks
hao – yes
bu yao – no/ not want
zhege – this If you want to point out a meal on the menu or at the street markets.
ting bu dong – I don’t understand
piaoliang – beautiful One of my favorite words. You can use it for the nature or amazing buildings or temples. The people love to hear that something is beautiful in their country.
haochi – delicious
Duoshao (qian)? – How much?
Na Ge – that/ that one You will here Na Ge a lot of times. Some times it sounds more like “Nei Ge”. It can mean that or they also use it when they make a little break to think like “errrrr” or “well” or “umm”. So it is meaningless.
Numbers are important for shopping, the time, bus numbers and more:
1 – yī [ie]
2 – ér [ar]
3 – sān [sahn]
4 – sì [suh]
5 – wǔ [uoo]
6 – liù [lie-oh]
7 – qī [chie]
8 – bā [bah]
9 – jiǔ [dschie-oh]
10 – shí [schr]