However, when you’re learning a brand-new language and living in a international country, there’s a tendency to develop a love/hate relationship with those really same phones. Us desire and seek communication, but the phone call rings and also the anxiety begins to swell.

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Of course, the first phone I had actually while living in China didn’t assist to squelch the apprehension. That was a terrifying, pre-pay “burner” phone that seemed to screech the number of the caller every time it rang.

Yi! Er! Ba! Wu! Liu! Qi! (Those space the Chinese numbers because that one, two, eight, five and six.) It would certainly then vibrate prefer it to be trying come exorcise some demonic force, at least once throw itself off my desk and onto the floor.

This was every scary enough, yet what happened after answering was the actual terror—inevitably the human being on the other hand was a courier, or someone chasing a bill or my landlord—a Chinese human who intended to speak in Chinese! 

Perfectly reasonable, sure, but I’d only simply started finding out the language. Ns could point and order noodles from the 饭馆 (fàn guǎn) restaurant down the road, yet discussing facility financial transactions—or even just giving my address—on the phone was a entirety other matter.

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Why It’s crucial to find out Chinese phone call Vocabulary

Alleviate the anxiety. Over time, i learned the Chinese phone conversation needn’t be the scary. The disembodied voice in truth belongs to a rational human being, who will it is in perfectly ready to sluggish down, hear friend out and make us understood. This terms will assist you manage the conversation so the you always know what’s walk on.

Here are five Chinese phone call conversation advice to survive any conversation in Chinese and also take the fear out of the phone!

5 essential Chinese phone Conversation Tips with Vocabulary

1. Learn simple Words and also Phrases

Before you have the right to talk on the phone, you’ll require some straightforward words and phrases to obtain you started. Fortunately, Chinese vocabulary dealing v making a call, comment the phone and hanging up is quite simple and intuitive. Words for call is, delightfully, 电话 (diàn huà), which literally method electronic speech.

To speak “make a call call,” girlfriend would usage the extremely common verb particle for actions entailing the hand, 打 (dǎ) together with电话 (diàn huà) to produce the term: 打电话 (dǎ diàn huà) to make a phone call. 

Makes sense, right? below are a few more an essential terms:

接电话 (jiē diàn huà) — Answer a call or answer the phone挂电话 (guà diànhuà) — Hang up发短信 (fā duǎn xìn) — To send a text message莉莉在不在 (lìlì zài bù zài?)Is Lily there?我是丽丽 (wǒ shì lì lì)This is (shǒu jī)Cell phone电话号码 (diàn huà hào mǎ)Phone number你打错了 (nǐ dǎ cuò le)You called the not correct number

2. Speak prefer a Local

Wow, your phone is ringing! Time to answer your very first phone call in China with a i was sure 你好 (nǐ hǎo), the traditional Chinese greeting because that hello, right?

Wrong. In Chinese, we don’t price the phone with 你好 (nǐ hǎo), instead we use the an easy word 喂 (wèi), which is a method of speak hello, however only over the phone. I’ve struggled to gain a clear answer together to why this is, but I think it has similar advantages to the English “hello”—it’s neutral that status and also time the day, so it’s safe to use also when girlfriend don’t understand who’s calling or what timezone they may be in.

To refer agreement and also acknowledge the you’ve heard what the other human being is saying, a common expression to use both ~ above the phone and in human is merely 好了(hǎo le) — all right. When something is i agree upon, for example, a time and a place to meet, 好的 (hǎo de) — okay, is straightforward expression to use.

The usual farewell, 再见 (zài jiàn), literally method see friend again. Perhaps since when you’re ~ above the phone you’re no really seeing them, or perhaps just due to the fact that it seems cool, the English expression bye, bye has become a popular, informal catch-all farewell. In characters, this have the right to be created as 拜拜 (bài bài).

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3. Don’t Be fear to ask Them come Speak Slower

I awoke in my hotel come the sound of a phone ringing. Answering, it take it me a couple of moments to remember whereby I was: I’d just arrived in Xi’an so late the night before. The person on the other finish was speaking Chinese quickly. I appeared to recognize the words, however my mind wasn’t making sense of them fast enough.

Still fifty percent asleep, I regulated to conjure the phrase:

不好意思,我是外国人,请说慢一点儿 (bù hǎo yì si, wǒ shì wài guó rén, qǐng shuō màn yī diǎn er)Excuse me, I’m a foreigner, please speak a little slower

That seemed to perform the trick. The human being on other end cut her rate in fifty percent and recurring her sentence. It was a good thing she walk (she was calling from the airport). My luggage—which had been shed in Chongqing—had arrived, and I had to do arrangements to choose it up.

As with many languages, aboriginal speakers the Mandarin Chinese tend to speak quickly. With a call conversation, they’re unlikely to immediately know that you’re brand-new to the language. Specifically if the call is facility or catches you unaware (landlords have a distinct talent for this), best begin with a polite request to slow down.

 说慢一点 (shuō màn yī diǎn) — Speak slower再说一遍 (zài shuō yí biàn)Say that again

You can add 请 (qǐng)please, or 不好意思 (bù hǎo yì si)I’m sorry, in prior of this requests to make them an ext polite.

For example:

不好意思, 请再说一遍 (bù hǎo yì si qǐng zài shuō yī biàn) I’m sorry, you re welcome say that again

4. Ask questions to Make sure You’re Understood

Okay, so now you know exactly how to make sure you know them, but that’s only fifty percent the conversation! because Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language and also contains sound that space unfamiliar in English, it’s every too straightforward to misspeak. For necessary conversations, or also if you’re just arranging to meet for a beer, questioning the right inquiries ensures your blog post is received.

Here are a couple of ‘quick and dirty’ methods to for sure you’re both top top the very same page and also confirm your arrangements. Repeat what the other said then tag this phrases in ~ the end to make certain you understand.

是不是 (shì bù shì) — Isn’t it?可不可以 (kě bù kě yǐ) — Literally method “Can that be?” The an interpretation is much more like “Is that okay?”对不对 (duì bù duì) — Right?

You may sound a little bit pedantic rephrasing your arrangements, however trust me—it’s far better than arriving on the wrong work or having your luggage yielded to the apartment under the street!

5. Learn come Text

Handwriting Chinese characters is notoriously difficult, but sending a message in Chinese is remarkably easy. Also if the idea of talk live ~ above the phone still seems daunting, having actually a full-on message conversation is most likely much simpler than friend think. Unequal the live call call, you have time come think and also look increase strange words in the dictionary.

To properly text in Chinese, you’ll need:

When the reply comes, girlfriend can likewise copy and paste it right right into Pleco to inspect your translation and save any type of unfamiliar words. Easy, right?

Before you understand it, you’ll be having actually long, advantageous phone conversations in Chinese. Order food with confidence, attend to that pesky landlord, and, hey, maybe even broaden your social life as well!

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* app Browse Screen bring these native Chinese videos within with via interaction captions. You deserve to tap on any type of word to instantly look that up. All words have very closely written definitions and also examples that will aid you understand how a word is used. Madness to add words you"d prefer to testimonial to a vocab list.


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The best part is the constantly keeps monitor of her vocabulary. That customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and also reminds you once it’s time to testimonial what you’ve learned. You have a 100% personalized experience.

Start making use of on the website v your computer or tablet computer or, far better yet, download the app from the iTunes or Google beat store.

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