打招呼 (dă zhāohu) “Say hi”
In the Chinese culture, relationships with other members of the group affiliation and the stance that one takes to socialize interpersonally plays a dominant role. Here are five most used expressions in Chinese, from informal to formal as followed.
(It can be used in all occasions.)
嗨 (hāi) “Hi”、嘿 (hēi) “Hey”
Hey! SAY them to your friends!
Originated from what?
“Hi” and “Hey” in English.
Who rarely says this?
The elderly, except for the cool ones.
早安 (zăo’ān)/午安 (wŭ’ān)/晚安 (wăn’ān)
早安 (zăo’an) “Good morning!”
In China, they may say 早上好 (zăoshang hăo) as well.
午安 (wŭ’ān) “Good afternoon!”
In China, they may say 下午好 (xiàwŭ hăo) as well.
晚安 (wăn’ān) “Good evening/ good night!”
Same here, the Chinese people may say 晚上好 (wănshang hăo) as well.
你好 (nǐ hǎo) “How do you do.”
你好 (nǐ hǎo) literally means “you” “good”
你 (nǐ) is a neutral word which is less formal than 您 (nín).
You can use it when you greet an acquaintance or are meeting new people in a less formal context. To our friends and family? Well, not so much.
您好 (nín hăo) “How do you do.” (respectful form)
您好 (nín hăo) is also “you” “good” but in a rather respectful form.
It is used frequently when we first meet new people.
In a very formal occasion, such as a business conference or interviews.
When you answer an unknown call, you can also use 您好 (nín hăo).
Moreover, always use 您好 (nín hăo) if you are interacting with your customers at work.
幸会 (xìnghuì) “It’s my great honor to meet you.”
Very formal but kind of old-fashioned
幸会 (xìnghuì) is also a way to greet people, nowadays you will only hear the elderly use it, or see it in written Chinese.
Most of the Chinese people hold various bonding with their relatives, families and people in our social circle. You can definitely tell it from how diverse the ways we greet each other. Therefore, you may want to be precise in using Chinese to greet to avoid awkward situations and misunderstanding. Step out to the world and start your journey into the Chinese speaking communities now!