Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
Larry Language Lover

Chinese Small Talk?

Recommended Posts

Larry Language Lover

Why do Chinese textbooks teach 你好吗 to westerners if this is not something Chinese people actually use in light conversation or for small talk?

I heard they use it, but only when they are sincerely interested, like maybe when you have gone through something difficult.

Those of you that live in China and converse regularly,  what is the "next thing"  you normally say after 你好?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

abcdefg
Quote

Those of you that live in China and converse regularly,  what is the "next thing"  you normally say after 你好?

 

 
I would draw a distinction between "face to face" small talk and "instant messaging" small talk done on the phone. 

 

For the latter, I very, very seldom get the textbook 你好 and never hear or use the 你好吗?你在干嘛呀? Would probably be a more common opener. Perhaps 你过得还好?

 

Face to face I sometimes get 你好 but never hear or use the 你好吗?In the morning it's more likely just a 早。Later in the day it might be nothing at all or if I meet a neighbor coming or going it's more likely to be a 哦,你出去 or 哦,你来了。

 

This stuff will vary according to where the interchange takes place: near home, at the office, at school, out on the street. It also varies with age of the participants. Teenagers probably say cool stuff to each other that I cannot even guess. Perhaps there are also regional variations; I don't really know. (I live in the SW.) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
david387

你吃饭了吗?is almost like "How's it going?" for people that you know. Very common. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
David Zhao

Ni hao ma is not uesed very often in daily greetings. Drop one character and you get ni hao, which is usually used in greeting someone. More often used is chi le ma in greeting a friend or an acquaintance. Jia wei? which means the Same is often said to greet someone. To us Chinese food is of the primary importance, hence the greeting way. Never take the contents of a textbook for granted. You should also learn Chinese in real life. That is What I do, namely, learn Hokkien from the local people instead of books, on which I have limited trust.

 

THe Chinese textbook is a phoney!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jim

Round our village people use ask/tell each other what they're off to do - going up the market, fetching a parcel, taking kid to school etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
suMMit

returning home usually 回来了

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
889

你来了。

 

Very very common, but I admit it always stumps me for a suitable response. So I just grunt a bit like the Chinese equivalent of a quick "Yep."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
suMMit

i guess that 你好吗 aimed more.at introducing forming a question. also kinda similar to the old “how are you” "i am fine thank you, and you?" in english textbooks that people dont usually say。

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dawei3
5 hours ago, Larry Language Lover said:

Why do Chinese textbooks teach 你好吗 to westerners

I'd like to know this answer.  It's not just text books;  lots of the different language CDs I've listened to teach this too.  I really like Pimsleur's new app, but even at Pimsleur Level 5, they're still lots of words friends say they "never" use or they say are used in print only.  

 

Other openers can be:  你最近怎么样?  工作怎么样?

 

If you are meeting someone for the 1st time, after some opening pleasantries, 你是国内中国哪里人?  is great way to get someone talking because almost everyone wants to talk about where they are from (even if they are from the city where you're talking with them).  Also, for new learners, it's more likely they can understand the response.  There are a few ways to ask where they are from, but I've found this specific phrase in particular gets the response I'm looking for. 

 

I've found if I just ask 你是哪里人? Many will respond 我是中国人  (which results in sort of a strange situation because I obviously knew they were Chinese).   Asking 你是从哪里来的? could mean "where was the last place you came from?"  

 

Another way to ask this is 你的老家在哪里?  The problem with this is you're really asking where the person's father is from.  Since families move more now, it's question that doesn't always get the response you want (i.e., if you're a new learner, the response could be complicated).  

 

I'm mentioning all of these latter versions of "where are you from?"  because I was taught them early on, used them many times and sometimes generated confusion.  Only much later did a friend teach me 你是国内中国哪里人?  Once in a while I still use 你是哪里人? (because it's shorter and I assume the person must know I know they are Chinese), but then I mentally kick myself if they say 我是中国人。

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
suMMit

@Dawei3 lets say im in wuhan, i like: 

 

你是武汉本地人吗

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
889

Isn't that redundant? I'd say, 你是本地人,对吗?

 

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
suMMit

i dont know, i learned the answer in that form, so i assumed it could be made into a question the same way. wouldnt it be like saying:

 

Are you a local Chicagoan?

Screenshot_2019-11-03-14-10-29-863_com.android.browser.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lu

I think 'Are you from around here'/你是【本市】人吗' is the best way to ask where someone is from. In China because you neatly sidestep the 我是中国人 answer and still get the reply you actually wanted. I've also had good results with 你是哪里来的 and 你是中国什么地方来的.

 

In the West it can also work well, especially for people who look like their parents might have been from another continent entirely, because it gives them the option to say 'Yes' or 'Actually I'm from the next town over' (or 'No, I'm from another continent entirely') without making them feel like you're implying they are not from here because they are not white.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
889

Adding 武汉, like most redundancies, emphasizes that the person is from Wuhan. So, it fits a bit more in a response than a question, depending on context of course.

 

-- 你是本地人,对吗?

-- 那当然了! 我是武汉本地人。

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Larry Language Lover
7 hours ago, Dawei3 said:

你是国内中国哪里人

This is so good, thanks!    I was just trying to formulate a similar question last night in my brain and I thought of 你在中国来自哪儿 for online chat, but I don't know if that is a correct Chinese sentence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Larry Language Lover
13 hours ago, abcdefg said:

你在干嘛呀

This is interesting because that is exactly what Chinese people ask me in English first thing in chat.  I thought it strange at first and for us it sounds kind of intrusive.  I think this is a good example of cultural differences and fits real well with others response that Chinese greetings can literally be "you are leaving", "you arrived home", etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Larry Language Lover

On a similar note, could anybody tell me if there are any questions which are commonly asked in English that Chinese people find too personal?  I ask this because a couple chat partners from France and from Germany both shared with me conversations online with Chinese people where the Chinese person actually became irritated with certain questions like "do you have any brothers and sisters"  or common questions like this,  I can't remember which ones. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
889

I was once told not to ask about the ancestral village, 祖乡.

 

So I don't, but as a result I don't really know if it's inappropriate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
suMMit

 你有兄弟姐妹吗 do youhave any brothers or sisters, i learned in an early lesson. ive never suspected anyone being irritated at it. I guess a lot of people dont, because of the one child policy, but nobody has ever seemed annoyed in the least.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flickserve

I'm always saying 您好 to new introductions! After that I will give my name, then ask 我怎么称呼您?If introduced by another person, I might say 很高兴认识您. 

 

Then after that, I will apologise for my lack of good Chinese because of xyz reason. That gives the other party a chance to say 你说得很好 ,and then I can say 哪里哪里。

 

By giving the other person a chance to exchange compliments, it sets up a good platform to move on.

 

So far, I am meeting more people in my professional capacity.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...