The 5 Mandarin Expressions To Know and Use in PalFish Freetalk

The 5 Mandarin Expressions To Know and Use in PalFish Freetalk

Welcome to a new blog post from PalFish Paul! (AKA Irish Paul).

So, now that you've learned some of the basics about Palfish:


Here is the video form of this article, but you can read below for a written guide too!

Actually, funnily enough, this is the first question people tend to ask me when I mention Palfish to them: ‘But don't you have to speak Chinese to teach Chinese people?'

The answer is an emphatic: No. Of course you don't.

The incredible development of the Chinese education system this century, with its greatly increased emphasis on English, means that more Chinese people than ever can boast a solid command of English from a young age.

Far from needing Chinese, some of my Freetalk students speak Shakespearean English so damn eloquently that it puts me to shame, and I'm the one being reminded of the sheer range and depth of English vocabulary.

Of course, you do occasionally receive adult students who have barely a word of English, and this can be a bit of an awkward situation, but at that point, even with fluent Mandarin you'd struggle to teach a coherent English class.

You could even go so far as to say that speaking the native language fluently could prove a hindrance to English learning…

…as you'd simply fall back on the native tongue at the slightest sign of confusion, thus negating English development.

So, learning Chinese is your prerogative as a Palfish teacher not to help with your actual teaching, but more as a cultural asset to help you bond with your students.

mandarin expressions to know
Click to learn how to apply to PalFish

As something of a polyglot, I can attest to the value and worth of speaking the relevant language of your place of residence and/or your interlocutors, as it helps mitigate culture clash, and build cultural bridges.

So let's get cracking with 5 Mandarin Phrases to learn for PalFish

1. Ni Hao /Wei

OK, not exactly splitting the atom here with this first Mandarin expression am I !

I'm sure it needs no introduction or explanation: it's the standard Chinese greeting, the equivalent of ‘Hey/Hello.' Quirkily enough, when translated into English, it literally means ‘You good?' (Ni = You, Hao = Good)

A nice little way to open your conversations.

You can also answer the phone with ‘Way'? This is the word used to answer phone calls.

Check out all the info on the PalFish Philippines Teacher Roles!

2. Ni chi le ma? Wo chi le!

Have you eaten yet? Yes, I've eaten!

The Chinese love their food!

If you thought Westerners were Foodies, check out your Chinese students' Palfish and We Chat feeds….they're full of food pictures!

In China, just like in many Asian countries, food and dining are such an integral part of the culture that its embedded in the daily language: rather than simply saying ‘Hello' to greet as we do in the West, they commonly ask ‘Have you eaten yet?, just like in Thailand.

The answer, when you've eaten, is…

4.'Wo chi le!'

5.Wo de zhong wen ma ma hu hu

‘My Chinese is only so-so/I only speak a little Chinese.'

I have WWE superstar John Cena to thank for this one!

I saw a video of him speaking very decent Mandarin at an event in China, and he made the audience laugh endearingly with this expression.

Although i've been reliably informed that this expression is somewhat obsolete among native Mandarin speakers, I can attest for its charm, as every time I use it, I manage to get a nice laugh from my student. It's a disarming ice-breaker, and is fun to say!

3. Xie Xie! Zaijian!

We began with a pretty obvious one, and we're going to finish with an even more obvious one: thanks and goodbye!

Xie xie is the standard way of saying thanks in both an informal and formal setting, while ‘Zaijian' is a casual ‘See ya/Goodbye!'

So there you are, the Mandarin kickstarter course you've been waiting for, and the perfect way to bond with your PalFish students!

If you'd like to apply for PalFish, it would be great if you use my link below:

How To Apply

Simply head to the link below and enter your mobile phone number (the application will be done through your mobile device)

And if you want more, below you can find some resources for learning even more Mandarin!

Learn Mandarin Chinese – Resources

Free Audiobook to Learn Mandarin

Sign up to the Amazon Audible Free Trial to receive this audiobook absolutely free.

Free Audiobook to Learn Mandarin

Learn Mandarin for Free on Skillshare

How To Introduce Yourself in Mandarin
How To Introduce Yourself in Mandarin

Watch this course with a 2 month FREE trial from Skillshare

Numbers 1-99 in Mandarin
Numbers 1-99 in Mandarin

Watch this course with a 2 month FREE trial from Skillshare

Learn Chinese Characters
Learn Chinese Characters

Watch this course with a 2 month FREE trial from Skillshare


About Paul

30 something Irish dude living the dream in Thailand; teaching from my phone by day, making gnarly YouTube videos by night.

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