Counting in Mandarin is very straight forward and was for me one of the easiest things to learn. If you know the numbers 1-10 its very easy to also learn the weekdays and months.
If you remember the first 10 characters it is very easy to count up to 100.
There is a very straight forward logic behind the numbers over 10. Twenty is in Mandarin for example two ten.
If you would like to say for example 15, it would be in Mandarin ten five, shí wŭ(十五). In Mandarin a number would be exactly how you would read out a number, the number ten comes first than the number five.
If you would like to say 27, it would be two ten seven, èr shí qī (二十七).
Here are a few examples:
Here is a great free clip from chinese with Mike to explain the basics with Pinyin.
Some Episodes are still free on youtube, otherwise its possible to purchase all of them under:
Writing names in chinese seems sometimes a bit upside down for Europeans. Normally the Familyname is written first than the surname. So if your family name is for example Wu and your given name is John, than the name in chinese would be written Zhang John.
Titles are written after the name. Mr. Zhang would be written in chinese Zhang Mr.
Here are a few useful words for titles:
and some exercises:
Title and Names
download Word Document to be
If you would like to say to be in Mandarin you use shì是. Differently than in english, shì是 doesn’t change depending on person or time but always stays the same.
As described in the blog about Adjectives, you don’t use to be to describe Adjectives in Mandarin but you would use hěn 很 instead.
If you want to describe however where you are from, who you are or what profession you are you would use shì是.
If you would like to make a sentence negative, you would use bù 不. bù 不 always stands infront of the verb.
Here are some example sentences:
She is American tā shì měi guó rén 她是美国人
He is not English tā bù shì yīng guó rén 他不是因果人
I am John wŏ shì John 我是John
You are a teacher nĭ shì lăoshī 你是老师
In contrast to English, is it possible to describe a Subjective with an Adjective without using a noun.
If you would like to say for example you are cute, you don’t say in Mandarin nĭ shì kěài你是可爱， but you say nĭ hěn kěài你很可爱。So you would say: ‘You very cute’
Eventhough hěn(很) means very, you use it for most neutral situations.
If you would like to express that you think that something is above the normal you use the word fēicháng（非常)。 So if you would like to say you are extremly cute it would be nĭ fēicháng kěài 你非常可爱
If something is negative, for example you are not cute, you use bù (不). Bù is also used to show that many nouns are a negative action. This is offer explain in more detailed in a different post. To say you are not cute in mandarin is so nĭ bù kěài你不可爱.
A few practice exercises and sentences are available under the Exercise section.
Word Document Download hen
An important way to start to communicate is to know basic country names and introducing your own nationality.
Two of the mainwords are guó (国), which means country and rén (人) meaning human. The table with the vocabs is also available to downloadDaily Vocabs- Countries
The fourd directions in Mandarin are:
South Nán (南)
North Běi (北)
West Xī (西）
East Dōng (东)
You can find all four directions, same as in english in many city names, or food items.
A very famous cousine in chinese is for example
dōngběi 东北 food, so food from the north eastern part of china. Also the word Běi (北), north can be found in famous city names such as Taipei – Táiběi (台北) or Beijing (北京)