Essential Phrases for your Online Chinese Class

For most of us, a driving motivation to learn spoken Mandarin is its practical application. During a Chinese class, we typically want to focus on language we can actually use “in the wild”, to buy train tickets or communicate with Chinese coworkers and etc.

As well as focusing on specific lesson content, however, there is valuable learning to be done during those in-between moments during class – everything from small talk with your teacher to responding to specific instructions.

Below is a list of useful phrases for communicating with your teacher during an online Chinese class. Master these, and you’ll be equipped to keep your Mandarin flowing, without reverting to English as much (great for general confidence and fluency building).

PHRASES YOUR TEACHER MIGHT SAY TO YOU:

      
English Chinese (Characters) Chinese (Pinyin)
Greetings /问候语
Hi, XXX [your name]! How are you? 你好,XXX!你怎么样?/你好吗? Nǐhǎo, XXX! Nǐ zěnmeyàng? /Nǐ hǎo ma?
Class Instruction /课堂指示
Are you ready to start class? 我们上课吧? Wǒmen shànɡkè ba?!
Let’s start with listening to the dialogue. 我们先听对话。 Wǒmen xiān tīnɡ duìhuà.
Can you tell me what happened in the dialogue? 你可以告诉我对话里说了什么吗?/你听到了什么? Nǐ kě yǐ gàosù wǒ duìhuà lǐ shuō le shénme ma ?/Nǐ tīng dào le shénme ?
Do you know this word? 你知道这个词吗? Nǐ zhidào zhè ge cí ma ?
Yes, you are pronouncing it correctly! 你的发音很好! Nǐ de fāyīn hěn hǎo!
Remember, it is the 4th tone. 记住,这是4声。 Jì zhù, zhè shì sì shēnɡ.
Please read after me. 请跟我读。 Qǐnɡ ɡēn wǒ dú.
Please repeat. 请再说一遍。 Qǐnɡ zài shuō yí biàn.
Please use this word to give me a sentence. 请用…造一个句子。 Qǐng yònɡ … zào yí ɡe jùzi.
How do you say… 怎么说… Zěnme shuō…
You did really well in classtoday! 你今天很棒! Nǐ jīntiān hěnbànɡ!
Technical Issues /技术问题
Can you see me? 你能看到我吗? Nǐ nénɡ kàn dào wǒ ma?
Can you hear me clearly? 你能听清吗? Nǐ nénɡ tīnɡ qīnɡ ma?
Please speak a bit louder. 请大声点。 Qǐnɡ dà shēng diǎn.
I will call you. 我打给你。 Wǒ dǎ ɡěi nǐ.
Please wait a moment. 请等一下。 Qǐnɡ děnɡ yíxià.

PHRASES YOU MIGHT SAY TO YOUR TEACHER:

      
English Chinese (Characters) Chinese (Pinyin)
Greetings /问候语
Hello, Teacher XXX! 你好,XXX老师! Nǐhǎo,XXX lǎoshī!
I’m well, thanks 我很好,谢谢。 Wǒ hěn hǎo,xièxie.
How have you been lately? 你最近怎么样? Nǐ zuìjìn zěnme yànɡ?
Yes, I’m ready [to start class] 我准备好(上课)了。 Wǒ zhǔnbèi hǎo (shàng kè) le.
Thank you [for the class]! 谢谢! Xièxie !
Asking Questions /问问题
Could you repeat the dialogue, please? 请再说一遍这个对话。 Qǐng zài shuō yí biàn zhè gè duì huà.
What is the difference between x and y [words]? X和Y有什么不同? X hé Y yǒu shénme bù tóng?
I don’t know how to answer this question. What does xxxxx mean? 我不会。 xxxxx是什么意思? Wǒ búhuì 。 xxxxx shì shénme yìsi ?
Could you give me an example? 你可以给我一个例子吗? Nǐ kěyǐ gěi wǒ yí ge lì zi ma?
I’m sorry, I didn’t understand. Could you repeat that please? 对不起,我不明白。请再说一遍。 Duì bù qǐ, wǒ bù míng bai. Qǐng zài shuō yí biàn.
I am still a bit confused. 我还是不明白。 Wǒ hái shì bù míng bai.
I understand now. Thanks! 我明白了。谢谢! Wǒ míngbai le. Xièxie!
Wow, that is so interesting! 这个真有意思。 Zhè ge zhēn yǒu yì sī.
I didn’t know that before! 我以前不知道。 Wǒ yǐqián bù zhīdào.
Am I pronouncing this correctly? 我的发音对吗? Wǒ de fāyīn duì ma?
Is that sentence correct? 这个句子对吗? Zhè ge jùzi duì ma?
I have a question. 我有一个问题。 Wǒ yǒu yí ɡe wèn tí.
I don’t have any questions. 没有问题。 Méi yǒu wèntí.
Technical Issues /技术问题
Yes, I can see you clearly / No, I can’t see you clearly. 我能看清楚。/我看不清楚。 Wǒ nénɡ kàn qīnɡchu. /Wǒ kàn bu qīnɡchu.
Yes, I can hear you clearly / No, I can’t hear you clearly. 我能听清楚。/我听不清楚。 Wǒ nénɡ tīnɡ qīnɡchu. / Wǒ tīnɡ bu qīnɡchu.

 

Practice these phrases in your Chinese class and you will begin to see your Chinese improve over time. We hope you take note of these phrases and make good use of them. Best of luck with your Chinese learning and keep practicing!

Sarah Soulié

Sarah Souli é is British and lives in Los Angeles, after six years in Shanghai working in online marketing within EdTech. She has been learning Chinese since 2008, and currently contributes to the Speak Up Chinese blog. Speak Up Chinese is a newly-launched service based in Beijing. Their mission is to help you speak authentic Chinese with confidence, through 1-1 and group online lessons.