How to Introduce Yourself in Chinese: All You Need to Know
Learning how to introduce yourself in Chinese is definitely the very first skill that you’ll need in order to make a great first impression to win over new Chinese friends.
Sure, if you’ve ever done a Chinese language course, you’ve probably spent a considerable amount of time learning how to introduce yourself in Chinese. But if you were to meet a Chinese for the first time at this very moment, would you be prepared to speak about yourself in a natural, convincing way? Probably not.
Let’s face it. You have to deal with awkwardness, nervousness, and shyness. Not to mention that the pressure feels much higher when you’re supposed to introduce yourself in a foreign language like Chinese. But fear not! This article will help you get off to a good start with your new Chinese friends, associates, and acquaintances by hitting all the introduction marks and coming up with neat sentences for your very first Chinese self-introduction.
Table of Contents
How to Introduce Yourself in Chinese – An Overview
In Chinese, a self-introduction is called 自我介绍 (zìwǒ jièshào). In theory, introducing yourself in Chinese should be quite simple as it’s not too different from how you would introduce yourself in any other language: you start with hello, say your name, and then tell people a little bit about yourself.
In practice, however, there are certain cultural differences and unique concepts you need to be aware of when introducing yourself in Chinese. Since you only get one shot at making a first impression, it’s important to learn how to do it right.
We’ll start by teaching you the three-piece basic Chinese self-introduction, then cultural subtleties, and finally a ton of extra introductory phrases you can use to talk about yourself when you first meet a Chinese speaker, whether the encounter is social, educational, or strictly business. These simple but powerful phrases will boost your Chinese-speaking skills and give you confidence in your early Chinese conversations.
So, read on to learn all the essential steps to a perfect Chinese self-introduction.
Basic Self-introduction in Chinese
Chinese introductions are pretty straightforward on a basic level, so keep it simple: smile, extend a hand, and respond appropriately to the person you’re meeting or the one you’re being introduced to.
Here’s the 3-step Chinese introduction method that will get you through most situations. You can learn it right away.
1. Start with a Greeting – “Hello” in Chinese
First thing first: greetings. They are how almost any conversation in Chinese will start.
This is true – whether you’re meeting a Chinese person for the first or the hundredth time – you’ll want to use an appropriate greeting to start off the conversation on the right foot!
你好 (Nǐ hǎo)
A basic, middle-of-the-road greeting in Chinese is 你好 (Nǐ hǎo). 你 (nǐ) means “you”, and 好 (hǎo) means “good”, so this expression literally translates to “you good”. Both of the syllables in this word should be pronounced using the third tones, with the first one slightly faster than the latter. You can use this well-wish at any time of the day, and it’s almost as universal as the English “hi” or “hello.”
If you don’t know how to read Pinyin (the standard Romanization of Chinese) yet, You can read our guide here to learn the basics of Pinyin.
您好 (Nín hǎo)
A more formal version of “hello” in Chinese is 您好 (Nín hǎo). When respect is called for, replace the 你 (nǐ) – “you” in 你好 (Nǐ hǎo) with its honorific form 您 (nín) to help you sound humble and polite. (This polite form is particularly common in Beijing)
Now, before discussing other essential phrases, it’ll be helpful to know the basic rule of thumb when to use 您 (nín) over 你 (nǐ) in Chinese.
- When talking to family, friends, or colleagues, you’re expected to use the informal 你 (nǐ). And in casual social situations, it’s perfectly acceptable to use 你 (nǐ) right away to address people near your age – even if they are strangers.
- When you’re introducing yourself to someone who’s older or has higher social status than you (e.g. teacher, manager, officer), use the honorific form of “you” instead and say 您 (nín). You also need to use the formal form of address with people you’re in a professional relationship with, such as your business partners, clients, or customers.
- When you’re in doubt, start with the honorific form – 您 (nín) and don’t take the initiative to break the relationship out of 您 (nín). You can switch to 你 (nǐ) when the other person tells you to address him/her otherwise.
And don’t worry, Chinese people are aware that the cultural nuance could be quite tricky for foreigners, so they always accept the use of 你 (nǐ) with no grudges!
大家好 (Dàjiā hǎo)
Both 你 (nǐ) and 您 (nín) are singular only – they can’t be used to address more than one person.
If you’re greeting a group of people – it doesn’t matter what your relationship is – say 大家好 (Dàjiā hǎo). This is a polite Chinese equivalent of “hello everyone” (literally, “everyone good”).
Time word + 好 (hǎo)
You could also choose your greeting according to the time. Though less common, it’s totally fine to replace the fitting pronouns with a time word depending on the time of the day before the word 好 (hǎo).
For instance, you may say 早上好 (Zǎoshang hǎo) – “morning good” for the morning, 下午好 (Xiàwǔ hǎo) – “afternoon good” for the afternoon and 晚上好 (Wǎnshang hǎo) – “evening good” for the evening. You could also say 晚安 (Wǎn’ān) – “evening peace”, but that’s generally used to say goodbye when it’s late at night or when you’re heading to bed.
Lastly, if you’re talking to someone on the phone, answer or greet them with 喂 (Wèi) – “hello”. In other contexts, however, 喂 (Wèi) is a pretty rude way of getting people’s attention.
To learn about all the ways you can greet people in Chinese, check out our guide to Saying “Hello” in Chinese: 21 Chinese Greetings to Sound like a Native Speaker.
2. Introduce Your Name – “My name is …” in Chinese
While you might not want to further your conversations with street vendors or restaurant waiters, meeting a local in a cafe or a fellow guest in your hotel is a great place to make a Chinese friend.
“What’s your name?” is the first question you can expect to hear when meeting someone for the first time. There are several ways to ask it in Chinese.
The most common question you’ll get is 你叫什么？ (Nǐ jiào shénme). This translates to “You are called what?” and is considered rather informal.
A slightly more formal version of this question is 你叫什么名字？(Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi) – “You are called what name?”. Alternatively, they’ll ask 你的名字叫什么？(Nǐ de míngzi jiào shénme) – “Your name is called what?”.
If you hear any of these questions, it means the person wants to know your name – 名字 (míngzi), although you can’t really be sure if the person wants to know your full name or just your first name.
我叫… (Wǒ jiào …)
The typical way to answer “What’s your name” in Chinese is to begin your sentence with 我叫… (Wǒ jiào …) – “I am called…” and then say your name. It’s fine to answer with either your full name or your first name.
In return, it’s always polite to ask for the other person’s name. You could repeat the question or simply ask 你呢？(nǐ ne) – “and you?” for informal situations or 您呢？(nín ne) – “and you?” for formal situations after you’ve introduced your name. This is a quick way to return the question that you’ve just been asked. (Read more about “bounce-back questions”)
我的名字叫… (Wǒ de míngzi jiào …)
Once you’re feeling confident, you may expand the sentence a bit. To do so, simply replace the 我 (wǒ) – “I” in 我叫… (Wǒ jiào …) with the phrase 我的名字 (wǒ de míngzi) – “my name”. This adds a formal element to your name introduction.
And again, you have the option to include your full name or just your first name in the answer, depending on the formality of the meeting.
我是… (Wǒ shì …)
You could also say 我是 (Wǒ shì) and then state your name in response to “What’s your name?” in Chinese. 是 (shì) is the verb “to be”, so it’s like saying “I am…” in English. Although this method may be a slightly less common way of introducing yourself in Chinese, it’s still perfectly acceptable and is easier to learn.
我的名字是… (Wǒ de míngzi shì …)
The last method may be the most straightforward way of introducing your name for those who speak English as a first language: You can say 我的名字是… (Wǒ de míngzi shì …) followed by your name. This is the exact equivalent to the English “My name is…”.
When answering “What’s your name?” or when you’re the one initiating the conversation, you can introduce yourself in Chinese by using any of the four expressions above. And whichever expression you use, don’t be afraid to sound silly. You’ll be understood by following our directions, and in nearly any Chinese-speaking area even the feeblest attempts to speak Chinese will be appreciated!
Your Name in Chinese
Most Chinese people will have a hard time pronouncing a foreign name. If you haven’t picked a Chinese name yet, follow our guide to give yourself a Chinese-sounding name, or you can transliterate your name into Chinese to help them pronounce and remember your name better. For instance, instead of introducing yourself as “Elijah”, you could ask them to call you 伊利亚 (Yī lì yà). Read our full guide to learn how to say your name in Chinese.
我姓… (Wǒ xìng …)
Now, here’s an interesting fact:
Chinese people generally don’t refer to each other by their first name unless they’re close. To address those who they don’t know well or in a hierarchically higher position, the person’s family name or job title is often used. For instance,
- 李先生 (Lǐ xiānsheng) – Mr Li
- 张经理 (Zhāng jīnglǐ) – Manager Zhang
- 王老师 (Wáng lǎoshī) – Teacher Wang
Admittedly, you’ll be less likely to get asked about your family name being a foreigner, if it does come up, however, someone may ask 您贵姓？(Nín guì xìng) – “(What’s) your noble family name?”, or in informal contexts: 你姓什么？(Nǐ xìng shénme) – “You’re surnamed what?”. This means the speaker wants to learn your last name – 姓 (xìng), specifically.
To respond to these questions, begin your answer with 我姓… (Wǒ xìng …) – “My surname is…” (literally, “I am surnamed”), then state your last name.
3. Express Pleasure to Meet Them – “Nice to meet you” in Chinese
Once you’ve exchanged your names info and shaken hands, it’s a good idea to follow it up with “nice to meet you”. The most universal way to express pleasure upon meeting someone in Chinese is to say 很高兴认识你 (Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nǐ).
In this expression, 很 (hěn) means “very”, 高兴 (gāoxìng) means “glad”, and 认识 (rènshi) means “to know or to be acquainted with someone”. So the sentence translates to “Very glad (to) know you” or something similar to “Very glad (to) make your acquaintance”.
Watch out for the pronoun use here. To say “nice to meet you” to a senior person or someone important, switch to the honorific pronoun 您 (nín) and say 很高兴认识您 (Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nín). And when you’re addressing a group of people – 很高兴认识大家 (Hěn gāoxìng rènshi dàjiā).
If someone says “glad to meet you” ahead of you, you can simply respond 我也是 (wǒ yě shì) – “I am (glad) too” (literally, “I also am”) to indicate that you’re pleased to meet them too.
Of course, there are a handful of ways to end an introduction politely in Chinese, which I will teach you in a later section. But for most situations, you can just stick to 很高兴认识你/您/大家 (Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nǐ/nín/dàjiā).
Chinese Self-introductions in a Nutshell
- The most common and simple way to introduce yourself in Chinese is to say “我叫 (Wǒ jiào)” followed by your name.
- Alternatives include “我的名字叫 (Wǒ de míngzi jiào)”, “我是 (Wǒ shì)” or “我的名字是 (Wǒ de míngzi shì)” followed by your name.
- “你好 (Nǐ hǎo)” can be used for either “hi” or “hello.” When respect is called for, use “您好 (Nín hǎo)”. When introducing yourself to a group of people, greet them with 大家好 (Dàjiā hǎo).
- Conclude your self-introduction in Chinese with “很高兴认识你/您/大家 (Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nǐ/nín/dàjiā)”.
Basic Chinese Introduction Examples
- 你好, 我叫威廉, 很高兴认识你。
Nǐ hǎo, wǒ jiào Wēi lián, hěn gāoxìng rènshi nǐ.
Hi, my name is William. Nice to meet you.
- 您好, 我的名字叫爱丽丝, 很高兴认识您。
Nín hǎo, wǒ de míngzi jiào Ài lì sī, hěn gāoxìng rènshi nín.
Hello, my name is Alice. Nice to meet you (honorific).
- 大家好, 我是詹姆斯·布雷迪, 很高兴认识大家。
Dàjiā hǎo, wǒ shì Zhān mǔ sī · Bù léi dí , hěn gāoxìng rènshi dàjiā.
Hello everybody, I am James Brady. Nice to meet you all.
Chinese Etiquette to Introduce Yourself
It’s great to know the phrases to say when introducing yourself in Chinese, but how you say those phrases will make or break your self-introduction.
There are cultural differences to be aware of. They’re subtle, so if you miss them, it probably won’t be counted against you as a foreigner. But paying attention to details like these can give you an extra social edge when you first meet a new Chinese friend.
Read the Context
To establish a good rapport from the very beginning, you should learn the typical Chinese introduction phrases, and understand how to adapt the tone and content of the introduction according to the person you’re meeting, whether it’s a social or a professional encounter, a casual or formal setting.
So, choose the version of the Chinese introduction wisely! Use the correct phrases to eliminate the awkwardness that sometimes happens when people meet for the first time. If you’re unsure, lean toward formality. You can always ease into a more laid-back approach after the ice is broken.
Be friendly in any situation. You can show through your gestures that you’re glad to meet them.
Unlike Japanese and Koreans, Chinese people never bow when meeting someone. Eye contact, a firm handshake, a smile, and a few standard phrases will be enough. (And please, no hugs or kisses!)
One thing you do have to take note of is the order of the handshake – there are some strict conventional rules. Don’t move in for the handshake if you are meeting ladies and people in a higher position of authority or age. Instead, wait for them to reach out first. But if you’re meeting your peers, you don’t have to worry about who reaches out first (generally, whoever reaches out first is considered more polite).
And if you are not sure when to extend your hand, you can just hold it and let your conversation partner take the initiative. Sometimes a simple nod of the head will show that you acknowledge the other person and that you’re happy to make their acquaintance.
In China, people either introduce themselves by their family names or full names. Chinese family names are typically one character/syllable in length and easily recognizable. You can also take cues from the expression 我姓… (Wǒ xìng …) – “My surname is …” which is specifically used to introduce one’s family name.
If someone only tells you their family name, it means they are not ready to be your friends yet and would prefer you to address them by their family name + title (e.g. Mr. Wang, Professor Li, Engineer Zhou, etc). So don’t ask for their first name – it’s considered rude in Chinese culture.
When Chinese people volunteer their full name, the family name comes first and the first name comes second.
If you have a Chinese name, it’s customary to introduce your full name because your Chinese family name is – let’s get real – not your real family name. For example, if your Chinese name is 安龙 (Ān lóng), you should introduce yourself as 安龙 (Ān lóng), not Mr 安 (Ān) or just 龙 (Lóng). If your name is transliterated from English, however, you don’t need to change the order of names.
People with experience of living in the West would sometimes reverse the Chinese name order when interacting in English to conform to the common Western practice. If you are not sure whether a switch has been made when you meet Chinese people and they introduce themselves by full names, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask which of their names is their family name or their given name.
Beyond the Basics – Talking about Yourself in Chinese
You nailed the initial three pieces of the Chinese self-introduction. Great job!
Now you’ve said 你好, 我叫… (Nǐ hǎo, wǒ jiào …) – “Hello, my name is …”, and you’ve smiled, nodded, shaken hands, and expressed delight about meeting your new Chinese friends or associates, you’re ready to take the conversation to the next level!
From here we get into the fun stuff. You can start adding information about yourself, using short sentences that explain where you’re from, what you do, what you like, and so on.
Sharing basic information about you will help people get to know you better when you first introduce yourself. This is especially valuable as you start to make more Chinese-speaking friends and acquaintances.
Here are some sentences you can use to tell more about yourself in Chinese.
1. Introducing Where You Are from
Being a foreigner in China always sparks the imagination of the Chinese. It’s a good idea to let people know where you’re from as the next step of your Chinese self-introduction. Even if you don’t use it during the initial self-intro, your new Chinese friend will probably ask you anyway, so memorizing a few of these phrases is extremely useful.
There are a few ways to ask “where are you from?” in Chinese.
If you hear 你是哪个国家的？(Nǐ shì nǎ gè guójiā de) – literally, “You are of which country?” or 你是哪国人？(Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén) – “You are which country person?”, this means the person wants to know your country of origin.
我是…人 (Wǒ shì … rén)
The usual answer to questions about your country of origin is 我是…人 (Wǒ shì … rén) – I come from … (literally, “I am … person”).
Simply start the sentence with 我是 (Wǒ shì), say the name of your country, and add the word 人 (rén) – “person” afterward.
Wǒ shì Měiguó rén.
I am from America.
Literally, “I am America person.”
Wǒ shì Jiānádà rén.I am from Canada.
Literally, “I am Canada person.”
Not sure how to say your country in Chinese? Practice with our complete list of country names written out in Chinese (plus abbreviations).
You may also get asked 你是哪里人？(Nǐ shì nǎli rén) – literally, “You are where person?” or 你来自哪里？(Nǐ lái zì nǎli) – “You come from where?” These questions are similar to the English “where are you from?”.
You may still respond with your country of origin, but you’re welcome to name your city, state, or prefecture as well if it’s a major or well-known one like Paris or California. To do so, simply substitute the name of the specific place for the country.
Wǒ shì Bālí rén.
I am from Paris.
Literally, “I am Paris person.”
Wǒ shì Jiālìfúníyà rén.
I am from California.
Literally, “I am California person.”
我来自… (Wǒ lái zì …)
You can also phrase your answer as 我来自 (Wǒ lái zì) – “I come from” and the name of the place. It sounds slightly more formal than the 我是…人 (Wǒ shì … rén) structure, but English speakers might find it easier to remember.
Wǒ lái zì Fǎguó.
I come from France.
Wǒ lái zì Bālí.
I come from Paris.
Wǒ lái zì Měiguó.
I come from America.
Wǒ lái zì Jiālìfúníyà.
I come from California.
Don’t forget to ask the same questions in return or simply ask 你呢？(nǐ ne) or 您呢 (nín ne) – “and you?” to keep the conversation going.
If you are American, one of the most common questions you’ll get asked from curious Chinese people is which US state you’re from. You can learn how to say your state in Chinese here.
2. Introducing Where You Live
Now that your new Chinese friends know where you’re from originally, they may want to know some additional information about your current status. For example, where you live at the moment.
If they are interested in your current place of residence, they might ask you 你住在哪里？(Nǐ zhù zài nǎli) or 你住在哪儿？(Nǐ zhù zài nǎr) – literally “You live in where?”.
Both 哪里 (nǎli) and 哪儿 (nǎr) mean “where”, with 哪儿 (nǎr) used more often in northern China. You can navigate your way around China town or any place in China easily with this question word. Learn more Survival Chinese.
我住在… (Wǒ zhù zài …)
The best way to answer the question is to say 我住在 (Wǒ zhù zài) – “I live in” and the name of the city or region where you live.
Wǒ zhù zài Lúndūn.
I live in London.
Wǒ zhù zài Běijīng.
I live in Beijing.
If you want to tell people you were born or grew up in one place, but live in another, you can use the conjunction 但 (dàn) – “but” to connect the two sentences, like
- 我是英国人, 但我住在澳大利亚。
Wǒ shì Yīngguó rén , dàn wǒ zhù zài Àodàlìyà.
I am British, but I live in Australia.
- 我来自纽约, 但我住在得克萨斯.
Wǒ lái zì Niǔyuē , dàn wǒ zhù zài Dékèsàsī.
I am from New York, but I live in Texas.
3. Introducing Your Age
As in many parts of the world, asking someone about their age is generally considered impolite in China, especially if you’re a man asking a woman her age. Nevertheless, you can volunteer your age when introducing yourself in Chinese, and your conversation partner will probably do the same.
我…岁 (Wǒ … suì)
Here’s how you would say how old you are in Chinese: start with the pronoun 我 (wǒ) – “I”, followed by the number of your age, and end with 岁 (suì), which means “years of age”.
Wǒ èr shí wǔ suì.
I am twenty-five years old.
Literally, “I twenty-five years of age.”
To tell people your age, simply substitute the number that corresponds to your age in the orange font.
You’ll notice that in English, you use the verb “to be” (am) when describing how old you are (and in some languages, you use the verb “to have”). In Chinese, however, you must drop the verb entirely and connect the subject directly with the age. So, it’s like saying “I ___ years old.” Read more about the topic-comment structure in Chinese.
Okay, to fully introduce yourself in Chinese and state your age, you’ll need to know Chinese numbers. You can follow our complete tutorial here to learn the Chinese numeral system.
At some point, you might still need to ask “how old are you?” in Chinese. And the way you compose this question should be dependent on the age of the person you’re talking to.
To ask about a kid’s age in Chinese, simply say 你几岁？(Nǐ jǐ suì?)
But for inquiring about an adult’s age in Chinese, you should say 你多少岁？(Nǐ duōshǎo suì) or 您多少岁？(Nín duōshǎo suì) – if you want to show an extra level of respect.
Both 几 (jǐ) and 多少 (duōshǎo) are Chinese question words for numbers. So all these questions translate to “You, what number years of age?”, literally. The difference is that 几 (jǐ) is reserved for small numbers, while 多少 (duōshǎo) is used to inquire about big numbers.
As with many expressions in Chinese, there are a few more ways to inquire about a person’s age. You can follow our complete guide here to learn the various ways of saying and asking age in Chinese.
4. Introducing Your Profession
The Chinese love talking about jobs and careers. It’s not uncommon for people to ask about each other’s profession during Chinese introductions, especially if it’s a social encounter where people are doing networking.
Some of the first and most common conversations you’ll have in Chinese will require you to answer the question 你是做什么的？(Nǐ shì zuò shénme de), which roughly translates to “what is that you do?” or “what do you do for a living?”
Another way to approach this subject is to ask 你在哪里工作？(Nǐ zài nǎlǐ gōngzuò), or more colloquially 你在哪里上班？(Nǐ zài nǎlǐ shàngbān), both of which mean “where do you work?”
When answering these questions with your profession or telling someone about your job, there are a few structures you can use.
我是一名… (Wǒ shì yì míng …)
This is the most common way to say what you do in Chinese: start the sentence with 我是一名 (Wǒ shì yì míng), which means “I am a”, and then add your profession or job at the end of the sentence.
Wǒ shì yì míng yīshēng.
I am a doctor.
Wǒ shì yì míng lǜshī.
I am a lawyer.
Wǒ shì yì míng gōngchéngshī.
I am an engineer.
If you are a student, you can say
Wǒ shì yì míng xuésheng.
I am a student.
Keep in mind that you need to add a measure word between a number (a/one) and a noun in Chinese. And the best measure word for professions in this context is 名 (míng). For example, you wouldn’t just say 一医生 (yì yīshēng) for “a doctor”, you would say 一名医生 (yì míng yīshēng), which translates to “a [measure word] doctor”.
A quick grammar usage note: like some languages, you can drop “a” (一名 [yì míng]) before the job in Chinese sometimes and just say 我是 (Wǒ shì) + profession (e.g. 我是医生 [Wǒ shì yīshēng]), however, this does not sound natural to Chinese people when you introduce your profession. So better slip一名 (yì míng) in the middle of the sentence!
我在…工作/上班 (Wǒ zài … gōngzuò/shàngbān)
To tell your conversation partner about the company, institution or location where you’re currently employed, you’ll say 我在…工作 (Wǒ zài … gōngzuò) or 我在…上班 (Wǒ zài … shàngbān). Both 工作 (gōngzuò) and 上班 (shàngbān) mean “work” in Chinese (工作 [gōngzuò] is slightly more formal), so these expressions are the Chinese equivalents of “I work at/in …”.
Wǒ zài yínháng gōngzuò.
I work in a bank.
Wǒ zài Ōu lái yǎ shàngbān.
I work at L’Oréal.
Remember to substitute the name of your workplace in the orange font.
我在…上学/读书 (Wǒ zài … shàngxué/dúshū)
Students can say where they’re studying by swapping out “work” – 工作 (gōngzuò) or 上班 (shàngbān) with “study” –上学 (shàngxué) or more colloquially 读书 (dúshū).
Wǒ zài Běijīng dàxué shàngxué.
I am studying at Peking University.
Wǒ zài Niǔyuē dàxué dúshū.
I am studying at New York University.
See? One easy switch and you’re ready to tell people about your education situation.
Lastly, to say you’re a freelancer, say 我是自由职业 (Wǒ shì zìyóu zhíyè). And if you’re unemployed, say 我没有工作 (Wǒ méiyǒu gōngzuò) – “I don’t have a job”. Or if you’re currently looking for a job – 我正在找工作 (Wǒ zhèng zài zhǎo gōngzuò).
Since “What’s your job?” is a question you might get asked all the time in China, it’s a great idea to memorize the name of your profession in Chinese before embarking on your Chinese conversation journey. That way, you won’t get flustered when it comes up!
To understand what your new friend does for a living, you’ll want to have a solid vocabulary base of Chinese professions. You can practice the names of popular professions in Chinese with our guide here.
5. Introducing Your Family
Family is yet another evergreen small talk topic that you should be prepared to address when introducing yourself in Chinese.
But before learning how to introduce your family, you should know that family is so important in Chinese culture that Chinese has a specific word for almost every family relationship. For example, elder brother and younger brother.
So here’s some key relationship vocabulary.
In China, asking about a person’s family shows a desire to understand the person better. You may get asked if you have any brothers or sisters:
Nǐ yǒu xiōngdì jiěmèi ma?
Do you have any siblings?
Literally, “You have brothers (and) sisters ma?”
or how many brothers or sisters you have:
Nǐ yǒu jǐ gè xiōngdì jiěmèi?
How many siblings do you have?
Literally, “You have how many brothers (and) sisters?”
我有 (Wǒ yǒu) + number + 个 (gè) + relationship
To say how many brothers and sisters you have, use the structure 我有 (Wǒ yǒu) + number + 个 (gè) + relationship, which can be translated as “I have however many of a certain type of relationship”. For instance,
Wǒ yǒu yí gè gēge.
I have an elder brother.
Wǒ yǒu liǎng gè mèimei.
I have two younger sisters.
Here, 有 (yǒu) is the “have” in Chinese used to express possession, and 个 (gè) is the measure word for counting people.
To connect multiple relationships, you can use the conjunction 和 (hé) – “and”.
Wǒ yǒu yí gè gēge hé liǎng gè mèimei.
I have an elder brother and two younger sisters.
And if you don’t have siblings, you can say
Wǒ méiyǒu xiōngdì jiěmèi.
I don’t have siblings.
To say that you don’t have someone (or something), simply start your sentence with 我没有(Wǒ méiyǒu). 没 (méi) is the negation word for “have” in Chinese. (Read more about how to express possession in Chinese)
or you can say
Wǒ shì dú shēng zǐnǚ.
I am an only child.
You may also get asked if you’re married in some situations.
Nǐ jiéhūn le ma?
Are you married?
To say that you’re married, say 我结婚了 (Wǒ jiéhūn le) – “I am married”. And if you’re not, 我还没结婚 (Wǒ hái méi jiéhūn) – literally, “I still haven’t married”, or 我单身 (Wǒ dānshēn) – “I (am) single.”
If you’re currently dating someone, you can use the sibling sentence structure.
Wǒ yǒu yí gè nǚ péngyou.
I have a girlfriend.
Wǒ yǒu yí gè nán péngyou.
I have a boyfriend.
You can also use the sibling sentence structure to talk about your children if you have any.
Wǒ yǒu sān gè háizi.
I have three kids.
Wǒ yǒu yí gè érzi hé liǎng gè nǚ’ér.
I have a son and two daughters.
You can even introduce your four-legged family members using this structure. Just make sure to change the measure word 个 (gè), which is reserved for people, to appropriate measure words for animals, for example, 只 (zhī) for cats and 条 (tiáo) for dogs.
Wǒ yǒu liǎng zhī māo.
I have two cats.
Wǒ yǒu sān tiáo gǒu.
I have three dogs.
A quick grammar tip: Mandarin has two words for the number “two”: 二 (èr) and 两 (liǎng). When it comes to counting people and objects, always use 两 (liǎng). For example, to say “two kids”, you would say “两个孩子 (liǎng gè háizi)”, not “二个孩子 (èr gè háizi)”. Read more about when to use 两 (liǎng) over 二 (èr).
6. Talking about Your Languages
Since you’re introducing yourself in Chinese, your new Chinese friends will likely be interested in finding out how you’ve learned their native language and what led you to take it up.
First, you may get asked, “how long have you been learning the Chinese language?”.
In Chinese, this question may sound something like 你学了多久中文？ (Nǐ xué le duō jiǔ Zhōngwén) – literally, “You’ve learned how long time Chinese?” or 你汉语学了多长时间？(Nǐ Hànyǔ xué le duō cháng shíjiān) – “You, Chinese learned how long time?”
我学了 (Wǒ xué le) + time duration + 中文 (Zhōngwén)/汉语 (Hànyǔ)
To respond, say 我学了 (Wǒ xué le) – “I’ve learned” first, followed by the time duration and then the word 中文 (Zhōngwén) or 汉语 (Hànyǔ) – “Chinese”.
Wǒ xué le sān gè yuè Zhōngwén.
I’ve been learning Chinese for three months.
Wǒ xué le bàn nián Hànyǔ.
I’ve been learning Chinese for half a year.
In Chinese, several words are used to refer to “the Chinese language”. The word 汉语 (Hànyǔ) means the language of Han Chinese people (the largest ethnic group in China that comprises approximately 92% of its population), in contrast with the languages of the non-Han Chinese peoples in China (e.g. Tibetan, Uyghur, etc). 汉语 (Hànyǔ) is, therefore, the accurate, scientific term for the language. However, the most popular term for the Chinese language is 中文 (Zhōngwén), which translates to “China language”, literally.
If you can respond to the first question, chances are you’ll also be asked 你在哪里学的中文/汉语？(Nǐ zài nǎlǐ xué de Zhōngwén/ Hànyǔ) – “Where did you learn Chinese?” (literally, “You in where learned Chinese”)
我在…学的中文/汉语 (Wǒ zài … xué de Zhōngwén/Hànyǔ)
To reply to this question, simply swap out the question word 哪里 (nǎlǐ) – “where” in the question with the name of the place, like
Wǒ zài Běijīng xué de Zhōngwén.
I learned Chinese in Beijing.
Wǒ zài xuéxiào xué de Zhōngwén.
I learned Chinese at school.
Wǒ zài wǎng shàng xué de Hànyǔ.
I learned Chinese online.
People might also ask you “why are you learning Chinese?” – 你为什么学中文/汉语？(Nǐ wèi shénme xué Zhōngwén/Hànyǔ).
To prepare to answer the question, take a look at these common examples:
我学中文/汉语是因为… (Wǒ xué Zhōngwén/Hànyǔ shì yīnwèi …) – “(The reason) I learn Chinese is because …”
Wǒ xǐhuan Zhōngguó wénhuà.
I like Chinese culture.
Wǒ xiǎng qù Zhōngguó gōngzuò.
I want to work in China.
Wǒ de nǚ péngyǒu shì Zhōngguó rén.
My girlfriend is Chinese.
Wǒ de bàba lái zì Zhōngguó.
My dad comes from China.
You will see more examples of how to talk about what you like, what you want, as well as introducing other people in the following sections, so don’t stress if you don’t get it yet!
Lastly, you might get asked 你会说哪些语言？ (Nǐ huì shuō nǎxiē yǔyán) – “What languages do you speak?” (literally, “You can speak which languages?”)
我会说 (Wǒ huì shuō)
To answer, you can say 我会说 (Wǒ huì shuō) – “I can speak”, and then the names of the languages. Remember to use the conjunction 和 (hé) – “and” for linking multiple languages.
- 我会说英语, 法语, 和西班牙语。
Wǒ huì shuō Yīngyǔ, Fǎyǔ, hé Xībānyáyǔ.
I can speak English, French, and Spanish.
You can also say what languages you’re studying by saying 我正在学… (Wǒ zhèng zài xué …) – “I am studying …”. For example, as a Chinese learner, you could say
- 我会说英语和法语, 我正在学中文。
Wǒ huì shuō Yīngyǔ hé Fǎyǔ, wǒ zhèng zài xué Zhōngwén.
I speak English and French, (and) I am learning Chinese.
7. Talking about Your Interests and Hobbies
Hobbies might not be the first topic you’ll touch upon when you introduce yourself in Chinese, but it’s certainly the most extensive one. Once you’re past the basics and need something interesting to talk about, you can share your passions to inspire further conversation.
Two common ways to ask someone about their hobbies in Chinese are
Nǐ píngshí xǐhuan zuò shénme?
What do you like to do in your free time?
Literally, “You ordinary time like to do what?”
Nǐ de àihào shì shénme?
What’s your hobby?
Literally, “Your hobby is what?”
我喜欢… (Wǒ xǐhuan …)
You can answer the questions or speak about your hobbies and interests in various ways, but the easiest one is the expression 我喜欢… (Wǒ xǐhuan …) – “I like” and then list a noun or a verb.
Here’s a bunch of examples.
Wǒ xǐhuan zúqiú.
I like football.
Wǒ xǐhuan lǚxíng.
I like traveling.
Wǒ xǐhuan kàn xiǎoshuō.
I like reading novels.
Wǒ xǐhuan xué wàiyǔ.
I like learning foreign languages.
Useful Chinese Words and Phrases Related to Hobbies
|看电影||kàn diànyǐng||watching movies|
|听音乐||tīng yīnyuè||listening to music|
|踢足球||tī zúqiú||playing football (soccer)|
|打篮球||dǎ lánqiú||playing basketball|
|电子游戏||diànzǐ yóuxì||video games|
|桌游||zhuō yóu||board games|
Even if you don’t think of your interests as “hobbies,” you can describe them as such anyway.
我的爱好是… (Wǒ de àihào shì …)
Alternatively, you can say 我的爱好是 (Wǒ de àihào shì) – “My hobby is” then name a noun/verb or two.
Wǒ de àihào shì diàoyú.
My hobby is fishing.
Wǒ de àihào shì pǎobù hé qíxíng.
My hobbies are running and cycling.
我对…很感兴趣 (Wǒ duì … hěn gǎn xìngqù)
You can also use the expression 我对…很感兴趣 (Wǒ duì … hěn gǎn xìngqù) – “I am very interested in …” to let people know that you have a keen interest in something or doing something. Simply name the “thing” in the blank.
Wǒ duì Hànzì hěn gǎn xìngqù.
I am very interested in Chinese characters.
Wǒ duì Zhōngguó wénhuà hěn gǎn xìngqù.
I am interested in Chinese culture.
Wǒ duì xué Zhōngwén hěn gǎn xìngqù.
I am very interested in learning Chinese.
我擅长… (Wǒ shàncháng …)
Lastly, if you want to tell people that you are good at something, you can say 我擅长 (Wǒ shàncháng) and then whatever it is that you excel at.
Wǒ shàncháng zuòcài.
I am good at cooking.
Wǒ shàncháng wǎngqiú hé pīngpāng.
I am good at tennis and table tennis.
Well, try not to show off too much. Revealing one or two of your strengths is great, but listing all your amazing abilities in your Chinese self-intro will probably annoy others and make you seem over-confident. After all, humility is the king of all virtues!
8. Talking about Your Plans
And finally, you can include your plans in your Chinese self-introduction. For instance, what you want to do in the future, what new skills you’re trying to acquire, or where you’re traveling to this summer.
Here are some example sentences for talking about your plans in Chinese.
Wǒ xiǎng qù Zhōngguó lǚxíng.
I want to take a trip to China.
Wǒ xiǎng lái Shànghǎi shíxí.
I want to do an internship in Shanghai.
Wǒ xiǎng shuō liúlì de Zhōngwén.
I want to speak fluent Chinese.
Wǒ dǎsuàn zài Zhōngguó kāi yì jiā gōngsī.
I plan to start a business in China.
Zhè gè xiàtiān wǒ dǎsuàn cānjiā yì gè Zhōngwén kèchéng.
I plan to take a Chinese course this summer.
A quick grammar note: the verb 打算 (dǎsuàn) is used to tell what you plan to do. It’s most commonly used in situations where you’ve already made up your mind. It’s definite (or almost definite). Don’t use it for instances where you’re just randomly thinking about something. In that case, use 想 (xiǎng) instead.
Unlike in English where you normally need a preposition like “to” to connect different verbs in a sentence, in Chinese, you can string the verbs together without any linking word to describe a sequence (e.g. want to do, plan to do). Read more on how to connect verbs in Chinese.
Concluding Your Chinese Self-introduction
All good things come to an end, don’t they?
Earlier we learned how to use the set phrase 很高兴认识你 (Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nǐ) to conclude your self-introduction. Here are a few more ways to end a conversation gracefully in Chinese.
Rènshi nǐ hěn gāoxìng.
Nice to meet you.
Here, you can rearrange the word order as 认识你很高兴 (Rènshi nǐ hěn gāoxìng) – literally, “Knowing you (I’m) very glad.” to express the pleasure of meeting someone when the conversation is over.
Hěn gāoxìng jiàn dào nǐ.
Nice to meet you.
Literally, “Very glad (to) meet you”.
Jiàn dào nǐ hěn gāoxìng.
Nice to meet you.
Literally, “Meeting you (I’m) very glad.”
Alternatively, you can end with the phrase 很高兴见到你 (Hěn gāoxìng jiàn dào nǐ) – “Very glad (to) meet you” or the other way around – 见到你很高兴 (Jiàn dào nǐ hěn gāoxìng) – “Meeting you (I’m) very glad”, two other popular ways of saying “Nice to meet you” in Chinese.
Qǐng (nín) duō duō guānzhào.
Please look after me often.
Qǐng (nín) duō duō zhǐjiào.
Please guide me often.
Modesty is viewed as a great virtue in Chinese culture. Chinese people like to keep a low profile both in regard to their own achievements, status as well as their interactions with others.
So in professional contexts, you could say 请(您)多多关照 (Qǐng [nín] duō duō guānzhào) – “Please look after me often” or 请(您)多多指教 (Qǐng [nín] duō duō zhǐjiào) – “Please guide me often” at the end of your self-introduction as a way of promoting modesty when you meet new Chinese colleagues or work contacts. It may not be common to say something like this in your culture, but in China, a humble concluding phrase like this can go a long way toward forging a bond!
If you’re excited about establishing a new friendship with someone and plan to meet them again, go ahead and ask for their phone number or WeChat (China’s WhatsApp-like messaging and social media app). Try being direct – it works pretty well in Chinese.
Wǒmen liú gè diànhuà ba.
Let’s leave a phone number (to each other).
Wǒmen jiā gè wēixìn ba.
Let’s friend each other on WeChat.
To say goodbye in Chinese, simply say 再见 (zàijiàn). But if you have another planned meeting with your new Chinese friend at some time soon, it would be more appropriate to say 回头见 (huí tóu jiàn), which means “see you later” or “see you soon”.
How to Introduce Yourself in a Business Setting
Throughout the article, we’ve already given you various pointers on how to introduce yourself in professional contexts, but it’s important to go deeper into them here if you ever have to introduce yourself in Chinese in a formal business setting.
1. Use the Formal Way of Addressing
Unless someone proposes to use 你 (nǐ), always use the formal way of addressing 您 (nín).
2. Introduce Your Last Name As Well As Your First Name
With regard to introducing your name, there is little difference between China and elsewhere. It is considered polite to give your full name on formal occasions.
If you have a Chinese name, say your last name before your first name. If your name is transliterated into Chinese, then keep the original name order.
3. Give a Brief Summary of Your Job
When you introduce yourself in a business setting, mention the company or organization you work for as well as your job position or the name of your profession in your Chinese self-introduction.
To do so, use the structure 我在…担任… (Wǒ zài … dānrèn …), which translates to “I work as … in/at …” (literally, “I in … take on the position of …”), for example,
wǒ zài Gǔgē dānrèn ruǎnjiàn gōngchéngshī.
I work as a software engineer at Google.
Literally, “I in Google take on the position of a software engineer.”
4. Use Formal Words and Longer Sentences
Introducing yourself in a formal business setting will require you to use the formal form of Chinese words/phrases and longer sentences.
For example, instead of 我叫… (Wǒ jiào) – “I am called …” or 我是… (Wǒ shì) – “I am …” for introducing your name, it would be more appropriate to use the longer version 我的名字叫… (Wǒ de míngzi jiào) – “My name is called …” or 我的名字是… (Wǒ de míngzi shì) – “My name is …”
And instead of saying 我在…上班 (Wǒ zài … shàngbān) – “I work in/at …” for telling people where you work, rephrase it as 我在…工作 (Wǒ zài … gōngzuò) or 我在…担任… (Wǒ zài … dānrèn …) – “I work as … in/at …”.
To conclude your self-intro, you could say 非常荣幸认识您 (Fēicháng róngxìng rènshi nín) – “Very honored to meet you” instead of 很高兴认识您 (Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nín) – “Nice to meet you” to add a dash of humbleness.
5. Wait for Your Turn to be Introduced
In China, people in a lower position of authority or age will be introduced to the higher first. When it’s your turn to be introduced, stand up, smile, and look at the people also being introduced with ease.
Wait for the person of higher standing to initiate the handshake. Some Chinese people think handshakes are only for equals, so if that person doesn’t automatically offer you their hand, don’t offer yours to offend them! Just nod politely.
6. Use Both Hands to Present Your Business Card
Business cards are called 名片 (míngpiàn) in Chinese (literally, “name cards”), and they are an important part of Chinese work culture.
When you present your business card, say 这是我的名片 (Zhè shì wǒ de míngpiàn) – “This is my business card”, and hold the top edge of the card with both hands to show the recipient respect.
When you are offered a business card, accept it with two hands as well. Make sure to read the person’s name and title on the card before you put it away. Show interest in what they do and act at least a bit impressed with their job title.
Example of Chinese Self-introduction in a Formal Setting
Nín hǎo, wǒ de míngzi jiào Dà wèi · Mó gēn. Wǒ zài Yíjiā dānrèn xiāoshòu jīnglǐ, zhè shì wǒ de míngpiàn. Fēicháng róngxìng rènshi nín.
Hi, my name is David Morgan. I work as a sales manager at Ikea. Here’s my business card. I am very honored to meet you.
Always remember that a self-introduction at a party or a business meeting will be different. You can be casual with friends or people of your age, but should always be formal in the business world. If need be, learn how to be even more prepared to give a strong and professional self-introduction for a Chinese job interview!
How to Introduce Someone in Chinese
Now that you’ve learned how to introduce yourself in Chinese, in both an informal setting and a formal setting, you’re ready to try and introduce someone else, such as your family, friends, or colleagues.
Here are some typical expressions you can use to introduce other people. Use them to earn extra points with your new Chinese friends!
Zhè shì wǒ de qīzi.
This is my wife.
Zhè shì wǒ de zhàngfu.
This is my husband.
Zhè shì wǒ de érzi.
This is my son.
Zhè shì wǒ de nǚ’ér.
This is my daughter.
Zhè shì wǒ de péngyou Mǎ xiū.
This is my friend, Matthew.
Zhè shì wǒ de tóngshì Zhēn nī.
This is my colleague, Jenny.
Did you notice the pattern here? To introduce someone in Chinese, simply start the sentence with 这是 (Zhè shì) – meaning “This is” and finish it with the person you want to introduce.
If you aren’t sure whether your conversation partner has already met the other person, you can use the following phrases. (Simply swap out the name in the orange font for your friend)
Nǐ rènshí Bā ní ma?
Do you know Barney?
Literally, “You know Barney ma?”
Nǐ jiàn guò Tài dé ma?
Have you met Ted?
Literally, “You have met Ted ma?”
Once you initiate the introduction, you might want to go on and tell others a bit more about that person. This is rather easy to do in Chinese, as you don’t have to conjugate the verbs like you would have to in many other languages.
In other words, you can just stick to the sentence patterns used for your self-introduction, change the subject to an appropriate one (or use the pronoun 他 [tā] for “he” and 她 [tā] for “she”), and then you are good to go!
Here are some example sentences for introducing someone in Chinese.
Wǒ de qīzi jiào Zhān nī fú. Tā sān shí liù suì.
My wife’s name is Jennifer. She is thirty-six years old.
Tā shì Yīngguó rén. Tā lái zì Lúndūn.
She is British. She’s from London.
Wǒ de zhàngfu shì Jiānádà rén. Tā jiào Shān mǔ.
My husband is Canadian. His name is Sam.
Wǒ de bàba zài Duōlúnduō gōngzuò. Tā shì yì míng lǎoshī.
My dad works in Toronto. He is a teacher.
Tài dé zhù zài Niǔyuē. Tā shì yì míng jiànzhùshī.
Ted lives in New York. He is an architect.
Tài dé de érzi shí wǔ suì. Tā xǐhuan Zhōngguó. Tā xiǎng xué Zhōngwén.
Ted’s son is fifteen years old. He loves China. He wants to learn Chinese.
Note that while “he” and “she” are represented by different Chinese characters, they are pronounced the same. In a conversation, you’ll need the context to tell whether someone is talking about a male “tā” or female “tā”.
Introducing Yourself in Chinese: Quick Summary
Here’s a quick summary of the key introductory words and phrases you’ve learned from this article that you can use when introducing yourself in Chinese.
|Hello. (formal)||您好。||Nín hǎo.|
|Hello everyone.||大家好。||Dàjiā hǎo.|
|My name is …||我叫…||Wǒ jiào …|
|My name is …||我的名字叫…||Wǒ de míngzi jiào …|
|I am …||我是…||Wǒ shì …|
|My name is …||我的名字是…||Wǒ de míngzi shì …|
|My surname is …||我姓…||Wǒ xìng …|
|I am from …||我是…人。||Wǒ shì … rén.|
|I come from …||我来自…||Wǒ lái zì …|
|I live in …||我住在…||Wǒ zhù zài …|
|I am … years old.||我…岁。||Wǒ … suì.|
|I am a … (profession)||我是一名…||Wǒ shì yì míng …|
|I work in/at …||我在…工作/上班。||Wǒ zài … gōngzuò/shàngbān.|
|I study in/at …||我在…上学/读书。||Wǒ zài … shàngxué/dúshū.|
|I work as … in/at …||我在…担任…||Wǒ zài … dānrèn …|
|I have …||我有…||Wǒ yǒu …|
|I’ve been learning Chinese for …||我学了…中文/汉语。||Wǒ xué le … Zhōngwén/Hànyǔ.|
|I learned Chinese in/at …||我在…学的中文/汉语。||Wǒ zài … xué de Zhōngwén/Hànyǔ.|
|I can speak …||我会说…||Wǒ huì shuō …|
|I am learning …||我正在学…||Wǒ zhèng zài xué …|
|I like …||我喜欢…||Wǒ xǐhuan …|
|My hobby is …||我的爱好是…||Wǒ de àihào shì …|
|I am interested in …||我对…很感兴趣。||Wǒ duì … hěn gǎn xìngqù.|
|I am good at …||我擅长…||Wǒ shàncháng…|
|I want to …||我想…||Wǒ yào …|
|I plan to …||我打算…||Wǒ xiǎng …|
|And you?||你呢？||Nǐ ne?|
|And you?(formal)||您呢？||Nín ne?|
|This is …||这是…||Zhè shì …|
|Nice to meet you.||很高兴认识你。||Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nǐ.|
|Nice to meet you. (formal)||很高兴认识您。||Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nín.|
|Nice to meet you all.||很高兴认识大家。||Hěn gāoxìng rènshi dàjiā.|
Example Self-introduction in Chinese
With the above Chinese introduction phrases under your belt, you’ll be able to make friends and acquaintances without any trouble at all. Just put the pieces together, mind the cultural differences, and practice till its second nature!
Here’s an example of a stellar self-introduction in Chinese for your reference.
Nǐ hǎo, wǒ jiào Xiè ěr dùn. Hěn gāoxìng rènshi nǐ.
Hello, my name is Sheldon. Nice to meet you.
Wǒ shì Měiguó rén. Wǒ lái zì Dékèsàsī, dàn xiànzài zhù zài Jiālìfúníyà.
I am American. I am from Texas, but currently I live in California.
Wǒ jīnnián sān shí qī suì, jiéhūn le. Zhè shì wǒ de qīzi, tā de míngzi jiào Ài mǐ, tā yě shì Měiguó rén. Wǒmen hái méiyǒu háizi.
I am thirty-seven years old this year, married. This is my wife. Her name is Amy. She is American too. We don’t have kids yet.
Wǒ hé wǒ de qīzi dōu zài Jiāzhōu lǐgōng xuéyuàn gōngzuò. Wǒ shì yì míng wùlǐ xuéjiā. Wǒ shàncháng lǐlùn. Wǒ de qīzi shì yì míng shénjīng kēxuéjiā.
My wife and I both work at Caltech. I am a physicist. I am good at theory. My wife is a neuroscientist.
- 我的爱好是桌游和漫画。平时我喜欢和朋友在一起。我对语言也很感兴趣。我会说克林贡语。我现在还在学中文。我想去中国旅行。你呢？Wǒ de àihào shì zhuōyóu hé mànhuà. Píngshí wǒ xǐhuan hé péngyǒu zài yìqǐ. Wǒ duì yǔyán yě hěn gǎn xìngqù, wǒ huì shuō Kèlíngòng yǔ. Wǒ xiànzài hái zài xué Zhōngwén. Wǒ xiǎng qù Zhōngguó lǚxíng. Nǐ ne?
My hobbies are board games and comics. In my free time I enjoy being with friends. I am also very interested in languages. I can speak Klingon. I am also learning Chinese at the moment. I want to take a trip to China. What about you?
If there’s ever a time when you need a pause to figure out what to say next during your Chinese self-introduction, don’t be afraid to use filler words to stall for time. For example, you can say 那个 (nèi ge), which works like “um”, “uh”, “well”, or “you know” in English. Read more about Chinese filler words.
And in case you don’t know what your conversation partner just said, use the expression 我没听懂 (wǒ méi tīng dǒng) to encourage the person to rephrase and explain with simpler Chinese. (Avoid the overused expression 听不懂 [tīng bù dǒng] which is a conversation killer! Read more about different ways of saying “I don’t understand” in Chinese.)
And One More Thing
No matter how little Chinese you know, it’s doable to introduce yourself to someone who speaks Chinese. In other words, you don’t need to understand the precise meanings of what you’re saying or how the words relate to each other grammatically to introduce yourself in Chinese. But if you’re curious, or if you’re planning on learning Chinese, check out our in-depth guide on how to best learn Chinese from scratch.
If you are struggling to improve your Chinese, consider taking a structured Chinese course online – it’s far more effective than reading odd bits and pieces here and there, and trying to put them together on your own. We’ve tested dozens of online Chinese language programs, some are amazing while others are, well… a complete waste of time. Make sure to read our unbiased reviews here and discover the best Chinese course out there for you.