You will notice that some of these words are pronounced with a rising or falling tone and that some are pronounced with a higher pitch than others. In Chinese, the tone is an important part of the pronunciation of a word. Different tones indicate different meanings.

You should imitate the speaker and make sure that your pronunciation sound like these.

Excuse me.

Please let me ask.


Can speak.


You can speak.


You can speak English.


Can’t speak.

Can you speak?

The high tone “ma” is used to ask a yes/no question in Mandarin.

You can’t speak.


I can speak.

Can you speak English?

I can’t speak.

I can speak English.

Mandarin Chinese

In mainland China, the Mandarin language is referred to as: “the common language.”

I can speak Mandarin Chinese.

I can’t speak Mandarin Chinese.

You can speak Mandarin Chinese.

A little.

I can speak a little.

I can speak a little English.

Can you speak Mandarin Chinese?

I can speak a little Mandarin Chinese.



This word begins with the sound we don’t have in English. It’s like a cross between an “r” and a “y”.

American person

To be.

I am.

In Mandarin, this phrase’s form never changes.

I am an American person.

You are.

You are an American person.

Are you?

Are you an American person?

Yes. (Am.)

Use this to answer the question: “Are you an American person?”

Yes, I am an American person.

That’s it for today. But if you’re still on fire to learn the next simple greetings and goodbyes, you should check out the–

Next Lesson: Lesson 2: Simple Greetings and Goodbyes

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