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CHINESELESSON - How to start a Conversation in Chinese ?

Very often we miss out on valuable speaking practice simply because we don’t make use of opportunities to
 start conversations with people in the first place.

1/ When you see someone you know (or “half-know”), a simple greeting can help set a positive tone and often naturally lead into a conversation.

Here are three examples of casual greetings/expressions you could use:

· 怎么样? zěn me yàng ?How’s it going?/What’s up?
· 你去哪儿? nǐ qù nǎ er ?Where are you going?
· 你吃过了吗? nǐ chī guò le ma ?(Note: Though it literally means “Have you eaten?” it’s function as a greeting is very similar to that of the phrase “How are you?” in English.) Have you eaten?

2/ Now, if you run into a friend that you haven’t seen in a while, perhaps you’ll want to ask what’s new in their world (related to work, family, hobbies etc.)... These phrases are a good starting point for doing that:

· 好久不见!hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn !Long time no see!
· 最近你在做什么?zuì jìn nǐ zài zuò shén me? What have you been up to lately?
· 家人都好吧?jiā rén dōu hǎo ba ?How’s your family?
· 你还在星巴克工作吗?nǐ hái zài xīng bā kè gōng zuò ma ?Are you still working at Starbucks?
· 身体怎么样?shēn tǐ zěn me yàng ?How are you feeling? lit. “How’s your body?” (commonly used with elder people)
3/ In the office, there’s a number of ways to start talking to someone. Just consider the context and timing before dropping your conversation starter.
Here are some questions you can use:
· 你忙什么呢?nǐ máng shén me ne ?What are you working on?
· 你今天工作顺利吗?nǐ jīn tiān gōng zuò shùn lì ma ?Is your work “going smoothly” today?
· 你有几分钟的时间吗?nǐ yǒu jǐ fèn zhōng de shí jiān ma ?Do you have a few minutes?
· 请问你对这个有什么想法?qǐng wèn nǐ duì zhè gè yǒu shén me xiǎng fǎ ?May I ask for your thoughts/opinion on this?
· 你有听说新经理下周一开始上班吗?nǐ yǒu tīng shuō xīn jīng lǐ xià zhōu yī kāi shǐ shàng bān ma ?Did you hear that the new manager starts on Monday?
· 你这个周末打算做什么? nǐ zhè gè zhōu mò dǎ suàn zuò shén me ?(at the end of the week): Do you have any plans for the weekend?
· 你的周末过得怎么样?nǐ de zhōu mò guò de zěn me yàng ?(at the beginning of the week): How was your weekend?