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Chinese Lesson: "Can You Speak Chinese?"
Be sure to practice your Mandarin Chinese every chance you get. With just a few words and phrases, you can have a simple conversation with a native speaker.
Here are a few useful phrases to explain your level of Mandarin and whether you understand or not. Note that there is a difference between understanding spoken Mandarin (听的懂; tīng dé dǒng) and written Chinese (看的懂; kàn dé dǒng) – the difference between understanding the sound (听; tīng) and the sight (看; kàn) of the language.
Level of Chinese
When starting a conversation in Chinese, you may need to explain your level of Mandarin Chinese so that your conversation partner knows what to expect. Here are a few different ways to answer the question: do you speak Chinese?
你会说中文吗? (nǐ huì shuō Zhōngwén ma) = Do you speak Mandarin?
我会说中文。 (wǒ huì shuō Zhōngwén) = I speak Mandarin.
我会说一点点中文。   (wǒ huì shuō yīdiǎndiǎn Zhōngwén) = I speak a little Mandarin.
不太好。 (bú tài hǎo) = Not very well.
我的中文不好。  (wǒ de Zhōngwén bù hǎo) = My Mandarin is not good.
我只知道几个字。  (wǒ zhǐ zhīdao jǐge zì) = I only know a few words.
我的发音不是很好。   (wǒ de fāyīn búshì hěnhǎo) = ​My pronunciation is not very good.
Listening and Writing Comprehension Skills
With these phrases, you can explain your level of Chinese beyond just speaking but also in terms in writing.
你听得懂中文吗?    (nǐ tīng dé dǒng Zhōngwén ma) = Do you understand (spoken) Mandarin?
你看得懂中文吗?    (nǐ kàn dé dǒng Zhōngwén ma) = Do you understand (written) Mandarin?
我会说中文但是我看不懂。   (wǒ huì shuō Zhōngwén dànshì wǒ kàn bùdǒng) = I can speak Mandarin, but I can’t read it.
我看得懂中文字但是我不会写。   (wǒ kàn dé dǒng Zhōngwén zì dànshì wǒ bú huì xiě) = I can read Chinese characters, but I can’t write them.
Do You Understand Me?
Your conversation partner might check in from time to time to make sure you're understanding everything that is being said. If they are speaking too fast or inaudibly, here are some helpful phrases you can ask.
你听得懂我说什么吗?  (nǐ tīng dé dǒng wǒ shuō shénme ma) = Do you understand me?
是, 我听得懂。   (shì, wǒ tīng dé dǒng) = Yes, I can understand you.
我听不太懂你说什么。  (wǒ tīng bú tài dǒng nǐ shuō shénme) = I can’t understand you very well.
请说慢一点。   (qǐng shuō màn yīdiǎn) = Please speak more slowly.
请再说一次。    (qǐng zài shuō yīcì) = Please repeat that.
我听不懂。    (wǒ tīng bú dǒng) = I don’t understand.
Ask For Help
Don't be shy! The best way to learn new words is to ask. If you're trying to convey an idea in a conversation but find that you can't, ask the person you're talking to if they can give it a try. Then, try and bring up that phrase again and again in future conversations; repetition is good practice for memorization.
XXX 中文怎么说?    (XXX Zhōngwén zěnme shuō) = How do you say XXX in Mandarin?
# Our teachers #

More than 10 years teaching experience

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# About us #

Founded in 2007

Chinese test and training center

200+ Chinese teachers

5000+ students

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Mandarin Morning

Chinese test center attached to Confucius institute headquarters

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