How to Prepare for Travel in Mandarin

Learning some useful phrases ahead of your travel can make the experience of travel in China that much smoother. From basic questions such as “What time is it?” and helpful directional words to useful vocabulary that will get you around more efficiently, here is some help in Mandarin that should get you moving!

Remember, Mandarin is a tonal language and having your tones spot-on is key for being understood!

1. What is Lu Xing?

Lu Xing (Lu Hsing), known as the God of Abundance and Prosperity, began life as a government official before attaining deity status. Often depicted wearing traditional Mandarin official attire and holding onto Ru Yi, representing power and authority, this deity also patrons wealth, fame and prestige.

You may hear him referred to as Lu Fu (), which means the star of the royal court.

Mandarin is a tonal language, making pronunciation critically important to understanding it. To assist with this task, the Chinese developed pinyin – an alphabetic system using Roman letters to represent sounds found in Standard Mandarin. Each syllable of words have tone markers on them which identify whether their sound has first tone (ma), second tone (ma), third tone (ma) or neutral tones (ma).

Utilising pinyin will make reading Chinese signs, street names and advertising much simpler. Listening to natives is the most effective way of picking up useful phrases and pronunciation; to this end, using Speechling will enable you to practice and gain feedback from native speakers.

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4. Do you speak English?

Traveling internationally for work or pleasure requires knowing whether or not the locals speak English; otherwise you could waste precious time asking directions only to be met with blank stares and silence. There are a few strategies available to you in order to prevent this scenario from unfolding.

First and foremost, it is essential to recognize that “Mandarin” refers to a collection of Chinese languages. European missionaries used the term to refer to dynastic China’s common adopted lingua franca while modern laypersons frequently refer to Beijing Mandarin as the official standard language of mainland China.

Named for its Portuguese root word mandarim (derived from Malay menteri and Sanskrit mantrin, which both mean counselor), mandarin first appeared as an official term used in Ming court officials who had successfully passed imperial exams; eventually it became simply mandarin with tone markers added by clicking any word or phrase above in the transcript.

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