The Anatomy Of Hello

Nĭ hăo!  Most people know that this means hello in Mandarin.  We love hearing children shout it out after they’ve learnt it in our lessons!

Fewer people know that nĭ hăo literally means “you good?”. Bearing that in mind, it’s not such a surprise to find out that we can ask, “how are you?” by just adding one word to nĭ hăo.  If we add the question particle ‘ma’ to nĭ hăo, we get nĭ hăo mā or one way of saying how are you in Mandarin.

Let’s take a look at the word hăo in characters, which as you probably remember, means good.

As a Mummy of two young children, that has always made me smile. A very long time ago, when Chinese people were starting to create characters, they decided that one of the BEST things in life was having a family, so that’s why hăo is formed from the characters for woman and child.

You’re only just starting on your Mandarin journey with Little Dragons, but in just a few short sentences you’ve learnt how to say “hello” and “how are you?”. You’ve also learnt about how the word hăo is made up of two other characters which mean “woman” and “child.”