Saying the phrase good morning in Chinese is as easy as it is to say it in any other language!
While Mandarin and Cantonese use a different alphabet than English, it’s still relatively easy to sound out words in Pinyin (romanticized spelling of Chinese language) and learn each character separately.
How to Say Good Morning in Chinese
If you want to say good morning in Chinese, you’ll need to know what language you’re speaking first!
When we say we’re speaking Chinese, we could actually be speaking one of several different dialects.
The most common dialect in China is Mandarin (which is also called Putonghua). Most of the population of China speaks this dialect. But you could also be referring to Cantonese, Xiang, Min, Wu, or other dialects, too.
Which dialect someone speaks in China mostly depends on where the speaker is from. Xian is spoken in the north, and Cantonese is spoken in Hong Kong, Canton, and Macau.
Good Morning in Mandarin
The literal translation of good morning in Mandarin is zǎoshang hǎo. You can also say zǎo ān. Or, if you want to say good morning to someone you know well (an informal good morning if you were greeting your partner or roommate) would simply be to say zǎo.
Zǎo means early and morning in Chinese. Since Chinese also uses characters in the written word, the character for zǎo, which looks like this 早, means first sun.
The entire phrase good morning written out in Chinese looks like this 早安.
The second character, which stands for the good in good morning means peace. So, when you wish someone a good morning in Chinese, you’re actually wishing them a peaceful morning or first sun.
Good Morning in Cantonese
In Cantonese, the written symbols for the phrase good morning are similar to the ones in Mandarin.
If you want to write the phrase good morning in Cantonese, you would do so by sketching the following characters: 早晨. As you can see, the first symbol is the same, but the second symbol is different from its Mandarin counterpart (though there are some similarities between the symbols).
This phrase is pronounced differently in Cantonese than it is in Mandarin, too. If you want to say good morning, you’d say, “Jou san.” Not totally different from Mandarin but also not the same either.
Good Morning in Other Languages
Want to learn the phrase good morning in different languages? You’re not alone!
Good morning is one of the most common greetings in other languages, so learning this phrase first is a great intro to any language. While we say good morning in English, speakers of other languages may say good day, hello, or good afternoon more commonly.
The good news is that we have a guide for how to say good morning in other languages — with tips on how to say this phrase in some of the most common (and least commonly spoken) languages in the world!
Common Chinese Phrases and Words
Now that you know how to say good morning in Chinese, you may want to try learning a few other common Chinese phrases, too.
Once you have a few phrases underneath your belt, you can start practicing with a language partner or try out your new favorite phrases in a community that speaks Mandarin.
Common Chinese Greetings
Possibly the most common greeting in any language is hello (second only to goodbye!). To say hello in Mandarin, you only need to say, “Nǐhǎo,” which is pronounced nee-how.
In China, politeness is extremely important! This is why phrases such as thank you and you’re welcome should be at the top of your list of phrases-to-learn. Other common phrases in Mandarin include:
Thank you: Xièxiè/谢谢
You’re welcome: Bù kèqì/别客气
Good morning: Zǎo/早
My name is: Wǒ jiào/我叫
What are the most common greetings in your first language? Are they similar to common greetings in English?
Most Common Chinese Words
Since there is so much more to any language than saying good morning, hello, or other common greetings, you may want to learn a few other words and phrases too.
If you’re just starting to learn Chinese, you may want to learn the most commonly used words first. Doing this helps you create the building blocks for speaking full sentences and saying phrases.
Just a few of the most commonly used words in Chinese include:
- I: wǒ/我
- You: nǐ/你
- He/she/him/her/it: tā/他/她/它
- We/me: wǒmen/我们
- You (plural): nǐmen/你们
- Tāmen they or them 他们
- This: zhè/这
- That: nà/那
- Here: zhèli/这里
- There: nàli/那里
Tips to Translate English to Chinese
Communicating with other cultures isn’t always easy. That’s why we compiled this list of tips to translate English to Chinese (and vice versa!).
Download a Language Translation App
Learning individual words in other languages can be pretty difficult.
Google Translate and other free online language translation apps aren’t always accurate, and you can’t learn pronunciation from a physical dictionary or book!
Downloading a language translation app can help you learn how to write and pronounce words in other languages. If you can, opt for a translation app that offers voice-to-text and audio output, such as Vocre.
These features remove the guesswork from pronunciation. Vorcre also allows you to download an entire dictionary at once, which you can use to translate words and phrases offline.
Find a Language Partner
You won’t learn a new language by reading books or surfing pronunciations on the internet! Find a language partner to practice speaking Mandarin with. You’ll learn so much more inflection, tone, and nuance than you would by learning a language alone.
Immerse Yourself in the Culture
Once you’ve learned a few words and phrases, try out your new language skills in the real world.
Watch Chinese language movies or TV shows (without the subtitles!), or try reading a newspaper in Mandarin or Cantonese to learn new words and symbols.