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Words of the Day: Ni Hao (Hello)

Posted: Sunday, March 21, 2010 By Ni Hao Books

Words of the Day is 你好, nǐhǎo, which means hello in Mandarin. It's also the name of our bookstore, plus the name of many Chinese learning products for children.

When I recently attended the CLTA (California Language Teacher's Association) conference, many people asked me if I'm associated with the children show "Ni Hao Kai Lan", or the "Ni Hao" textbooks. No, we are not. We chose the name Ni Hao Books for our bookstore, because 你好 is probably the most well known and most spoken Chinese words. When people founds out I'm Chinese, regardless of their ethnicity, the first words out of most of them is 你好! If they are not Chinese, then chances are, those are the only two Chinese words they know. But it's a great ice breaker, and I wish I know how to say hello is many languages.

One interesting thing about the words 你好, nǐhǎo, is its pronunciation. As you notice, both words have the third tones. But when spoken, 你 actually sounds like the second tone, ní. The reason is because in Pinyin, the rule is that when two words together both have the third tone, the first word is sounded in the second tone, but still written as the third tone.
 
 

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