They say first impressions make lasting impressions. Introducing yourself is the first step to building any kind of relationship with the other person. When learning the Chinese language, one of the very first things that you should learn is how to introduce yourself. It helps you make friends, chat with colleagues and coworkers and forge a strong bond with them. Here are a few ways in which you can introduce yourself in the Chinese language on different occasions:
“Ni hao” – it literally means you good. “Ni” is you and “hao” is good. The pronunciation of Ni Hao is very similar to the English language; Ni as in knee and hao just like How. Similarly, the phrase “Ni hao ma” is used to ask a general question of “How are you?”. It works both ways, i.e. to say Hi and to ask How are you?
However, when speaking in Chinese, do take care of the tone and pitch you use. A word that comes out of your mouth, should not only be pronounced in the right way but also be appropriate in terms of tonal quality. Otherwise, you will not be able to get your message through to the recipient.
When unfamiliar people greet each other, they seldom ask “how are you”. This, “how are you” greeting thing is a very Western thing. In China, if you ask someone how he or she is doing, you usually know that person and care about him/her.
So, if you ask any unknown Chinese person about how he/she is doing, he/she might take the question very seriously and start sharing the long story of his/her life. To greet someone in Chinese a simple “Nihao” is enough.
While meeting new colleagues, peers and, people in informal gatherings, you may want to introduce yourself in a casual manner. In that case, keep your sentences short and less formal. You can even use colloquial words. For instance, you can say Ni hao, Wǒ jiào (your name), Hěn gāo xìng rèn shinǐ. This means: Hi, my name is [your name], I am pleased to meet you.
Apart from that, you can also include the phrase Wǒ láizì (country name); which means I am from (China/Russia or any other country you are from).
In settings like formal business meetings or interviews, you might need to introduce yourself in a more formal tone and manner. Just like the English language, practice is needed to pull off speaking Chinese with finesse. Rules of business communication are similar to those applicable to the English language.
The speaker needs to be more polite and use formal phrases. The message should be concrete and complete in all respect. The tone and pitch of your voice should be relevant to your message. Long introductions should be made at the start of a job interview or at the time of giving a presentation during a business meeting. You can tell them your name, where you are from, your early education, your level of experience, your personal strengths and weaknesses and so on. There are some pre-defined sentences in the Chinese language out there for all the information and introduction you need.
If you are planning to move to China and eager to start learning the Chinese language beforehand, get yourself registered with a good instructor from Singapore.