Celebrate Chinese New Year with the Mumsnet Guide to Mandarin

If there's one thing we've learned over the years, it's that mothers the world over share a propensity to wonder if they're being unreasonable, or indeed whether an interlocutor did, in fact, meant to be so rude.

So this Chinese New Year, we're celebrating with a Mumsnet Guide to Mandarin, featuring a selection of classic MN phrases translated into characters, pinyin - said characters transcribed into the Latin alphabet - and phonetics, so you can have a go at saying them yourself.

Ever wondered how to say "gin" in this most widely spoken of languages?  Read on...


Am I being unreasonable?


Pinyin: Wo shi bushi buke liyu?
Phonetic: Waw sher boo sher boo ker lee you?

You are being unreasonable


Pinyin: Ni shi buke liyu
Phonetic: Nee sher boo ker lee you

You are not being unreasonable


Pinyin: Ni bu shi buke liyu
Phonetic: Nee boo sher boo ker lee you

Did you mean to be so rude?


Pinyin: Ni chengxin zheme culu ?
Phonetic: Nee cheng shin jer mer tsoo loo?

What is your favourite biscuit?


Pinyin: Ni zui xihuan de binggan shi shenme?
Phonetic: Nee zway shee huan de binggan sher shen mer?

Nest of vipers


Pinyin: Dushe de chaoxue
Phonetic: Do sher de chao shwer

Leave the bastard!


Pinyin: Likai nage hundan
Phonetic: Lee kye na ge hoondan

Won't someone think of the children?


Pinyin: You mei you ren xiangguo haizi
Phonetic: Yo may yo ren tsiang guor high zi

"No" is a complete sentence

"不" 是一个完成的句子

Pinyin: Bu shi yi ge wancheng de juzi
Phonetic: Boo sher ee ge wancheng der jew zi



Pinyin: Du song zi jiu
Phonetic: Do song zi jiew

Happy New Year


Pinyin: Xin nian kuai le
Phonetic: Shin nian kwai ler

Cheers/bottoms up  


Pinyin: Gan bei
Phonetic: Gan bay


Last updated: 3 days ago