speak chinese like a native

Hi, I need your help

Posted by toianw November 28, 2010 in the Group Transcripts with Tal .


Hi guys,

I had a bit of free time on my hands this afternoon, so I’ve attempted to transcribe yesterday’s upper intermediate lesson, Second-hand Bicycle. One thing I’ve realised is that all the little exclamations (ah, er, oh, um – this kind of equivalent in English), I’ve no idea how to express in Chinese. So before I post the transcript, I thought I’d try and clear some of these up (there’s a lot!).

I’ve had a quick browse through other poddies’ transcripts, and it seems that these are the most commonly used are: 嗯,啊,哦,噢,哎,唉,诶

So, I’ve tried to get my head around how these are used. This is what I’ve come up with.


[pinyin en1 (ng)] – A “grunt” to signify you agree (maybe translated as “Yes, that’s right”)

– [a]

1st tone – Ah, Oh (shows surprise)

2nd tone – eh (to express doubt)

4th tone - ah (shows agreement) 



2nd tone – Oh (shows doubt or surprise)

4th tone – Oh (as if you’ve just learnt something)


[o1] – Oh (indicates understanding or acknowledgement)

[ai1] – Oh, Hey (indicates surprise or dissatisfaction / or a warning)

[Can this be second tone as well?]

[ai1] (indicates agreement)


2nd tone (indicates surprise)

4th tone (indicates disagreement)

These are dictionary definitions so I’m not sure how well they correspond to actual usage. Any corrections, clarifications, additions etc would be most welcome. 


Many thanks,



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