Say It Right Series

    Telephone Chinese


    So much of language is based on body language and reading someone's facial expressions and hand movements. However, when speaking on the phone you are at a massive disadvantage. Not only do you not get any physical or social cues, but it can also be difficult to understand the person on the other end of the line, especially if the cell reception is bad. Conquer your fear of telephoning in Chinese and listen to this selection of lessons based on telephone conversations.

    He's Not In Newbie

    You've arrived, and want to fit in, so start with the national Chinese pastime: cell phone talking (well, it's better than taking up smoking). First, you're going to need a partner in conversation, so pull out one of those linty business cards you shoved in your pocket days ago, any one will do. If you can't read it, no problem, chances are his name is Mr. Li. Now, plug in this lesson and you're set... pick up the phone and pray he's not in.

    Tags: greetings, home and office, business

    On the Way Newbie

    Life in China is go-go-go. Be it taxi, bicycle, moped or bus number 11, chances are you're going places. In this podcast, learn how to use your Chinese to say you are 'on the way'... here, there, or anywhere.

    Tags: travel, town and city, location

    Making a Dinner Reservation - Part 1 Newbie

    Making a dinner reservation over the phone can be a daunting prospect, especially when restaurant on the other end of the line is exceptionally noisy and hard to understand. Thankfully, the exchange is actually fairly straightforward and scripted, and with the help of today's newbie lesson to break it down piece by piece, you'll be making reservations for you and your friends in no time!

    Tags: restaurant, time, numbers

    Is so-and-so there? Newbie

    You know you need to speak to “Li,” but don’t know how to ask if he’s there. So you simply say “Li?” to whomever answers. Her name isn’t “Li” and she keeps trying to tell you that; so you say “No…Li!” which ends up in anger--and we’re a peaceful podcast. So in this podcast learn how to ask if “(so-and-so) is there”, in Mandarin Chinese.

    Tags: greetings, business, home and office

    Bad Cell Reception Elementary

    In this podcast, you'll learn how to complain about a poor cell phone signal. That must be why you didn't understand what your Chinese friend was saying...right? Make sure you always come through loud and clear when you speak Mandarin.

    Tags: reception, signal, cell phones

    Picking My Darling Up Elementary

    Listen to two love birds arrange to meet at a common location before going out on a date.

    Photo Credit: Kyle May

    Tags: dating, driving, meeting

    Lili and Zhang Liang 10: The Other Woman Intermediate

    Well, well… what do we have here? A modern-day “Harold & Maude,” that’s what. Just as Zhang Liang is having doubts about Lili, he finds himself after hours with an attractive female co-worker. Sound spicy? Wait till you hear who catches them! Oohhhhhh, ChinesePod, the Sichuan food of Mandarin Chinese podcasts!

    Tags: feelings, relationships, home and office

    Put Me Through to Mr. Cai Intermediate

    Telephone language is quite different to most forms of spoken Chinese, and if you're not used to calling people in a formal setting it could be quite an intimidating experience. There are however certain customs and phrases that are often used over the phone, so if you learn today's phrases, you should be comfortable phoning in the future.

    Tags: secretary, phone, telephone

    Let Me Speak to a Human Being Intermediate

    There is nothing more tedious than being put through to an automated voice system when you have a simple question that needs answering. All you want it to be transferred through to an operator but instead you must listen to each option read out in a robotic fashion. Learn some formal telephone and newspaper language in today's class so that next time you're confronted with this situation, you're not so confused.

    Tags: telephone, banking, bank