4 Tips To Keep A Conversation Going In Chinese

In How to by Angel HuangLeave a Comment

We've previously focused on how to start conversations in Chinese.

Now it's time for the next step!

Ask SPECIFIC questions with words like...

- 怎么样 zěn me yàng (How)
- 什么 shén me (What)
- 哪里 nǎ lǐ (Where)
- 什么时候 shén me shí hòu (When)
- 谁 shuí (Who)
- 为什么 wèi shén me (Why)

Here are some examples...

你的周末过得怎么样
nǐ de zhōu mò guò de zěn me yàng?
How was your weekend?

你周末去哪里了?
nǐ zhōu mò qù nǎ lǐ le?
Where did you go at the weekend?

你上个周末和一起过?
nǐ shàng gè zhōu mò hé shuí yī qǐ guò?
Who did you spend the weekend with?

你周末做了什么
nǐ zhōu mò zuò le shén me?
What did you do at your weekend?

你上个星期天什么时候起床?
nǐ shàng gè xīng qī tiān shén me shí hòu qǐ chuáng?
When did you get up last Sunday?

Give 1-2 pieces of specific information

When you answer a question, give 1-2 pieces of specific information to carry the conversation forward. 

Example 1:

A: 你的周末过得好吗?nǐ de zhōu mò guò de hǎo ma? Did you have a good weekend?

B: 非常好!我和我弟弟去看了一场足球比赛。fēi cháng hǎo! wǒ hé wǒ dì dì qù kàn le yī chǎng zú qiú bǐ sài. It was great! I watched a football game with my brother.

Example 2:

A: 你周末去哪里了?nǐ zhōu mò qù nǎ lǐ le?  Where did you go at the weekend?

B:  星期六,我和朋友去了健身。然后,星期天,我和家人去了淮海路吃饭和看电影。xīng qī liù, wǒ hé péng yǒu qù le jiàn shēn. rán hòu, xīng qī tiān, wǒ hé jiā rén qù le huái hǎi lù chī fàn hé kàn diàn yǐng. I worked out with my friend on Saturday. Then I went to Huai Hai Road to have a meal and watch a movie with my family on Sunday.

Pick a great topic

Talk about familiar and daily topics. For example:
- Interests
- TV shows, movies and music
- Family
- Travel
- Food
- Current events

Here are some examples...

A: 你喜欢吃什么菜?nǐ xǐ huān chī shén me cài? What food/dishes do you like??

B: 我喜欢吃的菜太多了。比如说: 麻辣干锅,干煸四季豆,北京烤鸭,兰         州拉面。你呢?wǒ xǐ huān chī de cài tài duō le. bǐ rú shuō: má là gàn guō, gàn biān sì jì dòu, běi jīng kǎo yā, lán zhōu lā  miàn. nǐ ne?I like to eat many kinds of food. For examples: Spicy dry hot pot, Fried green beens, Beijing roast duck, Lanzhou noodles. And you?

A: 我也喜欢吃麻辣干锅和干煸四季豆。 这两道菜特别香! wǒ yě xǐ huān chī má là gàn guō hé gàn biān sì jì dòu.  zhè liǎng dào cài tè bié xiāng! I also like to eat Spicy dry hot pot and Fried green beens. These two dishes are very tasty!

B: 我已经在流口水了!wǒ yǐ jīng zài liú kǒu shuǐ le!My mouth is watering already!

A: 咱们下班一起去吃吧!zán men xià bān yī qǐ qù chī ba!Let's go eat together after work.

“Interesting, tell me more!”

Show interest and ask follow-up questions when someone tells you something.

Some examples...

A: 暑假快到了!shǔ jiǎ kuài dào le! It's almost summer break.

B: 是啊,还有一周就到了。我打算和家人一起去旅游。shì a, hái yǒu yī zhōu jiù dào le. wǒ dǎ suàn hé jiā rén yī qǐ qù lǚ yóu. Yup! Just one more week. I'm going to travel with my family.

A: 太好了!你们要去哪里玩?tài hǎo le! nǐ men yào qù nǎ lǐ wán? Great! Where are you going to travel?

B: 我要去丽江。你去过那里吗?wǒ yào qù lì jiāng. nǐ qù guò nà lǐ ma? I’m going to Lijiang. Have you been there?

A: 我和男朋友去过丽江一次。我们去过玉龙雪山。我觉得那里特别美! wǒ hé nán péng yǒu qù guò lì jiāng yī cì. wǒ men qù guò yù lóng xuě shān. wǒ jué de nà lǐ tè bié měi! I went to Lijiang once with my boyfriend. We went to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. I think it's beautiful!

B: 我们也要去那里。你呢?暑假有什么计划?wǒ men yě yào qù nà lǐ. nǐ ne? shǔ jiǎ yǒu shén me jì huà? We're also going there. How about you? What plans do you have for the summer break?

A: 就是呆在家里好好休息。不过我和男朋友12月要去日本旅游。jiù shì dāi zài jiā lǐ hǎo hǎo xiū xī.  bù guò wǒ hé nán péng yǒu 12 yuè yào qù rì běn lǚ yóu. Just staying home and getting a good rest. But I'm going to travel to Japan with my boyfriend in December.

B: 哇塞!日本!你会说日语吗?wā sāi! rì běn! nǐ huì shuō rì yǔ ma? Wow! Japan! Can you speak Japanese?

A: 会一点。いち,に,さん,し,ご,ろ... huì yī diǎn. i chi, ni, san, shi, go, ro ku... A little bit. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6...

B: 改天再聊吧!拜拜!gǎi tiān zài liáo ba! bāi bāi!Let’s talk another time! Bye bye!

A: 嘿, 等等!我会数到100。hēi, děng děng! wǒ huì shù dào 100. Hey, wait! I can count to 100.