How Do You Say Thank You in Chinese?
With a plethora of ways to say thank you in Chinese (see video below for pronunciation), it is sometimes hard to decide on the way that is most appropriate for the person to whom you wish to show gratitude. It is for this reason that time was invested to write this brief guide so that you can choose the method that will be most effective. Please keep in mind that in Chinese culture, action speaks exponentially more than words.
Thank You: Saying It in Chinese
If you would like to be able to say “thanks” in Chinese, you’ll find it pretty easy. “Xiè” is the Chinese character that is used and it is said with the falling fourth tone, making it sound like a sigh of relief! Most often, though, you will find that thanks is expressed by the doubling of this character, rendering the phrase, “Xiè xie.” Why say the character twice? In the Chinese language, repeating a phrase or character serves to emphasize its meaning. Even though, you could simply say the character only once, you’ll soon become accustomed to hearing it twice.
To be able to say a more complete “thank you” you need to know to whom you will say the phrase. If you are going to say it to someone who is your age or younger, then you can use the common form of the word “you” which is said as “nĭ.” “Nĭ” is said with the falling and rising third tone, but pronounced like the English word “knee.” Once you know which form of you, it is easy to put the entire phrase together as, “Xiè xie nĭ.”
However, when you need to use the more polite version of you, “nín” is the character that is instead used. This Chinese character is said with the rising second tone, which makes it sound like you are asking a question. The phrase, then, in its entirety, is “Xiè xie nín” and is the phrase used for addressing those older than you or anyone to whom you wish to be polite.
Thank You: How to Say Thank You Very Much
You’ll also find that there are a variety of way to say “thank you very much” in Chinese. Even though certain phrases are more commonly used depending upon the region of the country, still you’ll find the next two phrases to be pretty standard throughout China. Remember, if you truly wish to express a heartfelt thank you, you still might want to consider demonstrating that through action, rather than words.
Still, it is possible to express this idea through words. The first phrase that we’ll explore is “Duō xiè” which literally means “many or much thanks.” Since the phrase still ends with “xiè” it will be said with the falling fourth tone, but “duō” is said with the high, level first tone (which sounds much like saying “aaahhh” at the dentist’s office, but pronounced “dw” + a sound that is halfway between “aawwww” and “oh”).
A second way to say thank you very much is to use the phrase that means “very much” or “extremely.” This phrase is then combined with the phrase that means “to be grateful or thankful.” But, look out, because it won’t be in the same word order! Very much is actually said first, with the to be grateful following, essentially, “Fēi cháng găn xiè.”
Thank You: Other Options in Chinese
Now, we can finally explore some of the other options for saying thank you in Chinese! It’s best to keep in mind that action is more powerful than words, but that taking the appropriate action is really what is needed. So, how do you show appreciation in Chinese culture?
Have you ever considered all of the way that you can show gratitude through action? You may be able to introduce the person you which to thank to someone who can help with a problem or who can give them a better opportunity. What about taking the time to cook a meal for their family and delivering it to their home? Maybe you have noticed something around their home that is in disrepair and you can either repair it yourself or have it repaired for them. If you really take the time to think about it, you can come up with hundreds of ways to express your gratefulness!
Of course, you might also consider buying a gift for your friend. In this case, the key will be to make sure that the gift is practical and will be well received. Consider, for example, purchasing an exotic food, wine, or snack that the receiver would enjoy. In Chinese culture, you can never go wrong in purchasing food! But, something useful for the home or office is also an option to say thank you in Chinese without words!