People have long joked, 天不怕地不怕只怕四川人说普通话 – there is nothing to fear but the Sichuanese speaking Mandarin, and it can be true.With a large lack of retroflex sounds (ch, zh, sh, etc.), confusions on h/f, n/l, s/c initial consonants and n/ng, en/un, ian/uan finals, it can be difficult for even those who have learned Mandarin for many years to understand and to be understood by people in Chengdu or further afield in Sichuan province.Indeed Sichuanese remains the 8th most spoken language in the world, spoken in some form by approximately 200 million people. The language is funny, energetic and extremely satisfying to learn.We’ve put together some simple phrases to get your started:
Where are you from?
Q. Where are you from?你是哪个国家的喃？ni3 si4 la3 go4 gue2 jia1 li1 la1?
A. Have a guess.你批一下ni3 pei1 yi2 ha4Other dialects are more likely to use 估 (gu3) for “guess” instead of 批 (pei1).
A. From ____国__gue2
Please and Thank you
A common mistake is assuming that xie4xie 谢谢 is equivalent to the local “thank you,” but it’s usually reserved for ‘big things’.Sorry to trouble you (a loose translation)麻烦你了ma2 fan2 ni3 lo3 is more common than xie4 xie when asking for everyday things.
Less formally this can also be used:Thanks谢了哈xie4 lo3 ha3
Here are some terms to make using a taxi 租儿 zu1 er2, zuer1, motorized-pedicab 三轮儿 san1 ler2, and general leaving the house/going out 上街 sang4 gai1 experiences better:
Here 这儿 zer4 – just here 就这儿 jiu4 zer4 (indicating where driver should stop, etc.)/There 那儿 ler4Where 哪儿 ler3 To turn a corner 倒拐 dao4 guai4To take a left 倒左拐 dao4 zo4 guai4To take a right 倒右拐 dao4 you3 guai4Left turn 左拐 zo3 guai4Right turn 右拐 you4 guai4Go straight 拉伸 la1 cen1
Driver 师傅 si1 fu4 is the polite form of address for people who’s names you don’t know (mostly male, but can also work for female cabbies).To arrive 拢 long3, for example: I’m here/I have arrived 我拢了 ngo3 long3 lo3
And the Sichuanese absolute favourite di3 long3 dao3 guai3 抵拢倒拐 which just means go to the end and take the turn, but people love the flavour of saying it.
Some words you may hear your driver shouting at others:Basketcase/loon 胎神 tai1 sen2, idiot fool 宝器 bao3 qi4 and idiot/brainless 宝里宝器 bao3 li3 bao3 qi4.
How much is it? 好多钱? hao3 do1 qian2?When said fast this sounds like 好钱 hao3 qian2 which you could also say if you’re feeling lazy.
How much is it all together?/all together how much is it? 一下好多钱？yi2 ha4 hao3 do1 qian2Where is…?…在哪儿? …zai4 ler3?
Other Useful Terms:
To know something 晓得 xiao3 de2 Okay! Sure! Absolutely! 要得 yao4 de2
Don’t want 嫑 biao4e.g.: don’t cheat me (out of money) 嫑呵我 biao4 ho1 ngo3
To not know 嫑得 biao1 de2Fake 歪 wai3To swindle/to cheat 烧 sao1You’re welcome/no problem 不存在 bu2 cen2 zai4To have a chat 摆龙门阵 bai3 long2 men2 zen4What? 啥子 sa4 zi3What are you doing? 爪子哟 zua4 zi3 yo2
Great, very good 巴适得板 ba2si4deban3
confirmation to a sentence 嘎 ga3