Introducing Oneself

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Introducing Oneself

Nǐ hǎo
01 ni-hao

Nín guìxìng
What’s your surname?
03 nin guixing

Wǒ xìng Huáng
My surname is Huang. (‘guìxìng’ is honorific and therefore not used on oneself)
04 wo xing huang

Wǒ jiào Huáng Fāngqí
My name is Huang Fangqi.
02 wo jiao

Jiào wǒ Fāngqí hǎo le
Just call me Fangqi.
05 jiao wo-hao le

Nǐ jiào shénme (míngzi)
What’s your name?
06 ni jiao shenme mingzi

Nǐ xìng shénme
What’s your surname? (More casual than ‘Nín guìxìng’)
07 ni-xing-shenme

Zěnme chēnghu nín
How should I address you?
08 zenme-chenghu


  1. Surnames come before given names.
  2. It is more polite to ask only the surname, so when meeting someone for the first time, or when speaking to someone considered more respectable, asking “您贵姓” (nín guìxìng) would be more appropriate. In more casual settings, it is alright to ask “你叫什么名字” (Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi)
  3. There are 2 verbs that can be used when asking for someone’s name. The first one is “姓” (xìng), which means ‘surname’. The phrase “您贵姓” (nín guìxìng) literally means ‘what is your honorable surname?’ When someone asks for your name with ‘xìng’, they are expecting you to tell them your surname, not your given name. The second is “叫” (jiào), which means ‘to be called’. When we use this verb, what follows is either the full name or only the given name, never only the surname.

I will be writing a post on this soon, stay tuned!

This is the promised post: How Should I Address You – Self-Introduction in Mandarin. Happy reading!

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