The Eclectic Complexions of Vernacular Dialects

As you may or may not remember, I’m studying a double major in International Relations + Translation and Interpreting, which entails the study of a few languages at least. I thought I’d put that knowledge to use and compile a list of 30 basic phrases and expressions in the five languages I speak or am learning. If you have any questions or comments about these or any other phrases, I’ll do my best to help you out.




Spanish French German Mandarin Chinese


Hola Salut Hallo 你好


How are you?

¿Qué tal estás? Comment ça va? Wie geht es Ihnen?


nǐhǎo ma?

Fine, and you? Bien, ¿y tú? Bien, et toi? Gut, und Ihnen?


wǒ hěnhǎo, nǐ ne?

Thank you

Gracias Merci Danke




Por favor S‘il vous plaît Bitte


You’re welcome

De nada Il n’y a pas de quoi Bitte



What’s your name?

¿Cómo te llamas? Comment tu t’appelle? Wie heiβen Sie?


nǐ jiào shénme?

My name is…

Me llamo… Je m’appelle… Ich heiβe…


wǒ jiào…

Where are you from?

De dónde eres? D’où venez-vous? Woher kommen sie?


nǐ shì nǎ guó rén?

I am from…

Soy de… Je viens de… Ich komme aus…


wǒ shì … rén

I am x years old

Tengo x años J’ai x ans Ich bin x Jahre alt


wǒ shì … suì


Adiós Au revoir Auf wiedersehen



I don’t know

No lo se Je ne sais pas Ich weiβ (noch) nicht


wǒ bùzhīdào

I don’t understand

No entiendo Je ne comprends pas Ich verstehe nicht


wǒ tīng bù dǒng

How do you say [word] in [language]?

Cómo se dice [word] en [language]? Comment dit-on [word] en [language]? Was ist [word] auf [language]?

[word][language]    怎么说?

[word][language] zěnme shuō?

Do you speak…? (a language)

Hablas…? Parlez-vous…? Sprechen Sie…?


nǐ huì shuō … ma?

Excuse me (to ask a question)

Perdone Excusez-moi Entschuldigung



Sorry Perdón/Lo siento Pardon ‘tschuldigung/sorry



How much is this?

Cuánto cuesta esto? Ça coûte combien? Wie viel kostet das? 这个多少钱?

Zhège duōshǎo qián?


¡Ayuda! Au secours! Hilfe! 救命啊!

jìumìng ā!

Where is the bathroom? Dónde está el baño? Où sont les toilettes? Wo ist die Toilette?

洗手间在哪里? xǐshǒujiān zài nǎli?

I’m hungry Tengo hambre J’ai faim Ich habe Hunger


Wǒ è le

I’m thirsty

Tengo sed J’ai soif Ich habe Durst 我渴了

Wǒ kě le

Yes Si Oui Ja


Shì de


No Non Nein

What’s your job? En qué trabajas? Que faites-vous comme travail? Was ist ihr beruf?


nǐ zuò Shénme gōngzuò?

I am a… (for jobs)

Yo soy… Je suis… Ich arbeite als… 我是…

wǒ shì

Merry Christmas Feliz Navidad Joyeaux Natal Frohe Weinachten


Shèngdàn kuàilè

Happy birthday

Feliz Cumpleaños Joyeaux Anniversaire Alles Gute (zum Geburtstag) 祝你生日快乐!

Zhùnǐ shēngrì kuàilè!

I love you Te quiero Je t’aime Ich liebe dich


Wǒ ài nǐ


6 thoughts on “The Eclectic Complexions of Vernacular Dialects

  1. That’s an impressive selection of languages you’ve got! I’m a boring native English speaker, so the only language I can speak fluently is English :p Although I’m teaching myself Latin and Mandarin Chinese at the moment. It’s cool to see the similarities between those Spanish and French phrases and the Latin I know, e.g. French “Je t’aime” is like Latin “Te amo” 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 5 languages (that are so different) are impressive!! I only speak English, Mandarin Chinese (I’m Singaporean Chinese), Spanish and a very small amount of Thai and Japanese (enough to take cabs, order food etc.). One small point: 我不这道 (I don’t know) should actually be 我不知道

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s very international (the largest ethnic group is Chinese but we have a significant number of Malays and Indians too as well as a lot of expats), clean, organised, safe.. It’s super easy to get around 🙂 It’s very modern but there are still a few interesting traditional enclaves like Chinatown, Arab Street and Little India. You should definitely visit someday 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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