How Are You in Chinese

Since I started to learn Chinese, I always loved to find correlations with my native country: Italy.

And one of the main things we have in common is the importance we give to food. For example, now that I live in Taipei, when I call my Italian relatives the first thing we ask each other is “what have you eaten today?”.

This is why I was so happily impressed when I discovered that in Chinese, one way to say “how are you” is “你吃了吗?” (meaning, have you eaten yet?), almost like in Italy!

Btw, if you want to learn alternative ways to say “how are you” in Chinese, we have a blog for that || Chinese Greetings // 10 Essential Greetings For Travellers & Students | LTL Beihai


Is there something similar in Italian Otti - like 你吃了吗? I can’t seem to think of one like this in Italian or English.

I can only imagine greeting someone in Italy with a “hai mangiato una pizza?” :rofl:

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That’s really sweet to see the cultural crossover! In the UK it’s normally “You alright?” “Yeah, you?” and then just finding something to complain about together :laughing:

I was surprised at just how often I heard 哈喽 in China last year. I definitely noticed 你好 was used more for people you wanted to be polite with and 哈喽/嗨 had become the new norm for friends / close colleagues.

Also, I think it’s funny that 喂 wèi is written with the fourth tone, but so often I heard people (especially young people) saying it in a rising tone like a question - though the 阿姨s in the street were definitely still shouting 喂 in the fourth tone!


This is such a good observation I never realised!

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Many year ago I answered the phone from someone at a Chinese speaking family and said “Wei” with the fouth tone. I was met by a long silence. That person thought that I was angry! I told them that the Chinese dictionary does show it as fourth tone, but they said to only answer the phone in second tone.


Haha I can feel the pain of that long silence :laughing:

But good to know it’s Chinese native speaker confirmed as second tone!!

I have never realised that before!

I don’t know in other French speaking countries but in France we commonly ask “ça va ?” or “comment ça va ?” (casual) meaning “How are you?” “How are you doing?”

However, if you answer how you are REALLY doing you might get some weird looks, as the proper answer is a simple “ça va et toi?” (doing well, and you?) :laughing:

It’s just a way to open the conversation, and then we can start talking about other things (more serious or not)

Always ask about the other person as well, not saying “et toi?” (and you?) is considered rude.

Ahahaha no I don’t think there’s something similar in Italian honestly!

But, after we ask “how are you” (come stai?/come va?), the next question is usually “what did you have for lunch/dinner” :laughing: I think it’s our way to show that you care about that person and you want to make sure she/he had something nice to eat

That is super interesting ahah good to know!

Just saw the LTL reel about asking how are you in Chinese, it’s a good one to save :wink:


Back with one last resource :wink: here’s a great breakdown of How are you in Chinese for beginners: