“No milk, no coffee, just tea. Thank you.” said a Chinese resident in a San Francisco Health Care Center in Chinese to me. At the age of about 70 and an immigrant from China at age 26, she still had learned very little English. Today, I shadowed a music therapist friend of mine, who recently found a job as an Activity Director in this Health Care Center. Most of her residents are from China and know a few key phrases in English, “Thank you.” “Yes.” “No.” I felt fortunate to share my knowledge of the Chinese culture and language with my American colleague and talked to several residents in Chinese. We even looked through the facility’s CD’s and DVD’s to see what would be culturally appropriate for her residents.
Though I was born in America, I am proud to have graduated from 13 years of Chinese school. My students will be learning the Chinese culture and celebrating Chinese New Year in January and February, so this will be an early introduction.
Here are some Chinese words to learn with English pronunciations:
-Hello: Nhey ho
-How are you?: Nhey ho ma?
-Thank you: duo xie
-Good-bye: Joy geen
Practice saying these Chinese words to a Chinese friend or clients and see if they understand you. Good luck!