Note: The spoken Chinese Mandarin language has 4 spoken tones. We have attempted to re-create those below where after each syllable we tell you (1), (2), (3), or (4) as they correspond to each of the 4 tones. We encourage you to complement your Emergency Chinese newsletter with a good offline study program.


(1) North: bei(3)

(2) South: nan(2)

(3) East: dong(1)

(4) West: xi(1)

(5) Right: you(4)

(6) Left: zuo(3)

(7) Map: di(4) tu(2)

(8) I'm lost: wo(3) mi(2) lu(4) le

  • Is the station North or South of here?
    che(1) zhan(4) zai(4) zhe(4) er de bei(3) bian(1) hai(2) shi(4) nan(2) bian(1)?
  • Should I go right / left at the end of the road?
    zai(4) lu(4) wei(3) wo(3) gai(1) you(4) zhuan(3) hai(2) shi(4) zuo(2) zhuan(3)?
  • I'm lost. Where is the Police Station?
    wo(3) mi(2) lu(4) le, pai(4) chu(1) suo(3) zai(4) na(3)?
  • Can you tell me which way is East?
    nin(2) neng(1) gao(4) su(4) wo(3) na(3) er shi(4) dong(1)?
  • This map is very expensive.
    zhe(4) di(4) tu(2) hen(3) gui(4).
  • Do you have anything cheaper?
    nin(2) you(3) pian(2) yi(4) dian(3) de ma?
* Tip: With signs becoming increasingly dual-language, Chinese and English, getting around China is getting easier each year. Good maps, in Chinese, can be bought cheaply from book stores or street vendors near train or bus stations for around 2-8 yuan. Maps in English can be found in most hotels for around 10-20 yuan.

Learn a little Chinese, stop and ask people for assistance when you are lost, and have a great trip!