06
Jul
11

En…(rhymes with ng)

Mandarin 101 coming up… Why don’t any of the textbooks teach you that “saying less is saying more”?

This all important word is left out of every textbook that I have seen – maybe they hide it in the Advanced series?

嗯 “En” (rhymes with ng) can be used in any one of the 5 tones, depending on the context, mood of the speaker, audience and any other factor you would like to add.

  • 1st tone: high-level, flat tone: eeeeennnnn. Translation = Satisfied grunt / Whatever / (a groaning sound)
  • 2nd tone: rising tone: eeeeeN. Translation = What? Huh? So? Why? How? Really? etc.
  • 3rd tone: falling and rising tone. EeeeeennnnnN. Translation = I’m not really sure / I need to think about that / Well….
  • 4th tone: sharp, falling tone. En! Translation = Enough! No! Not interested! Get lost! / (nonverbal grunt as interjection) / OK, yeah what?
  • 5th tone: neutral tone.  en. Translation = interjection indicating approval, appreciation or agreement

Why bother with hundreds of phrases when this one word can get you through most conversations with incredible ease????

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