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????