你的中文不赖 (Your Chinese is good)

你的中文不赖
Nǐde Zhōngwén búlài.
Your Chinese is good

René hopped into a taxi the other day and when he told the driver where he wanted to go, the driver said:

你的中文不赖
(lit: ‘your Chinese not bad’)

René guessed that 不赖 had a good meaning simply because 赖 was preceded by 不. He asked the driver to explain:

你的中文很好
Your Chinese is very good.

赖 lài means ‘not good,’ ‘bad.’

At Starbucks several days later, René ordered a long black and the girl who took his order said:

你的中文很利索
Nǐde Zhōngwén hěn lìsuo.
(lit: ‘your Chinese is skilful’).

René made a mental note on how many variations of ‘your Chinese is good’ he had heard:

1. 你的中文说得很好.
2. 你的中文很好.
3. 你的中文挺好.
4. 你的中文不赖.
5. 你中文很利索.

René had already learned several ways to say Chinese:

汉语
Hànyǔ

中文
Zhōngwén

普通话
Pǔtōnghuà

国语
Guóyǔ

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