When you live in Qingdao, you may find the people, especially some senior citizens, speak a ‘different language’ from Mandarin, and that is the dialect of Qingdao. For example, when you go out for dinner with your friend who is a Qingdaoren, he or she would make a toast with the word ‘哈 (ha)’. Well, it means ‘drink’ in Qingdao, different from the word ‘喝 (he)’ in Mandarin.
Dialect in Qingdao is relatively complicated, as it is a mixture of several dialects around Qingdao. Meanwhile, there are even some differences between districts that are close to each other. However, people here can still communicate without difficulties.
Here are some words that are only used in Qingdao and you can use them in your daily life.
In Mandarin, boys and girls are called 小男孩 (xiao nan hai) and 小女孩 (xiao nü hai) respectively. While boys are called ‘小扫儿 (xiao sao er)’ and girls are called ‘小嫚儿 (xiao man er)’ in Qingdao dialect. The word ‘小嫚儿’ was introduced from German word ‘dame’, which means lady, as Qingdao has a close relationship with Germany. Another word from German is 古力 (gu li), “Gulli” in German, which is the word for drain cover.
When something is broken, in Mandarin it is 损坏(sun huai), but in Qingdao you can say it is 踢蹬 (ti deng) What is more, if you want to have it repaired, you can say I want it 修理 (xiu li) in Mandarin, or 扎箍 (zha gu) in Qingdao dialect instead. So next time, if you have something broken in your apartment and want to get someone repair it, you can try using these two words.
Another phrase of dialect that may interest you would be 哈啤酒, 吃嘎啦 (ha pi jiu, chi ga la). In Mandarin it is 喝啤酒, 吃蛤蜊 (he pi jiu, chi ge li), and it means drinking beer and eating clam. Qingdao is famous for Tsingtao beer and the seafood clam. You can see lots of people drink beer and eat seafood in the restaurant, especially in the summer. When going to restaurant in Qingdao, you would hear the phrase all around. Now you can give it a try to order it in perfect Qingdao dialect during your time in China.
If you would like to learn more about the Qingdao dialect, apply for an internship now!