Guide: How to say “So what?” in Chinese

If you’re learning Chinese and want to express the phrase “So what?”, you’ll find this guide extremely helpful. In Chinese, there are different ways to convey this expression, both formally and informally. Additionally, regional variations may exist, but we’ll primarily focus on standard Mandarin Chinese. Below, you will find tips, examples, and variations to effectively use this phrase in conversation. Let’s get started!

Formal ways to say “So what?”

1. 无所谓 (wú suǒ wèi): This is the most common formal expression for “So what?” in Mandarin Chinese. It conveys a sense of indifference or a lack of concern. It can be used in both question and statement forms.
Example:
Person A: 这个事情我做得不好。(zhè gè shì qíng wǒ zuò dé bù hǎo) – I didn’t do well on this matter.
Person B: 无所谓,下次再努力。(wú suǒ wèi, xià cì zài nǔ lì) – So what? Just try harder next time.

Informal ways to say “So what?”

2. 那又怎样 (nà yòu zěn yàng): This informal phrase is commonly used in spoken language, particularly among friends. It translates to “So what?” and can be used to express dismissal or a lack of interest.
Example:
Person A: 我今天没参加聚会。(wǒ jīn tiān méi cān jiā jù huì) – I didn’t attend the party today.
Person B: 那又怎样,本来也没什么好玩的。(nà yòu zěn yàng, běn lái yě méi shén me hǎo wán de) – So what? There wasn’t anything fun anyway.

Regional variations

While Mandarin Chinese is the standard language spoken in China, different regions may have unique expressions. Here are a few regional variations for “So what?” in Chinese:

Shanghai dialect:

噫 (yī) or 凸眼哦 (tū yǎn ò): These informal expressions are predominantly used in the Shanghai dialect, conveying a similar meaning to “So what?” or “Who cares?”
Example:
Person A: 我没赢这场比赛。(wǒ méi yíng zhè chǎng bǐ sài) – I didn’t win the game.
Person B: 凸眼哦,输了就是输了。(tū yǎn ò, shū le jiù shì shū le) – So what? Losing is losing.

Cantonese:

无所谓 (mou5 so2 mei6): While this phrase shares the same characters as the Mandarin expression, the pronunciation differs due to the Cantonese dialect.
Example:
Person A: 我唔識做嘢。(ngo5 m4 sik1 zou6 je5) – I don’t know how to do it.
Person B: 无所谓,我教你。(mou5 so2 mei6, ngo5 gaau3 nei5) – So what? I’ll teach you.

Remember, while regional variations exist, they may not be widely understood outside of those specific regions. Therefore, it is generally recommended to stick to the standard Mandarin expressions mentioned earlier.

Additional Tips

– Tone of voice: Pay attention to your tone of voice when using these phrases. The same words can convey different meanings depending on your tone.
– Facial expressions: In Chinese culture, nonverbal communication plays an important role. Combining the right facial expression with the phrase can enhance your message.
– Context: Always consider the context and relationship with the person you’re speaking to. Some expressions may be too informal for certain situations or when addressing someone of higher authority.
– Practice: To sound more natural, listen to native speakers and practice using these phrases in conversations.
– Use with caution: Although “So what?” is a common phrase in English, it can sometimes come across as rude or impolite when directly translated. Consider the cultural implications and adjust your usage accordingly.

Now armed with a variety of expressions for “So what?” in Chinese, you can confidently engage in conversations and convey your indifference or lack of concern in both formal and informal settings. Remember to pay attention to the appropriate context and strive for effective communication. Happy language learning!

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Written by Cheryl Dolores

你好 (Hello), I am Cheryl! As an avid language enthusiast and speaker myself, I am passionate about Chinese culture and language. Guiding you with comprehensive guides (全面指南) on how to say words in Chinese is my specialty! When I am not immersing myself in linguistics, I engage in crochet 完美 (perfect), leaf through history books 历史, and occasionally indulge in the nightlife 夜晚 with friends. I also have a keen interest in paleontology- yes, "Indominus Rex" in Chinese! Join me on my journey as we share our love for languages and cultures. I promise, 你会喜欢的 (you would love it).

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