Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by yuechu, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. yuechu Senior Member

    Canada, English

    I would like to ask: how do you usually say "bye" on the phone, in different situations? When I first started learning Chinese, someone told me that you can always say "拜拜", yet I am starting to doubt myself now, as to whether it is the most appropriate expression, since I'm now in the habit of saying it in all situations (except saying goodbye to strangers in real life in which case I'd say "再见").

    For example, if you are on the phone calling a business to ask for some information (ex. what time the store is open), would you say "谢谢,拜拜" at the end of the conversation?
    (I'm wondering if it is perhaps too informal, or whether it is sometimes/always/never possible here)

    Oh, I am also a guy. Does it make a difference? (just in case it does! as I remember it did in a thread a few "pages" ago)

    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
  2. stellari Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    I have had some training in making business calls (to clients). There are two rules I have been taught from day 1:
    1. When you address someone's mother, ALWAYS say 他的母亲, and NEVER say 他妈;
    2. When you finish the call, ALWAYS use 再见, and NEVER use 拜拜.

    If you are calling to a business as a client, there is more tolerance on your language usage, but 再见 is still the most appropriate word to use in that case.

    I use 拜拜 only when I have a close personal relationship with the listener. And I don't think gender matters in this case.
  3. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie Senior Member

    English (UK)
    Excellent! This is my quote of the day! :D
  4. Daffodil100

    Daffodil100 Senior Member

    Well it depends.

    For some situation, I don't think it should be too formal. Informal words will make business relationship easily most of time.

    Business is business, that means people focus on interest instead of languages if it is not involved bad language.

    拜拜 is very well-known in China even for a 4-yo toddler. I don't understand why we cannot take 拜拜 into Chinese language as a loanword.

    CCTV, the stated-owned TV station, prohibits the hosts to use NBA but 美国男子篮球职业联赛, which is very awkward, and stupid, in order to clean our language.

    It doesn't help business, if businesspersons wear suit and speak like a diplomat all day long.

    In short, it depends on what kinds of person you are dealing with. Try to let your client like you is way more important to strike a business.

    For the people who are over 50-60 year old, specially who live in remoted areas of China, it would be better to say 再见.

    Most of cases, you can say whatever you feel like at that moment. Sometimes, 再见 comes to my mind, I would say it, and sometimes, I would like to say 拜拜.

    I would say it would be inappropriate for a Chinese to say 拜拜 in formal diplomatic situation as you see many politicans though speak fluent English, they wouldn't like to say it publicly out of the concern of promotion of their language, and national pride.

    For non-native speakers of Chinese, there's nothing to be blamed to say byebye.

    For me, I learn and take everything if it is useful, helpful, interesting, funny, positive. For those fuddy-duddies duddy who are against to use byebye, I would challenge why they do wear suit and have Western haircut. Since as far back as ancient China, Chinese have kept learning and absorbing different cultures abroad. Loanwords are not poison.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2015
  5. tarlou Senior Member

    I don't think it's related to culture protections. In fact, "remotes areas of China", "fuddy-duddies" probably have more tendency towards culture discrimination. 拜拜 has already been brought into Chinese and it has possibly a little bit different taste than "byebye" in English.

    I think 拜拜 is a little bit feminine and childish. Most likely you will say it to a girlfriend, like "baby" or things like that. -------- I don't mean that exaggerate, just give a "direction" or a "tendency" of 拜拜. It's not too wrong to use it, but I don't think a very manly man will say it often.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  6. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    Maybe for some people it is. But, take me for example, I always say 拜拜 to my mother and father and everyone else, and they often say 拜拜 to others. I once wondered if I could change the habit into 再见, but I failed...
  7. stellari Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    Don't get me wrong. I see no problem using 拜拜 in everyday life and I personally use it extensively. However, my impression is, in a business setting, this word may make you sound slightly 'flippant' and unprofessional, and doesn't help with your connections in the long run. Think about it, if you are the boss of a company, would you trust your million dollar contract to a guy who meets clients in jeans and tees? Same logic applies to word usage. At least me and the people I have done business with tend to stay away from this word. When I called to any customer service, for example, I have never heard anyone said 拜拜 to me. Apparently they have received similar trainings as I did.

    Also the avoidance of this word in business settings has nothing to do with it being a loadword. It's just that it is a little too casual. Thus I don't think it's comparable to the NBA example, which I also believe is a pointless decision.

    As you can obviously see, even native speakers have very different opinions as to which one to use in a given context. I would say it really depends on who you talk to. Personally I prefer to use 拜拜 when I talk to friends or at least someone I personally know, and the native chinese word for more formal situations.
  8. Daffodil100

    Daffodil100 Senior Member

    I am afraid there is not analogy between attire and language.

    The OP is a foreigner, who is not supposed to speak very formal words like lingulists or broadcasters. Do you think a Hong Kong businessperson will lose his million-dollar business if he speaks a few English words with his vis-a-vis of mainlander?

    Please honestly tell us in case you or anyone are in a formal meeting with a foreigner for million-dollar business, and everything goes smoothly, would you or other Chinese step out of the business or feel bad if they simply say "bye bye" ? Would byebye make you or the other Chinese possibly think they are not serious about the business? It is once a blue moon, isn't it?

    Many Chinese including businesspersons, who do not speak English, would like to greet their foreign busienss partners with "Hello" and say "byebye" in English. The purpose is they want to set up a friendly business relationship.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  9. stellari Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    I think we have already deviated from our original topic so this would be my last reply on this post.

    I do think there is, but again elaboration on this would further deviate from the topic.

    I am with you on this one. I don't think speaking VERY formal words is necessary in most situations, but I don't see 'zaijian' among them either. You seem to associate 'zaijian' with an extremely high degree of formalism ( diplomats/linguists/broadcaster ), whereas I see it as a polite and respectful way to say 'good-bye' in a business setting.

    I have been honest all the time. I never said saying bye-bye means the end of the world. All I said was 'zaijian' is more appropriate in a business setting, and adds more professionalism and a tone of respect to your speech. Also everything I mentioned in my previous posts only apply to a strictly Chinese speaking environment. A Chinese-English conversation setting is beyond the scope of our current discussion, I'm afraid. Plus, I understand the business contexts you have experienced might be very different from what I have.

    Again, a Chinese-English conversation setting is beyond the scope of our current discussion.


    Overall, I see no major difference in our word usage. We may have a slight difference in the perception of formalism, which is far too common among native speakers.

  10. Daffodil100

    Daffodil100 Senior Member

    I would say it is probably individual mannerism of yours or a few people about the application of the words in business setting.

    All of the people I knew would not be nit picking at them, and feel comfortable.

    I have been saying byebye alterating with zaijian all the time in business setting, but never felt anyone was offended. So did the people I talked to.

    I wonder what the subsequence it will be if people say it ?
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013
  11. yuechu Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Thank you everyone for your valuable contributions!

    That's a good rule you have there! It took me a second to figure out why the second expression is bad.. hehe.

    Sorry to have brought up what seems to be a bit of a controversial topic... well, I think that you both/all are right here! Formality is usually expected in certain business settings whereas in others, informality is accepted too (and perhaps even encouraged).

    As has been stated, I agree that it really does depend on your personal preferences and who you are talking to.

    Thanks again, everyone, for your help!
  12. kyotan Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    Japanese 標準語

    When I write emails to penpals, what should I write at the end of the email to say "Bye for now"?

  13. Romildo

    Romildo Member


    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015

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