Could we have a pot of tea, please?

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yuechu

Senior Member
Canada, English
大家好!

I was recently at a Chinese restaurant, and was wondering how to say "Excuse me. Could we (or I) have a pot of tea, please?"? (The dishes had already been ordered and tea did not come automatically at this restaurant)
Would this be: "服务员,来一壶茶"? (Would 一 here be pronounced yī or yì, or are both possible in this phonetic context?) I found it hard to pronounce actually because of all the 二声...
Although I think that the sentence above is possible in Chinese, would there be any other translations for it? Would you add any words, for example, to make it sound more polite?

Thanks!
 
  • nosaijin

    Senior Member
    Taiwanese Mandarin
    Your sentence is fine. you can drop "服務員" If the waiter is taking your order, though.
    I personally prefer to use "不好意思" as a starter and make my request an question, for example:
    "不好意思,可以給我(們)一壺茶嗎?"
    I believe both yī and yì are possible in this case, but yì would be more common. (Easier to pronounce it, too)
     

    rogergx

    New Member
    Chinese
    "不好意思,可以給我(們)一壺茶嗎?" is a very polite and quite formal version. For me, I would prefer "嗨,服务员, 上壶茶/来壶茶” as a relatively normal or natural way of expression。
     

    yuechu

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    "不好意思,可以給我(們)一壺茶嗎?" is a very polite and quite formal version. For me, I would prefer "嗨,服务员, 上壶茶/来壶茶” as a relatively normal or natural way of expression。
    Yes, I can picture a Chinese person saying this! Thanks for the informal version as well, Rogergx! :)
     

    SimonTsai

    Senior Member
    Taiwanese Mandarin
    Would this be: "服务员,来一壶茶"?
    This works, but I am afraid that it is not as courteous as your English version. Some may find it a wee bit curt.

    I think that I might say, '那,請問能不能給我們一壺茶?謝謝。'
    Would 一 here be pronounced yī or yì, or are both possible in this phonetic context?
    I agree with @nosaijin that both pronunciations are possible.
     

    SimonTsai

    Senior Member
    Taiwanese Mandarin
    I think that it is a filler similar to 'uh'. It is used to catch someone's attention while you are thinking what to say next.
     
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    SuperXW

    Senior Member
    I think that it is a filler similar to 'uh'. It is used to catch someone's attention while you are thinking what to say next.
    那 is new to me. Is that a Taiwanese filler?
    To me, courteous yet idiomatic ways include:
    劳驾,上壶茶行吗?
    or
    您好,请给我一壶茶。
    or 来壶茶/上壶茶/壶茶……
     

    RA-Horakthy

    Member
    Chinese
    Your sentence is fine. you can drop "服務員" If the waiter is taking your order, though.
    I personally prefer to use "不好意思" as a starter and make my request an question, for example:
    "不好意思,可以給我(們)一壺茶嗎?"
    I believe both yī and yì are possible in this case, but yì would be more common. (Easier to pronounce it, too)
    well不好意思 usually means you did something wrong, it's not the 100℅ same as excuse me. You can use it though, but I usually use 您好,or just say waiter/waitress; It's not rude as it in English. 一 Pronounced as yì here. The first tone was not used as frequently as the second and fourth tone. Cause it's just easier to speak in different tones under different circumstances. Language tend to go with the easier option. Keep that in mind and you'll be able to guess many of the pronounciations XD
     

    SimonTsai

    Senior Member
    Taiwanese Mandarin
    I genuinely don't know of any difference between 'Excuse me' and '不好意思' in this case.

    To the best of my knowledge, it is generally considered to be polite to begin a request with 'Excuse me' because it shows that you are aware that it is possible that you are not welcome; you may interrupt an enjoyable or important conversation.
     

    brofeelgood

    Senior Member
    English, 中文
    From years of living in each location (ok... just 6 months in Taipei), here's what I've gathered:

    In CN: 服务员! (靓仔/靓女 used to be popular in SC)

    In TW: 不好意思! (or 歹勢 in 臺語, not sure if people still say this)

    In HK/MO: 唔該!(Cantonese: m4 goi1)

    In SG/MY: 哈喽! (English: "Hello", but it sounds more like the German "Hallo")
     

    albert_laosong

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    In mainland China, if it's a big and fancy restaurant,it's likely they serve tea which you have to pay for. Normally the waiter will ask you when you have finished ordering what type of tea you would like, then you know the tea is not free, so you can choose one or you can just say: 有免费茶水吗?

    then in restaurants not so fancy, normally the waiter won't ask you anything, they either serve tea automatically, or they don't. when they don't, if it's in the south for example Guang Dong where tea is served automatically almost in every restaurant, you just yell : (服务员)上茶水!or you want to be polite:服务员,麻烦上下茶水。

    then if it's in the north, more than often you have to ask: (服务员)有茶水吗?somtimes they have, they just forgot to serve, sometimes they don't serve tea at all, free of charge or otherwise.

    so, you see 请上壶茶 or 请来一壶茶 is not often used here in China unless it's a fancy restaurant where you know they sell tea and they somehow didn't ask you, so you can just say: 请上壶茶 or 请来一壶茶.
     

    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    服务员,来一壶茶"
    It literally means "Servant (waiter), bring me a pot of tea", which sounds rather impolite or snobby, doesn't it? Likewise, when you ask a janitor (清潔工) for help, you don't directly address him or her as "janitor" (like "Janitor, could you clean up the floor, please?" 清潔工,能麻煩您把地板清理乾淨嗎?), do you?
    劳驾,上壶茶行吗?
    「勞駕」(煩勞尊駕) 在台灣是書面語,口語中難遇,聽起來像是(1)清朝人的口語,(2) 諷刺,說反話,或 (3) 裝B, 轉文 (說話不用口語,而故意用文言,以顯示自己有學問)。
     

    yuechu

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    It literally means "Servant (waiter), bring me a pot of tea", which sounds rather impolite or snobby, doesn't it?
    In English, I definitely would not say it like that! I think there might be some regional differences though. When I first started learning Chinese, I asked Chinese people how to ask for something at a restaurant and they all said that 请 is not used like "please" is, for example, and that it sounds more (or too?) formal. People have also told me that (, in this situation, ) asking with "可以" does not sound right either (or that it sounds like a translation from English). One person told me that you can add 麻烦 to make it sound more polite.

    I'm glad actually that some people do use 能 or 可以 in this situation (and that it would be linguistically acceptable for me to use it too), because it is more like what I would say and am used to saying in English!
     

    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    My point was:
    Directly addressing someone as "服務員" (or 清潔工,送貨員, 等等) when you ask him or her for service is not a natural and polite way to do (in Taiwan).
    不好意思 usually means you did something wrong
    The "wrong" implied in this case is "bothering you" (打擾你).
    Excuse me (for bothering you) 不好意思 (打擾你).
     
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    yuechu

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    That's good to know! Actually, I think 台湾人 are in general more polite than people in 大陆. (Once again, it depends where in China, I'm sure!...)
     
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