The formal way to address a Chinese man: xiān sheng (先生), literally Mr. Can be combined with the person’s family name, e.g. Chén xiān sheng (陈先生), meaning Mr. Chen.
Informal ways to greet a Chinese man:
- gē gē (哥哥), literally brother; or gě gé (written as GG, cute way of saying brother). Used by girls. Can be flirtitious.
- dà gē (大哥), meaning big brother, sometimes implying the leader of a group (such as a gang). Can be used when the age gap is small and you want to show some resepct.
- péng yǒu (朋友), literally friend. It is a widely accepted salutation from a foreigner.
- shī fu (师父/师傅), literally teacher with emphasis on coaching rather than schooling. Drivers, cooks, and street vendors can be greeted as shī fu.
Subscribe in iTunes: