In Taiwan, Mandarin Chinese is the official language. The syllables can be pronounced in four distinctive tones and each tone gives a new meaning to the word. Native Taiwanese (those born in Taiwan), Mainland Taiwanese (those who have emigrated from the mainland) and Aboriginals all have their own local dialects. Some of the older generation still speak Japanese and the younger generation understands some English, which is mandatory in school from grades seven to twelve. The Chinese writing system uses ideograms, or idea pictures to represent ideas or objects.
Outbursts of public anger are considered uncivilized. The virtues of humility, reserve and modesty are greatly admired. It is often considered rude and inappropriate to boast or brag.
Did you know?

If you need to call someone to you, you must use your whole hand, not just a finger.

Here is a list of some Mandarin greetings and words:

English Mandarin
Hello, how are you? Nee how-ma?
Fine, very good Hun-how
Not so good Boo-how
Good morning Dzao-an
Goodbye Dzai-jyen
See you tomorrow Ming-tyen jyen
Good evening Wan-an
Thank-you Shyieh-shyieh
You're welcome Boo keh-chee
Did you know?

Your Taiwanese friends may be anxious to please you, so instead of disappointing you, they will often agree to do what they are unable to do. Don't be surprised or frustrated if you learn that a "yes" really meant "maybe" or a polite "no."