Happy Birthday in Chinese is probably one of the most frequently used words among Chinese. Tomorrow is my daughter’s 6th birthday, yeah! So I thought why don’t I share with you how I teach my daughter to say, sing and write Chinese ‘’Wish You Happy Birthday’’! Trust me. When next birthday party coming up, your Chinese friends would be so impressed if your child can say, sing and even write these words.
Step 1. How to say‘’ Wish You Happy Birthday’’ in Mandarin Chinese?
For my daughter, it’s no brainer to say ‘’ Wish You Happy Birthday 祝你生日快乐’’ in Mandarin because she’s been speaking these words since her first birthday.
If your children are just beginning to learn these words, the best way to start is to watch my video below and copy what we say and sing.
There are two parts in the video: the 1st part is speaking ”wish you Happy Birthday” in Mandarin. The 2nd part is about singing the Chinese ” Happy Birthday” song. So do check it out.
As you can see in the video, I used Chinese Pinyin alphabets to help my daughter say by sounding out each word slowly first, then move on to say the whole sentence.
The process of using Pinyin to sound out each Chinese word is crucial for your children to properly say “Wish You Happy Birthday 祝你生日快乐” in Mandarin.
Do you like the “ Wish You Happy Birthday 祝你生日快乐” party balloons below? I created these colouring sheets for my daughter’s birthday, which you can download it here. Simply print, colour and glue some crape papers will do.
You see, Mandarin is a tonal language. Your children must learn Chinese Pinyin and the five tones to minimise the accent. A slight variance of the tone can change the meaning of the words.
You can find out more about why-what-when to learn Chinese Pinyin in my following posts:
I’m not saying having an accent when speaking a language is not acceptable. English speakers around the world all have accents to some degree, and I am no exception.
When I speak English, I have an Aussie-Chinese accent ( PS, I started learning English at age 24, so it’s hard to get my tongue around sometimes, haha ).
But, that doesn’t affect me communicating with English speakers because my accent is at the level where English speakers would have no problem to understand me.
That’s what you want for your children: to be able to communicate with Chinese speakers in both spoken and writing format effortlessly.
But, this requires your guidance before kids know how to make the choices themselves.
So, please be mindful of setting your children on the right “soundtrack” from the get-go. It’d save you and your children lots of time and efforts in trying to correct the incorrect pronunciation later on.
I said this from my experience. When I started to learn English, as you can imagine, my English pronunciation was awful as an adult learner, and there were times people laughed at me.
So I determined to do it right. I spent lots of time to re-learn the English phonics, practise speaking and watch Hollywood movies. No, this is not a joke.
I hear you ask what’s Hollywood movies got to do with learning English?
That’s because I wanted to get the English pronunciation right. The only way to do that was to copy from the native speakers in the movies and have FUN as well.
I want you to think along those lines too for your child when it comes to learning Mandarin Chinese.
Firstly, to learn the Chinese Pinyin, because it helps your child to understand why Mandarin speakers sound that way.
Secondly, soak your child into the Mandarin-speaking environment as much as you can. Children naturally copy what they hear. The more exposure in the Chinese language environment, the better.
It worked for me.
Step 2. How to sing Happy Birthday song in Mandarin Chinese?
‘Now it comes to the FUN part: singing the Happy Birthday song in Chinese!
I’m sure your children can sing the “ Happy Birthday” song in English. If you’ve watched my video above, you would have noticed that the Chinese “ Happy Birthday 生日快乐” song uses the same tune!
That’s right. The only thing that changes are the words. If your children have learned how to say “ Wish You Happy Birthday” in Chinese in Step 1 above, then singing these Chinese words would be easy-peasy!
They only need to repeat the same words four times.
To make singing the Chinese ”Happy Birthday” song really fun, I’ve created this poster (see the image at left), which you can download for FREE below and either hang it on your children’s bedroom or party room.
Notice the Chinese words “祝你生日快乐Wish You Happy Birthday” in the third line did not change to “Happy Birthday Dear…”? Well, that’s the way how Chinese version sings, no name needed, which is more straightforward, right?
Step 3. How to write Wish You Happy Birthday in Mandarin Chinese?
This writing of ”Wish You Happy Birthday” is probably the most challenging for young kids. Unlike English, once learnt the phonics, one can speak, read and write in English.
Chinese writing, on the other hand, is a separate system that your children have to learn.
In other words, just because your children have learnt Chinese Pinyin and can say ”Wish You Happy Birthday” in Mandarin, it doesn’t mean they can write these Chinese characters.
Why? It’s because Mandarin is a speaking format only, which is the Chinese national language. There are many dialects spoken in China. Want to know more about Mandarin? Please read my post – What is Chinese Phonetics or Pinyin.
As for Chinese writing, there are two systems: Simplified and Traditional writing.
I write and teach my daughter Simplified Chinese as it’s the system that is used in Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and some overseas Chinese communities. I was born and grew up in Mainland China. More about me here.
Traditional writing is used in Hong Kong, Taiwan and some overseas Chinese communities, too.
Not sure which witing system you should choose for your children? Reading this post would assist you in making the decision: Should your Children learn Simplified or Traditional Chinese Writing.
To make it FUN for children in writing “Wish You Happy Birthday 祝你生日快乐” in Chinese, I created a game: The Chinese Word Unscrambler (see image on the left and below), which you can download it here.
There are three benefits children can get from using these worksheets:
1. Learn the correct sequence of writing these 6 Chinese characters by tracing the stroke orders.
2. Recognise the shapes of these Chinese characters by unscrambling and put together the cut-out pieces.
3. Most importantly, cultivate the joy of learning the Chinese language.
So, how do you use them at home? It depends on your time and how your children feel. You can use 1 – 2 sheets each time if your children are young.
In my daughter’s case, who is turning to six years old, we did it in two sessions (30 minutes each time).
That’s because I made these worksheets right before her birthday. She was so excited and eager to finish them and decorate the walls in time for her birthday party.
You can do that too if your children’s birthday is coming up. Seize the moment and go for it.
Before you know it, your children have learned how to say, sing and write these six Chinese words.
Always encourage your children to say, sing and write ”wish you happy birthday” in Chinese whenever you can. Give them lots of praises, don’t push and have FUN.
Have I covered everything you want to know about say, sing and write ”wish you Happy Birthday” in Chinese? Is there anything else you’d like to know? Please leave your comment below or in Panda Mama Chinese Facebook Community. Likewise, if you find this post helpful, please rate it and share with those you think might benefit from this. Thank you.