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If you had to choose only one Chinese word to learn, what should that be?I would suggest learning the word 'hao', which means 'good'.There are three reasons behind my choice:1. It is a greeting word2. It is auspicious3. it is the root of several Chinese wordsIt is a greeting word Mandarin ChineseIt is a good word to learn first, because you can use it immediately to greet the people you meet.In English, and also many other languages, we like to use the word 'good' to greet. It is in standard greetings like 'Good morning', 'good afternoon' and 'good night'; and phrases like 'good to hear from you' and 'good to see you'.Similarly, Chinese like to use the word 'hao'- which means 'good' -- when they see one another. If you want to listen to how the word is pronounced, go to the free tutorials on Mandarin phrases at http://www.chineseonthego.com/greeting_chinese_hao.html . In fact, the word 'hao' is handier than the English word 'good'. It can be used independently to greet, without having to add any other Chinese character, if you choose not to.The moment you master it -- and which is not difficult -- you can use it immediately, and see the faces brightened up before you. Isn't that nice?So, when you see someone, simply say 'hao', which means good!To make your language more colorful, you can add 'ma' at the back, and form the phrase, 'hao ma?" This turns the greeting into a question form, which means literally 'do you feel good?" or 'how are you?" When someone greets you, and you'd like to respond in Chinese, simply say, 'hao'.It is auspiciousThe second reason that you should learn the word is that it is auspicious. Who doesn't like to be good? Good business, good performance, good education, good comments!Just like people of other cultures, Chinese like to hear things auspicious. Especially during important occasions -- like wedding, child birth, opening ceremonies of companies. On such occasions, you will hear the word 'hao' being used again and again. If you know the word, you can definitely add to the joy of such occasions!In this aspect, the Chinese character of 'hao' is very interesting. It consists of two components: each a character. On the left is the character for 'daughter', and the right, 'son'. Having children is essential to family bliss. So even the look of the character itself is auspicious!It is the root of several Chinese wordsThird, hao is the root of several Chinese words.While hao can be used on its own, it can also be used in combination with many other characters to form words. Learning the character 'hao', as a result, make learning many other words easier.These are some examples: hehao mean friendly, haoshi means good things, haoren means a good person and haochu means benefits.In any case, even if this is the only word that you know, it is a good tool to take you round China making new friends.When you see someone, greet them with the word 'hao'.If you are in a restaurant and asked whether the food is good; if you like the food, simply say, 'hao'!If you're invited to go to a party and you'll like to go, simply say, 'hao'!If you are in a concert, and you like the music, simply say, 'hao'!In fact, if you are in a Beijing opera, you would hear opera fan shout during the performance 'hao' when they are excited about anything on stage. It is equivalent to 'bravo'. Join them!So you see how exciting this word can be. This is why I've suggested that if you have to choose only one word to learn in Chinese, learn the word 'hao'.