Answer to the Exercise on How to Use “哪里哪里(Năli năli)?”

Answer: B
In traditional Chinese culture, there is an old saying that “arrogant people always fall behind the modest ones.” So Chinese tend to be modest when responding to praise and think of modesty as an essential virtue. More often than saying “thank you,” Chinese often deny or doubt the praise directly. In fact they are happy when receiving praise. To understand Chinese, it needs to be understood that they don’t mean to offend by denying compliments. They just want to show the virtue of modesty.
When responding to praise in some situations, you will often hear Chinese people say “哪里哪里!(Năli năli!)” Literally, “哪里哪里(Năli năli)” means “where, where,” But in fact the contextual meaning is “you flatter me.” It is just a way of expressing modesty.


Zhāng Míng, nǐ zuò de fàn zhēn hǎochī!
Mary: 张       明,  你 做   的 饭   真     好吃!

Zhang Ming, the meal you cooked is so delicious!
Zhāng Míng: Năli năli!
张        明:  哪里哪里!

Zhang Ming: You flatter me!


Wáng Hóng, nǐ  tài cōngming le!
Lucy: 王      红,   你  太 聪明         了!

Wang Hong, you are so smart!
Wáng Hóng: Năli năli!
王       红:   哪里哪里!

Wang Hong: You flatter me!
In our test, Chen Wei responded to John’s praise by saying “哪里哪里 (Năli năli)” to show modesty about his girlfriend. So the answer is B.

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