A lot of the time, Chinese people will respond to a foreigner speaking Chinese with "wow your Chinese is so good!" What is a polite way to respond without sounding rude or full of yourself? Especially when you have studied Chinese for multiple years and you would like to just have a normal conversation.

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    standard phrase: :不敢当! jukuu:You flatter me. 你过奖了。你太捧我啦。6. You flatter me. I wish I could deserve such compliments. 好说!好说! 您太夸奖了。 – user6065 Feb 1 '17 at 9:36
  • user6065's comment is a lot better than answers below – user3306356 Feb 1 '17 at 11:01
up vote 10 down vote accepted

是嗎? (or 有嗎? or 真的嗎?) 我覺得沒有很好吔。
Really? I do not think it's very good.
Really? I don't think my Chinese is very good.

or

沒有啦!謝謝你。
No. Thank you.
Not at all. Thank you.

You don't have to worry about this. It's just like somebody asks a foreigner, "Where are you from?".

The polite Chinese response to flattering comments is to deny them. 哪裏哪裏 (approximately: “'good', where?”) is a common phrase that can be used, or 不好 “not good”, or 還差得遠了 “far from it”, or 還要多學 “I have to study more”. A more literate phrase is 見笑 ("[people] laugh at [my skills]").

There are many good suggestions in the answers, for example:

user6065 wrote:

standard phrase: :不敢当! jukuu:You flatter me. 你过奖了。你太捧我啦。6. You flatter me. I wish I could deserve such compliments. 好说!好说! 您太夸奖了。

But a slight drawback of using standard phrases is it makes you sound a little bit too formal and distant. If your Chinese is actually great, it would make your modest sounds false.

you would like to just have a normal conversation.

It can be done by simply say "謝謝"(thanks) or "过奖" (it is too high a praise)-- A short reply without too much emphasis. Then go on with the conversation.

Phrases to brush off compliments

A humble response should be brief and low key. Long phrase felt more like a speech.

Use of 過獎

過獎 =太過/過於( too much / overly) 褒獎 / 誇獎 ( greatly praise / overly praise) Usually, you use 過獎 as a polite/ humble respond to a great compliment

You can say,真的吗?我的中文能得到一个中国人的表扬,太棒了! really? it is awesome that my chinese gets complimented by a chinese! he or she will be flattered.

1 - If you say "谢谢", people will think you are rather proud 2 - If you say long sentences like: "真的吗?我的中文能得到一个中国人的表扬,太棒了!" people won't even listen until the end of such a long answer and will mainly think you are trying to show off and boast... 3 - Whatever the answer, it is not because you get a smile in return that people won't think u're rather arrogant. West and East react differently aka 直接 (zhíjiē) and 间接 (jiànjiē)

So what should you say then? Just: "哪里哪里!" is the simplest and the BEST option as it is exactly what the (Chinese) person who praised u is expecting you to answer :-)

One common answer is “哪里哪里” which literally translates to "Where? Where?" But it is kind of a coy way to humbly accept the compliment.

Well I know answers are well-meant, but I do not particularly recommend false modesty. If I were you (or as I am speaking as a L2 learner), I would probably say something like: "謝謝啦!口說還行,才學了一兩年。" (revise to fit your case) Or if you really want to show an air of modesty, consider: "您客氣了。中文博大精深,還要加強呢!"

I like the "you flatter me" response but since I just learned the phrase here I say 不太好。It seems to work. And it's true!

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