5 Common Chinese Interjections to Add Tonal Color -啊(a) 吧(ba) 呢(ne) 啦(la) 嘛(ma)

An interjection is an exclamation, especially as a part of speech. An example of an interjection in English would be “Ah!” or “Oh!” Many of you may already know it’s a common phenomenon for Chinese sentences to end with interjections, which serve to express one’s tone or emotion.

However, are you familiar with how and in what situations they’re used? In this article, we’ll have a closer look at 5 common Chinese interjections, and discuss how they are applied.

1. 啊 (a)

Expressing exclamation in statements

  • This is placed at the end of statements when one intends to show your exclamation or enthusiasm.


(Nǐ de jiā zhēn dà a!)
Your home is really big!

(Nǐ bié chídào a!)
Don’t be late!

(Jīntiān de tiānqì duō hǎo a!)
Today’s weather is so nice!

Expressing the feeling of surprise in questions

  • This is placed at the end of questions when there’s a need to emphasize your being surprised or suddenly curious.


(Zěnme tā jīntiān méi shàngxué a?)
How come he didn’t go to school today?

(Zhè ge rén shì shéi a?)
Who’s this person?

(Wǒmen xiànzài zài nǎli a?)
Where are we now?

2. 吧 (ba)

Soften the tone when giving commands, requests, or suggestions in statements

  • This is placed at the end of statements to soften the tone when giving a command, request, or suggestion
  • It can also act as ‘let me’ or ‘let’s’


(Nǐ bāng wǒ ná bēi shuǐ ba!)
Help me to get a cup of water.

(Nǐ chūqù ba! wǒ bù xiǎng zài gēn nǐ shuō le.)
Get out! I don’t want to talk to you anymore.

(Wǒmen yì qǐ qù tī zúqiú ba!)
Let’s go play football together!

(Wǒ sòng nǐ huíjiā ba!)
Let me send you home.

Seek for confirmation in questions

  • This is placed at the end of questions when you’re not 100% sure of your thoughts and are seeking for confirmation
  • It is therefore equivalent to ‘right?’ or ‘isn’t it?’


(Tāmen bú zài jiā ba?)
They aren’t at home, right?

(Tā bú huì gàosu nǐ ba?)
He won’t tell you, will he?

(Tā chángcháng kàn zhe nǐ, shì xǐhuān nǐ ba?)
He often looks at you, he likes you, right?

3. 呢 (ne)

Produce a casual tone in both statements and questions

  • This is placed at the end of both statements and questions, which helps to express a casual, relaxed but friendly tone


(Nǐ de xīn qúnzi hěn piàoliang ne!)
Your new dress is very pretty!

(Tā huì bú huì wàngjì wǒ de shēngrì ne?)
Will he or or won’t he forget my birthday?

(Wǒmen zěnme qù túshūguǎn ne?)
How do you go to the library?

Ask the same question back in return

  • This is placed at the end of a subject, to suggest ‘what about that subject?’


(Wǒ jīntiān wǔ diǎn xiàbān, nǐ ne?)
I get off work at five today, what about you?

(Wǒ ài pǎobù, tā ne?)
I love running, what about him?

Short version of ‘where?’

  • This is placed at the end of an object, to create a short version of ‘where’s that object?’
  • This application is often used when you’re in a rush or urgently seeking something


(Wǒ de qiánbāo ne?)
Where’s my wallet?

(Wǒ de shǒujī ne?)
Where’s my mobile phone?

4. 啦 (la)

Replace the ending了(le) in both statements and questions to produce a relaxed tone

  • You can substitute 啦(la) at the end of any statement or question that originally ends with了(le), to make the sentence sound relaxed or delightful
  • It even has the function of creating a ‘cute’ tone if you extend the vowel


(Wǒ yǐjīng bānjiā la!)
I already moved home.

(Wǒ xiànzài lái la!)
I’m coming now!

(Nǐ bú yào zài kū la!)
Don’t cry anymore.

(Nǐ gāngcái mǎi shénme la?)
What did you just buy?

(Nǐ jīnnián duō dà la?)
How old are you?

5. 嘛 (ma)

Emphasize an obvious fact in statements

  • It can be considered as ‘as you know’, ‘obviously’, ‘as a reminder’
  • It also has the function of creating a ‘cute’ tone if you extend the vowel


(Tā háishì xiǎo háizi, bù dǒngshì ma, bié jièyì.)
He’s still a child, therefore not very sensible. Please don’t mind him.

(Wǒ kàn bu dǒng yīngwén ma!)
(You know,) I can’t read English.

(Tā hěn máng ma, suǒyǐ méiyǒu shíjiān fā nǐ duǎnxìn.)
(You know,) he’s very busy, so doesn’t have time to send you texts.

Add ‘cute’ element to state an expectation in statement

  • It makes the tone sound more ‘cute’ when specifying your expectation
  • It’s close to the meaning ‘you should’
  • It’s specifically useful when you want to blame someone, however, with a ‘cute or soft’ tone


(Nǐ zěnme bù zǎo shuō ma!)
How come you didn’t say so earlier!

(Nǐ zìjǐ zuò ma!)
Do it yourself.

(Nǐ zǒu màn diǎn ma!)
Walk slower.

(Tā wèishénme yào zhèyàng zuò ma!)
Why did he have to do this!

As a Topic Marker

  • This is placed at the end of a topic – often a subject or object, followed by further information or comment
  • It’s similar to the meaning: ‘about the topic’, ‘regarding the topic’
  • It serves to give a pause before giving further information or feedback on the topic, hence it’s particularly useful when you’d like to sound patient or gentle


(Zhè jiàn shìqíng ma, wǒ yě bù qīngchǔ.)
About this matter, I’m also not sure.

(Nǐ ma, zuò shì zǒngshì bú rènzhēn.)
You’re just not serious when doing work all the time.

Interjections are a great way to add flavor and character to your sentences. They make you sound informal, and show that you are becoming more comfortable with the Chinese language. Once you master when and how to use these interjections, it will also make you sound more like a native speaker.

The post 5 Common Chinese Interjections to Add Tonal Color -啊(a) 吧(ba) 呢(ne) 啦(la) 嘛(ma) appeared first on .

With Tourism on the Rise, How Are Distilleries Welcoming Back Guests?

The pandemic didn’t slow the momentum of distillery tourism. It just placed it on pause. As restrictions on visiting distilleries loosened in 2021 — particularly for vaccinated folks — early returns suggested the public fervor to visit the hallowed grounds where their favorite spirits are made remains as strong as it did in pre-pandemic times.

This has increasingly left distilleries with the challenge of making sure the distillery experiences match whatever expectations their guests may harbor upon their return. Fortunately for the distilleries — and for those who enjoy their handiwork — they have some solid ideas.

Broad Engagement Options

Customers have had quite a bit of time to ponder what it would be like to once again set foot in a distillery and marvel at a column still. This puts a bit of pressure on distilleries to get their post-pandemic experience right, particularly since visitations are such a prime mover in terms of market penetration. “People that visit distilleries are more inclined to buy our spirits than those that don’t, and we have the data to prove it through consumer research,” says Robert Hall, CEO of Ole Smoky Moonshine. “It’s crucial for us to give everyone that visits us an experience that’s fun, appealing, and approachable.”

Building these experiences tends to be an expression of gratitude, particularly when it comes to the locals. Distilleries are quick to credit communal loyalty for getting them through Covid-19; as things open, they know it’s time for them to return the favor. This volley comes with an increased push toward hatching customer engagement strategies that go well beyond the traditional distillery tour. In Baltimore, for instance, Sagamore Spirit’s sprawling waterfront campus offers a host of activities that foster continuous local interest, from cocktail-making classes to sessions where guests can etch their own rocks glasses. These offerings are crucial in preventing distillery visits from becoming a one-trick pony among fans. “If a distillery only offers tours, people may only visit once, including locals,” says Sagamore’s co-founder and president, Brian Treacy. “Offering more activities lets you connect with your community multiple times in multiple ways.”

Sagamore Spirit’s sprawling waterfront campus offers a host of activities that foster continuous local interest, from cocktail-making classes to sessions where guests can etch their own rocks glasses.
Sagamore Spirit

Engagement and Education

Some noteworthy customer patterns have emerged as distilleries welcome more people through their doors. The distillery tour know-it-all has returned to the fold, and they’re fully prepared to dispense unsolicited information that teeters between passion and showing off. Their comeback hasn’t phased distillers one bit. “They’ve been around since we’ve been doing this,” says Jon Kreidler, co-founder of Tattersall Distilling. “We don’t mind them. If they want to show up and share a few pieces of knowledge, and if that makes them happy doing so, then good on ‘em.”

At the same time, fledgling fans who developed a newfound appreciation for distilled spirits during the pandemic are dropping by for tours and tastings, eager to learn more. Like anybody engaged in a burgeoning hobby or interest, there is a learning curve involved. Treacy says distilleries must be particularly mindful when engaging with this unique stripe of consumer — especially during a post-tour tipple. “If a person tells me they taste cotton candy after I pour them a rye, and I tell them ‘you’re wrong,’ all I’ll get out of that is a bad Yelp review,” he says. “Even worse, that customer may be so put off by the experience, they may decide whiskey really isn’t for them after all.” Acknowledging what these inexperienced patrons taste in a positive manner may make them feel comfortable enough to order a cocktail or check out other spirits.

Maintaining the Distillery Vibe

Spirits are supposed to be fun. This mantra sets the tone for any distillery seeking to build a memorable experience in its facility and tasting room, especially after the pandemic forced it to trudge through dour times. When done properly, this can allow a venue to function as an extension of the good times that its gin or bourbon can build. “The experience sets the tone for the brand overall,” Kriedler says. “It has to tell the story of who you are. It needs to portray what customers can expect of our spirits, and we never want to be looked at as a snooty place.”

In some cases, delivering this experience can involve multiple pieces of real estate. In December, Tattersall unveiled a 75,000-plus-square-foot distillery in River Falls, Wis., some 30 miles east of its original Minneapolis venue, complete with a restaurant, barrel room, amphitheater, and several event spaces. (The new locale also allows it to escape Minnesota’s stingy spirits production laws and scale its liquid output while remaining close enough to the Twin Cities for its local fan base to easily visit). Ole Smoky Moonshine’s quartet of Tennessee properties — two in Gatlinburg, one in Pigeon Forge, and one in Nashville — allow the brand to deliver different engagement points for its guests, from cozy tasting room confines augmented with rustic general stores to wide open spaces built around live music and Ping-Pong tables. These eclectic offerings can frame a distillery as a destination for locals and out-of-towners alike, turning what may otherwise be a quick and simple visit into an extended affair. It can also produce a certain type of energy for spirits geeks that can somewhat resemble the enthusiasm a child may have when they set foot inside an amusement park. That’s the point. At the same time, creating these types of experiences isn’t necessarily a loose affair. “We want to make our distillery visits friendly and fun,” explains Hall. “However, we take the topic of experience as seriously as we take our spirits.”

In December, Tattersall unveiled a 75,000+ square foot distillery in River Falls, Wis. some 30 miles east of their original Minneapolis venue, complete with a restaurant, barrel room, amphitheater, and several event spaces.
Credit: Tattersall Distilling / Facebook.com

A Key Part of City Strategy

Tourism took a beating during the pandemic, but the urge to explore up-and-coming cities throughout the country will likely return in full force once the pandemic fully subsides. As cities cautiously begin building toward this future — whenever that may be — more are recognizing the value of integrating local spirits and distillery experiences within their overall tourism strategies. For instance, Baltimore’s official travel website, Visit Baltimore, uses Sagamore and other city distilleries to promote the city’s rich history and drive interest in hip and emerging neighborhoods. “We’re proud to be able to help bring attention to Baltimore,” Treacy says. “One of our main goals is to help people realize there is so much to see and do in the city, they’ll want to spend a long weekend here.”

Regardless of whether a distillery is part of a city’s tourism strategy or a local’s plan to have fun for an hour or two, the onus on a distillery to deliver a great experience is a responsibility it will continue to embrace as things begrudgingly move toward a sense of normalcy, simply because of the joy that’s inherent in the distilling craft. “We make spirits that are served in a Mason jar,” Hall says. “How can you not have a bit of fun if you’re doing that?”

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Jean Perrier Vin de Savoie Apremont ‘Gastronomie’ 2020, Savoie, France

Savoie is a footnote in wine most guides, often relegated to “other” French wine regions that merit little more than brief mentions after exhaustive examinations of Bordeaux and Burgundy, the Rhône and the Loire, and other areas on the beaten path.

But that may be changing as more wine lovers discover the delights of this Alpine region — Savoy in English — especially its light yet distinctive and affordable white wines.

One of them is the charming 2020 Vin de Savoie Apremont “Cuvée Gastronomie” from Jean Perrier & Fils. Provided you don’t drink it too cold, which will obscure the tastes, it’s as crisp and delightful as any light French whites you’ll come across.

Jean Perrier Vin de Savoie Apremont ‘Gastronomie’ 2020, Savoie, France is a good wine you can find

The wine is from the Apremont subregion of Savoie, a small, mountainous appellation in eastern France bordering Switzerland. The grape is Jacquère, the most common variety here, and Jean Perrier ferments and ages it in stainless steel tanks.

The result is a fresh, delicate, and nuanced wine with a modest 11.5 percent ABV. Pale straw in color, the aromas and tastes evoke green apple with hints of orange and lime as well as subtle notes of flowers, herbs, and wet stone.

This is a wonderful aperitif wine that would also pair well with lighter fish and shellfish as well as raclette, the melted cheese dish that is popular in the French Alps. The Perrier family has been making wine here since 1853 and now farms about 150 acres.

Their Apremont reminds me of summer in its taste and texture, which is not a bad thought as we enter the depths of winter. At around $13, it’s also a phenomenal value to enjoy now and throughout the year.

Buy This Wine

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