Decoding The Ayi Language

Oct 16, 2017 | Life In China

Sometimes after a long and busy day, you just can’t be bothered to do any cooking or clean your room. In China, it’s very popular among foreigners to hire an “阿姨ā yí”(which means cleaner) to help with their housework. Firstly, it’s not very expensive if you would like to ask a cleaner to come clean your apartment two or three times a week. Second, it really gives you some time to relax or do things that you’re interested in after work. However, communication is key. Since most cleaners in China can’t speak or understand English properly, it’d be better to learn some basic phrases which will come in handy when you ask your cleaner to do something.

chinese ayi

Scheduling an appointment

A yi, could you come every Monday, Wednesday and Friday?
ā yí , nǐ kě yǐ měi zhōu yī sān wǔ lái ma ?

A yi, I’m not home today, can you come tomorrow?
ā yí , wǒ jīn tiān bú zài jiā , nǐ kě yǐ míng tiān lái ma ?

Assigning cleaning duties

A yi, this is my bedroom, please clean it every time you come here.
ā yí , zhè shì wǒ de wó shì , měi cì nǐ lái de shí hóu qǐng dǎ sǎo yí xià.
*In this sentence, “卧室 wó shì” means bedroom.

A yi, please clean the bathroom floor.
ā yí , qǐng qīng xǐ yí xià wèi shēng jiān de dì bǎn.
*In this sentence, “卫生间 wèi shēng jiān” means bathroom, and “地板 dì bǎn” means floor.

A yi , the sofa in the living room is a bit dirty, please wipe it clean.
ā yí , kè tīng de shā fā yǒu diǎn zāng , qǐng cā yí xià.

A yi , please use a rag to clean the kitchen countertops.
ā yí , qǐng yòng mā bù cā yí xià chú fáng de tái miàn.

A yi , please wash my clothes. The washing machine is in the bathroom.
ā yí , qǐng xǐ yí xià wǒ de zāng yī fu . xǐ yī jī zài wèi shēng jiān.
washing machine

Special tasks

A yi , please take this suit to the laundry.
ā yí , zhè jiàn xī zhuāng qǐng ná qù gān xǐ.

A yi , please water the flowers.
ā yí , qǐng gěi huā jiāo shuǐ.


A yi , please feed my cat.
ā yí , qǐng wèi yí xià wǒ de māo.

A yi , have you seen my mobile phones?
ā yí , nǐ kàn jiàn wǒ de shǒu jī le ma?


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