Wǒ xiān zǒu le

Wǒ xiān zǒu le

A common expression used by Chinese people is 我先走了 (Wǒ xiān zǒu le). Literally translated it means “I am leaving first”. This typical way of saying good-bye is used when leaving a group earlier than others. It is kind of like “I gotta get going”. Listen to the exchange below by clicking on first column. To check out the vocabulary click on the Chinese characters.

PinyinChineseEnglish
Wǒ xiān zǒu le我先走了I’ll go first.
Hǎo de. Míngtiān jiàn好的。明天见Okay. See you tomorrow.

Vocabulary

PinyinEnglish
I,me
xiānfirst
zǒugo
lenow
好的Hǎo deokay
明天Míngtiāntomorrow
jiànmeet
  The word 了 (le) has several meanings, in this situation it indicates a “change of state”. In this case, the thing that changed is staying vs leaving. The best translation is “now”, but it is still not quite right.

 

Bonus Video

In this youtube video a musician introduces his song, titled “我先走了”. During the first 40 seconds he repeats the phrase at least 4 times.