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1answer
79 views

Chinese vs English

There is a lot a gramma points/words in chinese similar to english 生日/ birthday 爸爸的笔 / dad's pen I would like know if it's a radom linguisitic fact or if it could have a chinese influence on ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

Is there strong evidence that Classical Chinese was ever spoken?

Classical Chinese (Wenyan) diverges sharply from modern varieties, as any student of classical texts will note whether foreign or native Chinese. Wenyan has a long written history, but is there ...
0
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2answers
95 views

Does 宝 have its own history separate from 寶?

I was trying to figure out the characters for Sapporo, the Japanese beer, the other day and found: 七宝 was one of the translations for it. My initial reaction was to search 七寶 in my Japanese ...
5
votes
1answer
62 views

What is the oldest known Chinese audio recording?

I have tried search engines and Wikipedia articles on the history of audio recording, in English and Chinese, but couldn't come closer to this. What is the oldest known recording of anyone speaking ...
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2answers
62 views

Earliest usage of 力不从心?

What's the earliest usage of 力不从心? The earliest I've seen is: 《後汉书·西域传》 今使者大兵未能得出, 如諸國力不從心, 東西南北自在也。 Anything earlier than 后汉书? 445 is, apparently, the given year for completion of 后汉书.
2
votes
1answer
83 views

How is 古代汉语 defined?

According to Hanyu Wailaici Cidian (Dictionary of Chinese Loanwords), bóshì (博士) with the modern sense "doctor" is derived from the Japanese hakushi, which in turn is of "Ancient Chinese" (古代汉语) ...
3
votes
1answer
130 views

What's the Mandarin equivalent of the Hardcore History podcast?

So I'm looking for an very interesting and in-depth history podcast, in Mandarin, for native speakers. It's doesn't have to be about Chinese history, or any particular place or period. Any ...
5
votes
1answer
105 views

When was 华/華 first used as a reference to China?

E.g. as in 中华 or 华语, and other similar words.
5
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1answer
69 views

Were 蒸 and 祯 homonyms?

Wu Dalang, a character in Water Margin, which takes place during the Song dynasty, sold steamed buns called "炊饼". These buns were originally called 蒸饼: 凡以面為食具者,皆謂之餅,故火燒而食者呼為燒餅,水淪而食者呼為湯餅,籠蒸而食者呼為蒸餅。 ...
3
votes
5answers
231 views

What is a good English translation of 土豪?

土豪 [tǔ háo] seems to be a popular Internet slang term in the last couple years. The idea that I get is that it is a rich person who flaunts their money and is somewhat snobbish or spoiled. Is this ...
9
votes
1answer
255 views

乐 Le and Yue: When did they diverge?

In the character 乐, it has two readings in Mandarin. In pinyin, yue4 and le4 (plus other readings I take are literary) In other dialects too, there seem to be 2 distinct forms. In cantonese, lok and ...
4
votes
2answers
103 views

What is the original meaning of 匈 (besides “chest/breast/thorax”)?

The Wikipedia article on the 匈奴 gives a literal translation as 'fierce slaves'. Did 匈 mean 'fierce' in former times? What is the etymology of this character?
3
votes
1answer
79 views

Any historical connection between 筵席 and 宴席?

宴席 and 筵席: I know what both words mean, and I think it's quite funny they have similar pronunciations with quite similar meanings (give or take on both). Do the two words have similar origins? Any ...
5
votes
1answer
593 views

勇 character on soldiers' uniforms in movies

I don't know much about Chinese military history, but I do see this character appearing on historical uniforms (fictitious or actual) worn by soldiers in movies, some are set in the Qing dynasty some ...
3
votes
4answers
205 views

酵: jiào vs. xiào

I'm always hearing the pronunciations jiào and xiào being used interchangeably by native speakers for the character: 酵. What's the deal? Is there a standardized pronunciation for 酵? What's the ...
0
votes
1answer
104 views

Is knowing how Chinese Characters are formed common knowledge?

Are Chinese taught in school how Chinese characters are formed (mainly phono-semantic compounds) or do they just bruteforce remember them? At least I know Japanese people don't learn phonetic parts of ...
8
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2answers
305 views

Are the Cantonese word 係 and the Japanese word はい related?

The Cantonese word meaning "to be", written as 係 (Jyutping: hai6) sounds similar to the Japanese word はい ("hai" in various Romanizations). Both words are used to answer "yes" or "it is correct" to ...
5
votes
2answers
148 views

Character 瞓: where did the pronunciations come from?

The character 瞓 is a Cantonese character meaning "sleep". It is pronounced xùn in mandarin and fan3 in Cantonese. I was wondering how two so different pronunciations (I would expect xun to match syun ...
1
vote
3answers
90 views

Through which processes became words in classical Chinese that tautological?

There are a lot of different words for many concepts in classical Chinese, for instance for the personal pronouns. Due to which circumstances could this happen?
2
votes
4answers
133 views

Which non-sinitic languages contributed to the wordstock of common chinese words before 1800?

I am not interested in modern words like telephone, aeroplane, but words that were incorporated into the more frequent used part of the vocabulary from languages different than sinitic.
1
vote
3answers
277 views

What does 功亏一篑 mean and its origin?

What does 功亏一貫 mean in English and its origin? And what does 貫 mean?
6
votes
3answers
641 views

哪儿 vs. 哪里, Difference in Meaning?

Is there any difference in meaning between 哪儿 and 哪里? If not, then how did the two different words come to be employed? Does 儿 have a meaning, or is it just a sound? I know that there are many ...
1
vote
2answers
210 views

Hong Kong Cantonese variations

I am interested to learn whether the changes in Hong Kong pronunciation of Cantonese came about, was it because the English in Hong Kong had difficulty understanding the Cantonese? For instance, I ...
4
votes
2answers
168 views

What are these “riddle jokes”?

In Chinese there are these jokes which are delivered as a small riddle followed by the answer. They are often used humorously, with the answer used as an insult. Here are some examples: 哑巴吃黄莲/有苦说不出 ...
9
votes
3answers
480 views

Do 之 and 的 come from the same word?

In modern Chinese 之 is thought of as the literary genitive particle and 的 as the colloquial. In most reconstructions of Old Chinese 之 looks very similar to the way 的 is pronounced now. For example in ...
1
vote
2answers
111 views

what kind of gematria systems are there in chinese?

since in china culture , there is a lot of materials about astronomy and supernatural methods so i interested to know about Gematria as exist in most of languages ... like this : Gematria Calulator ...
5
votes
1answer
844 views

Are there some free fonts for the small seal, large seal, and even oracle bone script styles?

I'm very interested in the old forms of Chinese characters that you still see in many contexts including historical, artistic, and design contexts. So I'm wondering if there are free fonts for these ...
9
votes
3answers
318 views

Origin of -的干活?

There is a facetious phrase for asking someone what they do, using "的干活", most commonly in the fragment "什么的干活", or in this example exchange: A: 你的,什么的干活? (Who are you?) B: 我的,农民的干活. (I am a ...
3
votes
1answer
267 views

What's the significance of 家 in 国家?

国家 and 国 both mean "country" or "nation". However, what's the significance of the character 家 in the word? Does it really add the meaning of "home" or "family"? Is there a cultural or historical basis ...
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11answers
2k views

Etymology of the Chinese number characters (一二三四五六七八九十百千)

Main Question: What is the etymology of the Chinese number characters (一二三四五六七八九十百千)? Related question: Why isn't 四 four lines? (the origin of 一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九) I decide to write a ...
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4answers
1k views

Why isn't 四 four lines? (the origin of 一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九)

A common experience of beginner hanzi students is their raised hopes and expectations when they learn 一 二 三 - "what a wonderfully elegant language!" - which are promptly crushed when they encounter 四. ...
11
votes
2answers
320 views

Which period in Chinese history produced the most chengyu?

There are tens of thousands of chengyu, many of them are historical in nature, whilst others are loaned from foreign sources such as Buddhism. Which period or dynasty in Chinese history produced the ...
6
votes
3answers
808 views

Reasons for Chinese changing from monosyllabic to disyllabic?

Classical and Middle Chinese are often considered monosyllabic languages - most words are single syllables. Modern Chinese however is considered disyllabic - most words are two syllables. For ...
5
votes
2answers
465 views

How come 驚 evolves to 惊 in mainland China

Isn't it more intuitive to just replace 馬 with 马 at the base of 驚 to get a well inductive simplified one? Quite weird, uh? Any historical, geopolitical, or other reason for the simplification of 驚 ...
6
votes
3answers
433 views

What does it say on the stamp?

I was requested by a friend to find out what this stamp is. Do you know what it says on the stamp?
9
votes
3answers
577 views

Dog radical (犭) for non-Han ethnic groups

As far as I understand, the dog radical (犭) was used for all non-Han ethnic groups before the Chinese Communist Party took power on the mainland. Is there truth to that? If so: Why did the CCP stop ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

How were Chinese characters taught to Chinese children before the introduction of pinyin?

Before schools started to use pinyin for teaching characters to Chinese children, how and/or what was used to teach it instead? And what about how dictionaries showed the pronunciation of characters?
2
votes
6answers
781 views

What is 德国 and naming history in China?

Here is what I think and how it is named: In Google translate it says it means "virtue country". My guess is probably wrong but here it is: China is an alliy of America, and America boosted up the ...
1
vote
1answer
139 views

询问奸雄所见略同的由来 and how does it relate to chinese

The quote"我很想询问奸雄所见略同的由来" seems very interesting to me. And in Google Translate, it translates to "I would like to ask the king's men great minds think alike the origin of." It doesn't seem to make ...
1
vote
2answers
105 views

What is the significance of the phrase “二十五,糊窗户”?

The phrase “糊窗户” refers to the practice of pasting paper cutouts (similar to the one seen here) on one's windows. There's a common larger saying, “二十五,糊窗户”, which I assume means that this is usually ...
4
votes
4answers
413 views

Did phonological systems (namely bopomofo) standardize Chinese phonemes?

As far as I know, Zhuyin fuhao, or Bopomofo, is the first system of phonetic symbols devised to aid to write Chinese phonology. That was in 1910, so we could say very recent in the history of Chinese. ...
14
votes
7answers
4k views

Why is stroke order important when writing Chinese characters?

I often see people having a big focus on correct stroke order for writing Chinese characters. My question is, for most learners, is it important to know the stroke order, and if so, why is it ...
7
votes
3answers
336 views

Why does Chinese lack some level of abstraction in some idioms? (e.g. 兄弟姐妹)

Example: in Chinese, you can't* speak of siblings in a general term, and in turn you have to enumerate all 4 combinations of sex and age: 兄弟姐妹 ( older brother, younger brother, older sister, younger ...
7
votes
1answer
364 views

When was punctuation introduced into Chinese?

I have seen some old Chinese books. The words flowed from top to bottom on the page and there was no punctuation. How did readers know when the sentences began and ended? Were any older forms of ...
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11answers
22k views

Is it easier to learn Chinese after learning Japanese or vice versa?

For those who speak both Chinese and Japanese, would first learning Chinese make it easier to learn Japanese? Knowing that Japanese Kanji are derived from Chinese characters, how hard is it to do the ...
10
votes
1answer
290 views

Geopolitical History of Simplified Chinese

I've always been fascinated about the etymology of languages and believe that we are seeing a significant series of changes within chinese. There are some fairly good technical references for the ...