Mandarin is a group of Chinese dialects that are considered the official language in many Chinese-speaking communities. The Beijing dialect is considered as standard pronunciation of Mandarin. Thus, when people say the "Chinese language", they implicitly refer to Mandarin.

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Confusion when words are combined

Hello I have been learning Mandarin for only a few weeks, although an issue has been bugging me. It concerns combining words together to make a sentence. For example I have heard that a correct ...
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3answers
8k views

What is the exact meaning of 吃豆腐, and where does the expression come from?

I'm not talking about eating tofu, but the expression that means something more like taking advantage of someone. What exactly does 吃豆腐 mean, and where does this expression come from?
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2answers
355 views

Is there a comprehensive list of vocabulary differences between 台湾国语 and 大陆普通话?

I've found many articles about differences in certain sentence structures regarding 台湾国语 and 大陆普通话, but does anyone have a large list of commonly-used vocabulary that are different? I spend a lot of ...
8
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3answers
592 views

了解 vs 明白 vs 知道 - what is the difference, and when should I use each one?

了解, 明白, and 知道 seem to be fairly synonymous in Mandarin, but there does seem to be some subtle differences between them. What exactly is the difference? When should I use each one? Could you give me ...
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8answers
313 views

Learning/remembering Chinese

I lived in China for a few months and picked up quite a bit of Mandarin. Now that I've moved back to the US, I have forgotten the Chinese I knew and spoke while there. Other than actually living where ...
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3answers
943 views

How many syllables does Chinese have?

I'm just reading a book about China and Chinese customs from Heike Barai. She says that Chinese only has around 300 different syllables, whereas modern German has about 10 000 and I suppose English is ...
5
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7answers
379 views

Ways to politely insult somebody's intelligence in Mandarin?

I know of many words to insult people and call them stupid, but a majority of them are incredibly offensive. There are more polite phrases, such as 真笨, which I've seen used within families (as a plain ...
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1answer
233 views

how to translate “请优先发给我,抄送其他人” in an email?

is it: "please reply to me and cc others" ? or does 优先 express the priority, the emergency of the issue and that translation should be: "please reply to me ASAP, and keep others in the loop" ?
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4answers
75 views

“upregulate” in Manadrin

My best scientific dictionaries have all crashed, and in any case they may not have this word either. I'm looking for a Chinese translation of the word "upregulate" or "up-regulate": the process ...
2
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5answers
308 views

Is Learning and Memorizing Chinese Characters much different than English?

Unlike English, Chinese is not a spelling language, which means there is no hint from the characters themselves for pronunciation. Therefore, we can only work on the characters individually to figure ...
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6answers
549 views

When is the spelling and the pronunciation different?

I noticed that sometimes certain finals in Chinese sound differently when combined with different initials. For e.g., what is spelled "u" sometimes is pronounced "ü". Other times, I think the final ...
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2answers
163 views

“I will,” “I can,” “I will (probably)” A fundamental problem with 會

I've always been a little wary of talking about the future in Chinese using the character 會, my early teachers made it ambiguous or demanded that I use a 的 at the end of every 會 sentence, but then ...
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7answers
2k views

Writing Chinese Characters is Sloppy

Since learning Mandarin through Rosetta Stone, Youtube videos, and friends, I've begun to keep a journal of mandarin characters and phrases. I first draw the character, along with the pinyin and ...
6
votes
4answers
510 views

The origin of 鸡贼

I speak Mandarin Chinese, but it is the first time that I stumbled upon the word 鸡贼. According to 百度百科 (Baidu wiki), it means being stingy. The wiki page also says that it comes from the Beijing ...
5
votes
2answers
388 views

How can I improve the speed of my spoken Chinese?

I'm currently trying to learn '听妈妈的话' on SingChineseSongs, and I'm having trouble keeping up with the fast parts. I also have trouble trying to speak terribly fast in Mandarin anyway. Does anyone ...
2
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1answer
124 views

meaning of “然後三個三個分成小組”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n38D7DCDtbk http://southworks.com/blog/2009/06/21/the-cookie-experiment/ So,when Liu Anting refers to "然後三個三個分成小組" does she mean something along the lines of "And ...
2
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2answers
195 views

“Thank you” in Tibetan, Cantonese, and Mandarin

I have observed, from subtitled movies, that there seems to be an expression [tɔdʒe] in Cantonese meaning, approximately, "thank you". In Standard Lhasa Tibetan as represented by Nawang Nornang, the ...
2
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4answers
113 views

A noun version of “need”

I'm trying to write a sentence with the phrase "eliminates the need to do sth..." and have gotten as far as “消除作sth..的————”, any suggestions? I don't think 需要or必须are very good choices because they are ...
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9answers
3k views

What is a good technique for remembering tones?

I find it a great struggle to try and remember tones for all the new vocab I learn, and aside from gradually picking up tones by listening and talking with native speakers, I can't really remember ...
3
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4answers
174 views

Chinese views on Erhua

I'm already well acquainted with erhua (儿化) in putonghua, essentially appending 儿 to the ends of words (or reading it when 儿 isn't written, as sometimes people do with 花 or 八点 etc). Many of these ...
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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 ...
6
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2answers
199 views

How Recent Is the Divergence In Taiwan- and PRC-Accented Mandarin Speech?

Many have compared the differences in standard (news broadcaster) accents in of Taiwan 國語 and PRC 普通话 to the differences in British and American accents. What linguistic factors have contributed to ...
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3answers
1k views

Are these two form of “I live in…” both correct?

While studying I came across a useful expression to say "I live in..." which is "...在...住" such as in this sentence: 我在意大利住。= I live in Italy. Wǒ zài Yìdàlì zhù. But then I saw a different one ...
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2answers
396 views

What effective methods exist for visual learners to get Chinese grammar?

I want to learn Chinese grammar (e.g. sentence structure), however, I am a highly visual person and feel a visual learning process would help me the most. I have already taken a beginner Chinese ...
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6answers
828 views

What is the difference between 通常,经常,and 常常?

What is the difference between 通常,经常,and 常常? I hear them a lot in conversational Chinese, but I can't pick out the difference in meaning. The dictionaries I've checked don't seem to agree on their ...
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1answer
66 views

Does “些” Work As A Suffix (Ever) In Mandarin Similar To “们”?

些 xiē 【名】 [方言]:们〖-s〗——表示复数的词缀。如:婆娘些;娃儿些;老师些 Although marked as dialect (read: topolect), I'm curious to know if this usage is ever acceptable or found in MSM (Modern Standard ...
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7answers
292 views

不得不, 必须, 只好, 应该: what's the difference?

This is what I'm thinking: 不得不 pm. "cannot but, have to" this seems colloquial, and the fact that dictionaries think of this as a set phrase/fixed expression makes me think so. Also feels like ...
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4answers
250 views

Usage of 師傅 in Mandarin

In Cantonese 師傅 will often be used to refer to some sort of specialized worker (e.g. a plumber, or a renovator) or some sort of "master" or "teacher" (not in the sense used in a school setting), ...
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2answers
176 views

Is the phrase “slot machine” 老虎机 the same in different Chinese dialects?

Just wondering whether the phrase 老虎机 (slot machine) sounds and is written the same in all Chinese dialects, such as: Mandarin, Wu Chinese, Min Chinese, Cantonese, Jin Chinese, Xiang  Chinese, ...
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1answer
62 views

Query about tone and stress in Mandarin foreign transcriptions/loanwords

Chinese transcription of foreign names and countries often results in long words that (in my opinion) stick out from the native lexicon significantly. There is general agreement that Mainland ...
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1k views

What does this woman say in Chinese? (From the new Daredevil tv show)

I was watching the new Daredevil show and noticed this bit. I was hoping somebody might be able to explain what the elderly lady is saying...Thanks. Here is the clip: ...
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2answers
115 views

What is the difference between 看来, 看起来, and 看出来 ?

Please help, I'm not getting this, 听来我不懂! Could you please use examples in your answer?
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2answers
120 views

Chinese use of abstract “saw?”

I'm trying to accurately translate an abstract use of "saw." Example: the Korean War saw fighting between America and the PRC. 朝鲜战争看到了美国与中华人民共和国之间的战斗。 Now, I have no idea if that sentence is ...
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5answers
1k views

Why is 喂 used over 你好 when answering the phone?

The use of 拜拜 over 再见 at the end of a phone conversation is obvious as you haven't seen them so how could you see them again but I don't understand why 喂 is used as a greeting when answering the ...
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3answers
2k views

What does 'duang' mean in 'online Chinese'?

I see this word popping up on Weibo and Taobao. It's not written with any character, but spelled out in Pinyin. What does it mean? EDIT: For the annals:
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2answers
97 views

Is there a “Peking Opera dialect”?

Peking Opera has a distinct pronunciation, that is at first similar to Mandarin, but to astute listeners, certain characters appear to have alternate or even non-Mandarin pronunciations. Take certain ...
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5answers
574 views

How to say 'never' in Mandarin Chinese?

Research: In here, https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=how%20to%20say%20never%20in%20mandarin It says that to say never, you say, "Cónglái ...
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2answers
88 views

Dictionary meaning required [closed]

On my Chinese dictionary, there are a few characters that I don't know what it means. It says: 商务印书馆. I want to know what it means.
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4answers
283 views

What is the difference between 他, 它, and 她

What is the difference between 他, 她, and 它? I want to know when you use one and when not to. It seems pretty basic language because I hear 他, 她, and 它 everywhere in Chinese language. Anything else ...
3
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4answers
321 views

What is the difference between 课 and 班级?

Is there any difference between 课 and 班级? As far as I know, both mean class in school. Some of example sentences I read are below: 这个班级上数学课的时候用计算机 他正在准备历史课的作业 这是一个高中的班级 他们正在上法语课 我的班级是在学习念英文 我想要教画画课 ...
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2answers
110 views

Where can I go in February to take 2-3 weeks of Mandarin? [closed]

This is my situation: I've just been hired for a job in San Francisco. I have 4 weeks roughly before I start a new job, and would like to leave immediately to Asia to study Mandarin (I have some ...
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votes
3answers
181 views

What is the difference between 日 and 号?

Right now I am taking Mandarin 1 in Brooklyn Tech. From my understanding, 号 and 日 both mean "day." I took it upon myself to check Google Translate and find out what they both mean for confirmation. I ...
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4answers
168 views

Is there a difference between “几点” (jǐ​diǎn) and “什么时候” (shén​me​shí​hou)?

Both "几点" and "什么时候" seem to mean "what time?". Here are two examples that contain "几点" or "什么时候": 我们什么时候开会? (My interpretation: "When is the meeting?") 现在几点? (My interpretation: "What time is ...
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3answers
492 views

What qualities does Hong Kong Mandarin have?

With Mandarin making more and more in-roads into Cantonese speaking Hong Kong, I'm wondering what characteristics set it apart from Standard Mandarin or other regional Mandarin dialects and/or ...
5
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3answers
265 views

How formal is 如何 in the context of 最近如何?

I was told by friend who is a native mainland speaker that "最近如何", or anything using "如何" to inquire about the state of a person, is a very ancient/formal way of speaking. This was quite a shock to ...
2
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3answers
187 views

What is the difference between 电视 and 电视上?

In the following two sentences: 电视说今天很晴朗,不过下午下雨了。 电视上说今天的天气会很晴朗,今天一整天都很晴朗。 Why does the first sentence not use 上 but the second sentence does? Is there any difference between 电视 and 电视上? I think ...
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3answers
227 views

How Cantonese and Mandarin writing can be identical

Forgive any ignorance on my part - I am a beginner, studying Mandarin. If "Apple" in Mandarin is "苹果" (píngguǒ), then I guess in Cantonese it is also "苹果", though no doubt pronounced completely ...
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1answer
125 views

Whats the difference between the usage of 个, 只, 张, and 条

Whats the difference between the usage of 个, 只, 张, and 条? I know that 个 is used for counting fruits and 只 is for counting animals but what should each counting word be applied?
2
votes
3answers
138 views

The most used Chinese dialect on the Web?

Do Chinese use different language dialects on the Web? e.g. Mandarin, Cantonese, Min Chinese, Xiang  Chinese, Hakka Chinese, Gan Is there difference how people in China are looking for stuff on the ...
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5answers
340 views

Question about “很好”

I've read that when asked the simple question 你好吗? ("How are you?"), answering 我很好 is the standard form, while 我好 is simply not used. 很 means "very", but 我很好 is simply translated as "I'm fine." and ...