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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128 views

Take a picture of me/for me (which preposition better translates)?

As an experienced tourist in China, I know the sentence:你能不能给我(们)相的照吗? Although it gives the desired result-- someone taking a picture of me, for me, with my own camera-- I am not sure of the exact ...
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3answers
713 views

Tense and use of 了

I struggle a bit to get my head around tenses in Mandarin, and in particular when I need to use 了 (le). Do you have any tips, examples or resources to help me out with this?
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2answers
131 views

Why is 劝ing so common -or- popular in Chinese?

First off I'm not really sure what we would call 劝ing in English, it's not really exhorting or admonishing as dictionaries would lead people to believe - it's more like actively sticking your nose ...
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5answers
701 views

When to use `他的太太` and when `他太太`?

I've read the two different sentences, on which the one uses 他的太太 and the other uses 他太太. However, how can I tell the difference between the two? For example, in the following sentence: 现在他想他的太太。 ...
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3answers
115 views

What's the difference between 候 and 等?

I've usually seen in my little Mandarin learning experience, that when people express wait, they usually use 等. However, I just noticed the following phrase in Sina Weibo: 请稍候... I know 请 means ...
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1answer
228 views

What does the last `点` mean in `玩得开心点`?

I've read the following phrases: A: 妈妈,我可以和新邻居一起玩吗? B: 可以,玩得开心点。 In the two sentences above, what does the 点 mean? I think this is something like the following: A: Mam, can I play together with ...
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1answer
82 views

What does this Chinese reporter say about APEC and Putin?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iW4ZzxuSXbc I can sort of follow along but there are some words/phrases I'm not clear on. Here's what I can gather: ...
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4answers
302 views

What's the difference between 雕像 and 雕塑?

I've read the two sentences that used the word 雕像 and 雕塑, respectively. However, I don't see what's the difference between the two words. When you look it up in a dictionary, both say "it is statue". ...
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2answers
635 views

Usage of 目 vs 眼睛

Can I use 目 in daily conversations or its too archaic and I should use only 眼睛? What about 口 and 嘴巴? I am trying to teach my daughter Chinese with daily Chinese phrases and have dilemma - 目 is ...
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4answers
174 views

What does `只` mean in `他有四本书,可是我只有三本`?

In the following sentence: 他有四本书,可是我只有三本。 , what does the 只 mean? I think the sentence reads He has four books, but I have three. I also read the sentence like 我只需要一个叉子, though I cannot get what ...
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1answer
101 views

How to say 'protect x from y'?

In my routine HSK vocab study, I recently came upon the word 保护; to protect. Obviously, it works easily like any other verb in statements simply of protection, but I have no idea how to translate the ...
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5answers
1k views

What does the `里` mean in `这些狗里有一只穿红色的毛衣`?

In the following sentence: 这些狗里有一只穿红色的毛衣 What does the 里 mean? I think the sentence means something like The dogs wear red sweaters. But why does it require 里 there and what meaning does it add? ...
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7answers
2k views

What software can correct pronunciation?

What software is available which can record my voice and warn me about problems with my pronunciation and tones?
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2answers
148 views

Why does the `请` take two duplicate words on its verb occasionally (e.g. `请洗洗你的袜子`)

I've read these sentences in my Rosetta Stone courses: 请洗洗你的袜子 请洗一下楼梯 However, why does the first sentence use two 洗 consecutively before taking the object? Also, how can I tell when to use one ...
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3answers
410 views

高兴 vs 快乐 vs 愉快 vs 幸福: what's the difference?

So, I'm a bit confused. All the time. 高兴 eg 我很高兴 It seems 高兴 has a connotation of impermanence .. you could be happy right now but unhappy later on. It appears to be the most common, most ...
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2answers
242 views

的确, 确实, 实在, and 真正: what's the difference?

(Related a bit to Difference between 实际, 现实, 确实, and 实在 I guess. Good to link to it for posterity.) 的确, 确实, 实在, 真正 My dictionaries all say that all four can be adverbs with a meaning of ...
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2answers
2k views

Difference between learning Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese Hokkien for visiting Taiwan

I'm planning on visiting Taiwan as a tourist for about one week next year. Both Wikipedia and Wikivoyage say that Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese Hokkien are common languages there. What advantages ...
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2answers
132 views
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1answer
139 views

Mandarin Equivalent: 屙尿都屙不伸?

As the title says, what's the Mandarin equivalent of the phrase 屙尿都屙不伸? The phrase describes someone who can't do anything, and is pretty much useless. An English equivalent might be something like ...
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5answers
2k views

Can native Chinese speakers distinguish tones in songs?

I already have a hard time distinguishing tones in normal speech. This gets significantly worse when I listen to Chinese songs, since the melody masks tones even further. Yes, I understand that ...
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5answers
467 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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10answers
5k views

Tips for pronouncing X vs SH in Mandarin?

I'd like to think my Mandarin pronunciation is generally pretty reasonable, but I often get tripped up with X and SH - for example words like 雪 and 水, or 虾 and 莎. Even with different tones, I find ...
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1answer
79 views

Mandarin chinese: syllable pronunciation training

Is there free mp3 resources of all combinations of syllables (1consonnant + 1vowel) in different tones? Here an example of syllables: All Possible Syllables in Mandarin Chinese
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4answers
566 views

Mandarin: 去 + xxx + 去了?

Where we live I often here the construct 去 + 某某某 + 去了, for instance: 去打牌去了 去上厕所去了 去做饭去了 Can this kind of construct be used in Mandarin aswell?
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2answers
116 views

Proper term 劝合不劝散

Came across this, old(?), term today: 劝合不劝散. A quick baidu gives me a lot of variants on this term though: 劝合不劝离 劝合不劝分 And 劝和不劝散 劝和不劝分 劝和不劝离 I would imagine anything with 和 would be a more ...
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4answers
768 views

Chinese equivalent of: 'ew'?

When disgusted by something people will usually say, 'ew, yuck!' or 'ew, gross.' Is there an equivalent of 'ew' in Mandarin? The only things I was able to find about it (here) - just explain what ...
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1answer
195 views

Character Gaps On Comic Conversation : 4 [closed]

I am learning Chinese by reading different texts. I have some problems with seeing some characters in this older copy of a book (the Chinese character is sometimes too dark to distinguish strokes and ...
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1answer
73 views

Character Gaps On Comic Conversation : 3 [closed]

Here is the work that I have done so far. Thank you for any help finding the missing characters (I don't need the translations, per se but just seeing a clear copy of the character would be helpful). ...
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1answer
242 views

不知說謂, 不三不四 - Meaning In Context?

I have heard 不三不四 pronounced (m sarm m sei) in Cantonese. I wonder if Mandarin speakers use this term and in what context? When I asked, someone they supposed that Mandarin speakers might prefer to ...
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1answer
85 views

Translation Gaps On Comic Conversation : 2

I have translated the following: 那可不一定 It certainly can not be. (*Hope this translation is correct) Here is what I have so far.. 三十分(?)從,大(?)會(?)吊(?) 來。 Thanks for any help to fill ...
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2answers
131 views

How to explain this situation in a few Mandarin phrases?

Background/Context I have been spending a lot of time taking care of my mother-in law recently. Because she is from 台山市 I have been learning some Taishanese. She is 85+ and only eats specific foods. ...
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1answer
208 views

Looking for official specification of Putonghua in English

There has been some confusion here between different senses of "Putonghua." So to clarify: article 19 of the constitution of the PRC says "The state promotes the nationwide use of Putonghua (common ...
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6answers
9k views

Does 危机 really mean both crisis and opportunity?

A lot of people, mostly those who haven't studied Chinese, like to claim something along the lines of "In Chinese, the word for crisis 危机, also bears the meaning of opportunity." This is usually ...
3
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4answers
354 views

Loanwords with Chinese Equivalents

How many loanwords in Chinese have Chinese equivalents? Example: 三文鱼 is a loanword, borrowed from English, meaning salmon, but Chinese also has the word 鲑鱼 meaning salmon. Are there a lot of these ...
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6answers
2k views

What does 厉害 mean, and in what context does it mean what?

This has to be one of the more ambiguous words I have struggled with. 厉害 can be: very well performed = 玩得很厉害; harsh = 骂得很厉害; severe = 生病得很厉害; probably a bunch of other stuff... Can anyone give a ...
2
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3answers
222 views

Could you repeat that?

I sometimes need to say the equivalent of sorry, could you repeat that... I have found one comfortable phrase (for me) to handle this situation but would like to learn other phrases to use in this ...
3
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1answer
123 views

Appropriate responses to unexpected gift?

I have been on the receiving end of an unexpected gift. Actually I was in a restaurant and the owner (who knows I am learning Cantonese/Mandarin), just gives me some dong gua tong (soup). I didn't ...
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2answers
161 views

What's the Mandarin equivalent of “定係”?

I'm writing up something in Chinese, and want to write the following (irrelevant information redacted): Do I need to bring XXX? [...] Or I can just bring a photocopy of it? I'm not completely ...
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1answer
370 views

How to say “in my opinion” in chinese?

For example, "In my opinion, this music is very good". The translation indicated by Google, 在我看来, seems rather dodgy to me.
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3answers
90 views

Construct: X都不X一下, Mandarin?

I've come across the following construct recently: X 都不 X 一下 Specifically what I heard was: 痒都不痒一下 (Bonus points to anyone who knows where that comes from...) Is this a mandarin construct? Can X ...
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3answers
340 views

What is the meaning and proper usage of 凭什么?

I was watching a TV show and heard them using the expression 凭什么 to say 'why' - I hadn't heard this with this exact meaning before, so I'm wondering what the proper meaning is in English, and what the ...
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5answers
427 views

How do we know what characters correspond to Chinese names?

Recently I've asked "How do we choose the correct characters for a westerner name?", and now, I'm facing a similar, yet kind of different problem, which I think applies to any westerner or Chinese ...
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2answers
308 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 ...
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2answers
372 views

一起 vs 一块 - what's the difference?

一起 vs 一块, are these two expressions the same in Chinese, or is there a certain situation where one is more appropriate than the other? Can anyone explain what the difference might be? For example: ...
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1answer
92 views

Can I have some Taiwan restaurant sentences?

Every time I go to a restaurant in Taiwan I say weird weird stuff. They always understand, but I'm sure I'm saying it unnaturally. Also, occasionally I don't entirely catch what they're asking. ...
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1answer
352 views

What is the exact meaning and etymology of 拜年?

Since Chinese New Year is on the way (and thanks to Xiaohouzi's great suggestion), I've been thinking all about the new year. One term the sticks out is 拜年. I'm very curious to know the exact ...
26
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7answers
1k views

Why is 有 (yǒu) the only verb that requires 没 while other verbs can use 不?

To negate something, we use 不 (bù) before the verb, such as in this short dialogue: A: 你是老师吗?= Are you a teacher? B: 不是。= I'm not. However, the verb 有 (yǒu) is the only one that requires 没 ...
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4answers
253 views

Is this an exception in the use of 的?

I know that, when expressing possessives, we add 的 to the usual personal pronouns, such as 我的. However, in a question in my grammar textbook I saw: 你爸爸忙吗? = Is your father busy? Why not ...
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3answers
215 views

Asking “what's the pinyin/character for X?”

How do we ask someone to "translate" a character or some pinyin into the other one? The expressions I'm referring to are: What's the pinyin for this/that (character)/... ? What's the ...
7
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3answers
269 views

“Actually” as a sentence-starter of speech filler

When casually speaking English I use the word "actually" a lot at the beginning of a sentance, or as part of the flow of my speech. e.g. Actually, next semester doesn't start for a month. ...