Mandarin is a group of Chinese dialects that use as standard pronunciation the dialect of Beijing. Also the expected language when "Chinese" is referred to by non-Chinese, as in "I want to learn to speak Chinese."

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6answers
506 views

被 (bèi) vs. 叫 (jiào) vs. 让 (ràng): regional difference? formality difference?

I know that with a 被 (bèi) sentence, you are allowed omit the object: S + 被 + (O) + Other elements, e.g. 河里的鱼都被毒死了 (Hé lǐ de yú dōu bèi dú sǐ le) whereas, when using 叫 (jiào) or 让 (ràng,) the object ...
0
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3answers
297 views

What does this mean: 操 [closed]

One of my chinese friends always writes this on my notebook at University and laughs. I don't seem to understand what's so funny about it. any explanation would be fantastic.
8
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
98 views

Is it easier to learn Chinese or Spanish? [closed]

I'm a native English speaker as well as a native Spanish speaker. I speak Spanish to my family members most of the time at home. It didn't really take me too much effort to learn it. So I believe ...
10
votes
9answers
2k views

I'm dying to learn Chinese [closed]

I'm new on this website and my only objective is to get some answers. But the main question I have is How and where to start learning Chinese? How to begin?
3
votes
6answers
177 views

“an” final pronunciation

I have had eight mainland Chinese teachers over the time I have spent studying, and I am still confused, because I find there are inconsistencies between my textbook's audio CDs, my teachers' ...
4
votes
5answers
580 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
113 views

Letters for chinese wedding invitation

I'm looking for the (traditional) Chinese letters for 'he fu tong qing' (pin yin transcription), which should mean something like 'the whole family invited' in the context of a wedding invitation.
3
votes
6answers
743 views

Origin of 呆在 vs 待在

Both 呆在 and 待在 are acceptable ways of writing dai1 zai4 meaning "stay at/in". For instance, a couple sentences from iciba: 我们因天气寒冷呆在家里。 Because of the cold weather, we stayed at home. ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Various ways to say “nice to meet you”

When I first started learning Chinese I knew the in order to say "Nice to meet you" or "Pleased to meet you", I had to use the following expression: 很高兴见到您。 But recently I've come across other ...
10
votes
4answers
427 views

Confusion about bian 邊 and miàn 面

I'm having a little trouble with learning directions and positions. It seems that most often the word bian is being used to indicate a position: front side 前邊, back side 後邊, etc. But then I see stuff ...
7
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7answers
804 views

Why do native speakers often say a character has “no meaning”?

Many times I will know all the characters in a name but one & I'll ask what that one character means. 9 times out of 10 the response is, "That character has no meaning". While it might be true ...
5
votes
3answers
358 views

Is “biang” a phonologically possible syllable in Mandarin Chinese?

One of the local specialty favourite dishes in Shaanxi province where I am now is Biángbiáng miàn. Photo by hippietrail The hanzi character for "biáng" is usually the focus of discusssions of this ...
2
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5answers
180 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 for pronunciation!!! Therefore, we can only work on the characters themselves to figure a way to ...
13
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2answers
4k 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?
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a rule of thumb for distinguishing male and female names in Chinese?

I often get tripped up when reading names of Chinese people, and trying to work out if they are male or female. Is there a good rule of thumb to follow to determine which is which?
8
votes
3answers
449 views

Anyone know why cellphones are called 大哥大 in Taiwan?

I was looking at Singapore Mandarin from the question here on Hong Kong Mandarin and came across the word for cellphone. I know it's popular now to refer to cellphones as 手机 but I remember in Taiwan ...
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votes
1answer
99 views

Porcelain Mark Translation? [closed]

I've recently come in acquisition of some artifacts and I'm looking to learn more about their origin and history. I thought I'd start with the maker's mark. If anyone could help me out with ...
3
votes
3answers
157 views

How do I word a polite notice about toilets in Mandarin?

My friend has asked me how to translate a sign asking people using a bathroom (toilet) at the tourist attraction where she works. She wants to ask that they do not to throw toilet paper in the ...
10
votes
3answers
749 views

What is the difference between yǐqián (以前) and zhīqián (之前)?

I'd like to have some way to differentiate between yǐqián (以前) and zhīqián (之前), in order to help with memorising them both. Referring to Modern Mandarin Grammar (Claudia Ross, Routledge 2006), it ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Say go team in Chinese?

Normally I would say 加油. On my city's news page this morning, they asked 10 people how to say "Go Syracuse (雪城)". There's a video of two men debating what to say, and then they say something like 雪城 ...
5
votes
5answers
334 views

寻 找 , 就 寻 见: I do not understand the second “xún”

At the website http://learnchinesethrubible.org/ I find the following phrase: seek and you will find 寻 找 , 就 寻 见 I do not understand the second "xún". In the dictionary http://www.mdbg.net I ...
4
votes
1answer
255 views

屌丝“ seems to be a ”dirty word" but also accepted and openly used. Am I missing something? [closed]

Since 屌 means "genitals" and 丝 means "hair", 屌丝 basically means "pubes". But then Mandarin speaking audiences seem to accept and openly use this dirty word. What am I missing? If it's a dirty word ...
5
votes
4answers
305 views

Two “question words” in one sentence

One of my teachers asked us the example question: 你有什么安排吗? I asked her why there would be two "question words", 什么 and 吗, when I believed you should only have one question word (in this case, 吗 ...
3
votes
7answers
461 views

Difference between 坏 and 破

Looking for some concrete answers on the difference between 坏 and 破 From what I have been able to understand: 坏 bad: as in 坏人 (bad person) or 鱼坏了 (rotten food) broken: as in 手机坏了 (broken mobile ...
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5answers
315 views

What is the chinese term for “StackOverflow” [closed]

What is the chinese term for "Stack Overflow" website and how do i pronounce it ??
2
votes
3answers
167 views

Names of extended family members

In 闽南话/Hokkien (and 启海话, and possibly all dialects) when we call our uncles and aunties we call them by the order of their age and whether they're on our father's or mother's sides, and the ...
0
votes
2answers
203 views

Are there words in Mandarin written by characters for other words that mean the same thing?

For example, in written Chinese 给 is used a ideograph for "to give" and is read with whatever the word for "to give" is in the various languages, even if the word is not cognate or in any way related ...
2
votes
3answers
137 views

Books or websites listing *polysyllabic* Mandarin terms with same pronunciation differing only by tones

I'm interested in finding any webpages or books that list words and phrases of more than one character that share the same pronunciation but not the same tones. For instance, here are some terms I've ...
6
votes
7answers
400 views

Correct/Polite way of asking “Can we speak in chinese?”

I would like to preface this by saying I'm Australian and speak with an Australian accent when I'm speaking English which can be hard to digest for a lot of people new to Australia. A lot of 1st gen ...
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vote
2answers
363 views

Politeness in Mandarin

I like to say please sometimes when I want to be polite to someone when asking them for something. Is this customary in Mandarin? For example, if I wanted to ask for some water, I might ask my ...
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votes
2answers
421 views

Where to start learning mandarin [closed]

I'm about to start learning mandarin chinese myself, without any teachers but with a help of textbooks and video (audio) lessons. My question is: where do I start, I mean, is it better to start with ...
7
votes
4answers
433 views

Origin of beautiful kingdom and hero kingdom

Why in Mandarin chinese, USA is beautiful kingdom and England is hero kingdom?
8
votes
3answers
331 views

What is the equivalent of the English word 'Fail' in Mandarin?

Fail is a pretty popular term on the internet these days, and one I'm quite fond of. Looking in my Chinese dictionary I can't find a great equivalent - is there a good way to say this? What would be ...
3
votes
2answers
214 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
192 views

Is there a tone sandhi rule that “4 3” changes to “4 0”?

This is a followup to my earlier question about the tones in the word "豆腐": On their own "豆" and "腐" have the tones 4 and 3: dòu, fǔ As a two-syllable / two-character word, "豆腐" has tone 4 but "fu" ...
10
votes
3answers
357 views

How does foreign word transliteration work in the context of Cantonese vs Mandarin?

If I understand correctly, Cantonese sounds very different from Mandarin, despite being written in the same way (omitting some small differences, which are irrelevant for the question). If it is the ...
4
votes
3answers
176 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), ...
5
votes
4answers
185 views

How is the currency of Taiwan referred to in Mandarin?

(I'm not going to use the hanzi or even proper pinyin for some terms because I only know them from speaking as an absolute beginning learner.) In Mainland China the currency is the "yuan" but in ...
5
votes
1answer
309 views

Usage of the phrase '不错用' in Taiwan Mandarin

I heard my Taiwanese friends use the Mandarin phrase 不错用 more than once, but didn't have a chance to ask them: Is it widely used in Taiwan, or is it used by a certain circle/type of person? What's ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

Common (and good) ways to ask for hand in marriage

The popular song goes, "今天你要嫁给我好吗" but I feel something like "你愿意嫁给我吗" sounds more like a question, rather than just adding "好吗" at the end of a statement. Does anybody have any critiques or ...
8
votes
4answers
284 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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vote
0answers
46 views

Resource for Mandarin Chinese grammar [duplicate]

Does anyone know where I can find a comprehensive description of Mandarin Chinese grammar? Like for instance, certain books I could read, or websites I could visit? Suggestions much appreciated! :)
2
votes
2answers
136 views

Correct use of 惹人心烦

I am not sure if I used the idiom 惹人心烦 correctly. This is the sentence I used, 好啊,然而我不要惹人心烦。 Would that be a good use of it or is there a better way of saying you don't want to be a pain in the neck ...
5
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2answers
145 views

Measure Word of 中药 and 西药

my doubt is simple... the correct Measure Word of: 中药 西药 Appreciate your time!
1
vote
2answers
132 views

How to translate “build server” [closed]

and also: "to build", "a build", a "code drop", etc .. I'm working with a software development team and i'm struggling with specific software related vocabulary.
2
votes
1answer
141 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" ?
7
votes
3answers
266 views

冰雪聪明… only for girls?

Is the expression 冰雪聪明 (bīng xuě cōng míng) really only used for girls? The literal translation is "snow smart" and I understand it means something along the lines of "extremely smart" but the times ...
3
votes
2answers
135 views

How common are three-character or five-character words/terms in Standard Mandarin?

People often regard Chinese, including Standard Mandarin, as a monosyllabic language. Classical Chinese apparently was a monosyllabic language, where words consisted of a single syllable (a single ...
3
votes
2answers
101 views

忠美聖愛仁義利義好哀恕 -I believe this is a proverb relating to Confucian values, but I can't break it into separate words

I saw a single row of characters with no punctuation. 忠美聖愛仁義利義好哀恕 Zhongmei might be loyalty. Sheng-ai is probably love between humans and gods. Ren-yi is compassion. Li might be benefit. I can't ...