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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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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670 views

Benefits of Learning a Chinese Dialect in Addition to Standardized Mandarin

Edit: This is now cross-posted to linguistics. Studies have shown that learning more than one language helps people of all ages learn each one of the languages. For a nice mainstream media piece on ...
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184 views

Usage of 感动 (active/passive?)

According to mdbg.net 感动 means both 'to move (emotionally)' and 'moving'. But from what I understand from some texts I have '邻居们都很感动' implying a more passive meaning for 感动. Can someone shed some ...
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2k views

Characteristics of Northern and Southern accents

My first language is Cantonese. I learned Mandarin as a second language. Native speakers of Mandarin often understand me with no major issues. Of course, they recognize the Southern accents right ...
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140 views

What good resources are available to assist first time travellers to learn basic Chinese? [closed]

I'm moving back to China again in a few weeks, and I've already got a few friends planning visits - this brings me to my problem: I can't always be around to translate, and I find people have a more ...
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147 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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54 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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183 views

How to say, “In Chinese" in Chinese

If I want to tell someone they can speak to me in Chinese, how can I say it? My guess is: 你可以给我说用中文 Is this correct, and is there any other way to say it, for example using the 把 structure ...
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190 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 ...
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152 views

Meaning of 差 in sentence

I have difficulties understanding sentence. What is meaning of 差 in the following sentence? 我看一下,现在差一刻九点。 Thanks
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331 views

Which is the correct sentence? Question about birthday

I was wondering, which is the correct sentence in this case. 你的生日是几月几号? or 你的生日几月几号? (without 是) Also can I omit 的 in this case?
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379 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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138 views

Usage of direction and location (destination) complements (衣服都装进箱子里去了 vs. 衣服都装到箱子里了)

In some situations, it is not clear to me when to use a direction complement or a location (destination) complement. For instance, I read from a book that the sentence "衣服都装进箱子里去了" is correct. This ...
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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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217 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 ...
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117 views

Can 偷工减料 be used to describe the intentional and open purchasing of somewhat inferior product?

I know that 偷工减料 is frequently used to describe intentionally (and perhaps secret) shoddy construction. When I translate it, I usually say "Cut corners". However, I think 偷工减料 has a very negative ...
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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 ...
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610 views

Advice on Mandarin Chinese passive learning

What are the best Chinese online tv channels with english subtitles for passive Mandarin learning. I find Chinese a rather musical language and would love to watch subbed tv (news, documentaries, ...
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231 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 ...
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270 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 ...
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324 views

“我们过去了” was he joking?

One man and I were crossing a busy Beijing intersection and were almost across when tour buses cut us off from both sides and we stood between them as they passed. He smiled at me and said "我们过去了!' ...
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620 views

The use of 上 (shàng) “on/above/over” in Mandarin and English

I'm interested in the the differences between English and Mandarin when they are talking about spatial preposition. Can i assume that in Mandarin, they use the preposition 上 for most of the times ...
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1k 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 ...
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251 views

Expressions that have no meaning (什么/来着)

I know that these two expression, in certain circumstances, have no meaning and are optional. I'm trying to figure out how to use them, even though they have no meaning. 什么 This has a meaning, ...
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183 views

Is 菜心 used in Mandarin?

Is the vegetable 菜心 (Choy Sum - English rendering of Cantonese) called 菜心 in Mandarin? Is it pronounced "cài xīn" or is it pronounced as it would be in Cantonese?
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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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185 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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205 views

Using 色 with colors

I'm making something to teach students Chinese colors... Let's say they have to match a color to a square- Is it okay to just use 红, 蓝, 紫, etc on each block just as long as they know 色 means color... ...
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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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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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218 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 ...
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386 views

国家 vs. 国, when can 国 be used alone?

In the Chinese book for beginners by Bellassen, it is stated that 国 cannot be used alone: it doesn't have a meaning on its own, and thus the word country/fatherland is 国家 and not 国. However... I am ...
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265 views

How to correctly order the words in this sentence?

This is a question from an exercise book that I'm currently working through, to rearrange the given words into the correct order. I believe the format is along the lines of "The person who was [doing ...
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131 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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72 views

Singing in tune translation help

I sang Chinese karaoke last night... went alright... but couldn't sing in tune. I wanted to express this to my Chinese friends.... so I wanted to learn phrases/words related to singing and music, ...
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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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132 views

How to say, someone is less (adj) than someone else?

How do I say, He is less cool than I?
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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 ...
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626 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 ...
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340 views

Poetic two-character words of the form: Verb + Natural Noun?

I was looking for examples in Mandarin of poetic two-character words. What words have the following form... Verb + Noun ...where the noun is something that occurs in nature? The first examples ...
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567 views

Taiwanese Mandarin vs Mainland Mandarin [closed]

A reference request. Is there any good source of the differences word choice/meaning between Taiwan and Mainland Chinese? Not asking about Chinese Characters, but usage. Spain have different ...
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274 views

Ordering food from a menu in a restaurant

How should I order food from a menu in a restaurant? In English I'd usually say something like 'I'll have the beef' or 'one of these and two of those' while pointing. In the past in China I have ...
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125 views

(Literally) Seeing Through Things

Earlier today, I ended up in a discussion which somehow involved people who were (literally) transparent. I was somewhat at a loss for how to say "Can you see through him?". After some research, I've ...
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117 views

What is the difference between 演奏, 弹 and 奏?

There are several words that seem to be related to playing musical instruments (specifically 演奏, 弹 and 奏), and I would appreciate an elaboration on the nuances between them. Are some used in specific ...
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577 views

Is the cantonese expression 五福臨門 present in Mandarin too?

A recent question prompted me to look for expressions related to the Chinese New Year and, among them, I found one that particularly stroke me as interesting: 五福臨門 = according to the poster it ...
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61 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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164 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 ...
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226 views

How would you translate 细腻 into English?

My Chinese coworkers were describing Korean drama TV shows & said that the actors faces are "细腻" xi4ni4. When I look this up in my dictionary, I get 2 definitions "fine & smooth" or ...
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371 views

Expressing “Fair enough”

The English expression "fair enough" can be used to concede a point in an argument, or acknowledge the other person's position, without expressing complete agreement. To take an example from ...
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114 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 ...