Questions concerned understanding of individual words or phrases, considering a context in which these words and phrases are expressed.

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1
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3answers
126 views

What is the difference between qi3 and qi3 lai2?

In both situations my pen is now on a table. Speaking to another person, why do we say: 1) Qing3 na2 qi3 wo3 de5 bi3. 请拿起我的笔。 Not: 2) Qing3 na2 qi3 lai2 wo3 de5 bi3. 请拿起来我的笔。 How does the ...
4
votes
4answers
531 views

Making sense of 去华山怎么走比较好?

The following dialogue is in NPCR 2, Lesson 23, listening exercise 7 in the exercise book, and my attempt in translating it. I'm unsure about the sentence marked in red. I have not learned the ...
6
votes
5answers
645 views

Usage of 一定 vs 当然

I recently had a homework assignment to select the correct answer 我学了10年汉语了,含有水平 。。。 很高 I chose 一定,but the correct answer turned out to be 当然 Was my answer incorrect, why? How do these two ...
3
votes
6answers
154 views

Meaning of 只 in 只把思念积压在我心头

Ok so firstly I take the sentence as a whole to mean. The missing is accumulating in my heart (i.e. I'm missing you more and more). Provided I've got that correct, what function does 只 perform here. ...
2
votes
6answers
276 views

“一别五六年” 是什么意思??

刚跟一个好久没联系的威海朋友在聊聊时,他说了 时间过得太快了,一别五六年了。 “一别五六年”,或者“一别” 是什么意思?我查了一下,没找到。 PS: I thought that according to this, questions in Chinese were allowed, but I can't publish it without English...
5
votes
1answer
152 views

“A pair of mandarin oranges” as a homophone of “the gold”

image courtesy of Today, when Chinese people celebrate the New Year, there's a tradition to offer each other Mandarin oranges. As many sources say, the Mandarin oranges should be offered in pairs, ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

Chinese symbols on a Murakami painting? [closed]

Recently at an art gallery, I was introduced to some works of Takashi Murakami. On quite a few of his paintings were symbols which looked like Chinese, some sort of a seal perhaps. There was a ...
5
votes
7answers
383 views

How can I translate 不客气 here?

I'm doing some translations of New Practical Chinese Reader 2. In lesson 17, there's a dialog between two people, and 不客气 appears as a reply to compliments rather than someone saying 谢谢。Is it supposed ...
2
votes
2answers
109 views

四航奋进: This ship's name is translated as “Four Aircraft Endeavour”, but is it?

The name of the ship below is given as: 四航奋进 I've seen it previously*** translated as "Four Aircraft Endeavour", which seems peculiar, as it's not an aircraft. The 四 I can understand: it has two ...
2
votes
7answers
365 views

How can I translate this correctly into English “今晚怎么意思”

I have a group of friends who regularly meet to play soccer, someone asked on WeChat: 今晚怎么意思 The reply given was the time that we start "7" (meaning 7pm). I may be missing something very ...
0
votes
6answers
244 views

Meaning of 脏话 in 这里能说脏话吗

I just came across someone asking this in online chat: 这里能说脏话吗 I've taken that to mean, is there anyone here who can speak x?. It's the x bit I'm unsure of. If I look up 脏话 in a dictionary it says ...
3
votes
2answers
118 views

“niyao” meaning strong-armer?

A comment on a New York Times article about violence towards doctors in China reads: The situation is explosive. In 2010 there were 17,234 cases of violence against medical personnel reported by ...
1
vote
5answers
291 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!' ...
4
votes
3answers
122 views

Difference between 部门 and 系

Does any difference exist between 部门 and 系? These are the two different results I get from Google translate: I work in the university Chinese language department 我的工作在大学中国语文系 I work in ...
3
votes
2answers
148 views

What is the difference between 七夕节 and 情人节?

First off... 七夕节快乐! For those who are wondering, today is the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar meaning it is Chinese Valentine's Day! Actually something that I have been wondering ...
4
votes
1answer
158 views

What is the difference between 准备, 预备 and 打算?

I seem to hear 准备 and 预备 used for “prepare” and not as often to mean “plan". 我们准备搬到美国; emphasizing the need for specific preparations for the move. Myself, I use 打算 for planning something. ...
3
votes
2answers
254 views

Can someone explain the differences between these sentences?

There are some sentences in Chinese which possess different meanings under different circumstances. Can someone explain the differences? Example 1 a) In winter says: 能穿多少穿多少 b) In summer says: ...
4
votes
4answers
612 views

Meaning of “去你的头”

I just heard "去你的头" in a joke, and while it sounds like an approving "go ahead" OR "go with your head/what you think" I realized at the end of the joke it's kind of an equivalent of "go f*** yourself" ...
4
votes
7answers
425 views

What does 土 mean in this sentence 这个名字有点土?

I heard this mentioned about someones name recently. Can someone explain the meaning and any connotations of "土" in the sentence: 这个名字有点土
7
votes
1answer
342 views

Do 和 and 及 refer to two different kinds of “ands?”

At one level, they both mean "and." At another level, 和 also means "peace," while 及 means "to extend." This suggests different usages. Is one used to connect nouns, while the other is used to connect ...
1
vote
3answers
190 views

Translating the word “feelings” for conversational use

When I look for a dictionary translation of "feelings", I see two translations: 情怀 and 情面. Which of these two would be better suited to translate the following sentence The woman rhetorically ...
4
votes
4answers
191 views

How do I practise grouping characters into words? At which stage of learning should one expect to be good at this?

I just got the following sentence in a newsletter: 请问我可以跟你借支笔吗? Being a beginner that I am, I read it as "Can I please get one pay-check in advance?" because I saw this in my dictionary: 借支 = ...
5
votes
2answers
507 views

Why does 三八 mean gossip?

I've heard in 广东 (guangdong) the term 三八 to mean "gossip", particularly for a woman who gossips. Is this common throughout China, and why does it have this meaning?
3
votes
4answers
214 views

央行行长会: Is the second 行 necessary?

央行行长会 - A Meeting of the Heads of Central Banks. Is the second 行 necessary? If not why not? Does 央行长 mean "Head of a Central Bank" or is it necessary to say the equivalent of "Bank-Head of a Central ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Is the expression 学识渊博 usually used in a pejorative sense?

For example, as a sarcastic remark in the sense of "pedantic" or "know-it-all"?
3
votes
2answers
110 views

山火 vs 野火 vs 丛林大火: Chinese for “bushfire”

I would imagine that 山火 meant "a fire in the mountains", but the dictionary lists "wildfire / forest fire". Is 山火 then a generic word for an out of control fire? What about 野火? I saw 山火 on the news, ...
2
votes
2answers
127 views

In “我只喜歡你一個” what does the “一個” do?

If I were to translate "I only like you" I'd say 我只喜歡你 Wǒ zhǐ xǐ huan nǐ However I have seen the following 我只喜歡你一個 Wǒ zhǐ xǐ huan nǐ yī ge Translated as I like you alone ...
11
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2answers
1k views

How did 黃 (yellow) come to mean “pornographic”?

In my dictionary it defines 黃 (Huáng) - yellow - pornographic - to fall through - surname Huang or Hwang Imperial China and the robes of the emperor are commonly associated with the colour yellow. ...
5
votes
4answers
403 views

Difference between 合适 and 适合

Both 合适 and 适合 mean to fit/to suit. I know the grammatical form needed for each one is different: 在这个情况下,你在穿的衣服就不合适。 我在找一个适合我的女孩子。 Aside of that, I have been told they cannot be used ...
4
votes
3answers
249 views

Meaning of 一不小心

I read a story where a child dropped a berry into a bucket full of berries and then tried to take it back. When she reached in to pick up her own berry, she grabbed a handful of the other berries. In ...
2
votes
4answers
266 views

What is the pronunciation of 行 according to its context?

行 can be pronunced háng or xíng. As far as I have seen, it means "OK, to go, profession", and many more other meanings. Could you briefly summarize the usage of it and its corresponding ...
7
votes
2answers
194 views

How to explain 讲 in 讲礼貌 and 讲卫生

In my understanding 讲礼貌 translates as 'be polite' and 讲卫生 is something like 'be clean', but how should I explain the 讲 to a new speaker? I take this as a set phrase, but is there a way to translate ...
1
vote
3answers
214 views

Understanding the meaning of 让 in this sentence

我不但能够让外国人坐我的车,还能够让他包我的车。 This is from a Chinese reader. The voice is of a Chinese taxi-driver. The problem is the translation of 让... He's talking about going to hotels and getting customers. ...
1
vote
2answers
213 views

What does 就算这次做错也只是怕错过 mean?

I found this sentence in a song's lyrics => " 就算这次做错也只是怕错过 ". What does it mean?
2
votes
3answers
286 views

Is this sentence ambiguous out of context?

My newsletter says this sentence 我五分钟后就回来。 is translated as "I'll be back in 5 minutes". I am curious to know whether this sentence could be translated as "I came back 5 minutes ago", or does ...
5
votes
4answers
508 views

What is 人 doing in 你现在人在哪里?

I got this sentence in my "daily exercise" newsletter, and I really don't understand what's 人 doing there? Doesn't it mean the same when 人 is removed? Could this simply be a typo?
2
votes
3answers
343 views

What is the meaning of 老不死 exactly?

I'd like to know in depth detail, what is the meaning of this expression? How come there is only a few people saying it? Old and not died is a good thing in my mind.
1
vote
1answer
167 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, ...
4
votes
4answers
142 views

What is the difference between 东西 and 用品?

What is the difference between 东西 and 用品? They both seem to have the meaning "stuff" in certain circumstances, but then 用品 is used in more formal situations, such as 医药用品 which I am assuming is not in ...
1
vote
3answers
123 views

How can I translate “非语言表达方式”?

This is an example sentence from my textbook: 除了学习用语言表达自己的思想感情以外,还要学习用非语言表达方式。 Here "非" has the meaning "not" or "non-". I would translate it to something like: Aside from studying using ...
2
votes
2answers
313 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
137 views

What is the meaning of 捅破 in this text?

The following text is taken from the serial of 寒夜: 一直到有一天 一个偶然的机会 我的心事 或者说是我们的心事 被我们的学生捅破 感情是不能被捅破的 一旦捅破 就如同大坝破堤 汹涌而出 He's talking about his love for the heroine of the series, then ...
3
votes
2answers
100 views

Use of 蓝 (Blue) in a Specific Context?

There is a song sung by William So whose title is 《有人喜欢蓝》 (Yǒurén xǐhuan lán - There are people who like blue.) What does 蓝 (blue) mean in this context? Is it a reference to the sky, sea, a mood, or ...
2
votes
5answers
116 views

Is 解决 a common euphemism for going to the bathroom?

In the novel 《天机》, passengers on a bus become ill after eating an unfamiliar dish. They ask the driver to stop the bus, and the male passengers, including the protagonist 叶萧, descend: ...
2
votes
2answers
232 views

What is the difference between 别人 and 别的人?

What is there difference between these two expressions, or are they synonmyous?
1
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4answers
164 views

很 and 最 - Questions of The Context

很 means very. 最 means truly, really. I was wondering in which context they would be most appropriate. 我最喜欢去组约。- I'd really like to go to New York. So 最 can be used as a descriptor in this ...
1
vote
2answers
189 views

才 in the sense of “only”

What does 才 mean in this sentence? 妈妈说,鼻子长才是漂亮。 (Quote taken from a nursery rhyme.) After looking in the dictionary my best guess is that it means "just" or "only", so as to make the ...
0
votes
1answer
157 views

How to use 指 when giving a definition?

How is 指 used, what is it's role in definitions such as this (from Wikipedia): 研究生是*指*获得学士学位后继续深造.
2
votes
3answers
120 views

做 as the verb “to be”

Can someone please clarify how and when 做 is used to mean "to be" e.g. 不愿做奴隶人们 I am familiar with 做 meaning "to do" or "to make", and I would expect that if I was saying "I am a slave", “我是一个奴隶“ ...
1
vote
1answer
103 views

Meaning of 修养­­­­

The dictionary defines 修养 as: accomplishment / training / self-cultivation However many examples in context seem to have the sense of the development of being a gentleman / lady, or being ...