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

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6
votes
3answers
343 views

Is “ 事出必有因 ” the most accurate translation for “ everything happens for a reason ”?

Is " 事出必有因 " the most accurate translation for " everything happens for a reason "? If not, what is it? Thanks!
1
vote
3answers
58 views

Use of 是 不,… to introduce sentence

In a video I recently watched, the narrator introduced an idea by saying 是不, ... Can someone tell me what the best way is to understand this for an English speaker? Thanks.
2
votes
1answer
91 views

Can I use a verb+的 construction to imply an item/noun?

I'm often don't which noun to use, but I can think of a verb to describe it. I know that 吃的 (to eat + 的) means food, so I was wondering if I can use it with other verbs as well, like 洗澡的 (to bathe + ...
16
votes
7answers
2k 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. ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

How to translate 哪有农村热闹?

北京城里禁止随便放鞭炮,城里人过春节越来越简单, 哪有农村热闹? I don't understand the last part of this sentence, marked in bold. I guess it's a rhetorical question? My attempt: Beijing City banned setting off fireworks, so ...
3
votes
1answer
142 views

What is the meaning behind 5000 万 袋住先 7689!@#?

On a poster referring to the umbrella protests in hong kong is a chinese politician depicted in the way of the picture "the scream" by edward munch, next to him is a humanoid banana with googles ...
1
vote
4answers
172 views

How to translate: 我发音得不太准

我发音得不太准. - Is it translates as "My pronunciation is the best/exact?" What is the meaning of 准? Is it depends on the context?
1
vote
3answers
76 views

只 zhǐ appropriate use in context?

I am studying 常用漢字 and I ran across the following meanings: 只得 只好 只有 All of which were translated with the same English meaning "can do nothing." What was not given is the context in which one would ...
1
vote
2answers
134 views

零 in context of age, other uses?

I'm led to believe that 零 has the context of age as in this sentence. I've also heard Cantonese use the sound soy to refer to someone's age (is this the same word). What are some other contexts that ...
2
votes
2answers
148 views

What is the meaning of 用支 in this setence?

支 usually means support or branch, but here it seems to take on a different meaning. Unless it means they plan the support they use in their life on money? I also tried to replace 用支 with 用之 and 用纸, ...
8
votes
4answers
355 views

When to use 一倍 vs 两倍

I would like to have a clarification on this: I know that 倍 means "-times, -fold", but I don't understand why 一倍 seems to mean "twice as (fast)" in the following sentence: 开车最少比骑自行车快一倍。 while we ...
4
votes
1answer
175 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

Character Gaps On Comic Conversation : 5 [closed]

While reading a comic book, 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 scanning doesn't ...
1
vote
2answers
123 views

Character Gaps On Comic Conversation : 6 [closed]

I am reading a comic book to learn more Chinese. 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
129 views

Ways to determine whether a noun phrase is plural

So in a recent answer someone told me: 预言 here most likely is not plural - hence the whole 的大 Which brings to mind a question about other ways of determining plurality. Certainly I've heard of ...
1
vote
1answer
76 views

Rules on when to read characters in sequence

Maybe the hardest part so far about learning to read Chinese is determining when to read the characters in sequence and when to view them separately. So, in my recent question on 的大预言 for example: ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

(n.) 的大預言 having trouble making sense of this construct

So I have a person's name in place of the noun and I am trying to get a better handle on how to interpret this sentence. Would it be for example, Tommie's people predicted? The full context is that ...
4
votes
2answers
119 views

連連 Trying to understand the double word (叠词 or 叠字) usage

In another answer someone helped me understand the meaning of: 今年一定是好事連連 At that time, I was having trouble getting the context of 連連. But then I saw both 好事連連 (good fortune) and 好运连连 (Good Luck). ...
1
vote
1answer
125 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
162 views

追 as in 追剧 (chasing a TV series)

I am native speaker but I haven't yet figured out the exact meaning of 追 as in 追剧 - 'chasing a TV series'. Does it mean 'stay on top', 'catch up' or simply 'actively watch'? In other words, Does it ...
6
votes
8answers
1k views

What does 非也 mean?

What does 非也 mean? I heard it used here: Is this XXX? 非也! It's YYY! Does it mean "Oh my god!" or something? Thank you very much!
2
votes
1answer
197 views

Use of 龙 in the idiom 车水马龙

With the idiom 车水马龙 which is used to describe somewhere that is bustling and crowded, why was 龙 included considering it is a mythical creature? Does it represent something other than a creature in ...
3
votes
4answers
112 views

Can someone explain 进入 in this sentence?

非常抱歉 , 我们无法提供相关的API进入词库数据库 ,这些是受到版权保护的 。 So basically they can't provide access to the database via API, but I'm wondering why they use 进入, as I thought it was related to physical entrance of a ...
2
votes
3answers
127 views

What does 一个泡子 mean?

What does 一个泡子 really mean ? my teacher had asked our class to do some assignment about our names in chinese and find the meaning too. I use chinese simplified in google translate to find my name. but ...
3
votes
3answers
636 views

How did 东西 come to mean “something” in the expression “吃东西”?

I was chatting with a Chinese penpal recently and when I asked "what are you doing?", I received the following answer: 吃东西,你呢? Now, "东西" means "east and west" and so "吃东西" literally means ...
6
votes
3answers
118 views

What is the meaning of 多米 in the music service?

My friend often sands me links from the Duomi music service. Where does the name come from? 多米 seems to mean "a lot of rice" if I translate it directly.
3
votes
5answers
259 views

meaning: 接+地气=?

I saw this comment online the other day: 我只能说大陆的法律能接点地气吗?如果在台湾,这属于通奸罪。 I'm a bit confused about the [接+地气] part. 地气 has some funny definitions in the following two dictionaries: ABC: ...
2
votes
2answers
64 views

过道/走廊 what's the difference?

It seems to me that these two are pretty interchangeable for 'hallway' - at least in the writing I've read before. My question is, though, is there any difference in meaning? Any difference when to ...
3
votes
4answers
179 views

In what situations can one use 帥哥?

I do hear people say that a lot to me in China and I am always surprised by the timings and situations in which people just, kind of bluntly I feel, say this. I wonder what all those situations would ...
2
votes
4answers
409 views
5
votes
4answers
287 views

“哩勒公蝦毀” what does this mean?

What does “哩勒公蝦毀” mean? A Taiwanese guy said that to me after I had, accidently, mistyped two words in an idiom I used on him. He also used an expression of surprise (I presume) which went like “蛤?!” ...
2
votes
2answers
161 views

What word could you use to approach your friend in Chinese with?

Either close friends, family friends or fun/casual friends. E.g. "hey ... (close/family/fun friend), what are you up to?" I am looking for a word to replace the "close/family/fun friend" with.
2
votes
1answer
62 views

來鴻去燕 interpreting idioms

So I am studying idioms and in many cases I come across one whose words I understand but whose meaning must apparently lie in a deeper story. In this case, I keep thinking there must be a larger ...
1
vote
1answer
161 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
560 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
743 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
174 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
289 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...
2
votes
7answers
430 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
203 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, ...
8
votes
7answers
444 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
119 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
187 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 ...
1
vote
6answers
270 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
125 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
309 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!' ...
5
votes
3answers
134 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
178 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
456 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
4
votes
2answers
116 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, ...