Questions concerned comprehension and understanding the finer aspects of individual words or phrases, with or without a context in which they are expressed.

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3
votes
7answers
434 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
310 views

Another meaning of 同志

Is it true that 同志 have some different meaning. Like gay (as in homosexual) or something. I know that during the XX century in China and communist Russia it was very common to call people 同志(товарищ). ...
3
votes
4answers
241 views

Using 老头 / 老头子 when speaking to others

I'm trying to get some clarification on whether or not it is impolite to use 老头 / 老头子 when speaking outside a group of friends when referring to a third party. From my understanding 老头 is quite ...
3
votes
1answer
219 views

Is there a difference between 担心 (dānxīn) and 着急 (zháojí)?

They're both verbs, they both have meanings "to worry, to be anxious", they both seem to be able to be used as adjectives also. I just want to know if there's any difference: is one used more in ...
3
votes
4answers
393 views

Difference between 我饿了 and 我很饿?

Someone tried to explain the difference in this answer http://chinese.stackexchange.com/a/43/38 saying that 我饿了 means "I became hungry", but I don't see the difference because we don't say I became ...
3
votes
4answers
153 views

Difference between 新 and 生?

Until now, I thought 新 meant 'new' in all contexts. In class recently, our tutor showed a slide in which he used 生词 for 'new words'. My dictionary gives the meaning of 生 when used as an adjective as ...
3
votes
2answers
171 views

What is the difference between 由于 and 因为?

What is the difference between "由于" and "因为"? For example, what is the difference between 由于今天是公共假期,我不需要上学。 and 因为今天是公共假期,我不需要上学。 Thanks.
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, ...
3
votes
2answers
229 views

Meaning of 白 in words for “nonsense”?

There are a number of Chinese words containing the 白 character that all mean "nonsense" or "speaking nonsense": 白呼 夸白 白话 What's the significance of 白 in these words? 白 usually means ...
3
votes
2answers
136 views

Need help understanding 爱慕虚荣

I came across this phrase 爱慕虚荣 today in a piece of writing. When I use Goggle translate it tells me 爱慕虚荣 means "vain", but 虚荣 by itself also means "vain" and when I search for "vain" and ask for the ...
3
votes
2answers
209 views

How to translate 'hyper-','super-' and 'ultra-' exactly?

The prefixes hyper-, super-, and ultra- seems all has meaning 'transcend' or 'upper class' and can all be translated to '超'. But they have a bit difference, e.g. hypergiant is larger than supergiant; ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Meaning of 爱惜花草树木

I'm trying to get the meaning of the following expression: 爱惜花草树木. A Chinese friend told me that it's something like "It's so corny", but I'm having a hard time finding an explanation online. I've ...
3
votes
1answer
187 views

Difference between 觉得 and 认为

I know both 觉得 and 认为 can be used to mean "to think", like: 你认为这篇文章怎么样? 你觉得这篇文章怎么样? But most people would translate 觉得 to "to feel". Does 觉得 express more of what someone thinks based on ...
3
votes
3answers
210 views

What's the difference between 蝦 and 鰕?

I found there are two characters for "xia1" (ghra as in Middle Chinese), 蝦 and 鰕. Could someone explain what the difference is?
3
votes
6answers
4k views

What shoud I use to say “I love you”: “wa ai lo” or “wo ai ni”?

Some of my chinese friends speak Chinese. I asked them how to say "I love you" in their language, but most of them said "wa ai lo" not "wo ai ni", how can this be? I look for google translate, it ...
3
votes
1answer
75 views

Why is 相 pronounced with a fourth tone in some cases?

I notice that 相 is pronounced xiang1 in most cases, but xiang4 in a few, mostly less-common words and phrases. The most commonly-used examples seem to be 照相 zhàoxiàng 'photo'; 照相机 zhàoxiàngjī ...
3
votes
3answers
129 views

Are 改正 and 纠正 interchangeable?

Both 改正 and 纠正 mean "to correct" or "to make right." What is the difference between these words? Do they have different connotations? Are both words acceptable in sentences like the following? ...
3
votes
2answers
75 views

What exact breed of animal is a 金丝熊?

The 金丝熊 is easily available from local animal markets in my wife's home town. We asked the owners of different stores and they say it is not a mouse. So what exactly is it, is it just a fancy name ...
3
votes
1answer
237 views

When is it proper to use 托您的福?

I think it means that I succeeded in part because of your luck? I've heard this used when I was in Beijing a few times.
2
votes
4answers
270 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
352 views

How does “多” work in this describing sentence “多好看啊!”?

I know 多 means many. But in other cases, it is used as in this sentence "多好看啊!" How exactly does it work? Thanks!
2
votes
4answers
262 views

Meaning of 我知道的就这么多了 [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Translation of “this much and no more” I found this sentence on Tatoeba: 我知道的就這麼多了。 (Simplified Chinese: 我知道的就这么多了。) Beyond this I know nothing. I ...
2
votes
3answers
122 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“ ...
2
votes
3answers
129 views

What is the meaning of 报 here?

A chinese friend asked me: 你有报语言培训班吗? I understand what she means, but I wonder what meaning 报 carries here. Anyone could help me?
2
votes
2answers
483 views

Why does the word 萌 mean “cute”?

A friend of mine said in a photo of me, my eyes looked very 萌(meng2). 你的眼睛很萌 My dictionary defines 萌 as; 萌 méng (动) sprout; bud; germinate But apparently in this context it means ...
2
votes
2answers
150 views

Does anyone know what is the characters means (丁財貴寿)?

Does anyone know what is written on the image? I tried to find out what is it, and got 丁財貴寿 (丁财贵寿), but not quite sure enough. I tried to find the meaning of the words but seems can't find it or I ...
2
votes
2answers
315 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
6answers
277 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
3answers
289 views

What does the sound “app” mean in Chinese?

I noticed that Chinese sometimes prefer to say "ay pee pee" rather than just "app" when referring to a computer application. I infer there is a chance that "app" already had a meaning in a Chinese ...
2
votes
4answers
369 views

清淡 (qing dan) usage: any food, or from a diet?

I ate with a Chinese who mentioned the soup was 清淡 (qing dan): clear, and bland. On Google all I found were acupuncture and "macrobiotic diet" websites. Is 清淡 (qing dan) an adjective commonly applied ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

What does 嘰咿— mean?

I'm reading a Chinese manga translation and have come across this note above a panel: 嘰咿— I'm not sure what it could mean or say in English. Can anyone help me? Thanks!
2
votes
3answers
271 views

Different Ways to Say “Hometown”

I have encountered both 老家 and 家乡 for referring to one's hometown. What are the differences? That is: When should each one be used? When should one or the other be avoided? When can they both be ...
2
votes
1answer
331 views

Does 给你 mean “Here you go?”

I found a very short sentence on tatoeba.org. All it says is, "给你。" That literally means "Give you," but what does it really mean? My best guess is that I could say it as I give something to you, ...
2
votes
4answers
205 views

When to use 家 vs 师 vs 员 vs 者

I'm translating my resume into Chinese so I can maybe apply for a Chinese job. There are a number of items on there where I'm not sure when to use 家, 师, 员, or 者. Example, I developed a comics ...
2
votes
1answer
163 views

Does anyone recognize the characters written here?

Does anyone recognize the characters written here? I've tried to figure it out but still can't understand what is written there, since I've just recognized the rightmost character, 天. It's a carving ...
2
votes
4answers
154 views

What is the difference between 秀才, 进士, 举人, and 甲第?

秀才、进士、举人、甲第那些单词有什么区别?好像它们都是指在中国古代科举制度下成绩特高的考生。准确的区别是什么?哪些至今还在使用? (麻烦大家帮忙改正中文错误!) What is the difference between 秀才, 进士, 举人, and 甲第? They all seem to refer to students who did particularly well ...
2
votes
2answers
216 views

Correct context for 大河向东流哇

As part of my immersion process I am studying Chinese lyrics of songs that I like. Many times I find Chinese phrases that I understand all of the words but none of the context. In this case 大河向东流哇 ...
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
3answers
239 views

Is there a Chinese equivalent of the German “Mut zur Lücke”?

In German, we have the expression "Mut zur Lücke", in English something like "courage to have a gap" - a knowledge gap. It is used between students, when they skip to learn something for an exam. ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Is 级 necessary in 优先级

From the dictionary I gather that 优先 by itself means "priority" and so 优先级 means "level of priority". In a phrase such as 高优先级,or 最高优先级,is the 级 necessary to sound correct, or is it an optional ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

Is there a logical explanation why 非得不 and 非得 means must?

I understand that 非 and 不 have negative meanings by themselves, and 得 means "must" by itself. So with a double negative, which means affirmative positive. So far so good. But 非得 by itself is also ...
2
votes
1answer
100 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
233 views

What is the difference between 别人 and 别的人?

What is there difference between these two expressions, or are they synonmyous?
2
votes
2answers
97 views

How to say “Peekaboo” when playing hide and seek

I have tried to find how to say "peekaboo" in chinsese when playing hide and seek. I 've just found 门门! but I don't know it is corect or not. Could you tell me how to say "Peekaboo!" and "Play hide ...
2
votes
3answers
196 views

Differences between 征, 伐, 讨, 侵, 袭?

These characters all mean "to attack" or "to invade", but what are the differences between them? When should one be used and not the others?
2
votes
2answers
153 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?
2
votes
4answers
188 views

How can I translate “精神需要”?

This is an example sentence in my textbook: "建立良好的人际关系,是每个社会人的精神需要" 精神 is translated in the dictionary into "spirit, mind, consciousness". Here I believe it must be modifying 需要, which is acting ...
2
votes
2answers
155 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 it with this exact meaning before, so I'm wondering what the proper meaning is in English, and what the ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

Does anyone recognize the characters written on this home shrine? [closed]

Does anyone recognize any characters written on the left and the right side of this home shrine? The home shrine is brought by my sister-in-law's great grandfather from China. Her grandfather has ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

What does […] 给盯背过去 mean?

The full sentence was more or less: 差点没把人家给盯背过去 I was wondering if it was a phrase, or if it just meant that they were staring at the person's back.