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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5
votes
6answers
311 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
186 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
1answer
209 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
2answers
177 views

What's the difference between 去 and 走? [closed]

I think they both mean "to go" -- is that right?
1
vote
1answer
127 views

Meaning of 酿 in this sentence

Taken from this news article What does "酿" mean in this sentence: 苹果iPhone 5酿致命意外
5
votes
4answers
1k 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" ...
3
votes
3answers
288 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
4answers
469 views

When should 吧 be used?

I understand that it is used at the end of a sentence to indicate suggestion, but I want to know what kinds of everyday situations warrant its use. I'd appreciate two or three examples. Also, does it ...
0
votes
1answer
153 views

Can you help me to understand the technical text translated from Chinese to English? [closed]

I am translating the user manual to Russian. It is in English but translated from Chinese and about Chinese video security system (chinese software and hardware). Probably the native Chinese ...
1
vote
2answers
442 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
229 views

When is it appropriate to use 先生?

I'm trying to figure out when the title 先生 is used. Is it used for Mr., husband, honorary person, or something else? 谢谢
1
vote
1answer
85 views

Meaning of these signs

Could someone please tell me what these signs mean, the OCR couldn't read them.
7
votes
7answers
896 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
329 views

What's the main difference between 为 and 是?

It seems like both 为 and 是 mean "to be". In which cases is one used but not the other? Is it something like the difference between "estar" and "ser" in Spanish and Portuguese? (In the sense that one ...
8
votes
2answers
338 views

Is there a literal meaning of 对不起?

对不起 is one of the first phrases any student learns. We learn it as a set phrase, and don't question why it has this meaning. But we also learn the phrases; 听得懂 - "hear and understand" 听不懂 - ...
8
votes
1answer
163 views

How to say the term “招” and “式” in English?

It's used as a classifier, like this: "亢龙有悔"是"降龙十八掌"中的*一招*. and *一招一式*他都记得清清楚楚. So how to say it in English?
6
votes
3answers
232 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
1answer
93 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
114 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
459 views

Who exactly is a 干妈

This dictionary translates 干妈 as "Godmother", and my pocket dictionary also gives "nominal mother". In English, "Godmother" and "Godfather" are very specific titles - Your Godparents are the people ...
8
votes
5answers
347 views

What is the meaning of 真是的

What is a meaning of 真是的. I heard for many times in context something like 你真是的! And yet I have doubts about proper meaning of this expression.
2
votes
1answer
142 views

Meaning of 泡­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

I first encountered this word in the brand of a kid's drink, O泡. When I looked it up I saw that it meant something like "bubble", and was (ironically for the name of a drink) the classifier for ...
3
votes
4answers
242 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
221 views

太: Meaning in 灰太狼

灰太狼 灰太狼 (A character in a TV show) is translated in English as "Grey Wolf". What has happened to the 太, wouldn't 灰狼 be enough to mean "Grey Wolf"?
3
votes
1answer
128 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
948 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
4answers
184 views

回去回来 回来回去 来来回回 来来去去 Are they the same?

In this post, Juckele mention two terms completely new to me : 回去回来 and 回来回去. I know 来来回回 Things keep going in circle, usually use to describe situation in life 来来去去 Same as above But what about ...
7
votes
2answers
154 views

他在工厂住了半年/living in factories

This was an example sentence in Practical Chinese Reader 31. Do people actually live in factories, or is there some cultural context I'm missing? In previous chapters, people are constantly visiting ...
5
votes
5answers
396 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
2answers
187 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
214 views

How can I interpret 多 in this sentence?

It must be pretty easy, but what does 多 mean here? 我才来了三个多月
3
votes
3answers
140 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?
3
votes
1answer
179 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
165 views

Difference between 最高领导人 and 主要领导人之一?

I've just been looking at the wikipedia entry for Xi Jinping and the word used for the position he will be taken on Wikipedia is incumbent "paramount leader" with paramount leader pointing to this ...
5
votes
2answers
247 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
4answers
349 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
3answers
185 views

How to translate/use 一巧

All of a sudden in my course we've started using "一巧" everywhere, and I really do not understand it at all. example: 尽管我很喜欢这张唱片,可是我一巧也开始喜欢它,想到以后可以跟一巧一起听音乐,我决定把这张唱片给他。 which I understand all of, ...
1
vote
3answers
140 views

problem with 要 - it seems to have several meanings

一看见这些楼房,他心里就想,自己一定要买上一套房子。 This is the sentence that I've come across. I've translated it as: Once he sees these houses, he thinks that he can definitely buy a house himself. But I'm always ...
2
votes
2answers
250 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?
3
votes
4answers
285 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
193 views

Why is 土著人 used for Aboriginal people in Australia?

In Australia it is quite common to talk about Aboriginal people as they feature quite often when talking about sports, Olympics or politics. The word that is used to describe Aboriginal people by ...
5
votes
9answers
690 views

Is 我很对不起你 a unique sentence structure?

I'd never seen or heard this before until I recently watched a TV series and had to ask my wife to explain. My initial guess was that it meant "I feel sorry for you" when in fact it means something ...
1
vote
1answer
134 views

询问奸雄所见略同的由来 and how does it relate to chinese

The quote"我很想询问奸雄所见略同的由来" seems very interesting to me. And in Google Translate, it translates to "I would like to ask the king's men great minds think alike the origin of." It doesn't seem to make ...
2
votes
3answers
217 views

What is 被 doing in sentence “这种病在三十年前就被根除了”?

I understand that the sentence means something like "This disease was eradicated 30 years ago", but I have no idea what role does 被 have in it? Is the sentence okay if we remove it? Does it convey ...
4
votes
1answer
482 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
142 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
176 views

Correct usage for 跟。。。过不去

This question has two parts: What's the precise meaning of this expression? What is the correct usage? Question (1) I understand it to mean that the person referred to (eg, 跟她过不去) is uncomfortable ...
2
votes
4answers
222 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
241 views

What does the character in this Naruto poster mean?

I dont know how to type that character, otherwise I would try it out through other means. What does the character mean? It appears in a poster concerning the Japanese manga Naruto.
5
votes
1answer
85 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 ...