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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8
votes
1answer
166 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?
5
votes
2answers
527 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
374 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.
3
votes
1answer
94 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
251 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
146 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
531 views

What does the expression “孤男寡女” mean?

What does the expression "孤男寡女" (gū nán guǎ nǚ) mean, exactly? Does it have inherently negative connotations? As an aside, why does Google translate it as "Needing"?
2
votes
3answers
138 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“ ...
6
votes
4answers
281 views

What is the meaning of 相声?

Today I read a blog post talking about a Canadian guy called Mark Rowswell (aka 大山) that appears on Chinese TV shows and who is able to do 相声. This 相声 is referred to as "the art of language". What ...
5
votes
5answers
417 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). ...
5
votes
2answers
194 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
130 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Are 明白 and 懂 synonymous?

Are 明白 and 懂 synonymous? If not, could anyone please elaborate on the difference along with some examples of usage?
2
votes
4answers
188 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
193 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
144 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
181 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
257 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
378 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
189 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
142 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
484 views

Sheep or goat? 一只羊跑过来

In the sentence: 一只羊跑过来 Would a Chinese person typically assume this is a goat or a sheep?
3
votes
6answers
9k 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

What's the meaning of 缘分 in English?

I asked a similar question on English Language & Usage site, but no one seems to come up with a good answer for me. I have decided to give our Chinese site a try. Bonus: how will you describe the ...
2
votes
2answers
262 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?
5
votes
9answers
717 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
293 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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
519 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
150 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
193 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
233 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
0answers
95 views

What does “吃你的豆腐” mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the exact meaning of 吃豆腐, and where does the expression come from? Someone made a joke with this phrase during dinner. What does "吃你的豆腐" mean other than the ...
1
vote
2answers
254 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
87 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
295 views

Why in China do they use k instead of m for the slope of a line?

In china they write y = kx + b Just wondering if there was a reason.
2
votes
2answers
483 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
460 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
4answers
172 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
207 views

What is the difference between 人民 and 民族?

What is the difference between 人民 and 民族, for example in 中华人民 vs. 中华民族?
1
vote
2answers
229 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
310 views

How to parse 没得 + Verb constructions

I've heard phrases of the form 没得V, where V is a verb. Sometimes, the 没得 appears to function like 没, e.g., 我没得选: I don't have a choice. Sometimes, it appears to function like a softer, ...
3
votes
2answers
280 views

What is the difference between 别人 and 别的人?

What is there difference between these two expressions, or are they synonmyous?
0
votes
1answer
680 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
1answer
68 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.
1
vote
1answer
120 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
129 views

What is the meaning of 不同而不同?

This is taken from the phrase: 口感依成分不同而不同 Sounds like it means "manifold" or something like that?
8
votes
2answers
241 views

Specifics of the idiom “四海一家”

There are several sayings and idioms similar to 四海一家 which reference "四海". Does the 四海 actually refer to 4 specific oceans such as the Indian, Pacific etc. or is it more of a metaphor for all of the ...
9
votes
3answers
515 views

What is the difference between 通常,经常,and 常常?

What is the difference between 通常,经常,and 常常? I hear them a lot in conversational Chinese, but I can't pick out the difference in meaning. The dictionaries I've checked don't seem to agree on their ...