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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0
votes
3answers
67 views

Meaning: 好棋? (Good move?)

Seems like I'm not the only one confused about this, the country is coming up with slogans nobody understands. Recently there have been a lot of signs put up with things like 中国前进 written on them, ...
5
votes
6answers
615 views

犬子: who's the dog?

犬子 (literally, dog + son) is an archaic, self-depreciatory term to refer to your son (occasionally it's used to insult other people's sons). This answer raises a question though; who is the dog ...
2
votes
5answers
489 views

你是我的小呀小苹果儿 What is the purpose of the second 小?

So I'm listening to this catchy song and the chorus goes 你是我的小呀小苹果儿. I'm wondering why the 小 is being said twice. Is that just something the artist is doing to play with the language in the song or ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

There's this joke from a Chinese friend of mine on Facebook

I really could use some help translating this supposed joke. 来玩猜谜语: 以柔制刚。 ——(打一食品) I only knew them for like a week, and I really kinda want in on the fun, even if subtlely... So I feel a bit shy ...
2
votes
3answers
233 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 this with this exact meaning before, so I'm wondering what the proper meaning is in English, and what the ...
1
vote
1answer
118 views

减/減 (Reduce/Subtract/Decrease/Diminish): What's it got to do with water?

So here we have 冫+咸 (or 氵+咸) = 减(減). 减(減) means something along the lines of reduce/subtract/decrease/diminish or what have you. What has water got to do with this though? Logically one would ...
6
votes
2answers
211 views

中东 - “Middle East” or “Eastern China”?

The dictionary lists both Middle East and Eastern China for 中东. Is one of these meanings more common? What would be a native speaker's first impression of the word? Does the meaning vary from ...
4
votes
2answers
113 views

Is the difference between and saying 有时 and 会偶尔 very big?

Does one imply a much greater frequency? What about register? Is the difference between and saying 有时 and 会偶尔 very big, or is it in all cases quite close?
2
votes
2answers
425 views

How to come from 二百五 to 二百九?

I know 二百五 stands for foolish/stupid and I assume I have to add up 二百五, 三八 and 二 to it to obtain 二百九. Is this right and if so, what does 二 mean and where did it get it's meaning?
5
votes
1answer
170 views

Meanings behind “吹牛” and “拍马屁”

I would like to find out more about the two sayings "吹牛" and "拍马屁". How these sayings come about and get their current meanings? 吹牛 chuīniú meaning to brag 拍马屁 pāimǎpì meaning to excessively ...
3
votes
1answer
287 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.
7
votes
2answers
254 views

Why does 有机 as in 有机食品 mean organic?

有 and 机 are some of the first characters we learn in Chinese, but only recently did I find out that they mean "organic" when put together. Can anyone explain why this is?
3
votes
2answers
79 views

What exact breed of animal is a 金丝熊?

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 for a ...
6
votes
2answers
116 views

How did 舆论 come to represent Public Opinion?

How did the word 舆论 come to represent the concept of Public Opinion? I know the meanings of the individual characters but I just don't quite see how the combination of these two meanings leads to the ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

What is the “Chinese Dream?” (中国梦)

Sorry if this is getting too non-language specific, but I think it still has language merits that fit the sites requirements. 中国梦 we really don't need a translation as it's clearly just a play on 美国梦 ...
14
votes
9answers
2k views

How offensive is 他妈的?

How offensive is the expression 他妈的? What is an English expression with a similar degree of offensiveness? In what situations is this expression appropriate / not appropriate?
2
votes
2answers
136 views

Translation: 地灾

We're getting 地灾 warnings over here...but what is a 地灾? Apparently it's short for 地质灾害... adsotrans dictionary defines it, word-for-word, as a geological disaster; which is pretty meaningless ...
-1
votes
3answers
147 views

filial piety[孝]: what it is and what it isn't(?)

孝、孝顺,孝道、孝敬 all talk of filial piety which is a huge part of Chinese language and culture. 愚孝 on the other hand means "stupidly filial" and is defined by Taiwans Ministry of Education as, ...
5
votes
4answers
764 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
119 views

Why Is The Color Red Considered Lucky In Chinese Language and Culture?

A constant feature in all things Chinese is the color (colour, for those yank-challanged among y'all) red. As common knowledge goes, it is because red is considered to be lucky. Why?
6
votes
7answers
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!
9
votes
4answers
212 views

Difference between 对 and 双

For a pair of rabbits there is: 一对兔 yī duì tù And for a pair of shoes there is: 一双鞋 yī shuāng xié And for twins there is: 双胞胎 shuāngbāotāi How can I be sure when to use 对 and when to ...
1
vote
4answers
154 views

What is the difference between 激动 and 冲动?

What is the difference between "激动" and "冲动"? So for example, what is the difference between: 先别激动,冷静一下。 and 先别冲动,冷静一下。 Thanks.
6
votes
6answers
616 views

Can 知道 be used in the sense of “to know someone”?

While watching a video with Chinese subtitles on a Chinese website, I came across this dialogue: Approximate English gloss (leaving out unnecessary details): A: You're XXX, right? B: So you ...
3
votes
3answers
135 views

What is the difference between 嘱咐 and 吩咐?

Both of them seem to be able to be used to mean instruct. Am I right in saying that you can 嘱咐 and 吩咐 someone to study hard? If so, what is the difference in meaning between these two terms?
3
votes
5answers
216 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: ...
3
votes
7answers
287 views

What does 起来 mean in this phrase?

把被子收起来吧. Translation: Let's put the quilt away. In other circumstances, 起来 means to get up but here there is a different meaning, and from the definitions I can't decide which definition is ...
3
votes
3answers
315 views

Differences between 咱们 and 我们?

我们,咱们 both means: we, but when I should use 咱们, 我们? What is the difference?
5
votes
6answers
194 views

What does 出来 mean in this sentence: 真看不出来你是外国人?

What does 出来 mean in this sentence: 真看不出来你是外国人? Doesn't 出来 mean "come out of ..."?
1
vote
1answer
86 views

What does this sentence mean in this hand writing?

What does this sentence mean in this hand writing? Thanks!
2
votes
2answers
61 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
137 views

What does 软文 and 小号 mean in internet slang?

Just like the title said, what does 软文 and 小号 mean in intenet slang?
7
votes
2answers
195 views

What is the difference between these two words 叫做 and 叫作?

What is the difference between these two words 叫做 and 叫作? The dictionary definition is quite similar and when I use this term in conversation I am unaware of which character combination I am using.
5
votes
2answers
228 views

Pattern in the Chinese numbers 1 to 9

I know a lot of Chinese characters are either a symbol of something or a combination of symbols in the space of one character, so what's the origin of the symbol for numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9? since ...
4
votes
5answers
439 views

When to use 想 versus 喜欢?

Could someone please give we a hint when to use either of those?! My take is that 想 is used for actions and 喜欢 for things!? Am I right?
4
votes
6answers
302 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
80 views

What is the difference between 形成, 构成, 组成, 养成?

According to the dictionary, 成 has meanings of to become or to form, what is the subtle difference between 形成, 构成, 组成 and 养成? Thanks!
4
votes
5answers
573 views

What does 厉害 mean, and in what context does it mean what?

This has to be one of the more ambiguous words I have struggled with. 厉害 can be: very well performed = 玩得很厉害; harsh = 骂得很厉害; severe = 生病得很厉害; probably a bunch of other stuff... Can anyone give a ...
2
votes
3answers
157 views

How to use 一点儿 and 一下儿?

They both mean "a little bit" according to the dictionary. However, does the meaning both apply in V and Adjective? i.e. V + 一点儿/一下儿 (吃一点儿/吃一下儿,快一点儿/快一下儿) and Adj + 一点儿/一下儿 (美一点儿/美一下儿, 好一点儿,好一下儿) ...
2
votes
4answers
162 views

Is 帮忙 and 帮助 interchangeable?

I looked up in the dictionary, 帮 means help, and 忙 means busy while 助 also means help, so is 帮忙 (help busy) and 帮助(help help) interchangeable? Or what is the subtle difference between them? Thanks!
1
vote
2answers
153 views

Difference between 换钱 and 挽钱

My take is that 挽钱 (wǎn qián ) would mean to withdraw money from an ATM and 换钱 (huàn qián) to change money ... or am I mistaken?a
1
vote
2answers
131 views

Is there a word in Chinese to mean “mostly”? Is “大多” appropriate?

As title, is there a word in Mandarin Chinese to mean "mostly" ? For example, I am going to tell my friend who wrote a letter to me that "I mostly got what you man", is it appropriate to say "大多" that ...
2
votes
2answers
111 views

How does the particle word “呢” work?

My teacher said that a particle word in Chinese is a function word, but don't quite understand what is means. How does the particle word such as "呢" work? Also, are there any other Chinese particle ...
2
votes
3answers
112 views

What's the English expression that means 感叹词:“坏了”

In Chinese there is a 感叹词:"坏了", means something went unexpected wrong. Example: 坏了,下雨了 坏了,手机忘带了 坏了,迟到了 What are the common English expressions that can express that "astonishing strike"? ...
3
votes
7answers
478 views

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

I know 多 means many. But in some cases, it is used as in this sentence, such as this one: "多好看啊!" How exactly does it work? Thanks!
2
votes
1answer
98 views

What is the difference between 阻拦, 阻止, 阻挡, and 阻碍?

Title says it all; what's the difference between 阻拦, 阻止, 阻挡, and 阻碍?
6
votes
3answers
347 views

How to translate “很不起眼儿” in English

What's the best (传神) translation of "很不起眼儿" in English? 例句: 不认识他的人觉得他很不起眼儿,认识他的人觉得他很优秀。 辨析: A more formal term that related to "很不起眼儿" is "其貌不扬", but "其貌不扬" will normally be "很不起眼儿", yet ...
3
votes
3answers
142 views

How to translate the following grammar-pattern: 让/叫 N+V —— N还/ 就真 V (呀)

I know that this is a pattern that expresses a reverse meaning of what is really expressed (some kind of rhetorical question) - and that the speaker is somehow showing a negative attitude. I suppose ...
3
votes
2answers
192 views

What is the difference between 很, 十分 and 非常?

What is the difference between 很, 十分 and 非常? Or do they have the same meaning?
3
votes
1answer
63 views

What's the difference between 称赞, 表扬 and 夸奖?

They all have a meaning of "praise", but do they have a difference?