It's the set of words used by a language, but also all of the words within a language known by a single person.

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17
votes
7answers
1k views

What is a good technique for remembering tones?

I find it a great struggle to try and remember tones for all the new vocab I learn, and aside from gradually picking up tones by listening and talking with native speakers, I can't really remember ...
12
votes
4answers
721 views

Character and word frequencies

I'm trying to build some automated tools for processing Chinese text. I'd like to know the relative frequencies of different characters and character combinations. Are there any web sites with this ...
12
votes
3answers
287 views

但是, 可是 and 不过 - how to know which one to use?

According to my dictionary, 但是, 可是 and 不过 all mean "but/however"? However is there any difference between them? Are there some cases, where one can be used but not another?
11
votes
1answer
836 views

Different names for each of the fingers

In English we have different names for each of the fingers: Thumb, index, middle, ring and pinky fingers. Are there special names for each of these in Chinese and if necessary what are the ...
9
votes
5answers
451 views

Difference between 特色, 特點, 特性, 特質, and 特徵

Looking up these five words in dictionaries gives results that are almost identical. In Chinese-English dictionaries, I find explanations identical or very close to: a characteristic; a ...
8
votes
7answers
7k views

Special meanings applied to numbers 0 - 10

From what I understand: 4 or 四 means death 8 is similar to 发 as in 发财 9 is somehow related to the emporer or is the emporer's number Can someone please provide the meanings (if they exist) for ...
8
votes
3answers
495 views

How is adding oil going to beneficial to the situation? 加油

Is anyone able to explain the history behind this cheer? At the face of it I'm unsure how this could be a cheer as 加 translate to add/plus/apply and 油 translates to oil/fat/grease you would think ...
8
votes
6answers
671 views

Are there word games in Chinese?

Do Chinese characters make it a lot harder to create or play word games in Chinese than it is in English? I have seen a few Chinese crosswords, but it seems like they aren't as densely cross-linked as ...
8
votes
3answers
282 views

What is the equivalent of the English word 'Fail' in Mandarin?

Fail is a pretty popular term on the internet these days, and one I'm quite fond of. Looking in my Chinese dictionary I can't find a great equivalent - is there a good way to say this? What would be ...
8
votes
6answers
474 views

What's the difference between 星期X and 周X?

When accepting an answer, I noticed that the example used the word 周三 for Wednesday, but in my grammar, the days of the week are 星期一, 星期二, etc... They seem both correct but, what's the difference? ...
7
votes
3answers
306 views

Which marital verbs are used for same-sex marriages?

In male-female marriage we use the two verbs; 嫁給 (jiàgěi) 娶 (qǔ) But these are gender specific. a woman can 嫁給 a man a man will 娶 a woman So how does this work in same-sex marriages?
7
votes
2answers
207 views

Are there Chinese approximations for the colloquial/slang English terms “snot rocket” or “bushman's blow”?

In English I know of two colourful terms for blowing your nose without use of a handkerchief or tissue by holding one nostril closed and expelling mucus from the other: bushman's blow [1][2] snot ...
6
votes
6answers
259 views

Should the term 廁所 (bathroom) be used for both a home and public toilet?

I found this word, 廁所 (Cèsuǒ). Does it mean a toilet outside house like a toilet in the mall? However, for a bathroom in a house which has only a toilet and a shower and there is no bathtub. How can ...
6
votes
2answers
313 views

Site for reading the same news article in English and Chinese (简体中文)

Previously I used to regular go to a news site that had articles in English that allowed you to immediately switch to Chinese for the same article. It also had good information on the Chinese side ...
6
votes
3answers
287 views

Difference between 想 and 要?

I know both of them mean "want to" but have usage in differente contexts. When should I use each one? For example: 我要厺上海市 and 我想厺上海市 What's the difference in the meaning between them? Also, ...
6
votes
2answers
402 views

How to express a date in Chinese (lunar) calendar?

Many traditional festivals are observed on a given date on the Chinese (lunar) calendar(Actually, the Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar). For example, the Spring Festival falls on the first day ...
5
votes
4answers
382 views

Neutral Terms for “White People”

This is always a difficult topic because racial and ethnic identities are so complex, sensitive, and dynamic: what are the best (as in the most precise and neutral) terms for "White" people? I've ...
5
votes
7answers
326 views

Correct/Polite way of asking “Can we speak in chinese?”

I would like to preface this by saying I'm Australian and speak with an Australian accent when I'm speaking English which can be hard to digest for a lot of people new to Australia. A lot of 1st gen ...
5
votes
2answers
197 views

What's the difference between 房子 and 屋?

It seems like "house" is usually translated to 房子 (fáng zi) in standard Chinese, although 屋 (wū) is also a common translation, especially in Cantonese. Is there a difference between the two? When ...
5
votes
3answers
250 views

How are the terms for “male/female” and “man/woman” divided exactly?

I know that daughter in Chinese is 女儿, and son is 儿子. A little side-question: Why isn't "son" 男儿? My main question is this one though: apart from son and daughter stated above, what are the ...
5
votes
5answers
213 views

Differences between the two words for each season, such as 冬季 (dōngjì) and 冬天 (dōngtiān)

There seem to be two words for each season. Each pair has the first character in common but for the second character one will have 季 (jì) and the other will have 冬天 (tiān). For example "winter" is: ...
5
votes
3answers
163 views

For video games terminology, what is the proper translation for “range”

I'm playing around with my mother tongue so I tried to translate sentences that I might write into Chinese. One of them was this sentence, in English. "The great strength of Annie comes from the long ...
5
votes
2answers
174 views

”委屈“ in English?

In Chinese, ”委屈“ has the meaning of being treated unfairly and consequently felt bad but didn't dare to complain. "be upset" doesn't necessarily imply being treated unfairly. "be wronged" doesn't ...
5
votes
2answers
152 views

漏拆 - Meaning & usage?

I tried several sources & can't find a translation that seems correct. An example sentence & my attempt at translation: 嘴里漏拆了一根线怎么办? mouth inside left behind remove a strip of thread what ...
5
votes
5answers
163 views

Is there a noun that has the meaning of “offer” in Chinese? How to say “offer” in Chinese?

Such as "offer" in 我有了CUHK的入学许可 = "I got an offer from CUHK." 还没有一个地方要我 = "I still don't have any offers." I think there is no such noun in Chinese. Is there?
4
votes
4answers
225 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
230 views

What does 餅乾 mean in Taiwan?

I'm unfamiliar with the variety of Mandarin spoken in Taiwan, so I was surprised to see a chilli-snack 香脆椒 referred to as 餅乾: http://mall.tw100years.com/goods.php?id=9 ...
4
votes
5answers
395 views

What is the most common word in use to describe 'DVD' and what is its measure word

I've heard the Chinese are fine to use the English word DVD, rather than the chinese word. What is more common, and what measure word do they use with it?
4
votes
2answers
97 views

Chinese weather periods

The only time I have traveled to Beijing a taxi driver told me I had come at the worst and hottest time of year. He explained to me that the year was divided up in periods of roughly 16 days and the ...
4
votes
4answers
223 views

What is the meaning of 十三薪?

It has something to do with salary bonuses. Anyone know how to describe this in English? I haven't the slightest clue.
4
votes
2answers
180 views

Where can I find sorted word lists used by native students?

I would like to find a sorted list of vocabulary that is studied by native students in primary and secondary school in China, arranged by grade level. Is there any official place to download such a ...
4
votes
2answers
380 views

What are some common Chinese terms used when playing soccer

I regularly play soccer with a group of Chinese guys and wanted to share terms that I've learnt over the years. I would appreciate if anyone can fill in any gaps (or correct me if I'm wrong)
4
votes
2answers
152 views

What does 大秀香肩美背mean?

Got this off Weibo. What does 大秀香肩美背 mean? Particularly that 大 seems odd there.. 【熊乃瑾秀香肩美背 性感造型女人味十足】女星@熊乃瑾xiong 近日在意大利为某杂志拍摄了一组复古时尚大片,大秀香肩美背。 Thank you
4
votes
3answers
159 views

How would I say Dominican Republic in Chinese?

Google translate gives me: Duōmǐníjiā gònghéguó. But I wondered if the chinese use a smaller word or lop-off the Republic at the end?­­­­
4
votes
2answers
400 views

How to differentiate moods, characters, temperaments, etc?

It seems like there are way more words for these things than in English, and I am having a hard time figuring out the difference between them. Some adjectives can only be used to describe mood, while ...
3
votes
4answers
135 views

How do I interpret 铁饭碗 concisely?

How am I supposed to put "铁饭碗" in simple words, and not a paragraph worth of explanation? I can't seem to find suitable adjectives or nouns to concisely interpret the implication of "铁饭碗" (Suppose to ...
3
votes
4answers
316 views

Why is 喂 used over 你好 when answering the phone?

The use of 拜拜 over 再见 at the end of a phone conversation is obvious as you haven't seen them so how could you see them again but I don't understand why 喂 is used as a greeting when answering the ...
3
votes
5answers
341 views

webpage loading.. 加载 vs 载入​​​​​​​

What words should we use when we want to say "a webpage is loading"? In Gmail, when I change my settings to simplified Chinese, Google says "正在加载". However, when I change my settings to traditional ...
3
votes
2answers
161 views

Difference between 清水, 淡水 and 自来水

My main aim is to try and find the best word to use when describing a freshwater lake. But what if any is the difference between the following: 清水, 淡水 and 自来水
3
votes
5answers
141 views

Meaning of 他急红了眼?

I've heard that expression while I was in Beijing, and I can't find the translation when I scroll the Internet. Do you know what it means?
3
votes
3answers
135 views

What's the difference between “大衣” (dàyī), “外套” (wàitào), and “外衣” (wàiyī) - which can all be translated to “coat”?

As I need to buy some cold weather clothes now that I'm heading further north than Xi'an I tried to look up the word for "coat". I found there are at least these three terms: 大衣 (dàyī) 外套 (wàitào) ...
3
votes
2answers
444 views

How do I call for a male waiter?

For female waiters, my dad taught me to use the phrase "小姐 ". But for male waiters, my dad doesn't know how to properly call them. I discussed the possibility of using "da ge", "小ge", "da di", "小 ...
3
votes
2answers
156 views

Correct usage of “behind schedule”

What I would like to know is the proper way to say "I am behind schedule" in the general sense similar to "I am running two hours late for the meeting", or "This project is two weeks overdue". When I ...
3
votes
5answers
279 views

What does “整块的时间” mean?

I have a sentence in my textbook I've mostly translated, but I can't piece this part together. "交通不是很便利不说,还需要整块的时间" Google translate spits out: "Traffic is not very convenient, you also need the ...
3
votes
3answers
353 views

娘炮 - how do you pronounce this word/phrase?

娘 is clearly niang2, but 炮 is a multiple pronunciation character; it can be bao1 or pao2 or pao4 according to the dictionaries I consulted. I tried searching Baidu for "娘炮拼音" but didn't find anything. ...
3
votes
1answer
872 views

Terms of endearment

What are some Chinese words that I can use to call either my spouse or a love interest? In English we have names like sweety, sweetheart, lovely, honey etc. What are some common equivalents that are ...
3
votes
2answers
253 views

Referring to great-grandparents

How do you refer to a specific great-grandparent? Does Chinese language has all 8 relationship titles to refer to one of them?
3
votes
3answers
224 views

What is the function of 已 in 好像她已出去好几天了。

What is the purpose of 已 in the following sentence? 好像她已出去好几天了。 The English translation given is: It looks as if she's gone away for a few days. Or is this an incorrect-character, supposed ...
3
votes
1answer
80 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
2answers
360 views

How to say “meeting” in Chinese?

I would like to create a chat meeting for CL&U and so I thought, why not make the title in Chinese? I was thinking of using the term "meeting" or a similar one. On my dictionary, for meeting, it ...