3
votes
5answers
340 views

Variants of 将在外,君命有所不受?

There seems to be multiple versions of this idiom, with slightly different characters: Baidu: 将在外,君命有所不受 汉典: 将在军,君命有所不受 And a big bunch of variants: 将在外,军令有所不受 将在外,军令有所不从 将在外,君令有所不受 ...
2
votes
3answers
236 views

Names of extended family members

In 闽南话/Hokkien (and 启海话, and possibly all dialects) when we call our uncles and aunties we call them by the order of their age and whether they're on our father's or mother's sides, and the ...
3
votes
1answer
375 views

Which one of these two ISO 639-2 code refers to Traditional Chinese, chi or zho?

On a database file, the designer uses chi and zho to tell simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese. It's hard to tell whether chi means the simplified one or traditional. Seemingly, chi is derived ...
7
votes
6answers
379 views

What are the differences between 男女, 公母, and 雄雌?

In what situations would you use one of the following instead of the others? 男女 nán nǚ 公母 gōng mǔ 雄雌 xióng cí Is it a matter of formality or is each term confined to a particular ...
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?
4
votes
4answers
184 views

也 When expressing a series does 也 need to be before each object or just the last object

When expressing a series of object does 也 occur prior to each object or only prior to the last object to express the list Example: 我没有房子没有工作没有车也没有朋友。 我没有房子也没有工作也没有车也没有朋友。
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How many characters do Chinese pupils know at different ages?

I'm looking for data that would let me estimate how much written language young Chinese at different ages know, in terms of number of characters they can read/write. Examples of materials that would ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

(Cantonese) What's the right context in which to say, “三九唔識七”?

What's the right context in which to say, "三九唔識七"? Would like to know how to properly use this phrase.
8
votes
3answers
653 views

Is there a significant difference in meaning between “欢迎你到中国来” and “欢迎你来到中国”?

I've asked quite a lot of native speakers about this and the general consensus seems to be that there is no significant difference in meaning between "欢迎你到中国来" and "欢迎你来到中国" (and similar sentences), ...
6
votes
4answers
615 views

What's the difference between 舅舅 and 叔叔?

My favorite short story in modern Mandarin, 2015 by 王小波, is basically a long, humorous digression about the author's 舅舅: ...
5
votes
1answer
322 views

Why 意大利 and not e.g., 意国

I always wondered why all main European countries are spelled in chinese with a Hanzi that identifies them or some about their origins more the 国 morpheme, Italy has a uncontested importance in ...
7
votes
2answers
457 views

How does CJK Decomposition compare to the Wikimedia Commons Chinese characters decomposition data?

I found two public databases that describe the composition of Chinese characters. 1 - CJK Decomposition Data 2 - Chinese Characters Decomposition on Wiki Commons I can see how the formats they use ...
2
votes
3answers
202 views

Is it 說 /说 / shuō or 講 / 讲 / jiǎng for “to speak a language”?

I've realized that I still don't know the way to talk about "speaking a language", for instance the Chinese equivalents to sentences like these: Do you speak English? I can speak a little Chinese. ...
5
votes
1answer
78 views

When to use [time of day]+饭 vs [time of day]+餐?

I see both used seemingly interchangeably, what is curious to me is that the same person will sometimes use one over the other. Example sentences: "我想吃晚饭" or "我在煮早餐" Looking into the roots of the ...
11
votes
8answers
658 views

How to translate: 人是铁,饭是钢,一顿不吃烦得慌. What is the logic?

人是铁,饭是钢,一顿不吃烦得慌 I can not really figure out to translate this sentence. I guess it basically means that not eating is a bad thing. The first sentences - do they indicate that "iron" and "steel" ...
1
vote
2answers
220 views

Are there words in Mandarin written by characters for other words that mean the same thing?

For example, in written Chinese 给 is used a ideograph for "to give" and is read with whatever the word for "to give" is in the various languages, even if the word is not cognate or in any way related ...
8
votes
5answers
333 views

What is a good form of address for a male friend who is too old to be 小, too young to be 老, and too humble to be called 大?

I have a male "friend", last name 柯 (kē) who is over 30. From ages 18-30 or so, he went by 小柯, but that seems less and less appropriate as he gets older. Always going by his full name seems overly ...
9
votes
1answer
431 views

How much faster is it to write Simplified over Traditional?

Speed of writing is cited as an advantage of simplified Chinese over traditional, which is especially important for schoolchildren, but are there any studies or measurements to this effect? How much ...
10
votes
1answer
218 views

Stroke order of 力 vs 九

I'm curious as to why the stroke order of 力 is different to the stroke order of 九. One page I found (力 and 九 stroke order) theorises that the reason is because 力 has "touching" strokes and there is a ...
1
vote
4answers
164 views

When submitting forms on the web, you often click a button label 'submit'. I was wondering how to express the word 'submit' in chinese [closed]

At the bottom of a web form, you might click update, or submit. I was wondering what the Chinese word for 'submit' is, and if this is correct: 提交. Similarly, if there is a distinct word for 'update'.
3
votes
2answers
132 views

When should 之 be used as a particle?

When should 之 be used as a particle? There doesn't seem to be a straightforward answer on Nciku. On Wiktionary, the entry states: Indicates that the previous word has possession of the next one. ...
2
votes
3answers
164 views

Books or websites listing *polysyllabic* Mandarin terms with same pronunciation differing only by tones

I'm interested in finding any webpages or books that list words and phrases of more than one character that share the same pronunciation but not the same tones. For instance, here are some terms I've ...
1
vote
2answers
300 views

“C'est la vie” (such is life) in Chinese

On Wiktionary there are two ways listed for saying "such is life" / "c'est la vie" in Chinese. Both look like literal translations: 這就是生活, 这就是生活 (zhè jiùshì shēnghuó) 生活就是這樣, 生活就是这样 (shēnghuó jiùshì ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

What is the difference between the suffixes 面 and 边? [duplicate]

What is the difference between 面 and 边 when they are used as suffixes, e.g. 前面 and 前边? Is one preferred over the other? Please provide examples of their different usages in both written and spoken ...
3
votes
4answers
187 views

Is it possible to use 过 with specific time words?

This is somewhat similar to this question: When to use 了 and when to use 过 to express past actions or events. I understand that the 过 particle helps express the idea of having had the experience of ...
7
votes
4answers
533 views

What's the title for addressing an unknown young person the same age as you?

For example, you are a 20 year old male/female. You are walking on the street, then you see a male stranger who seems to be the same age as your. He is in hurry, you see him drop his wallet. You pick ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

What are popular Chinese songs for toddlers? [closed]

I am trying to teach my daughter Chinese. Since she loves to sing songs in English, I believe that teaching her to sing Chinese songs will help her to learn more Chinese. Unfortunately, because I did ...
8
votes
6answers
334 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

What is the difference between 很 + adjective and adjective + 得很

Since learning the adjective + 得很 rule I have only seen it once in writing with a two syllable adjective。 What are the differences in register and/or meaning between 很 + adjective and adjective+得很?
1
vote
3answers
173 views

Tamen dou1 hen3 hao3

As I am reading the New Practical Chinese Reader From: Resources for learning Mandarin Chinese And I got to the translation of Tamen dou hen hao and I was wondering something. The translation of ...
6
votes
7answers
515 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
992 views

Effective and polite way to end a phone conversation

What are some ways that I can let the other speaker know I want to finish a phone conversation and am going to hang up. I frequently come across as too abrupt. Usually something along the lines of ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How to politely ask someone to please be quiet

There are particularly loud Chinese fellows working together in the university study room I'm working in. How do I politely ask them to quiet down? I found a literal translation on Google Translate ...
1
vote
2answers
443 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
897 views

What is a polite way to ask “may I ask who is speaking?”

A man I don't know calls me and starts talking to me in Chinese. All is fine, except I don't know who he is. I sense I'm not the person he's looking for. How do I ask who he is without being too ...
3
votes
2answers
635 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
270 views

How to address fellow students junior to oneself (学妹,学弟)?

I have sometimes wondered what would be the appropriate way of addressing (fellow) students that are junior to oneself. Given name? Full name? Name + 妹/第? Are there even cases where one can use 哥/兄 ...
10
votes
2answers
466 views

Addressing women as “小姐” in Northern China

I heard that it is not appropriate to call women or girls "小姐" in northern China. That it is considered rough and has a meaning close to "hooker". So I never address girls or women as "小姐" in the ...
8
votes
2answers
196 views

Where is the correct place to use 您 when addressing others?

Almost every foreign text book I've seen mentions 您 as a polite or formal address to others, however I rarely hear it said and rarely see it written except when addressing customers and occasionally ...
11
votes
6answers
478 views

When is it appropriate to address a lady as 先生?

Chairman Mao addressed Soong Ching-ling as 宋庆龄先生. Yang Jiang was also addressed as 杨绛先生 by the public. My dad used to tell me to address some of his female colleagues as 先生 too. I wonder why a lady ...
4
votes
2answers
283 views

Etymology of 对象

When I look up the etymology of 对象 on the internet, most of the answers (link1 link2) refer to an explanation from 《幽默与笑话》. The source makes me doubt if it's the real origin of the word: ...
11
votes
5answers
653 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
511 views

Where to start learning mandarin [closed]

I'm about to start learning mandarin chinese myself, without any teachers but with a help of textbooks and video (audio) lessons. My question is: where do I start, I mean, is it better to start with ...
1
vote
4answers
373 views

Are Chinese language equivalent of English /p/ and /b/ sounds the same? [closed]

As per my knowledge, both these sounds are considered the same in Mandarin. Do Chinese speakers them have difficulty in distinguishing between say Paul and Ball? How do they deal with it?
8
votes
7answers
323 views

Is 了 optional when a time word is present?

In sentences that already have a point in time word that indicates that the event happened in the past, is 了 optional? Or could there be some additional meaning with it present? For instance: ...
2
votes
2answers
322 views

Are “好饱了” and “好包了” both correct?

"好饱了" and "好包了" both seem to be used to mean "I'm full". I'm pretty sure that "好饱了" is definitely correct but they both get lots of Google hits and if I combine the search with the English "full" ...
5
votes
4answers
648 views

How to say “I'm finished”?

When we've finished doing something like I've finished (doing my homework) what we should say. Can we say 好了 "I'm finished"? (Hǎole) How about "are you finished"? Can we say "好了吗"?. (Hǎole ma)
3
votes
4answers
143 views

Possessives in Chinese

I used Google Translate for these sentences but I'm not sure they are correct: Mom 's white dog 妈妈的白狗 My mom's white dog 我妈妈的白狗 And it is possible if I say Mom 's white dog 妈妈的白色的狗 My mom's ...
2
votes
7answers
411 views

How can I translate this correctly into English “今晚怎么意思”

I have a group of friends who regularly meet to play soccer, someone asked on WeChat: 今晚怎么意思 The reply given was the time that we start "7" (meaning 7pm). I may be missing something very ...
2
votes
3answers
119 views

Headline: “YouTube创始人从雅虎手中收购Delicious”. What is the purpose of “手中”

If you take out 手中, isn't the translation, YouTube founder buys Delicious from Yahoo, still conveyed? What does 手中 add? http://tech.sina.com.cn/i/2011-04-28/09065460713.shtml

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