1
vote
3answers
191 views

Chinese words that are their own antonyms

Are there (m)any Chinese words that are their own antonyms? Similar to English "terrific", "wicked", etc. (which originally had negative meanings and now have positive meanings). I imagine that as ...
2
votes
3answers
104 views

Ways to say “more”

I know a few ways to say "more" or "in addition", and I'm wondering which to use when translating this sentence. I came across the following English sentence and its Chinese translation on ...
2
votes
1answer
64 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.
2
votes
3answers
121 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“ ...
5
votes
3answers
311 views

What is an idiomatic way to say “This is not good” in Mandarin?

The title mostly covers the question, but some elaboration might help. In English, there is a common construction of ideas whereby the speaker makes a statement about an action or event, and follows ...
1
vote
1answer
103 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
117 views

Meaning of the word 腳

According to CC-CEDICT, this means both "foot" and "leg". How does one know when this word refers to either foot or leg? It is difficult to discern when CC-CEDICT does not include sample sentences.
2
votes
5answers
513 views

Chinese equivalent of “no worries”

"No worries" in English is used as a statement expressing that the speaker regards a task / problem / setback as inconsequential, or that a task is easy to complete. For example: A: "You're going ...
2
votes
2answers
402 views

Correct way to say “when I was young…”

What is the usual way to say something along the lines of "when I was young, petrol was cheap" or "when I was a kid, my family lived in Mexico".
6
votes
2answers
220 views

What characters are on this ceramic jar?

What characters are depicted on this old jar? My (art-)sources have all different opinions: "fu2 shou4 an1 kang1" or "fu2 lu4 shou4 xi3" or 4 x shou4 or "fu2 shou4 kang1 ning2" and all without telling ...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

What is Chinese for “Arts Festival”?

I am referring to events such as the Edinburgh Festival.
4
votes
3answers
191 views

Opposite of constructions using 得 (must / have to)

What is the correct way to form a sentence expressing the opposite of 得 (have to) as in "do not have to". I don't think 不得 is correct?! *我不得工作 I am thinking something like... 我不需要工作 or ...
1
vote
2answers
99 views

Tabletop Wargaming / Miniwargaming

Wargame is 战争游戏 and tabletop game is 桌上游戏 so i'm assuming that "Tabletop Wargaming" is 桌上战争游戏? Is this the term used? This type of game is also called "Miniature Wargaming" or "Miniwargaming", is ...
5
votes
2answers
194 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?
4
votes
2answers
109 views

Official place names

Is there an official list of place names (esp. for non-Chinese places)? If a bureaucrat or journalist in China is writing about a lesser-known foreign place, how do they determine the characters? I ...
6
votes
2answers
149 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
91 views

Can 偷工减料 be used to describe the intentional and open purchasing of somewhat inferior product?

I know that 偷工减料 is frequently used to describe intentionally (and perhaps secret) shoddy construction. When I translate it, I usually say "Cut corners". However, I think 偷工减料 has a very negative ...
5
votes
1answer
110 views

Different nuances of words such as 进行, 实施, 执行, etc

Chinese has a number of words with meanings like 'implement, execute, carry out', etc. These include 进行, 实行, 实施, 行使, 落实, 执行, and possibly a few others. These words are commonly used in bureaucratic, ...
4
votes
1answer
107 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?
3
votes
4answers
312 views

Did phonological systems (namely bopomofo) standardize Chinese phonemes?

As far as I know, Zhuyin fuhao, or Bopomofo, is the first system of phonetic symbols devised to aid to write Chinese phonology. That was in 1910, so we could say very recent in the history of Chinese. ...
10
votes
5answers
307 views

Difference between 如果 and 要是?

In the Pimsleur Mandarin course it uses 如果 (rúguǒ) to mean 'if', but the dictionary shows 要是 (yàoshì) to have a similar meaning: 如果: if; in case; in the event that 要是: if Are there any ...
7
votes
2answers
142 views

Is 再过[时间] the most common way of expressing “in [amount of time], something will happen”?

I ask after encountering the following sentence in Tatoeba: 再过两、三个月,你就能说得一口流利的英语了。
3
votes
3answers
83 views

Difference between 继续 and 接着

I learned 接着 a while ago, and the CEDICT definition is as follows: to catch and hold on / to continue / to go on to do sth / to follow / to carry on / then / after that / subsequently / to proceed ...
4
votes
2answers
249 views

Difference between 别 and 不

I know that a typical way to negate a verb is to stick 不 in front of it. But I learned some phrases that use 别 instead: 别担心, 别客气 and so on, all of them in short polite fixed phrases. I know that I ...
42
votes
12answers
5k views

Resources for learning Mandarin Chinese

This is a specifically created Community Wiki which gathers resources for learning Mandarin Chinese and it has been approved by the Community itself. It should be clear that the resources are not ...
0
votes
1answer
229 views

Describe or explaining the Engineering occupation [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How are the words “engineering” or “engineer” translated in Cantonese? I love what I do and my family has no idea what I really do. I can ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How should one translate “祝你年年有今日,歲歲有今朝” into English?

On my birthday a friend wished me "祝你年年有今日,歲歲有今朝". I can understand each of the individual words in this phrase, but the overall meaning is somewhat less clear to me (although I have some ideas about ...
7
votes
3answers
88 views

How common is the use of “瞧” and which region?

I've seen 瞧 used every now and then in written Chinese, but I've rarely heard it said in spoken Chinese except for the occasional mention of 瞧不起. A couple of days ago I was watching Kung Fu Panda and ...
8
votes
2answers
188 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
120 views

How to translate “doesn't lift a finger” and “without lifting a finger”?

I recently same across this stumbling block in conversation; in one case I wanted to say "doesn't lift a finger" and in another "without lifting a finger". These phrases mean that someone is extremely ...
3
votes
2answers
896 views

Characteristics of Northern and Southern accents

My first language is Cantonese. I learned Mandarin as a second language. Native speakers of Mandarin often understand me with no major issues. Of course, they recognize the Southern accents right ...
6
votes
2answers
273 views

What's the difference between 咁 (gam3) and 噉 (gam2)?

What does "gam" mean in these two contexts, and why is a different character used in each? Note 咁 used in this sentence 我睇見你坐喺梳化椅處, 唔停咁同張太太,何太太,王小姐佢哋傾偈。 (ngo5 tai2 gin3 nei5 co5 hai2 so1 ...
8
votes
2answers
140 views

Is there a rule that tells what characters can be omitted?

I have a habit of using too many characters when I speak and write. For example: 我回我的家。 我的 is not needed, and we can simply say 我回家。 Is there a grammar rule for when to cut characters? A ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Take away (when ordering food): is it 带走 or 打包?

I was told that when you are ordering food you can say either 带走 or 打包. However, when you are not ordering food and you mean "take this away", then you use 拿走。 Is there a difference in context or ...
2
votes
2answers
271 views

What are some good dictionaries about Mathematics?

I have found a dictionary about Mathematics; however, it goes from Chinese to English. I have tried different bookstores in my city, but they don't have an English to Chinese dictionary. I have ...
5
votes
2answers
186 views

Is there a comprehensive list of vocabulary differences between 台湾国语 and 大陆普通话?

I've found many articles about differences in certain sentence structures regarding 台湾国语 and 大陆普通话, but does anyone have a large list of commonly-used vocabulary that are different? I spend a lot of ...
3
votes
2answers
219 views

一起 vs 一块 - what's the difference?

一起 vs 一块, are these two expressions the same in Chinese, or is there a certain situation where one is more appropriate than the other? Can anyone explain what the difference might be? For example, ...
2
votes
2answers
339 views

What is the English equivalent of 拜托, and what is it's proper usage in Chinese?

I quite like the expression 拜托, but I've never been 100% sure of what exactly it means in English, and I'm not quite sure how to use it properly in Chinese. Little help?
1
vote
0answers
318 views

How to communicate with (Chinese) foreign exchange students? [closed]

This past week my school hosted some foreign exchange students in from China. On several occasions I attempted to communicate with them but it immediately felt awkward if they didn't know English too ...
5
votes
1answer
101 views

How can I express 'having' in an intimate sense?

In English, given a conversation between P1 and P2, it's possible to say: P1: My wife died. Now I feel like I've got nothing. I'm so sad. P2: Don't say that. You've still got your son. You have ...
5
votes
3answers
335 views

Using 比 (bǐ) for comparison

I know how to use 比 in simple sentences like 哥哥比姐姐高 (my big brother is taller than my big sister) Would it be used for other sentences like You learn more words by listening than by ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

What does 些 mean when it's combined with 什麼?

I found this sentence on tatoeba.org: 我就是不知道說些什麼。 I just don't know what to say. I understand most of the sentence, but what is "些" doing there? I've always seen it used to mean "a few".
2
votes
2answers
155 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 it with this exact meaning before, so I'm wondering what the proper meaning is in English, and what the ...
2
votes
2answers
423 views

How did 东西 come to mean “something” in the expression “吃东西”?

I was chatting with a Chinese penpal recently and when I asked "what are you doing?", I received the following answer: 吃东西,你呢? Now, "东西" means "east and west" and so "吃东西" literally means ...
2
votes
0answers
68 views

What level of Chinese can be reached in one year ? (one evening class a week) [closed]

I have almost completed my first Chinese course (15 classes of 3 hours). I estimate we have learned about 100 words. I plan to take the HSK-1 test at the end of March. If I continue at my current ...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

Replacement for “他一个人” when used in a sentence about an animal

In the sentence: 他一个人在搬东西 Which could be translated as "He is moving it by himself", the important information is 'by himself' (他一个人). In English we could point to an ant and say "Look, he is ...
7
votes
3answers
300 views

了解 vs 明白 vs 知道 - what is the difference, and when should I use each one?

了解, 明白, and 知道 seem to be fairly synonymous in Mandarin, but there does seem to be some subtle differences between them. What exactly is the difference? When should I use each one? Could you give me ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the exact meaning of 吃豆腐, and where does the expression come from?

I'm not talking about eating tofu, but the expression that means something more like taking advantage of someone. What exactly does 吃豆腐 mean, and where does this expression come from?
7
votes
5answers
281 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
177 views

Why is tofu used in 心急吃不了热豆腐?

Why is tofu, among all foods that can be enjoyed hot, used in the expression "心急吃不了热豆腐"? Why not "心急吃不了热饭" or "心急吃不了热牛肉"?

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