All Questions

3
votes
2answers
264 views

What qualities does Hong Kong Mandarin have?

With Mandarin making more and more in-roads into Cantonese speaking Hong Kong, I'm wondering what characteristics set it apart from Standard Mandarin or other regional Mandarin dialects and/or ...
9
votes
2answers
262 views

Why is “steak” 肉排?

肉排 is Chinese for steak (e.g. 牛排 or 猪排 for beef steak and pork steak), but where did the 排 come from? As a Western cuisine dish, did the word have some roundabout origin? 排 means row/rank, which has ...
3
votes
3answers
353 views

Regional pronunciations of standard Mandarin [closed]

When I first came to China, I was quite disappointed to find out that, in so many places, the colloquial pronunciation was so greatly different from the one I've studied so far. The phonological ...
2
votes
2answers
67 views

Videos for learning Chinese Mandarin

I am well aware there of posts such as this, but I am specifically looking for videos that would be on youtube, for example. There are many videos on youtube, but I have been able to find anything ...
7
votes
2answers
181 views

Are “身份证” and “身分证” totally interchangeable?

When wanting to learn the word for "ID card" I seem to find both "身份证" and "身分证". They both have the same pronunciation "shēnfèn zhèng". I don't think they differ by being traditional vs simplified? ...
9
votes
2answers
167 views

Purpose of duplicating measure words?

I came across the following sentence in New Practical Chinese Reader 2, lesson 21, paraphrasing: 南方的花园 中国人常说: ...
2
votes
3answers
304 views

How to start learning Cantonese?

How can I learn Cantonese on my own? What resources can I use and what is the right way to do it? I have friends who are from Hong Kong so I have people to "talk at" I guess who will honestly evaluate ...
2
votes
3answers
148 views

Are there multiple translations for 不上边?

Trying to translate this: 始终是碰不上边的... From the beginning, not able to meet (in agreement) with those above? I searched on "不上边" in 百度 and it seems there are multiple ways to interpret it - ...
5
votes
2answers
109 views

“便利商店” (biànlì shāngdiàn) vs “便利店” (biànlì diàn)

Earlier when I was in China I learned "便利店" (biànlì diàn) to mean "convenience store". I think from looking it up in the English Wiktionary. But now that I'm in Taiwan when I used it people didn't ...
6
votes
5answers
384 views

“不客气” (bù kèqì) vs “谢谢你” (xièxiè nǐ)

At home in Australia my neighbouring shop owners are from Shanghai and taught me some Chinese. From them I learned two ways of responding to "谢谢" (xièxiè): "不客气" (bù kèqì) "谢谢你" (xièxiè nǐ) So I ...
7
votes
1answer
209 views

Is there a tone sandhi rule that “4 3” changes to “4 0”?

This is a followup to my earlier question about the tones in the word "豆腐": On their own "豆" and "腐" have the tones 4 and 3: dòu, fǔ As a two-syllable / two-character word, "豆腐" has tone 4 but "fu" ...
5
votes
1answer
102 views

Which term is used for “oyster” in Taiwan?

According to the English Wiktionary there are four Chinese terms equivalent to English "oyster": mǔlì : 牡蠣 / 牡蛎 hǎilìzi : 海蠣子 háo : 蚝 háozi : 蚝子 Is one of these standard or most common in Taiwan? ...
3
votes
1answer
194 views

non-standard tone pronunciation

After carefully listening to the tapes of Assimil "Chinese with ease", I noticed that the pronunciation by the native speakers of a few characters differs from the standard tones: 多 pronounced with a ...
6
votes
5answers
809 views

Written Cantonese Pronunciation

I recently attended a Cantonese reading class in Hong Kong and discovered that pronunciation of the spoken form of written Cantonese can be very different from normal speech. The teacher was not able ...
5
votes
3answers
185 views

Where does 馬上 originate from?

馬上 can be used as an adverb that roughly means "at once" or "immediately", for instance in: 我馬上來幫你. It can also mean "on horseback". Where does the usage with the sense of "at once" originate from, ...
9
votes
4answers
201 views

案: why is a bench also a case?

Sorry about the cryptic title. 案 is a character that can mean "bench"/"desk" but it can also mean "(legal) case" or "file": 长形的桌子或架起来代替桌子用的长木板:~子。~板。书~。条~。拍~而起。 ...
11
votes
4answers
495 views

足: why is “foot” also “enough”?

足 is an ancient character meaning "foot". However, it also means "enough" or "sufficient", and this second definition is also very old. Consider this excerpt: 兵甲已足。——诸葛亮《出师表》 This is from ...
12
votes
3answers
413 views

How does foreign word transliteration work in the context of Cantonese vs Mandarin?

If I understand correctly, Cantonese sounds very different from Mandarin, despite being written in the same way (omitting some small differences, which are irrelevant for the question). If it is the ...
7
votes
4answers
485 views

Where can I find a list of commonly mistaken characters?

I want to quickly identify potential mistakes created by OCR software. Where can I find a list of all Chinese characters that visually look very similar and might often be confused?
6
votes
1answer
188 views

“A pair of mandarin oranges” as a homophone of “the gold”

image courtesy of Today, when Chinese people celebrate the New Year, there's a tradition to offer each other Mandarin oranges. As many sources say, the Mandarin oranges should be offered in pairs, ...
4
votes
3answers
262 views

So when should I use 旅舍,旅社,宾馆,酒店, or 旅馆?

I've heard or seen all of them in real life situations, some of them seem to be exclusively for hostels, others only for larger hotels, but some verification would be nice.
3
votes
2answers
198 views

Issues with machine translation from Traditional to Simplified (not vice versa)

I'm trying to translate my website into Traditional and Simplified Chinese. I have a full human translation for it into Traditional Chinese and I was wondering about what errors and inaccuracies can ...
8
votes
5answers
242 views

Are there sentences where 跟 and 和 are interchangeable?

For example: 我跟朋友去公园了。 我和朋友去公园了。 Are both of these sentences correct? Are there any subtle differences in the meaning conveyed? If they are not entirely interchangeable, how do we know which one ...
1
vote
4answers
134 views

Is “酷比” an actual used word in any Chinese-speaking location? (Including colloquial and slang)

I've been looking at some very cheap tablet computers made in China and one goes by the English brand name "Cube" or "Alldocube" or "cube51". Their Chinese brand name is "酷比魔方" (Kù bǐ mófāng). I see ...
5
votes
3answers
165 views

When to use “下一个” and when just “下一” to translate English “next”?

When I looked up how to say "next" some time in the last couple of months I found "下一个". So I was using that and seemed to be mostly understood. But then I started noticing that just "下一" was used by ...
6
votes
4answers
165 views

Which expressions should I choose to say “thanks for your help”?

If I want to say "Thanks for your help", which sentence is correct and which one is more commonly used? 谢谢你的帮忙 谢谢你的帮助 It seems that the first one is more uncommon but I'm not really ...
1
vote
3answers
101 views

Translation of 我想会吗? - I thought, is it possible?

Is my translation right? Here's the context (conversation about Snowden): A: 未证实的意思呢就是还没有去证实、证明它是一个事实。 B: 嗯。我想,会吗?他可能已经在暗中做安排了吧。 A: 这个只是他们的官方说法嘛,呵呵。 Does it mean different things in ...
5
votes
3answers
184 views

Usage of 師傅 in Mandarin

In Cantonese 師傅 will often be used to refer to some sort of specialized worker (e.g. a plumber, or a renovator) or some sort of "master" or "teacher" (not in the sense used in a school setting), ...
6
votes
2answers
229 views

About Confucius' Ta-Hio

In many books about Confucius' Analects, 大學 is transliterated as Ta-Hio. Why is this? 大學 is dàxué in Pinyin, da hsüeh in Wade-Giles, da sywe in Yale, and daai hok in Cantonese, so where does this ...
5
votes
4answers
135 views

How to translate 实时新闻定制和推送系统 to English?

I once worked on a project called 实时新闻定制和推送系统. Now someone translated it to English as Real-time News Ordering and Pushing System. However I feel strange with the word Ordering. I often hear the word ...
5
votes
3answers
370 views

Which IMEs (input method editors) are actually most used in each of PRC, ROC, and Hong Kong?

Because there are many kinds of input method and many implementations of each kind of input method, it's not really practical to learn many. PRC, mainland China uses simplified Chinese characters, as ...
2
votes
2answers
254 views

How to say “beginning of the month?”

I've tried google translate, but it doesn't seem like what I'm trying to translate is quite right (at least I'm not sure if it's correct). To say "end of the month", I have heard people say "这月底“,but ...
5
votes
1answer
387 views

Are there some free fonts for the small seal, large seal, and even oracle bone script styles?

I'm very interested in the old forms of Chinese characters that you still see in many contexts including historical, artistic, and design contexts. So I'm wondering if there are free fonts for these ...
5
votes
4answers
202 views

How is the currency of Taiwan referred to in Mandarin?

(I'm not going to use the hanzi or even proper pinyin for some terms because I only know them from speaking as an absolute beginning learner.) In Mainland China the currency is the "yuan" but in ...
8
votes
1answer
264 views

Pronunciation of 和 in Taiwan

This is something that I noticed in Taiwanese Mandarin TV series and films. It seems that they pronounce this character as hàn instead of the commonly accepted hé. For example, 我和你 is pronounced wǒ ...
8
votes
1answer
361 views

Analog of Hong Kong grade level for Chinese characters?

The Unihan database lists a kGradeLevel for each entry. This is the primary grade in the Hong Kong school system by which a student is expected to know the corresponding character. Is there a similar ...
5
votes
2answers
272 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
485 views

Do acronyms borrowed from English use neutral tone (aka tone 0 or tone 5) for all syllables?

I was just reading a Q&A here about Chinese words for DVD and the discussion also included other acronyms from English. It struck me that nobody wrote the pinyin for any of the terms which made ...
5
votes
1answer
361 views

Usage of the phrase '不错用' in Taiwan Mandarin

I heard my Taiwanese friends use the Mandarin phrase 不错用 more than once, but didn't have a chance to ask them: Is it widely used in Taiwan, or is it used by a certain circle/type of person? What's ...
6
votes
3answers
139 views

Typing Chinese radicals?

Is there a way to type radicals on a computer? I'd like to insert some in a document I'm writing but I'm not sure how to write those that don't correspond to an actual word. Any tips? Thanks!
3
votes
4answers
222 views

how to say It's a deal

When you make an agreement with someone, how do you say, both formally and informally, "it's a deal."? Like, formally "Do you agree to the contract?" "Yes. It's a deal." Informally, "I'll make you ...
3
votes
3answers
377 views

The meanings of 不好意思

In response to kindnesses I sometimes say "不好意思了" and I don't think there has ever been a misunderstanding. But as an English speaker I feel unsure how this is different from saying "不好意思" for a bad ...
3
votes
4answers
156 views

Difference between 新 and 生?

Until now, I thought 新 meant 'new' in all contexts. In class recently, our tutor showed a slide in which he used 生词 for 'new words'. My dictionary gives the meaning of 生 when used as an adjective as ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

Do this for me and then we'll be even

I'm trying to convey "If you do x, we'll call it even." So my sentence is: 我们可以互相学习,我教你滑雪,作为回报你可以教我什么呢? we can both learn from each other... I teach you to ski... and in return what can you teach ...
2
votes
1answer
117 views

Common (and good) ways to ask for hand in marriage

The popular song goes, "今天你要嫁给我好吗" but I feel something like "你愿意嫁给我吗" sounds more like a question, rather than just adding "好吗" at the end of a statement. Does anybody have any critiques or ...
3
votes
3answers
481 views

What does the sound “app” mean in Chinese?

I noticed that Chinese sometimes prefer to say "ay pee pee" rather than just "app" when referring to a computer application. I infer there is a chance that "app" already had a meaning in a Chinese ...
8
votes
9answers
473 views

What's the correct translation for 1.5 months? Is it “一个月半” or "一个半月“?

What's the correct translation for 1.5 months? Is it "一个月半" or "一个半月“?
3
votes
4answers
216 views

Is “我爱辣” (Wǒ ài là) a correct/understandable/idiomatic way of saying I like my food spicy?

When I'm buying food in China, especially in the street but sometimes also in restaurants, people often ask me if it want "là". I know that means "spicy" and I really enjoy spicy food. As there's not ...
1
vote
2answers
135 views

The origin of pinyin [duplicate]

Pinyin is really strange. It is like the English word, but with different meaning and pronunciation. I want to know the origin of pinyin. If someone can give a clear answer, I will be very ...
10
votes
4answers
220 views

Origin of 乎 as a bound morpheme in words such as 热乎

Here are a couple compound words that end with 乎: 热乎,温乎,確乎,玄乎,忙乎,晕乎,近乎,热乎乎,傻乎乎 Is there an understanding of how 乎 became used in these words? Does it have any relation to the classical usage of 乎 as ...

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