4
votes
4answers
203 views

What's an appropriate conversational response to 这是什么?

In English, if someone points to a book and says "What's that?", "A book" is a sufficient reply. In Chinese, if someone points to a book and says "这是什么?", can you say "书" or maybe "一本书"? What's the ...
5
votes
2answers
282 views

留学: Why the use of “留”?

I'm sure like many students of Chinese, my first encounter with the character 留 was in the word 留学, meaning "to study abroad". Some time later I encountered 留 as an independent word, meaning "to ...
4
votes
2answers
242 views

Language Learning Software That Teaches Mechanics (Not Phrases)

I've tried out various language learning software (Rosetta Stone, Tell Me More, Transparent), and I've been severely disappointed by the fact that not one of them actually teaches you the LANGUAGE, ...
2
votes
3answers
316 views

国家 vs. 国, when can 国 be used alone?

In the Chinese book for beginners by Bellassen, it is stated that 国 cannot be used alone: it doesn't have a meaning on its own, and thus the word country/fatherland is 国家 and not 国. However... I am ...
11
votes
4answers
661 views

How to pronounce “下载”

How to pronounce the word "下载", "xià zǎi" or "xià zài"? Most Chinese people pronounce it "xià zǎi", but there are some people insist on pronouncing it "xià zài". There are different also different ...
-1
votes
2answers
117 views

Is there any website of where I can look up the origins of a Chinese character? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What etymology dictionaries are available? What was this online dictionary's name with ancient traditional and simplified characters and etymology? I always wanted to ...
2
votes
6answers
685 views

What is 德国 and naming history in China?

Here is what I think and how it is named: In Google translate it says it means "virtue country". My guess is probably wrong but here it is: China is an alliy of America, and America boosted up the ...
3
votes
3answers
356 views

What is the meaning of 老不死 exactly?

I'd like to know in depth detail, what is the meaning of this expression? How come there is only a few people saying it? Old and not died is a good thing in my mind.
1
vote
1answer
132 views

询问奸雄所见略同的由来 and how does it relate to chinese

The quote"我很想询问奸雄所见略同的由来" seems very interesting to me. And in Google Translate, it translates to "I would like to ask the king's men great minds think alike the origin of." It doesn't seem to make ...
2
votes
3answers
212 views

What is 被 doing in sentence “这种病在三十年前就被根除了”?

I understand that the sentence means something like "This disease was eradicated 30 years ago", but I have no idea what role does 被 have in it? Is the sentence okay if we remove it? Does it convey ...
4
votes
3answers
233 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
198 views

“母牛流产了“ - ”The cow cast her calf"? HSK Anki flash cards

I'm reviewing the HSK1-limited-part1 flash card deck on Anki, and I keep coming accross this one flash card. On the front, it says 母牛流产了 and for the definition, The cow cast her calf What ...
5
votes
4answers
305 views

That mystical 就 again

Here is a sentence: 厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳 Below are my translation variants. Bold letters should be a 'jiu' english analog here. The mirror on top of the kitchen's fireplace scared Harry the ...
2
votes
2answers
211 views

What’s the meaning of 会 in this sentence?

In this sentence: 你明天这个时候会是在做什么?, I find 会 useless, especially since its English translation on tatoeba.org does not seem to reflect its sense. What meaning does it carry here?
8
votes
1answer
213 views

Is there a difference between 夂 and 夊?

Looking at the list of Kangxi radicals over at Wikipedia, I just noticed something I haven't noticed before. Radical number 34 (夂) and 35 (夊) are virtually identical. I write these radicals in the ...
3
votes
3answers
193 views

What's the difference between 快 and 快要?

I started to learn Chinese like one month ago and I'm facing a first misunderstanding. In my book it says that 快 can be used to say "soon" but 快要 is also used to express the same thing. Is there a ...
3
votes
4answers
275 views

Tonal difference between 浪费 and 糟蹋

Both 浪费 and 糟蹋 mean "to waste." (I'm not really concerned with the other uses of 糟蹋 right now.) I've seen the collocations 糟蹋粮食 and 糟蹋人才, and 浪费 is very common in phrases like 浪费时间 and 浪费水. Are ...
1
vote
4answers
111 views

Are these correct headings for a spreadsheet?

The spreadsheet is related to food safety (processing, handling, storage, etc.) ID: 编号 (项目?) Process: 制程 Food category:食品类别 Standard: 标准 Frequency (as in how many times per day or every how many ...
7
votes
3answers
351 views

Can 下次 mean “again”?

I found a sentence on tatoeba that isn't quite the translation I would expect. I will not do it again. Is translated as... 下次我不做了。 I checked mdbg.net to be sure, and 下次 is only translated ...
7
votes
1answer
183 views

How is the Kanji character 豚 related to the chinese 猪 / 豬

The Chinese character for pig is 猪 / 豬 (zhu1) In many Japanese restaurants around Hong Kong I've seen this somewhat different character 豚 which appears to also mean pig. How would you say it in ...
10
votes
4answers
595 views

How is 就 (jiù) used?

Pimsleur's Mandarin course teaches "I'm leaving very early tomorrow morning" as: 我明天早上很早就走 (wŏ míngtiān zăoshàng hĕn zăo jiù zŏu) It says that 就 (jiù) doesn't have a corresponding meaning in ...
6
votes
2answers
130 views

Which measure word should I use with 角色?

Nciku tells me the proper measure word is 类, but a quick search on Google garnered mostly results like "哪类角色更容易赢“小金人”?“ implying that for the most part 类 is used when inquiring about a particular type ...
2
votes
1answer
273 views

How useful are the kanji in reading Chinese? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it easier to learn Chinese after learning Japanese or vice versa? I'm learning Japanese, and I'm going to learn all of the jouyou kanji, which is about 2000 ...
7
votes
4answers
610 views

Learning Traditional first with the goal of learning both

I found this in the Mandarin wikibook: "It is considered easier for people who learn Traditional to read both sets than people who learn Simplified only, but Simplified characters are less ...
4
votes
1answer
411 views

Does 给你 mean “Here you go?”

I found a very short sentence on tatoeba.org. All it says is, "给你。" That literally means "Give you," but what does it really mean? My best guess is that I could say it as I give something to you, ...
4
votes
1answer
167 views

Tone of 竟 and 境 in Mandarin and Cantonese

竟 and 境 are both read ging2 in Cantonese, which usually corresponds to a third tone syllable in Mandarin (as is the case for 警, which is ging2 in Cantonese and jing3 in Mandarin). However, both of ...
10
votes
3answers
256 views

Use of 十年中 to express duration

Does 十年中 mean "in ten years"? I found it in this sentence from tatoeba.org: 他十年中第一次回家。 He returned home for the first time in ten years. It seems like I could use the same pattern to say, ...
2
votes
2answers
273 views

Cantonese 咩 (me1) vs. 嗎 (maa1)

What is the difference between 咩 (me1) and 嗎 (maa1) in Cantonese? Are they always interchangeable? Example: m4 sai2 faan1 gung1 me1? (You don't have to go to work)
6
votes
1answer
139 views

How does tone sandhi apply in people's names?

Like the title says, the question is simple: what's the proper way to handle tone sandhi in names? Is there something like "pronounce the family name as-is, apply tone sandhi to given name"? Or is ...
5
votes
2answers
184 views

Meaning of 一人付一半 in this sentence

In this sentence: 车费我们俩一人付一半,怎么样? I don't fully understand the meaning of 一人付一半. I have found that 付一半 can mean "pay half", but 一人 confuses me (if it refers to one person, why is that form ...
2
votes
4answers
340 views

Is this a Chinese Proverb?

I found this proverb which I'm not sure about what is its origin: He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever. Is this really a known chinese proverb? ...
2
votes
2answers
161 views

Does 外行的想法 mean “rookie mistake”?

I found this sentence and its translation on tatoeba.org. Is there a better way to translate it into English? 這是外行的想法。 That's a layman's idea. I looked up 外行, and it does mean amateur or ...
5
votes
4answers
409 views

What does this character mean?

I've tried a number of online and paper dictionaries (Chinese-Chinese character dictionaries) and I still can't find this character. Since I don't know how it's pronounced or what the right part is ...
8
votes
2answers
463 views

What do Chinese do if they forget how to write a character?

I've heard that character amnesia is becoming more and more common. What if a Chinese has to write something and he doesn't have a cellphone or computer with him, what does he do if he forgot the ...
5
votes
2answers
241 views

Difference between 两个都 and 我们俩

Pimsleur's Mandarin course teaches 'both of us' as 我们两个都 (wǒ men liăng ge dōu), but in another question I asked here I recently found that 我们俩 (wǒ men liă). Are these always interchangeable, or are ...
3
votes
1answer
247 views

How to ask someone to take a photo?

Recently on vacation I wanted to ask a Chinese tourist if they would mind taking a photo of my wife and I - but I didn't know how, so just asked 你可以吗? (nǐ kěyǐ ma?) while pointing to my camera. How ...
6
votes
5answers
311 views

What was this online dictionary's name with ancient traditional and simplified characters and etymology?

I once found a Mandarin Chinese dictionary which for each character listed the ancient, the traditional and the simplified Chinese characters. For each it described its meaning and how it developed ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Writing sheets generator

When I was in China I bought some writing books for practicing Chinese handwriting. This is good but have 2 disadvantages. Size of cell is too big for brush and too small for roller pen. Must be for ...
6
votes
5answers
403 views

Are there any online resources for learning Chinese 4-character idioms

I'm interested particularly in the 4-character idioms/chengyu's. Some that I've learnt recently: 独一无二 - unique 由此可见 - this shows that 一般来说 - generally speaking I've realised they come in really ...
3
votes
4answers
170 views

How to ask “is it really so that…”?

How do I ask a question like "is it really so that you're just 18?" or "is it really so that the movie was good?", i.e. a surprised question? My guess is something along the lines of "这是真的,你只有十八岁呢?", ...
2
votes
2answers
137 views

How do you say “preferences” as opposed to “demands”?

I encounter many situations where I want to ask someone what they would like as opposed to what they need. For example, I wanted to find a restaurant for our class to have an end of the semester ...
3
votes
3answers
798 views

How to learn how to pronounce and remember names of Chinese students?

This question was originally asked on Academia.Stackexchange.com. I would normally not cross-post, however, I think this question might be an exception, where both sites may provide complementary ...
3
votes
1answer
158 views

What's the difference between “问一下”,“查询”, “询问”?

In the context of phone conversations with vendors I often default to either: 我想问一下… 请问… I'm looking for a possibly more appropriate way to address someone in this context. Would it be appropriate ...
2
votes
1answer
175 views

Expressions that have no meaning (什么/来着)

I know that these two expression, in certain circumstances, have no meaning and are optional. I'm trying to figure out how to use them, even though they have no meaning. 什么 This has a meaning, ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How do you say “I'll be a little late”?

I've learned that 来不及 means that I can't make something at a specific time. I've most often seen it used in the sense that "I can't make the appointment at all". How do you indicate to someone that ...
14
votes
2answers
478 views

Words referring to the shape of Chinese characters

Some words in English use (capital) letters to describe the shape of the object to which they refer: A-frame, C-clamp, I-beam, O-ring, T-shirt, T-intersection, T-bone, U-turn, V-neck Chinese ...
6
votes
1answer
319 views

What is the difference in usage between 以后 and 之后?

Today John Pasden linked to an old Sinosplice post in which he discussed how Chinese grammatical categories cannot be mapped neatly onto those of Indo-European languages. ...
3
votes
1answer
123 views

Usage of 感动 (active/passive?)

According to mdbg.net 感动 means both 'to move (emotionally)' and 'moving'. But from what I understand from some texts I have '邻居们都很感动' implying a more passive meaning for 感动. Can someone shed some ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

(Literally) Seeing Through Things

Earlier today, I ended up in a discussion which somehow involved people who were (literally) transparent. I was somewhat at a loss for how to say "Can you see through him?". After some research, I've ...
8
votes
1answer
169 views

Correct usage for 跟。。。过不去

This question has two parts: What's the precise meaning of this expression? What is the correct usage? Question (1) I understand it to mean that the person referred to (eg, 跟她过不去) is uncomfortable ...

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