All Questions

9
votes
4answers
202 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
504 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
420 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
495 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
192 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
264 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
215 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
243 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
135 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
170 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
168 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
102 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
189 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
139 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
402 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
268 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
427 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
206 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
265 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
378 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
276 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
487 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
373 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
143 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
229 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
404 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
157 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
508 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
506 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
222 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
137 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
221 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

difference between two words for balance of account

I want to pay off the remainder of my credit card bill. Can someone help me differentiate between 余额 and 尾数 Thanks
6
votes
3answers
252 views

Difference between 各 and 每?

I'm used to using 每 for every. However, 各 came up one day and appears to me to have the exactly same meaning. Is there a contextual difference between the two that I am missing or can they be swapped ...
6
votes
2answers
244 views

Questions on “的话”

What is the etymology behind "的话" in the common construct 如果...的话 or 要是...的话? In addition to wondering about it's meaning, what exactly is the 的 doing? Is it modifying the 如果? Is it modifying the ...
10
votes
6answers
522 views

What is the difference in use between 完 and 了?

If I understood correctly, both 完 and 了 can be used to indicate a completed action, so what is the difference in use? How do we properly use 完 in a sentence? Which contexts would be valid?
2
votes
3answers
126 views

Naming siblings with same sounding chinese characters [closed]

I would like to name my baby daughter "嫣" which is written as "yān", per pinyin. However my elder daughter's name is "彥" which is pronounced as "yàn". Is it considered taboo to give my daughters the ...
1
vote
3answers
115 views

How to say X were said to do Y?

Example: The hijackers were said to demand the plane to fly to Iran The only think I could think of was 有人告訴 (somebody said), and putting it at the beginning, like: 有人告訴劫機者... Is this ...
7
votes
1answer
99 views

Tone sandhi before a toneless final syllable

In the name Kongzi, 孔子, it seems to me that people often pronounce Kong with third tone (low-falling form) and zi with no tone, like a lot of final syllables. Officially both syllables are third ...
1
vote
0answers
47 views

Resource for Mandarin Chinese grammar [duplicate]

Does anyone know where I can find a comprehensive description of Mandarin Chinese grammar? Like for instance, certain books I could read, or websites I could visit? Suggestions much appreciated! :)
3
votes
3answers
102 views

What syntax is acceptable for classifier + noun + adjectival phrase

I am wondering what the acceptable combinations of classifier, noun, and adjectival phrase are? For example 一本 + 有意思的 + 书 Is it acceptable to say both of the following?: 一本有意思的书。 有意思的一本书。 ...
2
votes
2answers
130 views

Translation of “this much and no more”

I found this sentence and its English translation on tatoeba.org: 我知道的就這麼多了。 Beyond this I know nothing. Now I'm trying to parse the sentence structure, and I'd like some confirmation or a ...
7
votes
9answers
1k views

How to translate “你给我滚” properly

In a sentence like: “你*给我*拿一杯水” You would translate it something like: Get me a glass of water. How is the "给我" in the sentence “你给我滚” supposed to be translated? Should it just be "Get lost / P*ss ...
2
votes
3answers
140 views

Is “可以来 (ke3 yi3 lai2) …” an idomatic way to say “please bring me …”?

The vocabulary flashcard website "Memrise" has in one of its Chinese menu learning modules as entry: Word: 可以来... Definition: please bring... (food or dish) But one of the comments says: I ...
2
votes
2answers
138 views

Correct use of 惹人心烦

I am not sure if I used the idiom 惹人心烦 correctly. This is the sentence I used, 好啊,然而我不要惹人心烦。 Would that be a good use of it or is there a better way of saying you don't want to be a pain in the neck ...
-2
votes
2answers
221 views

How to greet “Chinese New Year” to your Girlfriend [closed]

I want you to suggest me some very good greetings for Chinese New year which can make my girl friend think that I love her so much and I love her Only :p
6
votes
3answers
228 views

Is “你们好” (nǐmen hǎo) in actual use for greeting multiple people at once?

I just felt like typing "hello" in Chinese in a chat room (with no Chinese speakers in it but what the hey...) Halfway through it struck me that there's "你们" (nǐhǎo) for hello, "你" (nǐ) meaning you, ...

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