1
vote
4answers
119 views

Can 窝 be used for grouping any zodiac animal?

I have heard the saying 一窝猪 Yī wō zhū when describing a family or group of people who are all 属猪 (have pig as their zodiac sign). Is this something that can be applied to other animals e.g. 一窝龙 or ...
8
votes
2answers
98 views

Authoritative source for translators

For translators, is there an authoritative source they go to where they can check translations are accurate? For example say there was a political conference and someone wasn't sure if the word ...
4
votes
2answers
182 views

What readers are available at the 1,000 word level?

I want to improve my reading and grammar skills by finding interesting things to read. What graded readers, basal textbooks, magazines, and other reading materials are available for adult students who ...
1
vote
2answers
100 views

How should one answer this question about 年?

Thanks to @xiaohuozi's wonderful suggestion. This is my question for the friendly contest. How should one answer this question 今年是什么年? (jin nian shi shen me nian) - which/what year is this? It ...
4
votes
2answers
97 views

Chinese weather periods

The only time I have traveled to Beijing a taxi driver told me I had come at the worst and hottest time of year. He explained to me that the year was divided up in periods of roughly 16 days and the ...
3
votes
1answer
214 views

What is the exact meaning and etymology of 拜年?

Since Chinese New Year is on the way (and thanks to Xiaohouzi's great suggestion), I've been thinking all about the new year. One term the sticks out is 拜年. I'm very curious to know the exact ...
2
votes
1answer
289 views

Is there a Chinese equivalent song of 'auld lang syne'?

In western countries (or New Zealand at least), auld lang syne is a very common song over the the New Year holiday. Is there an equivalent song in Chinese that everyone instantly associates with ...
5
votes
3answers
254 views

Difference between 曾经 and 已经

In this question I was asking about 曾经 and one answer says it means 'already'. What's the difference between 曾经 and 已经? Do the two sentences below have the same meaning? 他曾经在北京学过两年汉语。 ...
2
votes
1answer
176 views

Use of 龙 in the idiom 车水马龙

With the idiom 车水马龙 which is used to describe somewhere that is bustling and crowded, why was 龙 included considering it is a mythical creature? Does it represent something other than a creature in ...
5
votes
3answers
193 views

零售 - Why is the character for “zero” used in the Chinese word for retail?

Why is retail referred to as 零售 in Chinese? Why the combination of "zero" with "sales"? Certainly one expects to make (hopefully many) sales in retail so why was the character for "zero" used here? It ...
2
votes
3answers
99 views

What's the role of 曾经 in this sentence?

In this sentence: 他曾经在北京学过两年汉语。 what's the role of 曾经 ? I understand that 过 already implies that the action happened in the past.
7
votes
3answers
516 views

Why does the construction of 要是…的话 mean “if”?

I know other words like 如果 also provide the "if", but why would 要是...的话 mean "if"? An example sentence: 要是你喜欢汉语(的话),你该听中国的音乐。 If you like Chinese, you should listen to Chinese music.
5
votes
4answers
646 views

Stative verbs in Chinese: only for adjectives?

I've recently discovered that in Chinese, adjectives can function as verbs. An answer on this site stated that "all adjectives in Chinese can function as verbs". This was obviously an interesting ...
20
votes
7answers
720 views

Why is 有 (yǒu) the only verb that requires 没 while other verbs can use 不?

To negate something, we use 不 (bù) before the verb, such as in this short dialogue: A: 你是老师吗? = Are you a teacher? B: 不是。 = I'm not. However, the verb 有 (yǒu) is the only one that requires 没 ...
3
votes
4answers
121 views

What good resources are available to assist first time travellers to learn basic Chinese? [closed]

I'm moving back to China again in a few weeks, and I've already got a few friends planning visits - this brings me to my problem: I can't always be around to translate, and I find people have a more ...
2
votes
3answers
98 views

What digital illustrated dictionaries are available?

What dictionaries are available that contain separate illustrations for most of the terms? I would prefer something in online or in digital format.
6
votes
3answers
154 views

Position of 面熟 in this sentence

In my textbook I found this sentence: 常常看着一个人面熟却叫不出名字来。 If 面熟 is an adjective, why is it used after 人 (to indicate a "familiar-looking person")? Can 一个人面熟 be rewritten to 一个面熟人 without ...
4
votes
3answers
92 views

Is 在瞬间 something like 'at some point'?

The phrase 在瞬间 zài shùnjiān seems literally to mean 'in an instant.' But usage-wise, is it more like 'at some point'? Or am I off the mark?
6
votes
3answers
1k views

What does 民以食为天 mean?

How to translate one of old saying "民以食为天"? Would that be "Food is the priority of populace"? That doesn't sound right to me, though.
7
votes
2answers
198 views

Neverending 你好 exchange, is it normal?

When should exchanges of the phrase "你好" end? I regularly see a Chinese person who greets me with "你好". If I respond with "你好" he immediately says "你好", and so on. I normally end it with "Yes, I'm ...
7
votes
2answers
387 views

How are new words added to the Chinese language?

I'm always curious to know, as the world develops and new words come into existence, how are they adopted by the Chinese language? Is there some sort of government body that decides these sort of ...
2
votes
3answers
71 views

When would 产生了 be used?

I don't really understand the meaning or usage of 产生了. Google translate gives 'had.' But it doesn't really seem to be widely-used. When would it be used, and why?
2
votes
4answers
256 views

Correct terms for a roadside gutter and gutter on a roof

What is the correct terms for both a roadside gutter and a gutter on a roof? For the sake of making me look bad, my guess would be 水沟 but I've seen that applied to a large canal so not sure if it the ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

What are the uses of 什会 and from which area?

In restaurants in Australia we quite often have Chinese dishes which are combination for example Combination Satay or Combination Fried Rice. These contain several types of meat as opposed to ...
2
votes
1answer
351 views

What studios produce dubbed TV shows? [closed]

To improve my listening skills, I often watch television shows. Many Chinese-produced television shows, however, are difficult to understand due to context (for e.g. the setting, situation, and ...
3
votes
4answers
187 views

Searching for characters by parts

Are there any online or computer dictionaries that allow searching for characters by any sub-part of the character? Occasionally it I see a character the parts of which I can already type. But I ...
8
votes
2answers
124 views

Beginning of the week / end of the week

It is possible to say: 三月初 (the beginning of March) 三月底 (the end of March) Example: 我三月底要回国 You can also refer to: 年初 and 年底 But is there something you can use to convey the beginning or end of ...
13
votes
5answers
384 views

Number two in chinese: 二 vs 两

I always knew, from my studies of Japanese, that the number two is 二 (èr). I am not sure about the actual etymology, but looking at the character, it's understandable why it represents the number "2". ...
6
votes
2answers
133 views

Difference between 对 and 双

For a pair of rabbits there is: 一对兔 yī duì tù And for a pair of shoes there is: 一双鞋 yī shuāng xié And for twins there is: 双胞胎 shuāngbāotāi How can I be sure when to use 对 and when to ...
12
votes
4answers
221 views

Is this an exception in the use of 的?

I know that, when expressing possessives, we add 的 to the usual personal pronouns, such as 我的. However, in a question in my grammar textbook I saw: 你爸爸忙吗? = Is your father busy? Why not ...
10
votes
5answers
516 views

Is any simplified character also a traditional character?

I don't mean traditional characters that weren't simplified, thus being the same in traditional and simplified. What I ask if there is any simplified character which in turn has the same form of ...
11
votes
6answers
455 views

Are children's books a good starting place for beginners?

I was wondering if Chinese children's books might be a good starting place for adult Chinese language newbies (regardless of whether it be Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu, whatever), in particular westerners ...
7
votes
3answers
185 views

Asking “what's the pinyin/character for X?”

How do we ask someone to "translate" a character or some pinyin into the other one? The expressions I'm referring to are: What's the pinyin for this/that (character)/... ? What's the ...
6
votes
1answer
198 views

What are the different kinds of poems in Chinese?

In the question "Are there poems in Chinese that rhyme?", a debate started about what is considered a poem in Chinese. The texts I presented — 《三字經》 (Three Character Classic), 《百家姓》 (The Hundred ...
6
votes
3answers
230 views

“Actually” as a sentence-starter of speech filler

When casually speaking English I use the word "actually" a lot when beginning of a sentance, or as part of the flow of my speech. e.g. Actually, next semester doesn't start for a month. ...
3
votes
2answers
129 views

Why can't 了 be used to complement 到?

I have been taught that the sentence 我刚到了 (wǒ gāng dào le) is not correct because 了 cannot be used as a complement of 到. Is this true? If so, why?
1
vote
1answer
120 views

Where can I find a Chinese corpus concordance?

Compleat Lexical Tutor has a valuable tool here1 for searching for English words in a corpus and displaying them in sample sentences. This is useful for checking the usage of a word. Where can I find ...
6
votes
3answers
281 views

Why does Chinese lack some level of abstraction in some idioms? (e.g. 兄弟姐妹)

Example: in Chinese, you can't * speak of siblings in a general term, and in turn you have to enumerate all 4 combinations of sex and age: 兄弟姐妹 ( older brother, younger brother, older sister, younger ...
8
votes
2answers
136 views

Using 一样 instead of 同一 for “the same school”

In my study software, I recently had the following sentence: 我想我们会上一样的学校. The context (a girl speaking to another girl who had just moved into the neighborhood) made it seem like the correct ...
0
votes
2answers
125 views

What does this calligraphy by 張照 say?

I can make out bits of this calligraphy, but not enough to look up the poem. The first line (and the poet, which I assume is the last two characters) should suffice for the purposes of using a search ...
4
votes
2answers
306 views

What are the rules of writing a 对联 (chinese couplet)?

I have looked at the wikipedia article "Couplet (Chinese Poetry)", but I think it poses more questions than answers. So a 对联 (duì lián) is a "Chinese Couplet". it is composed of two lines each line ...
2
votes
0answers
215 views

What Android games give good reading practice? [closed]

I am looking for some software to practice my reading skills. Are there any games for Android (perhaps that native speakers like to play) which contains varied reading in context? For e.g., a game in ...
4
votes
3answers
201 views

What is the correct orientation of “ㄧ” in zhuyin fuhao?

In zhuyin fuhao (bopomofo), "ㄧ" is equal to "i" or "yi" in hanyu pinyin. I have noticed, when displayed on my computer, even with very complete fonts, I see a vertical line (similar to "|"), but when ...
5
votes
2answers
244 views

How can I improve the speed of my spoken Chinese?

I'm currently trying to learn '听妈妈的话' on SingChineseSongs, and I'm having trouble keeping up with the fast parts. I also have trouble trying to speak terribly fast in Mandarin anyway. Does anyone ...
10
votes
6answers
328 views

Do all schools in China teach in Standard Chinese (普通话)?

When I went to China, it was apparent that many (sometimes most) people still spoke their local dialects instead of Standard Chinese/Putonghua (also known as "Mandarin" in English). I was told that ...
6
votes
1answer
167 views

Meaning of 这么多好吃

I want to get the correct meaning of this sentence: 我恨不得一下子把这么多好吃的都吃完。 I understand this sentence as "I wish to eat up all those delicious things, all at once". I don't fully understand the ...
5
votes
4answers
394 views

Where can I find a downloadable database of English to Chinese words?

CC-CEDICT is a Chinese to English dictionary, available for use On-line or for download (as a data file here: http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php?page=cc-cedict). What similar projects provide ...
4
votes
2answers
180 views

Where can I find sorted word lists used by native students?

I would like to find a sorted list of vocabulary that is studied by native students in primary and secondary school in China, arranged by grade level. Is there any official place to download such a ...
8
votes
3answers
163 views

Which regions use 计算机 for computer?

Where is 计算机 used for "computer", and where does it mean "calculator". In regions where it means "calculator" what is the word for "supercomputer" (assuming that there, 超级计算机 is not used)
4
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the character with the greatest number of strokes?

I have seen an old and very rarely used character that consisted of four traditional dragons (龍). As I remember it meant "talkative". That makes a total of 64 strokes, are there any other characters ...

15 30 50 per page