20
votes
7answers
715 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
386 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
348 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
381 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
132 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
219 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
229 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
119 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
135 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
305 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
214 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
243 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
389 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
162 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
2k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
233 views

Why does 有机 as in 有机食品 mean organic?

有 and 机 are some of the first characters we learn in Chinese, but I only recently found out that they mean "organic" when put together. Can anyone explain why this is?
3
votes
1answer
132 views

Do you write every character? [closed]

I have been studying Chinese for a few months now. I am using some software to test my knowledge of the characters. Sometimes I do not recognize every character of a word but I can still derive the ...
17
votes
6answers
693 views

How polite is too polite?

I've noticed in China that people don't tend to use as many 'polite' words as we do in western languages, like 'please' or 'thank you'. I want to make it clear that I'm not complaining about this; I ...
5
votes
3answers
250 views

How are the terms for “male/female” and “man/woman” divided exactly?

I know that daughter in Chinese is 女儿, and son is 儿子. A little side-question: Why isn't "son" 男儿? My main question is this one though: apart from son and daughter stated above, what are the ...
19
votes
3answers
544 views

What is the difference between 作 and 做?

作 and 做 are both translated as "do" or "make"; how can I tell when I should use one or the other?
3
votes
2answers
178 views

Mandarin equivalent of “stir crazy”

Is there a concise way to express "stir crazy" in Mandarin, or would a long explanation be needed?
8
votes
1answer
250 views

Expressing the location: 哪里 or 哪儿?

Which one of these two expressions is the best one? Or are they both good, but for different situations? For example: 你住在哪里? VS 你住在哪儿? = Where do you live? Nĭ zhù zài nă lĭ? ——— Nĭ zhù zài ...
7
votes
4answers
182 views

Equivalent expression to: “I don't give a f***”

Is there something in Mandarin like "I don't give a f***", something that expresses the same sense of "I don't care" but with more force.
8
votes
3answers
885 views

When and why is right to left writing used?

I have encountered horizontal right to left characters on signs (at the top of a gate) and on vehicles. When is this used and why? Was this more common in the past? Are the individuals characters ...
6
votes
4answers
187 views

What's the role of 好了 in 你叫我(name)好了?

In this sentence 你叫我马丁好了。 what's the role of 好了? I understand this sentence as "You can call me 马丁".
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How do we wish someone to get better?

When we know somebody is sick, how do we wish them to get better? What are the best ways and also the standard ones to do that? I'd like you to differentiate among some things, if and when ...
9
votes
2answers
225 views

Why is it possible to replace 都 with 也 in 什么都没有?

I know 也 only as "also", but I see it now and then used in ways difficult to understand, especially in some negative statements. Why is this so? Does 也 have some meaning not mentioned in dictionaries ...
5
votes
5answers
233 views

Why do I see 我 for I, but is pronounced WAH

I'm corrected to pronounce WAH instead of "wǒ". Is it the same and I just hear it wrong in my head? Or is there a difference in dialect?

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