4
votes
6answers
467 views

Is Mandarin impossible for my goals?

Since years ago I have been studying some languages with the major goal of being able to read texts, complex or not, written under them. My native is Portuguese (from Brazil) and nowadays I have no ...
2
votes
3answers
425 views

Why does the order of 人口 change?

One of the first questions in my book is 你家有几口人? But the book highlights the word "人口" as people. Why does it change? Is it because 口 is the measure word for 人? Could you say 三口人口? When do you use ...
1
vote
2answers
140 views

Conventional meaning of (你)耳朵生翅膀(了)

虹影 饥饿的女儿 Hong Ying, "Daughter of the River" has this sentence: "不行,这样也不对,你耳朵生翅膀了,总听不见我的话?" Translated by Howard Goldblatt (ISBN 0-8021-1637-X) as: "No,that's not right either. Do you have wings on ...
1
vote
4answers
100 views

The word order of co-existing adverbs in a sentence

I am wondering whether there is a commonly accepted rule about the word order of co-existing adverbs in a sentence. For example, in the following sentences, 果然,昨天,直接,从学校 are adverbs. Which of the ...
7
votes
2answers
116 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
178 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
93 views

German-Chinese online dictionary

Is there any online dictionary German-Chinese and vice versa that allows user participation? I know of handedict.de, dormant since 2011, forums down, but allows downloading a wordfile dict.leo.org, ...
3
votes
3answers
147 views

Differences: 干,办,做,搞,弄

What's the difference between all these five words? They mean all "to do", they're driving me crazy! I write some example sentences with some of them (hoping that's the right one), just to understand ...
2
votes
2answers
125 views

In which Chinese topolect might 門 be transcribed as <mum>?

There's a Cantonese restaurant in Mountain View, CA called Fu Lam Mum -- the characters are clearly 富臨門. But 門 has always had a -n final, in any topolect I know of, and back to MC and OC according to ...
7
votes
2answers
218 views

What's the difference between ,and 、

What's the difference between ,and 、 as they appear in some texts, like in this passage of the Zhuang Zi (end of the second part): 是萬物之化也,禹、舜之所紐也,伏戲、几蘧之所行終,而況散焉者乎! Is it like comma and semicolon? Or ...
2
votes
3answers
156 views

What is the difference between 日 and 号?

Right now I am taking Mandarin 1 in Brooklyn Tech. From my understanding, 号 and 日 both mean "day." I took it upon myself to check Google Translate and find out what they both mean for confirmation. I ...
4
votes
2answers
86 views

Is there a way to translate terms related to the family?

Traditionally, a person may be addressed by taking account of the person's gender, age relative to the speaker, familial relationship to the speaker, and whether or not the person is on the mother or ...
3
votes
4answers
163 views

Prefacing questions with 请问

When I ask a stranger for directions or other information I begin with 请问. It is especially important for me to use some opening phrase since people do not expect a foreigner to speak Chinese to ...
3
votes
4answers
131 views

Is there a difference between “几点” (jǐ​diǎn) and “什么时候” (shén​me​shí​hou)?

Both "几点" and "什么时候" seem to mean "what time?". Here are two examples that contain "几点" or "什么时候": 我们什么时候开会? (My interpretation: "When is the meeting?") 现在几点? (My interpretation: "What time is ...
-2
votes
2answers
114 views

How to translate “nonsense” into Chinese with precision?

Sentences that are incapable of true or false are called nonsense, e.g. "quadruplicate drinks procrastination" or "Socrates is a man is a man." I want to say "The Chinese language is incapable of ...
1
vote
3answers
100 views

Meaning/Usage/Translation: 耳膜 vs. 鼓膜?

What's the difference between: 耳膜 and 鼓膜? Apparently they both check out to eardrum in English. 汉语大辞典, even, defines 耳膜 as 耳中鼓膜。 Can 鼓膜 be used in other places then?
5
votes
2answers
444 views

着 vs 著? Is it the same

Is 着 the same as 著? Can I interchange them, for example: Is 這位着名的歌手的名字是__ The same as 這位著名的歌手的名字是__ (put a name in "__")
5
votes
3answers
174 views

或: how did “region” become “either”?

The character 或 is used today for the meanings "or", "either", "maybe", and "perhaps". Historically, it had the meaning of "region", and it is this meaning that characters like 國 and 域 derive from. ...
2
votes
4answers
96 views

Which one to choose: 赶紧 or 快?

What's the difference between those two? For instance, in a sentence like "你们赶紧/快走吧" can I use both indiscriminately? What are the particular conditions that make me prefer one rather than the other? ...
7
votes
6answers
973 views

Is 師奶 (see lai) strictly a Cantonese word? Is it a neutral word or does it have a negative connotation?

I had heard a husband refer to his wife in Cantonese as 師奶 (pronounced "see lai"). The way he said it sounded like an insult but I was told it's not a bad word. How would 師奶 be described in English? ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

Are there any rules or regulations for making a Chinese learning (focused on HSK) mobile app?

I want to make an app to teach Chinese and prepare people for HSK, but I don't know if there are any rules or regulations that I should adhere to.
5
votes
4answers
345 views

Chinese Words that Accurately Reflect English Phonemes

I'm a retired computer science professor who helps Chinese graduate students master English. The students have a good background for reading and writing scientific papers but struggle with their ...
4
votes
3answers
90 views

Describing Characters: AB的A/B

When trying to describe what specific character one is talking about, people often use the following method: AB的A/B For instance: 包: 书包的包 宇: 宇宙的宇 My questions: What is this thing ...
1
vote
2answers
113 views
4
votes
1answer
558 views

勇 character on soldiers' uniforms in movies

I don't know much about Chinese military history, but I do see this character appearing on historical uniforms (fictitious or actual) worn by soldiers in movies, some are set in the Qing dynasty some ...
3
votes
3answers
369 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 ...
-4
votes
1answer
99 views

Can someone translate this chinese letter? [closed]

I received this letter from my crush. Please help me translate this.
4
votes
4answers
437 views

翻译这个传统的中国地图 --坤輿萬國全圖--

我最近对这个古代世界地图产生了特别浓厚的兴趣。但因为都是文言文,没有断句,非常难懂。 我想请问有没有谁知道这幅由利玛窦原创的地图曾经被学者翻译过么? 在哪里可以找到全部文字的翻译呢? 它在这里。 I am very interested in these old Chinese maps, such as the 坤輿萬國全圖. They are so advanced, and ...
5
votes
1answer
59 views

Why the change in tones of the words in some phrases?

I am a native Cantonese speaker. I found that we have to change the tones of some words, when used in particular phrases. But I don't know why. It seems that it doesn't follow any "rules of changing ...
1
vote
5answers
111 views

What is the Difference Between 讲解 and 解释?

I've seen both of them used as "to explain" or "to interpret", but I am not sure if there are differences in connotation or anything else?
0
votes
3answers
102 views

Colloquialisms: “(Please) Take a Seat”

English has take the weight off your feet or cop a squat as a colloquialisms meaning take a seat. I've heard Canadian-French has the expression to grab some wood, or more literally to pull oneself a ...
3
votes
6answers
162 views

How to translate “For all you know”?

What are the best ways to translate For all you know? For example: For all you know, she could be lying to you. In response to a friend getting upset that her friend isn't picking up her ...
3
votes
3answers
192 views

Thoughts on the expression 腦洞大開?

腦洞大開 (Simplified: 脑洞大开) seems to be a phrase that's making its rounds in Sinophone online communities (a Google search may be illuminating), although its precise meaning as of yet still eludes me. It ...
4
votes
3answers
239 views

How formal is 如何 in the context of 最近如何?

I was told by friend who is a native mainland speaker that "最近如何", or anything using "如何" to inquire about the state of a person, is a very ancient/formal way of speaking. This was quite a shock to ...
4
votes
1answer
66 views

Difference between alveolars and alveolo-palatals in Cantonese

I would like to understand the difference in distribution between the alveolar consonants s, ts, tsʰ and the alveolo-palatal consonants ɕ, tɕ, tɕʰ in Cantonese. One source told me that the ...
3
votes
4answers
170 views

酵: jiào vs. xiào

I'm always hearing the pronunciations jiào and xiào being used interchangeably by native speakers for the character: 酵. What's the deal? Is there a standardized pronunciation for 酵? What's the ...
0
votes
2answers
71 views

What is the right word order?

I am prepairing to my Chinese exam and have a doubt in using of 有 in describing of things in loction. Could you please correct my word order and explain 有-Usage rules? The task for me is to translate ...
0
votes
3answers
99 views

Difference between these words [closed]

What's the difference between these pairs of words? My book doesn't give a clear distinction between them. 如果 - 要是 必须 - 要 报名 - 注册 查 - 检查 读书 - 看书
5
votes
5answers
344 views

which do I use , 喜欢不喜欢 or 喜不喜欢?

I know that 喜不喜欢 and 喜欢不喜欢 have the same meaning, but in a sentence, which would look more appealing or make more sense in the sentence? In other words, which one is grammatically correct?
1
vote
3answers
199 views

Why is the 了 here after 错 not after 投?

The agent says the customer should insure all risks, he wants normal insurance. Agent: 万一货物出了问题,就有可能因为投错了险而无法得到赔偿,那麻烦就大了。 I imagine '投了险' is short for '投保了保险' and I thought '错‘ is an adjective for ...
5
votes
1answer
201 views

Zhuyin IME setting to make tones optional

When I type Chinese via a Pinyin IME, I can write "nihao" to get "你好". Writing out "ni3hao3" is not required. But when I try to write "ㄋㄧㄏㄠ", the IME interprets this as "ㄏㄧㄠ". Basically I'm forced to ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

How to say “Your eyes whispered:'Have we met?' ”in Chinese? [closed]

It's from Taylor's songEnchanted.I need an answer as close to it as possible.
3
votes
3answers
159 views

What's the Least Awkward Way To Say “I am Not A Native Chinese Speaker” In Chinese?

Usually I end up saying 我并非/不是以中文为母语的人,(...so please forgive my mistakes). Is there any way to avoid the awkward-seeming "以中文为母语" construction here but still get this point across, without ...
6
votes
3answers
181 views

Phases to acknowledge being corrected in Mandarin

When I lived in China, I was often corrected for using grammar improperly or translating too literally. I don't think I ever learned a good response to this. I usually wanted to be courteous and ...
2
votes
3answers
180 views

What is the difference between 电视 and 电视上?

In the following two sentences: 电视说今天很晴朗,不过下午下雨了。 电视上说今天的天气会很晴朗,今天一整天都很晴朗。 Why does the first sentence not use 上 but the second sentence does? Is there any difference between 电视 and 电视上? I think ...
1
vote
3answers
176 views

Translation: couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery, etc

Looking for a colloquial Chinese translation of the English: Couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery Wiktionary: Presents an example of a minimally simple project that the person or group ...
1
vote
1answer
173 views

Why use name of particular hairstyle 堕云髻 (low cloud bun?

The translation of Der Prozess (审判)by Franz Kafka contains the following sentence 他凝视着她的头发;她那头微微发红的头发梳得很整齐,中间分开,脑后束成一个堕云譬(apparently a misprint of 髻)corresponding to:"He looked at her hair in front of ...
5
votes
2answers
173 views

Chinese words for “accent”

The English word accent, as in the flavor of one's speech, is typically translated as 口音 or 腔调. What is the difference between these two Chinese expressions?
1
vote
2answers
133 views

How would you say, “Don't let price interfere with your happiness” in Cantonese?

How would you say, "Don't let price interfere with your happiness" in Cantonese? After asking a few Cantonese speakers, there were still no conclusive answers but a few suggestions: 1)冇俾價錢影響你快樂 ...
1
vote
2answers
113 views

Is this funny way of saying things some dialect?

本身明明长患上丑还说[...]那鸣一个惨呀! 长患 should be 长相 and 鸣 should be 叫, but they appear too many times that the possibility of them being typos is close to nil. [...]以是在贬低他人的时辰就出格不留人情,以是咱们见到这类人时可以绝不夷由地上往打。 ...

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