All Questions

6
votes
4answers
627 views

What's the difference between 舅舅 and 叔叔?

My favorite short story in modern Mandarin, 2015 by 王小波, is basically a long, humorous digression about the author's 舅舅: ...
6
votes
3answers
317 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。 ...
6
votes
3answers
215 views

When should 了 be after the verb and when should it be at the end of the sentence?

In a sentence such as "因为我去面试了,所以我刮了胡子", in one case, 了 is after the sentence, while in the other case it's after the verb, even though in both cases, 了 is used to express the past tense. So how to ...
5
votes
6answers
690 views

犬子: who's the dog?

犬子 (literally, dog + son) is an archaic, self-depreciatory term to refer to your son (occasionally it's used to insult other people's sons). This answer raises a question though; who is the dog ...
5
votes
2answers
194 views

奇 is a strange character

Lost Etymology 奇 ( jī | qí ) is a character that means strange but the etymology appears to have been lost. At least as far as I can tell after researching offline books, zhongwen.com, and ...
5
votes
5answers
484 views

Why do you say 我没有错 instead of 我不错 to say “I'm not wrong”? When should I use 没有?

I'm trying to understand when 没有 should be used instead of 不 when negating a sentence. Consider the example "I'm not wrong." Why is it 没有错? How can I know when to use 没有 when negating a sentence? ...
5
votes
4answers
221 views

太: Meaning in 灰太狼

灰太狼 灰太狼 (A character in a TV show) is translated in English as "Grey Wolf". What has happened to the 太, wouldn't 灰狼 be enough to mean "Grey Wolf"?
5
votes
2answers
356 views

“If you say so”: Dismissive agreement

I would like to know some ways to agree in a non-committal or dismissive way. For instance, in English, we have: If you say so. Is that so? (with a flat intonation) Really? (flat ...
5
votes
4answers
246 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
153 views

Zhuyin IME and tone 0/5 syllables

I'm teaching myself bopomofo/zhuyin keyboard while I'm in Taiwan. My Chinese level is raw beginner too. I just came across the word for tofu: Hanzi: 豆腐 Pinyin: dòufu Zhuyin: ㄉㄡˋㄈㄨ· (or ㄉㄡˋㄈㄨ˙) We ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

Can we call someone X太太 or not?

Can we call someone X太太 ? or is it the calling of husband to his wife? In my textbook everybody calls one women 錢太太. But my teacher said it is unsuitable. Which one is correct?
3
votes
2answers
278 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
198 views

non-standard tone pronunciation

After carefully listening to the tapes of Assimil "Chinese with ease", I noticed that the pronunciation by the native speakers of a few characters differs from the standard tones: 多 pronounced with a ...
3
votes
6answers
1k views

How to translate “暧昧” into English?

Many dictionaries translate it to "ambiguity",but it looks so indefinitely. I'm looking for more expressive answer.
3
votes
2answers
301 views

Can someone explain the differences between these sentences?

There are some sentences in Chinese which possess different meanings under different circumstances. Can someone explain the differences? Example 1 a) In winter says: 能穿多少穿多少 b) In summer says: ...
3
votes
2answers
175 views

Measure words for disrespect

I know certain measure words convey respect, for example: 一位客人 Is there something similar I could use to emphatically disrespect someone, as in: 他是一?饭桶 Or is just using 个 disrespectful ...
3
votes
4answers
449 views

How to express “same shit, different names” in Mandarin?

I was recently discussing computer games with a friend and realised that I don't know how to express "same shit, different names" in Chinese. We were talking about DotA, LoL and similar games. If I ...
2
votes
1answer
372 views

Are tones sometimes glossed over?

To elaborate, although ni3 hao3 has a double third tone, when I hear native speakers say it, it's said so quickly that they definitely are not using that tone, nor is there feasibly time to use the ...
1
vote
6answers
170 views

How to introduce “Husband” in social occasions?

Some common words are 先生 or 老公, Are there any other options that would be more socially appropriate?
1
vote
2answers
129 views

List of historical Chinese currency terms

Does anyone know where I can find a list of terms used for units of currency throughout the history of China? I am especially interested in finding those terms that can function as 量词, like 文 and 贯. ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

What computer games provide practice? [closed]

What On-line, for download or for purchase software-based games provide fun language practice for learners of Chinese? What level of learner are they best suited for? What platform do they run on?
11
votes
6answers
481 views

When is it appropriate to address a lady as 先生?

Chairman Mao addressed Soong Ching-ling as 宋庆龄先生. Yang Jiang was also addressed as 杨绛先生 by the public. My dad used to tell me to address some of his female colleagues as 先生 too. I wonder why a lady ...
8
votes
3answers
101 views

How common is the use of “瞧” and which region?

I've seen 瞧 used every now and then in written Chinese, but I've rarely heard it said in spoken Chinese except for the occasional mention of 瞧不起. A couple of days ago I was watching Kung Fu Panda and ...
8
votes
4answers
187 views

Etymology of 汉语

I knew a Chinese woman who taught me a lot about Chinese languages. One of them was about 汉语's etymology. I was told that all parts of these characters had a meaning connected to the History of ...
7
votes
2answers
435 views

Pronunciation of 一 in 一个

When I first learnt the numbers, I learnt 一 with the first tone yi1. But now, during a Memrise lesson, they teach me that 一个 should be pronounced yi2 ge4 or yi2 ge5. Is this correct and, if so, is ...
7
votes
1answer
279 views

Determine radicals for simplifed characters that lost their traditional form completely

Having read this question: How can one determine the radical for a given character?, it gave me another question. Since many simplified characters lost their original form (compared to traditional ...
7
votes
2answers
508 views

我(也)很好 and tone sandhi

What are the (resultant) tones in those sentences, where all the words in isolation have 3rd tone? 我很好。 我也很好。 Reading tone shandhi rules on Wikipedia, there is no explanation about tree or ...
6
votes
5answers
815 views

Written Cantonese Pronunciation

I recently attended a Cantonese reading class in Hong Kong and discovered that pronunciation of the spoken form of written Cantonese can be very different from normal speech. The teacher was not able ...
6
votes
4answers
276 views

What is the meaning of 相声?

Today I read a blog post talking about a Canadian guy called Mark Rowswell (aka 大山) that appears on Chinese TV shows and who is able to do 相声. This 相声 is referred to as "the art of language". What ...
5
votes
3answers
442 views

Teaching Pinyin and Characters together vs Teaching Pinyin then Characters

I'm designing a curriculum to teach middle school students elementary Chinese. When I started learning, I began with Traditional Chinese characters and pinyin together on day one. I'm not so sure the ...
5
votes
4answers
318 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
539 views

What is the most common word in use to describe 'DVD' and what is its measure word

I've heard the Chinese are fine to use the English word DVD, rather than the chinese word. What is more common, and what measure word do they use with it?
4
votes
2answers
66 views

Tone three sandhi

If there are two third tones in a row, e.g. ni3hao3, the first one is pronounced as a second tone, i.e. ni3hao3=ni2hao3. At least, that's what I was told in a course. What happens with more ...
4
votes
4answers
458 views

Difference between 我饿了 and 我很饿?

Someone tried to explain the difference in this answer http://chinese.stackexchange.com/a/43/38 saying that 我饿了 means "I became hungry", but I don't see the difference because we don't say I became ...
3
votes
3answers
330 views

Why is 的 used in these sentences?

I have the following sentences: 你是哪一天出生的? (sentence 1) I'm trying to understand why 的 is being used in this sentence. I know it is used to express possession, but I'm not sure that's the case is ...
3
votes
3answers
362 views

Regional pronunciations of standard Mandarin [closed]

When I first came to China, I was quite disappointed to find out that, in so many places, the colloquial pronunciation was so greatly different from the one I've studied so far. The phonological ...
3
votes
4answers
283 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
258 views

Usage of 了 and 以后

For the sentence 'I watched a movie after I had food', are the following translations equivalent? Additionally, is the 3rd translation incorrect (is the ...了...以后... usage valid)? 我吃了饭看电影。 我吃饭以后看电影。 ...
2
votes
2answers
145 views

What word could you use to approach your friend in Chinese with?

Either close friends, family friends or fun/casual friends. E.g. "hey ... (close/family/fun friend), what are you up to?" I am looking for a word to replace the "close/family/fun friend" with.
2
votes
3answers
204 views

Is it 說 /说 / shuō or 講 / 讲 / jiǎng for “to speak a language”?

I've realized that I still don't know the way to talk about "speaking a language", for instance the Chinese equivalents to sentences like these: Do you speak English? I can speak a little Chinese. ...
2
votes
3answers
114 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.
2
votes
2answers
776 views

Are there poems in Chinese that rhyme?

I've mostly read classical poems from guys such as 李白 and 杜甫, very nice in their own way, but it made me wonder if there is some form of poetry with rhymes in Chinese. It would probably be more ...
1
vote
3answers
115 views

怎么用汉语说 ”early/mid/late 20's“ 或 “low/mid/high” 20's"?

比如,如果我要翻译: The temperature in Beijing tomorrow will be in its low/mid/late 20's 或者 I'm guessing she's in her early/mid/(high or upper) 20's 要怎么翻译? 更新: 1.)一般来说,early/low 等于 20-23, mid 等于 ...
1
vote
3answers
141 views

What is the difference between 看到 and 看过?

I've learned them in Chinese class, but still a bit confused, 看 means see, but what is the difference between 看到 and 看过?
1
vote
3answers
229 views

What is the difference between 假如 and 例如?

What's the difference between 假如 and 例如? As far as I know, their usage is the same.
1
vote
1answer
158 views

What is the difference between qi3 and qi3 lai2?

In both situations my pen is now on a table. Speaking to another person, why do we say: 1) Qing3 na2 qi3 wo3 de5 bi3. 请拿起我的笔。 Not: 2) Qing3 na2 qi3 lai2 wo3 de5 bi3. 请拿起来我的笔。 How does the ...

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