9
votes
3answers
503 views

Dog radical (犭) for non-Han ethnic groups

As far as I understand, the dog radical (犭) was used for all non-Han ethnic groups before the Chinese Communist Party took power on the mainland. Is there truth to that? If so: Why did the CCP stop ...
3
votes
2answers
205 views

Authoritative source for 一 changing to 4th tone before 1st, 2nd or 3rd

In another users answer http://chinese.stackexchange.com/a/2046/38 they said: 一 is pronounced in the first tone when it stands alone. It is pronounced in the fourth tone when it precedes a ...
5
votes
9answers
716 views

Is 我很对不起你 a unique sentence structure?

I'd never seen or heard this before until I recently watched a TV series and had to ask my wife to explain. My initial guess was that it meant "I feel sorry for you" when in fact it means something ...
2
votes
3answers
159 views

Should the temporal indicators be in a certain order?

To translate “what did you eat today at lunch?” in Chinese, I have 午饭 to translate lunch, and 今天 for today. Do they have to be located at the beginning of the sentence? 今天午饭你吃了什么? or can I put ...
5
votes
2answers
150 views

Are there any short prose or poetry works in classical or modern Chinese designed specifically to teach the names of the 64 hexagrams?

For a while I have wanted to learn to match the character names of the 64 hexagrams to the hexagrams themselves. Unfortunately, as for the names and hexagrams, none of them really stick in my memory. ...
6
votes
5answers
605 views

Could you explain the structure of this sentence?

The sentence 我吃饭的时候看了一本书。 apparently has two verbs (吃 and 看), but I can’t see how the two actions are correlated. Could anyone explain that?
4
votes
6answers
782 views

Origin of 呆在 vs 待在

Both 呆在 and 待在 are acceptable ways of writing dai1 zai4 meaning "stay at/in". For instance, a couple sentences from iciba: 我们因天气寒冷呆在家里。 Because of the cold weather, we stayed at home. ...
8
votes
8answers
971 views

Difference between 是不是喝酒了? and 喝酒了没有?

What is the difference between 是不是吃了蛋糕? and 吃蛋糕了没有? or 是不是喝酒了? and 喝酒了没有?
7
votes
1answer
345 views

Pinyin “ying” has an “o” sound?

Look at 1:54 and 5:22 of this video: Chinese Pinyin in 6 Mins Is ying really pronounced with an "o" sound? This seems counterintuitive, especially when yin (at 1:49 in the video) sounds as a native ...
3
votes
3answers
326 views

Is this sentence ambiguous out of context?

My newsletter says this sentence 我五分钟后就回来。 is translated as "I'll be back in 5 minutes". I am curious to know whether this sentence could be translated as "I came back 5 minutes ago", or does ...
7
votes
2answers
441 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
292 views

In this sentence, what is the purpose of 的?

Consider this sentence: 你说的是什么? I understand that 的 permits creating adjectives, like 我的 would be "my". But here, I can’t see how it works. What is its purpose?
9
votes
6answers
908 views

How were Chinese characters taught to Chinese children before the introduction of pinyin?

Before schools started to use pinyin for teaching characters to Chinese children, how and/or what was used to teach it instead? And what about how dictionaries showed the pronunciation of characters?
3
votes
3answers
315 views

pronunciation of 人 - regional or gender differences?

To my English tuned ear, these audio files of people pronouncing 人 sound very different. My colleague (a native Mandarin speaker) insists they are the same sound, and thinks I am just confused ...
10
votes
3answers
770 views

Difference between 与,和 and 跟?

Do the following three sentences mean the same thing, that is, can they be used interchangeably? 她的父母就来我们家与我的家人见面了。 她的父母就来我们家和我的家人见面了。 她的父母就来我们家跟我的家人见面了。
3
votes
2answers
173 views

Difference between 活 and 住?

I read that both 活 and 住 both refer to the verb "to live". Is there a difference between the two?
2
votes
2answers
240 views

Ordering food from a menu in a restaurant

How should I order food from a menu in a restaurant? In English I'd usually say something like 'I'll have the beef' or 'one of these and two of those' while pointing. In the past in China I have ...
7
votes
4answers
524 views

What is 人 doing in 你现在人在哪里?

I got this sentence in my "daily exercise" newsletter, and I really don't understand what's 人 doing there? Doesn't it mean the same when 人 is removed? Could this simply be a typo?
2
votes
2answers
303 views

What effective methods exists for visual learners to get Chinese grammar?

I want to learn Chinese grammar (e.g. sentence structure), however, I am a highly visual person and feel a visual learning process would help me the most. I have already taken a beginner Chinese ...
4
votes
2answers
255 views

Tips for multiple-pronunciation characters (多音字)

This is a broad request for tips, but I have a specific question in mind as well. 尽 can be pronounced as "jin4" or "jin3". In Pleco, the definition for "jin3" is "to the greatest extent" while one ...
20
votes
7answers
817 views

Can Chinese readers scan large amounts of text faster/more accurately than their alphabet-using counterparts?

I was browsing one day and came across this comment in this discussion(italics mine): I feel English is a reading language, if you are reading an English book, you watch the word and make sound in ...
2
votes
9answers
603 views

Are “我在哪里可以买火车票” and “我哪里可以买火车票” both correct sentences?

Are "我在哪里可以买火车票" and "我哪里可以买火车票" both correct sentences? If one isn't, why?
6
votes
3answers
193 views

Visual puns and phrases

Some characters are visual puns: 尜 (小大小), 尖 (小大); others are a phrase written as a single character: 膥 (未成肉), 籴 (入米), 汆 (入水), 奀 (不大). What are some other characters which fit into these categories?
3
votes
1answer
269 views

What dialect could this be? (Southern China)

I was yesterday in a bus in the HK neighbourhood called 上環/soeng6 waan4. A guy nearby was talking in a strange, almost alien-sounding, Chinese dialect. At some point he mentioned (what I suppose is ...
3
votes
5answers
282 views

Table-tennis table: 乒乓球桌, 乒乓球台 or 乒乓球案子?

I have found those translations of a "table-tennis table": 乒乓球桌 乒乓球台 乒乓球案子 Searching for pictures of them, all 3 appear to be the same thing. On http://www.mdbg.net/ I only found 乒乓球台 . Are ...
4
votes
4answers
205 views

What's an appropriate conversational response to 这是什么?

In English, if someone points to a book and says "What's that?", "A book" is a sufficient reply. In Chinese, if someone points to a book and says "这是什么?", can you say "书" or maybe "一本书"? What's the ...
5
votes
2answers
294 views

留学: Why the use of “留”?

I'm sure like many students of Chinese, my first encounter with the character 留 was in the word 留学, meaning "to study abroad". Some time later I encountered 留 as an independent word, meaning "to ...
5
votes
2answers
257 views

Language Learning Software That Teaches Mechanics (Not Phrases)

I've tried out various language learning software (Rosetta Stone, Tell Me More, Transparent), and I've been severely disappointed by the fact that not one of them actually teaches you the LANGUAGE, ...
2
votes
3answers
358 views

国家 vs. 国, when can 国 be used alone?

In the Chinese book for beginners by Bellassen, it is stated that 国 cannot be used alone: it doesn't have a meaning on its own, and thus the word country/fatherland is 国家 and not 国. However... I am ...
11
votes
4answers
698 views

How to pronounce “下载”

How to pronounce the word "下载", "xià zǎi" or "xià zài"? Most Chinese people pronounce it "xià zǎi", but there are some people insist on pronouncing it "xià zài". There are different also different ...
-1
votes
2answers
122 views

Is there any website of where I can look up the origins of a Chinese character? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What etymology dictionaries are available? What was this online dictionary's name with ancient traditional and simplified characters and etymology? I always wanted to ...
2
votes
6answers
711 views

What is 德国 and naming history in China?

Here is what I think and how it is named: In Google translate it says it means "virtue country". My guess is probably wrong but here it is: China is an alliy of America, and America boosted up the ...
3
votes
3answers
364 views

What is the meaning of 老不死 exactly?

I'd like to know in depth detail, what is the meaning of this expression? How come there is only a few people saying it? Old and not died is a good thing in my mind.
1
vote
1answer
134 views

询问奸雄所见略同的由来 and how does it relate to chinese

The quote"我很想询问奸雄所见略同的由来" seems very interesting to me. And in Google Translate, it translates to "I would like to ask the king's men great minds think alike the origin of." It doesn't seem to make ...
2
votes
3answers
223 views

What is 被 doing in sentence “这种病在三十年前就被根除了”?

I understand that the sentence means something like "This disease was eradicated 30 years ago", but I have no idea what role does 被 have in it? Is the sentence okay if we remove it? Does it convey ...
5
votes
3answers
240 views

What is the function of 已 in 好像她已出去好几天了。

What is the purpose of 已 in the following sentence? 好像她已出去好几天了。 The English translation given is: It looks as if she's gone away for a few days. Or is this an incorrect-character, supposed ...
1
vote
1answer
214 views

“母牛流产了“ - ”The cow cast her calf"? HSK Anki flash cards

I'm reviewing the HSK1-limited-part1 flash card deck on Anki, and I keep coming accross this one flash card. On the front, it says 母牛流产了 and for the definition, The cow cast her calf What ...
5
votes
4answers
322 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
267 views

What’s the meaning of 会 in this sentence?

In this sentence: 你明天这个时候会是在做什么?, I find 会 useless, especially since its English translation on tatoeba.org does not seem to reflect its sense. What meaning does it carry here?
8
votes
1answer
244 views

Is there a difference between 夂 and 夊?

Looking at the list of Kangxi radicals over at Wikipedia, I just noticed something I haven't noticed before. Radical number 34 (夂) and 35 (夊) are virtually identical. I write these radicals in the ...
4
votes
3answers
203 views

What's the difference between 快 and 快要?

I started to learn Chinese like one month ago and I'm facing a first misunderstanding. In my book it says that 快 can be used to say "soon" but 快要 is also used to express the same thing. Is there a ...
3
votes
4answers
285 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
112 views

Are these correct headings for a spreadsheet?

The spreadsheet is related to food safety (processing, handling, storage, etc.) ID: 编号 (项目?) Process: 制程 Food category:食品类别 Standard: 标准 Frequency (as in how many times per day or every how many ...
8
votes
3answers
395 views

Can 下次 mean “again”?

I found a sentence on tatoeba that isn't quite the translation I would expect. I will not do it again. Is translated as... 下次我不做了。 I checked mdbg.net to be sure, and 下次 is only translated ...
7
votes
1answer
201 views

How is the Kanji character 豚 related to the chinese 猪 / 豬

The Chinese character for pig is 猪 / 豬 (zhu1) In many Japanese restaurants around Hong Kong I've seen this somewhat different character 豚 which appears to also mean pig. How would you say it in ...
10
votes
4answers
799 views

How is 就 (jiù) used?

Pimsleur's Mandarin course teaches "I'm leaving very early tomorrow morning" as: 我明天早上很早就走 (wŏ míngtiān zăoshàng hĕn zăo jiù zŏu) It says that 就 (jiù) doesn't have a corresponding meaning in ...
6
votes
2answers
148 views

Which measure word should I use with 角色?

Nciku tells me the proper measure word is 类, but a quick search on Google garnered mostly results like "哪类角色更容易赢“小金人”?“ implying that for the most part 类 is used when inquiring about a particular type ...
2
votes
1answer
329 views

How useful are the kanji in reading Chinese? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it easier to learn Chinese after learning Japanese or vice versa? I'm learning Japanese, and I'm going to learn all of the jouyou kanji, which is about 2000 ...
7
votes
4answers
782 views

Learning Traditional first with the goal of learning both

I found this in the Mandarin wikibook: "It is considered easier for people who learn Traditional to read both sets than people who learn Simplified only, but Simplified characters are less ...
4
votes
1answer
518 views

Does 给你 mean “Here you go?”

I found a very short sentence on tatoeba.org. All it says is, "给你。" That literally means "Give you," but what does it really mean? My best guess is that I could say it as I give something to you, ...

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