7
votes
2answers
224 views

Is the measure word optional in 这件毛衣?

I've heard the sentence 这毛衣, (so without measure word), but my chinese manual always use a measure word after 这: 这件毛衣 这件苹果 Is the measure word optionnal in after 这 ?
17
votes
7answers
2k views

How did 黃 (yellow) come to mean “pornographic”?

In my dictionary it defines 黃 (Huáng) - yellow - pornographic - to fall through - surname Huang or Hwang Imperial China and the robes of the emperor are commonly associated with the colour yellow. ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Writing Chinese Characters is Sloppy

Since learning Mandarin through Rosetta Stone, Youtube videos, and friends, I've begun to keep a journal of mandarin characters and phrases. I first draw the character, along with the pinyin and ...
6
votes
5answers
511 views

What is that use of 得?

I have read the sentence: 你还记得我吗? But I can’t understand the meaning of 得, here. I don’t think it belongs to the rules explained here
12
votes
3answers
455 views

How does foreign word transliteration work in the context of Cantonese vs Mandarin?

If I understand correctly, Cantonese sounds very different from Mandarin, despite being written in the same way (omitting some small differences, which are irrelevant for the question). If it is the ...
5
votes
2answers
265 views

Errors and Unnatural Language in a Translation Challenge

I was recently challenged to translate the following sentence from English into Chinese: You should stay away from that bar. A friend of mine went there before, and he ended up in the hospital after ...
3
votes
3answers
310 views

Why is Economic translated to “經濟”?

I know that it's a translation from Japanese, but I do not know why it becomes this. Could someone explain it in detail?
3
votes
2answers
185 views

What is the appropriate translation for 'energy'?

There are many times when I want to tell someone that I don't have enough energy to do something. These are close but not exactly what I want: 我太累。 I'm not too tired, I just don't have as much energy ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Why does the word 萌 mean “cute”?

A friend of mine said in a photo of me, my eyes looked very 萌(meng2). 你的眼睛很萌 My dictionary defines 萌 as; 萌 méng (动) sprout; bud; germinate But apparently in this context it means ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Resources for learning Shanghainese

I'm surprised a question like this hasn't been asked yet. It seems Shanghainese is a dying language and it's rarely spoken. I'd like to know about resources and ways to learn the language by myself. ...
2
votes
4answers
194 views

回去回来 回来回去 来来回回 来来去去 Are they the same?

In this post, Juckele mention two terms completely new to me : 回去回来 and 回来回去. I know 来来回回 Things keep going in circle, usually use to describe situation in life 来来去去 Same as above But what about ...
10
votes
2answers
251 views

Implications of “旧的不去,新的不来”

I found this idiom while looking for another idiom my friend told me about like 回去回来 or 回来回去. I'm wondering about the implications of 旧的不去,新的不来 though. Can this be used for people who hold onto broken ...
8
votes
4answers
401 views

Pronounce ellipsis 《●●● ●●●》 in Mandarin

When I'm reading ellipses in English out loud I usually say et cetera or and so on. What should I say in Mandarin? 等等?
9
votes
2answers
386 views

Difference between 许多 and 很多

What's the difference between 许多 and 很多? For example, in this sentence I found on Jukuu both terms are used: After years of teaching, I have many memories to dwell on in idle moments. ...
2
votes
1answer
314 views

Poetic two-character words of the form: Verb + Natural Noun?

I was looking for examples in Mandarin of poetic two-character words. What words have the following form... Verb + Noun ...where the noun is something that occurs in nature? The first examples ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

茶 - How to identify varieties of tea?

I'm looking for vocabulary to help puzzle-out the kind of tea contained in various packages from the Chinese characters on their labels. So far I recognize 茶(tea) and 叶(leaves). (Apparently these ...
7
votes
2answers
156 views

他在工厂住了半年/living in factories

This was an example sentence in Practical Chinese Reader 31. Do people actually live in factories, or is there some cultural context I'm missing? In previous chapters, people are constantly visiting ...
2
votes
2answers
573 views

Are there online resources for learning the Chongqing dialect?

I'd like to learn the Chongqing dialect or chongqinghua. If anyone can help me to find resources like phrasebooks, differences with putonghua, or any article on this topic, I would be thankful.
-2
votes
2answers
233 views

What written language is more commonly used for video games in China? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the relative literacy rates in for simplified and traditional characters? Just wondering what language to use in game menus, buttons, and settings.
3
votes
7answers
391 views

Should Chinese text be grid aligned in game dialogs?

Title says it all, should I have my text using a variable width font, or fixed width. I didn't know if it is easier to read if its aligned on a grid? So here is my dialog with fixed width, one issue ...
3
votes
3answers
508 views

What are the relative literacy rates in for simplified and traditional characters?

I'm trying to decide whether it would be better to use traditional or simplified characters for an iPhone game I'm making. If something is written in traditional, how many people will be able to read ...
7
votes
4answers
617 views

Difference between 合适 and 适合

Both 合适 and 适合 mean to fit/to suit. I know the grammatical form needed for each one is different: 在这个情况下,你在穿的衣服就不合适。 我在找一个适合我的女孩子。 Aside of that, I have been told they cannot be used ...
5
votes
4answers
266 views

一、 marker meaning? Ordinal number?

What does the drop in 一、 mean?
9
votes
7answers
566 views

What is the difference between using 光 vs using 只?

What is the gramatical difference between 光 and 只? 光剩下2毛钱 does not have the same meaning/context as 只剩下2毛钱 It seems there is more emphasis to the part that comes after 光. When is the right time to ...
5
votes
1answer
166 views

Character layout in calligraphy e.g. with respect to a quotation from Confucius

I recently attended a brief introductory workshop about calligraphy at a Confucius Institute. The instructor, who also teaches at the local university and is both a calligrapher and painter from ...
3
votes
6answers
417 views

How can we translate 不是……胜似 into English?

I just saw a friend's profile saying: Not a geek, but like a geek. Somehow I immediately translated it as 不是geek胜似geek. But it seems not right since I feel that 不是geek胜似geek is much semantically ...
6
votes
1answer
239 views

Dissimilation of bilabial finals following Middle Chinese (法, 品, 凡)

Middle Chinese syllables with the shape CVP where C is a bilabial stop and P is a bilabial underwent dissimilation to CVF, where F = P[-labial]. For instance, Baxter's reconstruction of 法 is *pjop, 品 ...
3
votes
2answers
186 views

Pronunciation of 比较

On a CCTV 9 show shot in Shanghai, a couple of people who were certainly speaking Putonghua have made comparisons and if I heard right they were pronouncing 比较 as "biao." Am I wrong? Is that a common ...
3
votes
2answers
608 views

Benefits of Learning a Chinese Dialect in Addition to Standardized Mandarin

Edit: This is now cross-posted to linguistics. Studies have shown that learning more than one language helps people of all ages learn each one of the languages. For a nice mainstream media piece on ...
5
votes
2answers
237 views

How to explain the structure of “将在外,军令有所不受。”

In my own opinion, this sentence should be "将在外,军令不受". I can hardly imagine any use of "有" and "所" here. Could someone explain the structure of this sentence?
10
votes
2answers
494 views

Addressing women as “小姐” in Northern China

I heard that it is not appropriate to call women or girls "小姐" in northern China. That it is considered rough and has a meaning close to "hooker". So I never address girls or women as "小姐" in the ...
11
votes
6answers
490 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
431 views

Another meaning of 同志

Is it true that 同志 have some different meaning. Like gay (as in homosexual) or something. I know that during the XX century in China and communist Russia it was very common to call people 同志(товарищ). ...
3
votes
2answers
387 views

What are the corresponding titles for “Dr.” (in the sense of MD and PhD) in Chinese?

The prefix Dr. in English refers to both medical doctors, and PhD graduates. What are the correct titles for these in Chinese? I believe that 医生 is correct to use as a title for a medical doctor, but ...
9
votes
2answers
176 views

Difference between 生前 and 死前

Literally, 死前 means before death while 生前 means before life. They seem to bear the opposite meaning. However, in most cases, they actually mean the same thing, i.e., when someone was still alive. ...
2
votes
5answers
335 views

如果你不介意 : appropriate translation from English?

I recently heard, 如果你不介意 (literally: "if you do not mind."). Is the literal translation from English also a correct, native one? Or is there a more common way to prefix such a question?
7
votes
1answer
200 views

9 Questions from the movie Red Sorghum (红高粱)

My friend bought me a set of four Zhang Yi Mou movies. I watched Red Sorghum (红高粱) today, and there were a few sentences which, after looking up the meanings, I still couldn't quite understand. I'll ...
3
votes
2answers
196 views

Does anyone know what is the characters means (丁財貴寿)?

Does anyone know what is written on the image? I tried to find out what is it, and got 丁財貴寿 (丁财贵寿), but not quite sure enough. I tried to find the meaning of the words but seems can't find it or I ...
11
votes
5answers
754 views

Difference between 特色, 特點, 特性, 特質, and 特徵

Looking up these five words in dictionaries gives results that are almost identical. In Chinese-English dictionaries, I find explanations identical or very close to: a characteristic; a ...
5
votes
6answers
215 views

How can I interpret 多 in this sentence?

It must be pretty easy, but what does 多 mean here? 我才来了三个多月
6
votes
4answers
239 views

For all I know

There is an expression in English: "For all I know, ...." The following clause often has a modal expressing uncertainty or the hypothetical nature of the assertion, like "might", "may", "could", ...
3
votes
3answers
144 views

What is the meaning of 报 here?

A chinese friend asked me: 你有报语言培训班吗? I understand what she means, but I wonder what meaning 报 carries here. Anyone could help me?
3
votes
1answer
183 views

Does anyone recognize the characters written here?

Does anyone recognize the characters written here? I've tried to figure it out but still can't understand what is written there, since I've just recognized the rightmost character, 天. It's a carving ...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

What are the differences between the different words for mammoth? 猛犸和毛象有什么区别?

I often pick up relatively esoteric animal names, and I got looking at mammoths one day... I found two words for mammoth: 猛犸 and 毛象. What is the difference between these two words?
7
votes
5answers
1k views

How is the pinyin 'iu' pronounced?

How does one pronounce the 'iu' sound (as in liu4 = six)? I have always said it and heard it to end in an [joʊ] sound, as in 'low', 'go', and 'sew'. But once I was told that it should actually be a ...
5
votes
1answer
135 views

Which dictionaries reveal the commonly mistaken usage of a word (i.e. how NOT to use a word)?

I encountered a very useful dictionary eight years ago, but have never been able to find a copy of it because I don't know what it's called. It not only gave examples in context of how to use the ...
3
votes
5answers
427 views

How to translate “I wonder…”

How can I translate something like the below sentence into Chinese: I wonder how many people are going to the party?
8
votes
3answers
444 views

How did 外国人 become 老外?

From Baidu: 老外,是中国人对国外人的一种俗称,类似与老张、老王、老李之类的称呼。称呼中加“老”显得亲热,比如“老乡”“老表”,称呼你老外,就像称呼老张老李那样,大大咧咧,随便亲切。过去中国人对外国人的称呼都是用在第三人称上,只有“老外”可以用于第二人称。 To translate, it says laowai is a colloquial term for ...
6
votes
3answers
325 views

Meaning of 一不小心

I read a story where a child dropped a berry into a bucket full of berries and then tried to take it back. When she reached in to pick up her own berry, she grabbed a handful of the other berries. In ...
2
votes
1answer
128 views

How can I distinguish between Western style spirits and Chinese style spirits (liquor)?

I have tried to have this conversation a few times in China. The problem is when trying to explain the difference between beer, wine and spirits. People assume that spirits means something similar to ...

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