2
votes
5answers
323 views

“我们过去了” was he joking?

One man and I were crossing a busy Beijing intersection and were almost across when tour buses cut us off from both sides and we stood between them as they passed. He smiled at me and said "我们过去了!' ...
7
votes
2answers
201 views

How to say “dull the knife”?

I want to translate "Using the knife on these types of surfaces will dull the knife." This I find to be difficult grammatically as well. However, I'm not sure how to say "dull" in Mandarin, and google ...
5
votes
3answers
138 views

Difference between 部门 and 系

Does any difference exist between 部门 and 系? These are the two different results I get from Google translate: I work in the university Chinese language department 我的工作在大学中国语文系 I work in ...
6
votes
3answers
293 views

病了: Function of 了

I came across the following sentence: 我病了。 I know 了 has many functions, and I believe one of them is a completive marker (past tense). But this sentence is apparently in the present, based on the ...
3
votes
1answer
165 views

Children's play equipment and 儿童乐园

On the weekend I asked my mother-in-law how to say "children's play equipment" in Chinese, the answer I received was 儿童乐园. I want to get some clarification on this and want someones help on ...
5
votes
1answer
240 views

What traditions do people follow when naming a second child in Chinese?

What traditions do Chinese people follow when selecting names for consecutive (2nd, 3rd etc.) children? In the case of my own children the second child was given the same middle character as my ...
9
votes
1answer
847 views

What does the Twitter hashtag #壕 mean?

I'm guessing it's slang and it looks like it has a positive connotation. Like 加油? Or maybe it sounds like 好, it means good? The dictionary says it means air-raid shelter / trench. Here are some ...
9
votes
2answers
327 views

How to use 也好. Not meaning 'also good'

My non-Mandarin colleagues have been using 英文也好,中文也好 lately and I assumed from their context they meant both languages are equal in whatever comparison they were making. When I looked it up I ...
3
votes
2answers
316 views

What is the Chinese word for “home office”?

What is the correct Chinese term for "home office"? 办公室 is an office in an office building, and would not be correct.
9
votes
3answers
278 views

您 vs 你 for parents?

Having studied French, I'm aware of the subtle social intricacies of the formal vs. informal "you." I figured Chinese was at least similar, i.e., informal for people of your generation, people you ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Modern vocab. “selfie”, “troll” and “spam”

Do the following modern English words have Chinese equivelants that are understood by most young people: selfie troll / trolled spam phishing scam
2
votes
1answer
137 views

Does chinese songs have a natural word order?

In English, it is hard to rhyme. So writers sometimes resort to rather awkward sentence structures, just to get the song to rhyme. Recent example from Maroon Five: I'm at a payphone trying to call ...
1
vote
2answers
176 views

Are there any good reverse transliteration strategies?

So I've been watching a lot of international news in chinese. I find that I have problems putting things in context because there are a whole lot of names of people and places which I don't know the ...
5
votes
6answers
334 views

Using 老头 / 老头子 when speaking to others

I'm trying to get some clarification on whether or not it is impolite to use 老头 / 老头子 when speaking outside a group of friends when referring to a third party. From my understanding 老头 is quite ...
3
votes
3answers
118 views

有一天: past as well as future?

I'm told that to express something as "one day" in the future, it's 「有一天」. For example, 「我希望有一天能够说好华语。」"I hope that one day I can speak Chinese well." Would you also use this to the English idiom ...
4
votes
2answers
287 views

Need help understanding 爱慕虚荣

I came across this phrase 爱慕虚荣 today in a piece of writing. When I use Goggle translate it tells me 爱慕虚荣 means "vain", but 虚荣 by itself also means "vain" and when I search for "vain" and ask for the ...
3
votes
3answers
427 views

Learn to type in Pinyin for a Zhuyin user

After years of frustration about not being able to distinguish ㄥ ㄣ, and nearly no improvements on iOS Zhuyin keyboard layout. I decided to switch to Pinyin for both mobile usage and daily desktop (I ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

How to estimate your score for an HSK practice exam?

I'm preparing for my first HSK exam in October - probably level 1 - so I completed a practice exam. I know the number of correct answers, but I don't how to convert these into a score. From what ...
2
votes
2answers
110 views

Is there any authoritative works related to measure words?

I know that the Chinese ministry of education did release a lot of authoritative books on how characters should be simplified, how their stroke orders should be, and other similar stuff. But it ...
6
votes
4answers
440 views

该 - How do you know when to use it? Nothing to do with 应该

In the sentence below, why do you need 该公司? Chinese is contextual, right? 公司 talked about previously is 苹果. Instead of 该公司, why not use 它? Or 这个公司? 也有一些分析师和投资者为苹果辩护,他们说,该公司 完全清楚自己在做什么,设定的价格也符合 该公司 ...
9
votes
3answers
461 views

How is the 儿 ending pronounced outside Beijing?

When Beijingers use words like 一点儿, the ending syllable will be very pronounced as far as I understand, and I'm aware that this is a typical feature of the Beijing dialect. But how is it pronounced in ...
6
votes
1answer
370 views

Describing a person that can speak Mandarin

Yesterday I met a person that can speak Mandarin. We had a nice chat and I was going over it in my head today. I want to tell another friend that I met someone that can speak mandarin, but I'm having ...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

不要多给: not a single cent more?

I'm reading a weird story about a myna (八哥儿,是一种鸟儿) that speaks and is quoting the price for himself, since he's a talking bird. Is what he adds after his price idiomatically translated as something ...
12
votes
3answers
919 views

中文 vs. 汉语: What's the difference?

Apparently, both of these mean Chinese, and the Chinese language. I gather that 中文 is maybe more like "written Chinese," and 汉语 is "spoken Chinese." Is this correct? I've often looked at BBC ...
6
votes
5answers
721 views

Are there any free fonts designed to help learn/read Chinese?

Problem As a Chinese student I found that one of the first barrier is reading. Indeed, when trying to acquire new vocabulary one might be faced with the opacity of the Chinese character as opposed to ...
6
votes
3answers
483 views

Is there on-line Corpus for Chinese language?

Like Brown Corpus for English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Corpus
-2
votes
1answer
92 views

Is there on-line Thesaurus of Association for Chinese language? [closed]

Where one can find for chinese words a list of associations. That is for linguistics purposes. Here is Association Tesaurus for russian language: http://tesaurus.ru/dict/dict.php
7
votes
3answers
364 views

份, 个, 本, 两: How do they function in these sentences?

I've been working with Rosetta Stone for about 2 weeks now, and due to the immersion (from the start, the entire program is entirely Chinese—no English anywhere), they don't do any explaining of ...
4
votes
3answers
388 views

娘炮 - how do you pronounce this word/phrase?

娘 is clearly niang2, but 炮 is a multiple pronunciation character; it can be bao1 or pao2 or pao4 according to the dictionaries I consulted. I tried searching Baidu for "娘炮拼音" but didn't find anything. ...
2
votes
3answers
325 views

How to use 如 to make comparisons or analogies

I see this come up sometimes in idioms, and I find it easy to understand but not easy to use(1) Is it used to spoken comparisons or analogies? Or is it only for literary, formal, fixed expression? If ...
5
votes
2answers
456 views

How come 驚 evolves to 惊 in mainland China

Isn't it more intuitive to just replace 馬 with 马 at the base of 驚 to get a well inductive simplified one? Quite weird, uh? Any historical, geopolitical, or other reason for the simplification of 驚 ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Various ways of saying OK?

I mean OK as in said in agreement with what someone has suggested. A: We should go to the park. B: OK. If someone used the verb 不 verb structure I would think you should use the same verb in ...
7
votes
3answers
839 views

How to say “giving someone the benefit of the doubt” in Chinese?

This expression connotes that one is willing to not insist on accusing someone of a mistake despite most evidence pointing to that someone as being responsible. As in a legal proceeding where the jury ...
2
votes
4answers
230 views

How to say she short changed me (without negative conotation)?

For example, if I went to the bank to withdraw money from my account and my account showed I took out $50, but the bank teller only gave me $40. I don't want to imply the bank teller was trying to ...
6
votes
5answers
620 views

What is the difference between 看不起 and 看不上?

The two have very similar meanings and can both be used to mean "detest, despise, look down upon" but there seems to be a subtle difference. According to these entries: 看不起 ...
8
votes
1answer
345 views

What's the difference between 看起来 and 看上去?

I see them both used in the same way and both seem to get equal hits in Baidu. Here are some sample sentences containing each. http://www.dictall.com/st/60/37/60372038C00.htm ...
6
votes
2answers
234 views

The mysterious role of 占 in a sentence

I know that 占 means "to occupy/to take up". But in this following sentence, I can not figure out what it adds to the meaning as a whole: "对占人口绝大多数的民众来说,还是觉得有钱应该省着花" If I take "zhan" away, ...
8
votes
1answer
488 views

V + 到。。。。头上来: Exact meaning and how to use?

I know that the abovementioned formula expresses a negative result, but I am not exactly sure how to translate it. Some questions: 1 How to translate it well into English? 2 Can I use it ...
2
votes
4answers
175 views

What is the purpose of using 成语接龙 to learn 成语?

My son attends Chinese classes and one of the techniques they focus on is teaching the children to learn 成语接龙. From my observation this allows someone to learn a large number of 成语 as it prompts you ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

How to improve my Chinese writing

When someone has grasped the basic concepts of writing Chinese there comes a point where handwriting starts to look plain or mechanical. From what I have seen the lines look very straight and like ...
3
votes
1answer
269 views

Understanding different Chinese writing styles

Aside from the standard printing style of Chinese (what is referred to in this wikipedia article as regular script), what are the main styles that are in modern use? When looking at different styles ...
4
votes
3answers
363 views

Use of 而 preceding verb

I have only been studying a short while in spare time but have seen quite a few simple sentences in which 而 precedes the verb. Are there any basic ideas about the structure of such sentences? Places ...
3
votes
2answers
262 views

What does 唰 (shua1) mean?

I met the word 唰 shua1 in a Xi Yang Yang book as the sound 唰唰 one character makes while eating. Two sources agree it is "onomat. quick slick up." I don't know the English "quick slick up." Google ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Windows 8 Chinese Input: Trackpad and Stylus

When using a laptop touchpad to input Chinese via handwriting on Windows 8, I either have to double tap or press down in order to write. On a MacBook, I just write without needing an initial double ...
7
votes
5answers
319 views

Informed sources for videos of Chinese movies

I have gotten two videos of Chinese movies at Amazon and in fact both had Mandarin soundtracks with a choice of Chinese (simplified or traditional) or English subtitles. That is what I wanted. But ...
3
votes
2answers
653 views

How widely is Mandarin used in Nanjing?

I know there is a Nanjing dialect of Jianghuai Mandarin but I have not been able to learn much about current usage in the city of Nanjing. For example, do many people in Nanjing today ordinarily ...
3
votes
5answers
238 views

correct pinyin and pronunciation for 太阳

What is the correct pinyin and pronunciation for 太阳? most dictionaries put it as: tai4 yang2. though i noticed cc-cedict uses tai4 yang5. and there is a discussion in the change log around colloquial ...
3
votes
1answer
268 views

What does 七年之痒 mean?

I looked it up and something about the Seven Year Itch but I'm kind confused. Does it have any deep meaning in Chinese culture?
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Usage of 吗 vs 嘛 in Informal Questions [duplicate]

A friend wanted to know what I was doing so sent a message with this question: 你在干吗呢, then immediately corrected herself by typing: 你在干嘛呢. I found it interesting that Google translate seems to do a ...
6
votes
2answers
230 views

Regional variations of “柴米油盐酱醋茶”

When I was very small, my grandparents mentioned there are regional variations of the phrase 柴米油盐酱醋茶 which is widely known to the local population (instead of made up by nobody and only used by a ...

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