9
votes
4answers
868 views

List of hanzi and their components

I would like to be able to compute the distance between 2 hanzi according to their components. My idea is that a hanzi like 式 is made of 工 and 弋. 2 hanzi are close if they share common components. ...
6
votes
2answers
212 views

How can I skip characters I can't read when reading aloud?

As an example, I was at the cinema and I wanted to buy tickets for a film named 北京遇上西雅图 However, I can't read all of the characters. In English I'd say; Can I get a ticket for that film ...
7
votes
4answers
479 views

How would one say “my computer died”?

I know 关掉 to mean "turn off" but it doesn't seem to convey the sudden-ness or unwelcome connotation of "died". 突然关掉 is more precise but still seems to lack the negitivity. Also, as this is a common ...
2
votes
4answers
518 views

how to say ”(尤为)难得“ in English?

How would you say "难得“ and ”尤为难得“ in English? For example, 他在自己生活困难的情况下,资助老弱病残,尤为难得。 Thanks!
4
votes
3answers
532 views

Translating the idiom “thinking outside the box”

I normally hate overused catchphrases in English, like "paradigm shift" and "out of the box thinking". But I was recently chatting (in Chinese) with a friend about an earlier situation in which ...
3
votes
5answers
331 views

Proper translation of the word “confidence”

What would be the proper way of translating I don't have confidence in myself to dance on stage. I understand that this isn't a translation service, but my difficulty arises from the many ...
2
votes
3answers
220 views

Translating the word “feelings” for conversational use

When I look for a dictionary translation of "feelings", I see two translations: 情怀 and 情面. Which of these two would be better suited to translate the following sentence The woman rhetorically ...
2
votes
2answers
236 views

Is it possible to use the verb particle 过 for future events?

I know it's possible to the use perfective aspect particle 了 for future events, eg: 你家少爷长大了准能当个二流子。 I have yet to find example of similar occurrences with 过. Is it even possible to use it in ...
9
votes
4answers
464 views

Why does 首饰的饰 have the 饣radical?

According to my sources 饣 means "food" or "eat". Since when do people eat jewelry?
9
votes
2answers
421 views

Measure Words and their English Analogue

I was taught that the closest analogue in English of Chinese measure words are 'units', e.g. "a pile of wood", "a cup of water", etc. What strikes me as a bit odd about this analogy is that the units ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do the names of some Chinese companies consist of “repeated” words?

I'm referring to the repetition of names such as "Dangdang" and "Renren." Why is this the case?
8
votes
1answer
172 views

How to say the term “招” and “式” in English?

It's used as a classifier, like this: "亢龙有悔"是"降龙十八掌"中的*一招*. and *一招一式*他都记得清清楚楚. So how to say it in English?
3
votes
2answers
262 views

Cantonese jyutping Tone 4 question “throat should be vibrating”

I was wondering whether anyone could help me distinguish how to pronounce tone 4 (mostly low flat) and tone 3 (mid flat). I read in tone 4, you should feel your throat vibrate. Honestly, I have my ...
3
votes
3answers
452 views

The origin of 鸡贼

I speak Mandarin Chinese, but it is the first time that I stumbled upon the word 鸡贼. According to 百度百科 (Baidu wiki), it means being stingy. The wiki page also says that it comes from the Beijing ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How to politely ask someone to please be quiet

There are particularly loud Chinese fellows working together in the university study room I'm working in. How do I politely ask them to quiet down? I found a literal translation on Google Translate ...
8
votes
1answer
281 views

Pronunciation of 和 in Taiwan

This is something that I noticed in Taiwanese Mandarin TV series and films. It seems that they pronounce this character as hàn instead of the commonly accepted hé. For example, 我和你 is pronounced wǒ ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Where can I find Chinese IPA transcriptions?

Since I have some experience of using IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), I thought Standard Chinese transcriptions could be a good resource for practicing my pronunciation. Is such a resource ...
5
votes
4answers
215 views

How do I practise grouping characters into words? At which stage of learning should one expect to be good at this?

I just got the following sentence in a newsletter: 请问我可以跟你借支笔吗? Being a beginner that I am, I read it as "Can I please get one pay-check in advance?" because I saw this in my dictionary: 借支 = ...
3
votes
2answers
157 views

Differentiating “to do a burnout” and “burning tyres”

"To do a burnout" is 烧胎, so I assume a reasonable sentence would be: 昨天晚上我在停车场烧胎。 How would one distinguish this activity from piling up tyres and setting fire to them, for example in this news ...
6
votes
2answers
819 views

Why does 三八 mean gossip?

I've heard in 广东 (guangdong) the term 三八 to mean "gossip", particularly for a woman who gossips. Is this common throughout China, and why does it have this meaning?
5
votes
3answers
224 views

What does 嘞 mean

I actually suspect that this character may be a typo for ”了“, but I'll ask nevertheless. What is the second character in this snippet?: I managed to write it into my pocket dictionary, it simply ...
12
votes
9answers
3k views

Why Cantonese is considered as a dialect of Chinese?

Can someone explain why Cantonese is considered as a dialect of Chinese, instead of a language? It is also for any language exist in China, both land and Taiwan (Cantonese, Hunanese, Fujianese, ...
6
votes
3answers
237 views

What's the difference between 蝦 and 鰕?

I found there are two characters for "xia1" (ghra as in Middle Chinese), 蝦 and 鰕. Could someone explain what the difference is?
6
votes
1answer
269 views

Is the traditional character for 雪 the same as itself?

Is the traditional character for ? Or are both and considered the same character (汉字) with simply different font styles?
7
votes
2answers
369 views

What is the classical Chinese meaning of 或?

I am reading a text that uses the following phrase: 或謂鄭相曰 I understand it generally to mean that someone told to the prime minister of Zheng saying However, I don't understand exactly ...
1
vote
3answers
204 views

Chinese tattoo help [closed]

I want a tattoo saying 時間 (time). However I was told this is not suitable for a tattoo. I wanted to know how to say time in chinese with a deep meaning. Is there a way to add a character so that it ...
6
votes
1answer
160 views

馅饼 in Cantonese

In the Dim Sum place I usually go to (in the U.S), they call the pan-fried bun stuffed with Chinese chive and shrimp 韭菜馅饼. I came from Northern China and the shape and size of that bun are, by any ...
9
votes
2answers
335 views

What's a precise definition of 人家

I've gathered from context, that “人家” can be used like “我” with the following differences: "人家" seems more immature/cute. I often hear it in cartoons or children's shows or said by children in ...
5
votes
4answers
218 views

央行行长会: Is the second 行 necessary?

央行行长会 - A Meeting of the Heads of Central Banks. Is the second 行 necessary? If not why not? Does 央行长 mean "Head of a Central Bank" or is it necessary to say the equivalent of "Bank-Head of a Central ...
3
votes
2answers
584 views

Advice on Mandarin Chinese passive learning

What are the best Chinese online tv channels with english subtitles for passive Mandarin learning. I find Chinese a rather musical language and would love to watch subbed tv (news, documentaries, ...
5
votes
1answer
108 views

Is the expression 学识渊博 usually used in a pejorative sense?

For example, as a sarcastic remark in the sense of "pedantic" or "know-it-all"?
5
votes
2answers
171 views

Could 恭喜发财 sound inappropriate?

I sent new year greetings to my Chinese teacher last week, writing "新年快乐! 恭喜发财!". When I saw her today she thanked me, but said I should never write 恭喜发财 to a teacher, because it's a greeting only ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Is 级 necessary in 优先级

From the dictionary I gather that 优先 by itself means "priority" and so 优先级 means "level of priority". In a phrase such as 高优先级,or 最高优先级,is the 级 necessary to sound correct, or is it an optional ...
2
votes
1answer
110 views

'Simplification' of 夠

Why did 夠 get 'simplified' into 够? I'd like to know whether these existed as orthographic variants before simplification (such that the first round simplifications just standardised on one variant) ...
6
votes
1answer
298 views

What is the etymology of 放我一马?

I've heard this a couple times now and most recently in a movie "钢的琴". It's an idiom that means "cut me some slack"; "let me off the hook". I couldn't make sense of the Baidu encyclopedia so I'm ...
3
votes
1answer
175 views

Origin of the word “娘惹”

I know what 娘惹 means (wikipedia), however, I couldn't find any reference on its origin. Is it a Chinese transliteration of a Malaysian word, a Cantonese/Hokkien word or a Mandarin word? What's the ...
5
votes
2answers
181 views

Is there a list of characters specifically used for western proper nouns?

When learning country/place names or reading about non-Chinese people in the media I see the same characters used for similar phonemes (see these celebrities). What rule or list do the writers follow ...
6
votes
2answers
109 views

How to use 凭 as a preposition

I understand 凭 as a verb to mean rely. But I often read it and the seemingly related 凭着 in familiar contexts but still do not know what function it serves. Seeing example sentences doesn't make it any ...
8
votes
3answers
328 views

我也住在這裡 or 我也住這裡

I'm quite confused with using 在 in a sentence. I learned that it usually indicates a place or a location. I'm trying to say "I also live here". I thought that since I'm referring to a place, maybe I ...
4
votes
2answers
119 views

山火 vs 野火 vs 丛林大火: Chinese for “bushfire”

I would imagine that 山火 meant "a fire in the mountains", but the dictionary lists "wildfire / forest fire". Is 山火 then a generic word for an out of control fire? What about 野火? I saw 山火 on the news, ...
2
votes
1answer
193 views

What greetings or sayings are there that are used during the new year, specific to the Year of the Snake?

At the New Year, there are some sayings or greetings that are lucky or considered "好听", which are especially fitting since they have to do with the upcoming new year. For example, at the New Year of ...
5
votes
2answers
735 views

Who exactly is a 干妈

This dictionary translates 干妈 as "Godmother", and my pocket dictionary also gives "nominal mother". In English, "Godmother" and "Godfather" are very specific titles - Your Godparents are the people ...
8
votes
5answers
432 views

What is the meaning of 真是的

What is a meaning of 真是的. I heard for many times in context something like 你真是的! And yet I have doubts about proper meaning of this expression.
2
votes
1answer
160 views

Meaning of 泡­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

I first encountered this word in the brand of a kid's drink, O泡. When I looked it up I saw that it meant something like "bubble", and was (ironically for the name of a drink) the classifier for ...
3
votes
4answers
288 views

When to use 家 vs 师 vs 员 vs 者

I'm translating my resume into Chinese so I can maybe apply for a Chinese job. There are a number of items on there where I'm not sure when to use 家, 师, 员, or 者. Example, I developed a comics ...
5
votes
4answers
399 views

Difference between 喜乐 and 快乐?

Dictionaries lead me to understand 快乐 as happy. Whereas 喜乐 as delighted, happiness, joy. In English joy denotes a stronger, deeper emotion. Is the difference in meanings of 快乐 and 喜乐 great enough to ...
1
vote
2answers
113 views

Is there an abbreviation for the 黑海/地中海 combo?

In Chinese, related region names are often abbreviated. For example, Sino-Japanese is known as 中日 and Sino-African is known as 中非.  Does anyone know whether there is a corresponding abbreviation for ...
6
votes
3answers
187 views

Early childhood Chinese language immersion accent exposure

Is it important for young children (4 or 5 years old) in a Chinese language immersion program to be exposed to more than one type of Mandarin accent? If the child only hears one accent (and one that ...
3
votes
2answers
140 views

In “我只喜歡你一個” what does the “一個” do?

If I were to translate "I only like you" I'd say 我只喜歡你 Wǒ zhǐ xǐ huan nǐ However I have seen the following 我只喜歡你一個 Wǒ zhǐ xǐ huan nǐ yī ge Translated as I like you alone ...
5
votes
4answers
230 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"?

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