3
votes
1answer
236 views

What is the origin of the proverbial phrase, “Drink the Northwestern winds”?

I know of a Chinese proverb that warns against something along the lines of idleness. Translated literally into English, it would be something along the lines of "Drink the Northwestern winds." What ...
5
votes
2answers
470 views

How to say “politically correct” or “political correctness” in Chinese?

A lot posts online use 政治正确 to mean "politically correct" or "political correctness" in English and I can say it is wrong. A few posts use 政治委婉语, but it doesn't sound good to me either, because 政治 in ...
2
votes
3answers
272 views

Japanese 気分転換 in Cantonese?

Is there an expression in Cantonese with roughly the same meaning as the Japanese 気分転換 (I guess it's 氣分轉換 in Chinese characters)? I would include an English translation but something might get lost in ...
3
votes
2answers
69 views

Paifang inscription identification

I am having a hard time trying to identify a character inscribed on this gate at the Yellow Crane Tower. A photograph of the gate can be found here http://www.flickr.com/photos/hl-wang/509475247/ I ...
2
votes
2answers
157 views

Translation of text on stamp

We got this stamp as a gift. What does the chinese characters translate to? It seems too long to just translate to "conscius".
7
votes
6answers
8k views

How to say “hope you'll have a great day”?

I was writing a card to a friend and wanted to finish with "Hope you'll have a great day" but realised what I could think of wasn't quite the same meaning, or just sounded odd/weird. What I wrote in ...
1
vote
1answer
208 views

Learning Chinese using traditional characters [duplicate]

I believe in Taiwan people use traditional Chinese characters for writing whereas in China they use simplified characters. Assuming this information is correct I'd like to kindly request suggestions ...
8
votes
3answers
342 views

Which marital verbs are used for same-sex marriages?

In male-female marriage we use the two verbs; 嫁給 (jiàgěi) 娶 (qǔ) But these are gender specific. a woman can 嫁給 a man a man will 娶 a woman So how does this work in same-sex marriages?
16
votes
7answers
968 views

Where to practice speaking Chinese?

Living in Utah, I find it quite difficult to find places to practice speaking Chinese, especially Cantonese. Apart from accosting people in stores and other public places when I happen to hear them ...
6
votes
2answers
228 views

A word that means “earn” without the “money” connotation?

I'm trying to translate a phrase in English: Trust must be earned. A direct translation would look like this: 信任是要赚来的 However, the verb 赚 doesn't seem suitable in this context. What may ...
3
votes
1answer
544 views

How does the Chinese translation of an English name get established? [duplicate]

This isn't a question on how to choose a Chinese name equivalent, but how the one that most media and people use, gets used. For example, if some unknown person out there who never had a Chinese ...
2
votes
2answers
123 views

What is the Chinese equivalent of “Encl.” used in formal letters?

What is the Chinese equivalent of "Encl." used in formal, written correspondences to alert the recipient of the presence of enclosed documents?
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Any difference between 早安 and 早上好?

Is there any difference in meaning, formality, tone, or otherwise between the "good morning" greetings 早安 and 早上好? Or just regional preferences? (I'm thinking perhaps the former may be more common in ...
3
votes
2answers
137 views

Development of 輸

The character 輸 was originally pronounced yu (indicated by the right side phonetic) and meant to transport. How did it come to be pronounced shu (Mandarin) and take on the meaning of to lose?
4
votes
2answers
295 views

What's the difference between …的 and 所…的

I believe that both of these constructions create what is called a "subordinate clause". I know that 的 can be used to specify something like: 我喜欢的东西 (those things which I like), 很远的地方 (the place ...
2
votes
2answers
269 views

Difference of 不可. 不要. and 别

In Chinese, 不可, 不要, and 别 can all mean "don't". I am wondering about the differences between them. For example these sentences: 1. 不可吃。 2 别哭了。 3 你不要打扰!
2
votes
4answers
685 views

Does qin1 cai4 translate to bok choy?

I'm pretty sure celery is 芹菜. qin2 cai4 I heard people referring to bok choy as qin cai as well, but I believe it was qin1 cai4. Is this correct? When I look up bok choy, it is 白菜 bai2cai4 which ...
2
votes
6answers
359 views

How to translate “读书好 好读书 读好书”? [closed]

A famous Chinese writer whose pen name is Bingxin once remarked, "读书好 好读书 读好书", which is used to encourage Chinese students to read books. In this sentence, there are altogether 3 "好"s. The first and ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Meaning of “去你的头”

I just heard "去你的头" in a joke, and while it sounds like an approving "go ahead" OR "go with your head/what you think" I realized at the end of the joke it's kind of an equivalent of "go f*** yourself" ...
6
votes
1answer
667 views

What is the correct pronunciation of 垃圾?

The word 垃圾 is sometimes pronounced laji, but other times I've seen it pronounced as lese, which pronunciation is deemed to be more correct? Are they both interchangeable?
8
votes
1answer
297 views

吗 and 吧 at the end of a question

I heard that ba (吧) can be used at the end of a sentence just like ma (吗). Per my understanding, it's not interchangeable with ma (吗) but a more playful way of asking the same question. (Some girl ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

Meaning of 酿 in this sentence

Taken from this news article What does "酿" mean in this sentence: 苹果iPhone 5酿致命意外
5
votes
1answer
245 views

What is the difference between 准备, 预备 and 打算?

I seem to hear 准备 and 预备 used for “prepare” and not as often to mean “plan". 我们准备搬到美国; emphasizing the need for specific preparations for the move. Myself, I use 打算 for planning something. ...
-4
votes
2answers
233 views
6
votes
5answers
529 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
1
vote
3answers
172 views
1
vote
1answer
118 views

Where, when and what is the word 圆舞 used for?

I've heard people call Waltz (music) either 华尔兹 or 圆舞曲, but I've only heard people call Waltz (dance) 华尔兹, never 圆舞. According to Baidu, 圆舞 does have a meaning of Waltz (dance). It has another ...
2
votes
3answers
180 views

的 at the end of short responses

I've always been curious about this: What is the grammatical reason for 的 at the end of these short responses? Q: 這樣好嗎? A: 好的。 Q: 你是美國人嗎? A: 是的。 Q: 你會彈鋼琴嗎? A: 會的。 Can someone shed some light on it ...
3
votes
2answers
974 views

Proper way to use sentence-final particles (like 啦 or 喽) in spoken Chinese

I know it's very common for Chinese speakers to add special particles to the end of their sentences to enhance the tone a little bit, such as adding 啊 to show excitement or 啦 to sound cute. Just to ...
3
votes
2answers
323 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: ...
6
votes
2answers
336 views

Why don't all questions have the “ma” 吗 particle at the end?

I've been using this site to get my basic foothold in Mandarin. If you scroll down you'll see a section entitled "WHAT", including some questions like "What's the matter?" and "What did you say?" and ...
5
votes
3answers
246 views

Learn the characters at the same time as the language?

Should I learn Mandarin basics first through pinyin and worry about the characters later, or should I learn them together? Pros and cons?
6
votes
2answers
236 views

What is the difference between 整个 and 全?

The dictionary definitions for 整个 and 全 both use "whole" and "entire". However, 全 additionally has definitions of "all" and "complete". I have a homework assignment that asks me to distinguish their ...
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
189 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
486 views

How to say a negative number in Mandarin?

There are plenty of posts for rules on numbers, but I can't seem to figure out how one would say, for example, -5 (negative five). I know that negative number is 负数, so would it just be 负五?
-1
votes
3answers
991 views

Was there ever a “Xijing?” Could it have been “Xi An?” [closed]

"Beijing" means "northern capital," and "Nanjing" means "southern capital." There is even a "Dongjing" or "eastern capital" that is WAY east of China. It's the city that the Japanese call "Tokyo." ...
2
votes
2answers
149 views

What are appropriate objects of 制作?

My dictionary, along with many websites I've checked translates 制作 as to make to manufacture What sorts of things may I 制作? The second definition of "manufacture" leads me to believe that, for ...
3
votes
1answer
192 views

Were the choice of characters in compound words based on their intrinsic meaning, or are their meaning derived from their use in compound words?

It is sort of a chicken and egg question. Before I started to think (maybe too much), I just assumed that Chinese characters had their own independent meaning and got chosen in certain compound words ...
1
vote
1answer
158 views

Can somebody identify these characters?

Could somebody help me identify these two characters? The meaning of the first one should be "point" or something similar, the second one looks to me like a combination of 月 and 爭, but I couldn't ...
1
vote
2answers
280 views

What is the equivalent of “冒昧打扰” in English?

In Chinese, we have the expression "冒昧打扰" màomèidǎrǎo. To put it into a sentence: 冒昧打扰,请您见谅。 màomèi dǎrǎo, qǐng nín jiànliàng Is there a similar expression in English?
1
vote
1answer
190 views

Can 挟带 be pronunced as jiādài?

In the song 千山萬水 at 1:13, the subtitles for the lyrics show 挟带, however, the word was pronunced as jiādài instead of xiédài. MDBG lists 夹带's pronunciation as jiādài, and 挟带's pronunciation as ...
3
votes
3answers
350 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
93 views

Measure word usage with 这个/那个

When referring to a previously mentioned object, such as a computer (一台电脑), do you say 这个/那个 or 这台/那台? i.e. does the measure word used in 这个/那个 depend on the object, or is it always the generic 个?
2
votes
1answer
268 views

What does this text on a vase mean?

We have recently received this vase as a gift from a business partner. I am very curious what this text on it means but am not in a position to ask them. I wasn't able to use Google Translate ...
1
vote
2answers
132 views

Tones and syllable structure

Are there any initial consonants/syllables in modern Chinese dialects which are incompatible with some tones? Can certain tones occur only in certain syllables (that is, within open or close ones)? ...
5
votes
2answers
412 views

Can someone verify the meaning and age of these ancient Chinese characters?

I came across this interesting article which attempts to support the Christian Genesis story by showing the meaning of some ancient Chinese characters. I would like to verify the meaning of these ...
2
votes
2answers
193 views

What is the difference between 起码 and 至少?

nciku.com states that 起码 is an adjective meaning "minimum" and 至少 is an adverb meaning at least; but the examples seem to use both words interchangeably. Is one more colloquial than the other? Or is ...
1
vote
2answers
112 views

Difference between 消防车 and 救火车

Is there a difference between when to use one or the other? Both translate directly to fire truck.
4
votes
6answers
1k views

Can I use a rare character like 飂 in a name?

I am trying to find a new Chinese name for myself. Before, I simply used a transliteration of my western name. Now, as my Chinese progressed, I would like to find something that does not immediately ...

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