2
votes
1answer
122 views

(Literally) Seeing Through Things

Earlier today, I ended up in a discussion which somehow involved people who were (literally) transparent. I was somewhat at a loss for how to say "Can you see through him?". After some research, I've ...
8
votes
1answer
204 views

Correct usage for 跟。。。过不去

This question has two parts: What's the precise meaning of this expression? What is the correct usage? Question (1) I understand it to mean that the person referred to (eg, 跟她过不去) is uncomfortable ...
8
votes
2answers
404 views

The origins of “AA制”

Every since I learned the expression AA制*, I have been curious as to its origins. The morphology seems clear enough: AA + 制(定) = "to draw up (the bill) in an AA way". What is not clear is how AA ...
3
votes
3answers
176 views

Is there a word for “kosher”?

I'm looking for a translation of the word kosher in it's most strict sense: a food that is apt according to the jewish law. Google translates kosher as 犹太, but if I'm not mistaken, that just means ...
8
votes
3answers
154 views

Are 平常 and 通常 essentially interchangeable?

In a few of my entries on Lang-8.com, several of my Chinese friends have changed 平常 into 通常 and vice versa without providing additional explanation. It it just a matter of personal taste?
4
votes
1answer
208 views

Where can I find Codecademy for Written Chinese?

Recently, my wife has been learning to program JavaScript using Codecademy. I like how it walks people through exercises step by step, and builds up concepts, etc. All the marking is automated, and ...
6
votes
5answers
849 views

Written Cantonese Pronunciation

I recently attended a Cantonese reading class in Hong Kong and discovered that pronunciation of the spoken form of written Cantonese can be very different from normal speech. The teacher was not able ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

What website will speak Cantonese to me? [closed]

My parents are born in Hong Kong so I can speak Cantonese semi-fluently, although I cannot write. I've been learning Mandarin and I find that my cantonese has been useful because if the word is used ...
2
votes
2answers
291 views

How to describe a puppet show

I want to describe a puppet show we saw. It was in a theatre and performed by professional puppeteers. I found three terms for puppet: 人形, 木偶, and 傀儡. I couldn't find anything for puppeteer. Here's ...
0
votes
2answers
145 views

How extensible is the tonal quality rule?

I'm starting a Chinese languange course now, I've just seen that ma can have four meanings, it depends only on their tonal qualities. I wonder: How extensible is this tonal quality rule in forming ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

In what instances can use you use 干嘛 over 干吗 (and vice versa)?

I noticed that 干嘛 appears used in various forms of media, such as newspapers, magazines, and movie subtitles. From a pronunciation standpoint, 嘛 and 吗 are different (neutral tone vs. second tone, ...
6
votes
1answer
250 views

Connotation of 吗 questions vs. affirmative/negative questions

Is there any difference in connotation/region/modernity/etc. between questions ending in 吗 and affirmative/negative questions? For example, does: 你很累吗? connote something different than: 你累不累? And ...
5
votes
2answers
82 views

Is the description for components of 条 correct?

During studying 条 character in one of the dictionaries I have found decomposition of this character to two components: 夂 zhǐ: to go 木 mù: tree; wood (Kangxi radical 75) I see the 夂 component but ...
6
votes
4answers
831 views

Pinyin tones pronunciation cheat sheet

I've just started taking Chinese lessons, and I've been trying to find a "cheat sheet" for pinyin pronunciation. All the sites I've found is either incomplete (only having some tones), only having the ...
1
vote
4answers
409 views

What is a good English translation for “老乡”?

In what contexts can 老乡 used? How do they translate to English?
1
vote
3answers
220 views

Proper response to 不好意思

If someone make a mistake and say this: 不好意思,非常不好意思! What is the proper response? Should 没事 or 没关系 be used to reply?
3
votes
2answers
181 views

Simplification of 蘭(兰)

I've always been curious about the process of simplifying 蘭 to 兰. I'm not really familiar with the simplification process, but this one is shocking to me. From what I've seen (I've studied only ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the normal forms of valediction in Chinese?

For example, how do they normally sign off letters? We normally use 'Yours Faithfully' or 'Your Sincerely' but we might not be so formal in emails and instead just 'Regards'. What is standard ...
3
votes
1answer
332 views

Wubihua / Traditional Chinese / Open-source index

I have been looking for an open-source index of Chinese characters (Traditional) indexed by the Wubihua (五筆劃). I have found only partial lists (up to four digits), and only for Simplified. I know ...
1
vote
1answer
216 views

Origin of 英国 (England)

I understand that 英国 has a phonetic origin, Yīng guó is rather close to England. However I would like to know if it is possible to find out who coined that translation, and if there is more to it than ...
4
votes
3answers
466 views

How to say “to give”?

I've been doing research on how to translate the verb "to give". I'm trying to find a common way to say it as in sentances like "I gave my friend one apple" or "My friend gave me one apple". I ...
3
votes
1answer
171 views

六一 and short date format

In a calendar I saw this in reference to the Children's Day: 快乐“六一” Happy Children's Day! I guess 六一 is a shorter form of 6月1日. Is that form of writing dates only used for special dates? How ...
4
votes
2answers
133 views

What is the difference between 试验 and 实验?

Both 试验 and 实验 seems to be translated into "experiment". What is the difference between the two words? Can they be used interchangeably or not?
4
votes
4answers
162 views

What is the difference between 东西 and 用品?

What is the difference between 东西 and 用品? They both seem to have the meaning "stuff" in certain circumstances, but then 用品 is used in more formal situations, such as 医药用品 which I am assuming is not in ...
1
vote
3answers
131 views

How can I translate “非语言表达方式”?

This is an example sentence from my textbook: 除了学习用语言表达自己的思想感情以外,还要学习用非语言表达方式。 Here "非" has the meaning "not" or "non-". I would translate it to something like: Aside from studying using ...
2
votes
4answers
249 views

How can I translate “精神需要”?

This is an example sentence in my textbook: "建立良好的人际关系,是每个社会人的精神需要" 精神 is translated in the dictionary into "spirit, mind, consciousness". Here I believe it must be modifying 需要, which is acting ...
1
vote
2answers
176 views

Why 给 is used in 我的手被虫子给咬了?

I saw this in the subtitles of a TV show: 我的手被虫子给咬了。 Why 给 is used in that sentence? Without considering 给, I've translated it to: My hand was bitten by an insect.
2
votes
1answer
468 views

How does English to Chinese translation affect magazine layouts?

For a magazine, I know from a personal source that English text, when translated properly from German, fills out two thirds of the space the German source text usually takes up. Does anyone know how ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

How would you say 悲凉 in English?

How would you say 悲凉 in English? For example, 每当想起自己的经历,心里就阵阵悲凉。
5
votes
4answers
697 views

How to emphasize a word in writing?

I guess in English maybe this would only be done by italics, I am not sure but here is a sample in English and my bad translation to Chinese, what is the best way to emphasis? I know for example that ...
3
votes
1answer
161 views

Example of using 吧 in conversation

My textbook explains that 吧 is a modal particle, but I'm not a linguist and the "modal particle" article on Wikipedia didn't help. Can you give examples of using 吧 in conversation?
3
votes
4answers
433 views

Pronunciation of 那个

I'm surprised this question hasn't been asked yet! The pinyin for 那个 is nà gè, but in conversation, Chinese people often pronounce it more like nee-guh than nah-guh. I asked my teacher and she says ...
3
votes
2answers
522 views

How to say “meeting” in Chinese?

I would like to create a chat meeting for CL&U and so I thought, why not make the title in Chinese? I was thinking of using the term "meeting" or a similar one. On my dictionary, for meeting, it ...
1
vote
3answers
815 views

Is it common to refer to cousins as “cousin-brothers”?

Most Chinese people I know don't have siblings. They refer to their cousin as "cousin brother / sister". Is this common? If so, is this a modern change, perhaps reflecting the one-child policy?
3
votes
2answers
371 views

Referring to great-grandparents

How do you refer to a specific great-grandparent? Does Chinese language has all 8 relationship titles to refer to one of them?
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What font size for reading simplified characters on screen?

I realize this sounds like a very subjective question, so I will try to ask it very carefully: I'm learning to speak, read, and write Mandarin. A lot of times (particularly on the web or in e-mail) I ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the most complex simplifed character?

I'm interested in simplified only for this question - which simplified character retains the most complexity, defined by having the highest number of strokes? To clarify: I'm after the most ...
1
vote
4answers
225 views

Does 上嗨 work as a pun for 上海?

While riding the subway in Shanghai last week, I glanced at the TV playing some commercials and saw what looked like a slightly off spelling of the city's name (上海). I could not get a very good look ...
6
votes
2answers
330 views

What is considered to be the most difficult sound for native English speakers to pronounce?

When I was first learning Chinese, I found the e4 - 饿 & ü3/ü4 - 女/绿 sounds to be the most problematic. Has there been any research into this? If so, what sounds are generally the most problematic ...
3
votes
2answers
70 views

Localization Help

I'm writing a program and need to know how dates, versions, time, and numbers are formatted in the Chinese Language Example (in English) Version 1.0.0 (Build 0) How would that look in Chinese?
4
votes
3answers
256 views

Questions ending with 么

I was chatting online with a Chinese person and he sometimes added 么 at the end of questions: 你觉得汉语难么? 是因为声调掌握不好么? Can 么 and 吗 be used interchangeably? Do they have the exact same meaning?
6
votes
1answer
287 views

The development of rhotic vowels in Mandarin

Schuessler's reconstruction of the Old Chinese reading of 二 is *ńźi. It seems there is a correspondence between OC syllables beginning in *ń or *ńź and Mandarin syllables romanised as er. However, ...
2
votes
3answers
163 views

What is the most appropriate translation for this law article?

In this Skeptics answer, a user provided a rough translation of a Chinese law article — from this source — about vehicles and pedestrians using Google Translate. So I thought, why don't we provide a ...
3
votes
3answers
174 views

Temperature around 0°C

How to say that the lowest temperature will be around 0°C (e.g. -1°C ~ 1°C)? My attempt is: 最低气温会成0°C左右。
1
vote
2answers
264 views

What does the character in this Naruto poster mean?

I dont know how to type that character, otherwise I would try it out through other means. What does the character mean? It appears in a poster concerning the Japanese manga Naruto.
2
votes
2answers
247 views

What is the top part of 姜 and why does it differ?

If you look at the character 姜, it seems like the top part is ⺷ and the bottom is 女, however some sources, Chinese-Characters, HanziJS and Wikimedia Commons show the phonetic radical as 羊. I'm the ...
5
votes
5answers
167 views

How to say “we want what is best for our kids”?

I'd like to say the above sentence. I can't think anything but the following sentence, but it just doesn't sit right with me somehow: 我们都要对我们的孩子最好. While the subject "what's best" in english ...
6
votes
1answer
219 views

What is the pattern for 'instead of x, y…'

For example, how would I say, 'instead of x, we should do y'? I find it hard to balance the sentence correctly in chinese. Do I need to use, 反而 or 而且? Or is there some better method?
5
votes
3answers
270 views

pronunciation of 着 in 怎么着

As most of you will probably know, 着 can be pronounced in many ways (depending on the context). I'm wondering how the 着 in 爱怎么着就怎么着 (meaning: do as you like) should be pronounced. Is it zhe or zhao1, ...
5
votes
1answer
88 views

Why is 相 pronounced with a fourth tone in some cases?

I notice that 相 is pronounced xiang1 in most cases, but xiang4 in a few, mostly less-common words and phrases. The most commonly-used examples seem to be 照相 zhàoxiàng 'photo'; 照相机 zhàoxiàngjī ...

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