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?
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?
6
votes
4answers
234 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", ...
9
votes
2answers
174 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. ...
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
194 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 ...
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?
5
votes
2answers
387 views

What are the connotations of the word 拳拳?

I chose 拳拳 as my own Chinese name, having the meaning of my name in mind. I got it from an online dictionary, so I would like to know what native speakers "get" from it, as in what are the ...
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 ...
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
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?
6
votes
3answers
322 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
184 views

What is the subject in this sentence part 有时间到我家去

there is this sentence in a dialog: 好 , 我走了 , 有时间到我家去 . 再见 ! (from my beginner text book) I do understand the translation. Well, I'm going, if you have time, come to my home. Goodbye. However, ...
2
votes
1answer
127 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
141 views

What is etymology for 沙龙?

I've noticed that hairdressing shops are usually called 沙龙 [shā-lóng]. Obviously, it's not a "sand dragon", but a direct transliteration of English "salon" instead. What is the reason for using a ...
5
votes
2answers
266 views

How to translate 'hyper-','super-' and 'ultra-' exactly?

The prefixes hyper-, super-, and ultra- seems all has meaning 'transcend' or 'upper class' and can all be translated to '超'. But they have a bit difference, e.g. hypergiant is larger than supergiant; ...
1
vote
7answers
237 views

Learning/remembering Chinese

I lived in China for a few months and picked up quite a bit of Mandarin. Now that I've moved back to the US, I have forgotten the Chinese I knew and spoke while there. Other than actually living where ...
3
votes
4answers
392 views

What is the pronunciation of 行 according to its context?

行 can be pronunced háng or xíng. As far as I have seen, it means "OK, to go, profession", and many more other meanings. Could you briefly summarize the usage of it and its corresponding ...
7
votes
2answers
113 views

Antiquated honorifics

Are any of these honorifics still in use today? If not, might they be used and understood (as a joke) by regular Chinese in, say, a period film, much as English speakers would recognize someone using ...
4
votes
2answers
161 views

Difference between 佈 and 布

Can anyone help me clarify the difference between 佈 and 布? If I'm not mistaken, this is only relevant for traditional characters since 佈 has been simplified to 布. A dictionary lookup for 佈 shows that ...
2
votes
3answers
196 views

How to translate/use 一巧

All of a sudden in my course we've started using "一巧" everywhere, and I really do not understand it at all. example: 尽管我很喜欢这张唱片,可是我一巧也开始喜欢它,想到以后可以跟一巧一起听音乐,我决定把这张唱片给他。 which I understand all of, ...
6
votes
2answers
146 views

Methods/resources for improving formal/business Chinese?

I'm returning to China early next year to manage a business, and will be dealing with a variety of Chinese clients in that environment. I want to ensure my formal/business Chinese skills are up to ...
6
votes
1answer
182 views

Why one -> many mapping between IPA and Pinyin?

I am referring to Origin of zhuyin symbols table on wikipedia. Under Rhymes and Medials following 3 entries confuse me: Zhuyin IPA Pinyin ㄧ i i/y ㄨ u u/w ㄩ y ...
3
votes
4answers
497 views

How to express “same shit, different names” in Mandarin?

I was recently discussing computer games with a friend and realised that I don't know how to express "same shit, different names" in Chinese. We were talking about DotA, LoL and similar games. If I ...
3
votes
3answers
324 views

Is there more than one way to pronounce “knee” in Chinese?

My daughter's preschool has a Mandarin language immersion program and the teacher (from Fuzhou, Fujian province) seems to pronounce "knee" (膝盖) as qīgài instead of xīgài. Is qīgài a correct ...
4
votes
1answer
157 views

What is a “Babu cream”?

I am working in a Chinese pharmacy & have a product with the English name "Compound Methylsalicylate cataplasma". This is supposed to be a translation from the Chinese "复方水扬酸甲酯巴布膏". As far as I ...
3
votes
2answers
264 views

Placement of Pinyin in relation to characters

I recently wrote a short article discussing the use of Pinyin and Zhuyin. One of the sentences I wrote, without thinking too much about it, was that Pinyin is normally written below the characters (in ...
3
votes
1answer
854 views

Where can I find more cartoon videos like BBC's Muzzy for a young child to learn Mandarin? [closed]

I'm not talking about instructional videos and bi-lingual videos. Just Mandarin cartoon videos which a young child, with the ability to naturally absorb a new language, can use to learn Mandarin.
5
votes
2answers
258 views

Language Learning Software That Teaches Mechanics (Not Phrases)

I've tried out various language learning software (Rosetta Stone, Tell Me More, Transparent), and I've been severely disappointed by the fact that not one of them actually teaches you the LANGUAGE, ...
7
votes
2answers
205 views

Are there more special numerals like 廿?

In Hong Kong herbal tea shops, you will see a tea called "廿四味" (24 flavours) (you will also hear "廿蚊" to mean "20 dollars" in small shops) In this case 廿 (niàn or pán) has the meaning "20". Are ...
13
votes
4answers
190 views

How to Find Characters in a Dictionary?

In English we would look words based on their alphabetical order. But how are Chinese dictionaries ordered to allow you to find what you are looking for - is it based on the radicals, number of ...
5
votes
2answers
207 views

Etymology of 其他

In Chinese, one uses the phrase 其他 when refering to other things. In Japanese one uses a similiar phrase: 其の他 (Sono ta), where 其 is often written in Hiragana: その他. Since the meaning is identical, I ...
3
votes
2answers
360 views

What is the correct measure word for 问题 (question)?

I'm not sure if I should say 一件问题 or 一项问题. I know I can get away with 一个问题, but I'd like to know the "correct" measure word. Note: I would like to use the tag measure-word, but I can't. I used ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Why 福 is often used upside down?

On Chinese houses, people often place scriptures for luck, health, wealth, etc. Often, they use the word 福 [fú] turned upside down, like this: What is the reason for it?
5
votes
1answer
88 views

How to parse this phrase?

The radical 囗 is sometimes described as 圍字框. This phrase is a little bit ambigous to me. Does this mean «the frame of the character 【圍】» (圍字的框子) or «the frame that surrounds characters»? (包圍文字的框子)
8
votes
2answers
203 views

How to explain 讲 in 讲礼貌 and 讲卫生

In my understanding 讲礼貌 translates as 'be polite' and 讲卫生 is something like 'be clean', but how should I explain the 讲 to a new speaker? I take this as a set phrase, but is there a way to translate ...
7
votes
1answer
120 views

How to cope with classical references?

It seems like references to classical literature are unavoidable in virtually all materials enjoyed by native speakers - I was watching an episode of 蚁族的奋斗 where a group of young men are talking ...
7
votes
3answers
251 views

How to write 400,002,000 in Chinese properly?

I got a number, 400,002,000, I wonder how to read it? Should it be one of these two? Or something else? 四亿零二千 四亿二千
1
vote
3answers
143 views

problem with 要 - it seems to have several meanings

一看见这些楼房,他心里就想,自己一定要买上一套房子。 This is the sentence that I've come across. I've translated it as: Once he sees these houses, he thinks that he can definitely buy a house himself. But I'm always ...
3
votes
7answers
354 views

Can I use 我的腿累了 for “My legs are tired”?

I play soccer with a bunch of Chinese friends regularly and I want to say "my legs are tired". I already know 我跑不动了 and 我的腿很酸, but I'm not sure what is the best fit for the Chinese equivelant of "my ...
11
votes
7answers
547 views

Sheep or goat? 一只羊跑过来

In the sentence: 一只羊跑过来 Would a Chinese person typically assume this is a goat or a sheep?
3
votes
6answers
10k views

What shoud I use to say “I love you”: “wa ai lo” or “wo ai ni”?

Some of my chinese friends speak Chinese. I asked them how to say "I love you" in their language, but most of them said "wa ai lo" not "wo ai ni", how can this be? I look for google translate, it ...
2
votes
2answers
157 views

“一块” versus “一块儿” in Beijing

From some experience in Beijing, some on CCTV 9, and some reading, I begin to suspect that in Beijing the pronunciation "一块" is more often used for the count noun, and "一块儿" is more often used to mean ...
6
votes
2answers
137 views

Which ma belongs in the phrase 我 “ma” 好的

This may be a SE dialect thing, but plenty of my friends say 我 "ma" 好的 to mean 我很好 or "ma" 好的 to mean good or I agree with you. Can someone tell me which character (if there is one) is supposed to be ...
1
vote
3answers
155 views

Meaning of 漂漂亮亮地参加晚会

I saw this sentence on a textbook: 漂漂亮亮地参加晚会 Without more context information, what is the translation of that sentence? I think it has a meaning of "(a girl) dress up beautifully before going ...
9
votes
3answers
512 views

Dog radical (犭) for non-Han ethnic groups

As far as I understand, the dog radical (犭) was used for all non-Han ethnic groups before the Chinese Communist Party took power on the mainland. Is there truth to that? If so: Why did the CCP stop ...
4
votes
3answers
250 views

Grammar for counting in Chinese (for non-native speakers of Chinese)

I need to write a program that can insert the count of objects into a text - without knowing virtually anything about the Chinese language. While for English this needs to distinguish between singular ...
3
votes
1answer
156 views

Why do some parents pronounce 妹妹 as měiméi instead of mèimèi or mèimei?

I have heard some Taiwan (and maybe Mainland) parents call their daughters měiméi. I'm wondering what is the reason for that.
8
votes
2answers
352 views

Difference between 接受 and 接收

The first one (接受 jiēshòu) seems far more general and frequent: 我接受邀请。 I accepted the invitation. 他将接受口试。 He will take an oral examination. 他拒绝接受治疗。 He refused treatment. The second one (接收 ...
2
votes
9answers
606 views

Are “我在哪里可以买火车票” and “我哪里可以买火车票” both correct sentences?

Are "我在哪里可以买火车票" and "我哪里可以买火车票" both correct sentences? If one isn't, why?

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