7
votes
4answers
933 views

Origin of beautiful kingdom and hero kingdom

Why in Mandarin chinese, USA is beautiful kingdom and England is hero kingdom?
7
votes
7answers
1k views

Is it correct to say “在手机”?

Would it be correct to use the phrase "在手机”/“在手机上” etc. to express that I am doing something on my phone? For example, could I say 我听音乐在我的手机上。 Or can 在 only be used for my actual physical ...
6
votes
3answers
224 views

Visual puns and phrases

Some characters are visual puns: 尜 (小大小), 尖 (小大); others are a phrase written as a single character: 膥 (未成肉), 籴 (入米), 汆 (入水), 奀 (不大). What are some other characters which fit into these categories?
6
votes
2answers
351 views

奇 is a strange character

Lost Etymology 奇 ( jī | qí ) is a character that means strange but the etymology appears to have been lost. At least as far as I can tell after researching offline books, zhongwen.com, and zdict....
6
votes
3answers
620 views

Difference between 曾经 and 已经

In this question I was asking about 曾经 and one answer says it means 'already'. What's the difference between 曾经 and 已经? Do the two sentences below have the same meaning? 他曾经在北京学过两年汉语。 ...
6
votes
3answers
741 views

Is there a traditional Chinese New Year greeting?

I know people often say 新年快乐 to mean happy new year, but is there a traditional greeting used in Chinese to express your good wishes for the new year? If so, what, and how did it originate?
6
votes
3answers
346 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
299 views

When should 了 be after the verb and when should it be at the end of the sentence?

In a sentence such as "因为我去面试了,所以我刮了胡子", in one case, 了 is after the sentence, while in the other case it's after the verb, even though in both cases, 了 is used to express the past tense. So how to ...
6
votes
1answer
477 views

Resources for learning classical Chinese

I have a very strong interest in classical Chinese (文言文), but I am unable to find any ressources for learning it that don't assume Chinese is your mother language. Can anybody give me some pointers?
6
votes
6answers
378 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
780 views

犬子: who's the dog?

犬子 (literally, dog + son) is an archaic, self-depreciatory term to refer to your son (occasionally it's used to insult other people's sons). This answer raises a question though; who is the dog ...
6
votes
5answers
635 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
6
votes
7answers
1k views

How to distinguish between rat and mouse in Chinese?

I know there are two words here: 老鼠 and 鼠. However, the dictionary states that 老鼠 (rat) can also mean mouse; how do you specify rat? I imagine that 仓鼠 (hamster) and 沙鼠 (gerbil) are often abbreviated ...
5
votes
4answers
420 views

Searching for characters by parts

Are there any online or computer dictionaries that allow searching for characters by any sub-part of the character? Occasionally it I see a character the parts of which I can already type. But I can'...
5
votes
5answers
641 views

When to use 想 versus 喜欢?

Could someone please give we a hint when to use either of those?! My take is that 想 is used for actions and 喜欢 for things!? Am I right?
5
votes
5answers
623 views

Why do you say 我没有错 instead of 我不错 to say “I'm not wrong”? When should I use 没有?

I'm trying to understand when 没有 should be used instead of 不 when negating a sentence. Consider the example "I'm not wrong." Why is it 没有错? How can I know when to use 没有 when negating a sentence? ...
5
votes
4answers
256 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"?
5
votes
2answers
644 views

“If you say so”: Dismissive agreement

I would like to know some ways to agree in a non-committal or dismissive way. For instance, in English, we have: If you say so. Is that so? (with a flat intonation) Really? (flat ...
4
votes
1answer
137 views

words where it is important to distinguish between the neutral tone and the citation tone

I'm working through the HSK vocab lists, and sometimes I find it hard to remember if a character should be pronounced with the neutral tone or with the citation tone. It would help if I knew when it'...
4
votes
7answers
662 views

Is 其他人 any different from 别的人?

I guess the question could also be, is 其他 any different from 别的? Is one any more formal, any more slang, any more rude, anything of the sort, than the other? Or are they essentially the same? ...
4
votes
2answers
271 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
280 views

Relative clause in Chinese

How do you say "there aren't people I can talk to" ? 没有对他们可以说话的人?or else "the person with whom I had a fight last week is now a friend" and all those sentences that require with/to/etc.?
4
votes
7answers
5k views

How to translate “暧昧” into English?

Many dictionaries translate it to "ambiguity",but it looks so indefinitely. I'm looking for more expressive answer.
4
votes
1answer
247 views

Zhuyin IME and tone 0/5 syllables

I'm teaching myself bopomofo/zhuyin keyboard while I'm in Taiwan. My Chinese level is raw beginner too. I just came across the word for tofu: Hanzi: 豆腐 Pinyin: dòufu Zhuyin: ㄉㄡˋㄈㄨ· (or ㄉㄡˋㄈㄨ˙) We ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Resources for learning Shanghainese

I'm surprised a question like this hasn't been asked yet. It seems Shanghainese is a dying language and it's rarely spoken. I'd like to know about resources and ways to learn the language by myself. ...
4
votes
1answer
268 views

non-standard tone pronunciation

After carefully listening to the tapes of Assimil "Chinese with ease", I noticed that the pronunciation by the native speakers of a few characters differs from the standard tones: 多 pronounced with a ...
3
votes
1answer
716 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
345 views

What is the polite/proper way to address elderly whom I am not familiar with?

I was wondering what is the polite way to address elderlies I do not know. Take the following context for example. Perhaps I visit a store and there is an elderly woman running the register and I ...
3
votes
4answers
750 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
2answers
155 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?
3
votes
2answers
306 views

啊,诶,喔,哦:compare and contrast

The characters in the title are, FWIK, all exclamatory sentence-final particles, though I'm not too sure about ei. So I was wondering what the difference was between the three. Is there a difference ...
3
votes
3answers
680 views

What qualities does Hong Kong Mandarin have?

With Mandarin making more and more in-roads into Cantonese speaking Hong Kong, I'm wondering what characteristics set it apart from Standard Mandarin or other regional Mandarin dialects and/or accents....
3
votes
2answers
96 views

Hanzi Underline Rules?

Hanzi has some underlining when dealing with foreign names, etc. What are the rules regarding Hanzi underlining? edit: Would I underline 中国 in a text that includes underlining?
3
votes
4answers
280 views

Weird usage of 不

In this sentence the 不 in the last few phrases seems to mean the opposite. For example 放不下 seems to mean the same as 放下 in this context. Is the Bu just decorative or is there a special structure here? ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

Can we call someone X太太 or not?

Can we call someone X太太 ? or is it the calling of husband to his wife? In my textbook everybody calls one women 錢太太. But my teacher said it is unsuitable. Which one is correct?
2
votes
1answer
224 views

Difference between 只,之, and 支?

I'm a native speaker but I don't know the first thing about writing Chinese, on Rosetta stone we were shown 一支笔 and 一只狗, whats the difference and where and when do you use each one?
2
votes
1answer
91 views

Are there other similar Mandarin Chinese radio plays? [closed]

I used to listened to this Buddhist stories radio play (空中结缘) some time ago. It's aired weekly by RTHK/香港电台 and apart from the recitations from Buddhist scriptures, I think the dialog parts are pretty ...
2
votes
3answers
741 views

Does the beta like character (as in 陳, 附 and many more) in Chinese have a special meaning?

It probably doesn't. I tried searching but couldn't find one. But would be great if it does! Would help me remember so many new words. I hope somebody has figured out a pedagogical role of that ...
1
vote
2answers
88 views

Translate Zimbabwe to Chinese: 辛巴威 or 津巴布韦?

Zimbabwe is a country. Which one is its Chinese translation: 辛巴威 or 津巴布韦? Could it be possible that Chinese in Taiwan call it 辛巴威? Another country is Zambia. 尚比亞 or 赞比亚?
1
vote
3answers
214 views

Difference between 能 and verb + 得了(de liao3)

I remember once being told that there are differences in usage and meaning between 能 and verb + 得了. 他能来。 他不能来。 他来得了。 他来不了。 EDIT: Maybe my examples above weren't that good. Here are some new ones: ...
1
vote
2answers
152 views

List of historical Chinese currency terms

Does anyone know where I can find a list of terms used for units of currency throughout the history of China? I am especially interested in finding those terms that can function as 量词, like 文 and 贯. ...
1
vote
3answers
108 views

How is this sentence translated into Chinese “The man, who kissed the woman, who betrayed him with the man, who loved the one, whom nobody knew”?

I do not know the technical term for this kind of sentences, but obviously there is some fractal vibe to it.
1
vote
6answers
242 views

How to introduce “Husband” in social occasions?

Some common words are 先生 or 老公, Are there any other options that would be more socially appropriate?
1
vote
0answers
86 views

Rule: tone sandhi in topolectical dictionaries

I'm looking for a rule or a guideline. Dictionaries dealing with MSM (Modern Standard Mandarin) would never include tone sandhi into their entries, as people are supposed to know the rules and apply ...
13
votes
2answers
168 views

Is the usage of European punctuation acceptable in Chinese writing?

Chinese punctuation is a little bit different from European punctuation, for example: The full stop (period) is "。" instead of "." The ellipsis are six vertically centered dots (… …) instead of just ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Classical Chinese Literature - What languages could be written with it? And why?

I understand that classical Chinese (see Wikipedia) was very different from spoken Chinese (at least in the last centuries of its usage). Nevertheless, despite or maybe even because of this, it was ...
10
votes
4answers
244 views

Etymology of 汉语

I knew a Chinese woman who taught me a lot about Chinese languages. One of them was about 汉语's etymology. I was told that all parts of these characters had a meaning connected to the History of ...
9
votes
4answers
290 views

Difference between 同一 and 一样

I would like to know when to use 同一 and when to use 一样 when describing items or people as similar? What is the difference in usage between these two phrases?
9
votes
2answers
274 views

What is the first attested use of 美國/美国 in the sense of 'America' in Chinese?

The beginnings of Sino-American relations date back to the late 18th century (e.g. the Old China Trade). When did the Chinese begin to refer to America (or the US) as 美國/美国? Were there alternative ...
9
votes
5answers
205 views

How common is the use of “瞧” and which region?

I've seen 瞧 used every now and then in written Chinese, but I've rarely heard it said in spoken Chinese except for the occasional mention of 瞧不起. A couple of days ago I was watching Kung Fu Panda and ...

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