6
votes
10answers
603 views

What is the Chinese equivalent of English idiom “As if!”?

The English idiom "as if!" is used to express the speakers rejection that something is possible: A: "In a few years I'll be driving a Ferrari." B: "As if you'll ever have a Ferrari!" Here, B, ...
3
votes
1answer
609 views

Are Cantonese and Lao related?

I have a friend who is Lao and I've noticed that a lot of the same words in Lao and Cantonese sound the same. The grammar itself seem different, but the numbers are similar. Is there much ...
5
votes
3answers
210 views

How do I refer to someone's family member who's relative age I am unsure of?

Is there any way to refer to someones family member, lets say brother, who's relative age I am unaware of and consequently am unable to decisively call 弟弟 or 哥哥? Is there some sort of rule, like ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

Which classifier for window (窗户) is regularly used?

The dictionary lists two classifiers for window (窗户) 个 and 扇. Are both of these in common usage? If so is there any difference in the register? Does one sound more formal, etc?
3
votes
3answers
104 views

What syntax is acceptable for classifier + noun + adjectival phrase

I am wondering what the acceptable combinations of classifier, noun, and adjectival phrase are? For example 一本 + 有意思的 + 书 Is it acceptable to say both of the following?: 一本有意思的书。 有意思的一本书。 ...
1
vote
2answers
133 views

Does the use of 就 and 便 vary by region?

就 and 便 are synonymous in many sentences: 这儿(就、便)是我们的学校。 我看了报纸(就、便)扔了。 如果你去,我(就、便)不去了。 I believe that 便 is more formal than 就; I've seen it in writing but never heard it in speech. However, ...
1
vote
2answers
104 views

What is the significance of the phrase “二十五,糊窗户”?

The phrase “糊窗户” refers to the practice of pasting paper cutouts (similar to the one seen here) on one's windows. There's a common larger saying, “二十五,糊窗户”, which I assume means that this is usually ...
2
votes
5answers
123 views

Is 解决 a common euphemism for going to the bathroom?

In the novel 《天机》, passengers on a bus become ill after eating an unfamiliar dish. They ask the driver to stop the bus, and the male passengers, including the protagonist 叶萧, descend: ...
5
votes
2answers
567 views

How to differentiate moods, characters, temperaments, etc?

It seems like there are way more words for these things than in English, and I am having a hard time figuring out the difference between them. Some adjectives can only be used to describe mood, while ...
3
votes
5answers
335 views

What does “整块的时间” mean?

I have a sentence in my textbook I've mostly translated, but I can't piece this part together. "交通不是很便利不说,还需要整块的时间" Google translate spits out: "Traffic is not very convenient, you also need the ...
5
votes
4answers
484 views

How to pronounce 儿 in conjunction with other characters

The textbook I'm reading now has liberal sprinklings of the 儿 character suffixing words that I have not previously seen suffixed. For example: 空儿。 How should this be pronounced? Are there any rules ...
6
votes
4answers
296 views

What is the function of 了 in the sentence “她会杀了你的”?

What is the function of 了 in the following sentence? Does it imply a sequence of actions? 她会杀了你的。"She will kill you."
5
votes
4answers
215 views

How does one distinguish between homographs in Chinese?

How does one distinguish between, for example, 便宜 (cheap) and 便宜 (convenient) in written Chinese? The context may give no help whatsoever, cf. 我的大学很便宜。 (Bad example, please excuse my awful ...
3
votes
4answers
139 views

How do I interpret 铁饭碗 concisely?

How am I supposed to put "铁饭碗" in simple words, and not a paragraph worth of explanation? I can't seem to find suitable adjectives or nouns to concisely interpret the implication of "铁饭碗" (Suppose to ...
4
votes
7answers
882 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
298 views

What is the difference between 别人 and 别的人?

What is there difference between these two expressions, or are they synonmyous?
8
votes
5answers
759 views

Is there a site that can split characters into radicals?

For example, let's examine character heaven. It has a Ren radical (men). And then we add a strip to become Tha (big). And then we add another strip to get heaven. Now, is there a site to do so? I ...
2
votes
4answers
255 views

How to correctly order the words in this sentence?

This is a question from an exercise book that I'm currently working through, to rearrange the given words into the correct order. I believe the format is along the lines of "The person who was [doing ...
5
votes
1answer
108 views

Chinese for “patch” in the sense of “software patch”

The dictionary lists many words for "patch" but none that explicitly state they mean patch in the software sense of the word. EDIT: Dictionary has now been updated
3
votes
6answers
271 views

Usage of 了 and 以后

For the sentence 'I watched a movie after I had food', are the following translations equivalent? Additionally, is the 3rd translation incorrect (is the ...了...以后... usage valid)? 我吃了饭看电影。 我吃饭以后看电影。 ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Are 明白 and 懂 synonymous?

Are 明白 and 懂 synonymous? If not, could anyone please elaborate on the difference along with some examples of usage?
6
votes
2answers
95 views

Syntax of 'Number Number MeasureWord'

What are the rules governing expressions such as 七八成 (seventy or eighty percent) or 一两个 (one or two)? Must the numerals be monosyllables? What are the restrictions on the measure words? Can there be ...
1
vote
4answers
177 views

很 and 最 - Questions of The Context

很 means very. 最 means truly, really. I was wondering in which context they would be most appropriate. 我最喜欢去组约。- I'd really like to go to New York. So 最 can be used as a descriptor in this ...
5
votes
1answer
101 views

Role of 在 in this sentence

I was using a text editor in Chinese, when I tried to exit without saving the currently opened file it showed me this sentence: 您要在关闭文件前保存吗? What is the role of 在 here? Is it related to the ...
3
votes
1answer
142 views

What is the difference, if any, between 即使 and 無論?

Is a big difference between 即使 and 無論? I was working on a couple of fill-in-the-blanks exercises and the following sentence came up: 你的畫很有特色,(blank)是畫家也不一定能畫德比你好。 I think the right answer ...
1
vote
2answers
252 views

才 in the sense of “only”

What does 才 mean in this sentence? 妈妈说,鼻子长才是漂亮。 (Quote taken from a nursery rhyme.) After looking in the dictionary my best guess is that it means "just" or "only", so as to make the ...
2
votes
4answers
198 views

佰 vs 百: inconsistency in use

I saw a portion of a video course of Japanese tutorials aimed at Hong Kong Cantonese speakers, and notice that while introducing Japanese numbers, they translated the Japanese word for 600 as 六百, then ...
10
votes
3answers
924 views

What is the difference between yǐqián (以前) and zhīqián (之前)?

I'd like to have some way to differentiate between yǐqián (以前) and zhīqián (之前), in order to help with memorising them both. Referring to Modern Mandarin Grammar (Claudia Ross, Routledge 2006), it ...
3
votes
2answers
208 views

What is the difference between 怎么 and 如何?

Is it mostly a question of register?
4
votes
6answers
321 views

How to parse 没得 + Verb constructions

I've heard phrases of the form 没得V, where V is a verb. Sometimes, the 没得 appears to function like 没, e.g., 我没得选: I don't have a choice. Sometimes, it appears to function like a softer, ...
1
vote
0answers
36 views

englisg to simflified mandarin maths dictionary [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are some good dictionaries about Mathematics? I'm searching without success for a downloadable English to Mandarin simplified maths dictionary for my 12 year old ...
2
votes
3answers
176 views

Is 菜心 used in Mandarin?

Is the vegetable 菜心 (Choy Sum - English rendering of Cantonese) called 菜心 in Mandarin? Is it pronounced "cài xīn" or is it pronounced as it would be in Cantonese?
2
votes
3answers
233 views

How to say “all the usual X” in Chinese?

How do I say "all the usual ..." in Chinese, for example." "At my school we play all the usual school sports." "The pharmacy had all the usual junk."
3
votes
3answers
342 views

“Like I said…” in Chinese

How do I say "Like I said...", or "As I said", in Chinese. For example: A: I've never been to China. B: What do you think of Chinese culture? A: Like I said, I've never been to China.
0
votes
1answer
797 views

How to use 指 when giving a definition?

How is 指 used, what is it's role in definitions such as this (from Wikipedia): 研究生是*指*获得学士学位后继续深造.
2
votes
3answers
113 views

What is the difference between 演奏, 弹 and 奏?

There are several words that seem to be related to playing musical instruments (specifically 演奏, 弹 and 奏), and I would appreciate an elaboration on the nuances between them. Are some used in specific ...
-3
votes
2answers
275 views

How to translate “be mature” into Mandarin?

How do you say "be mature!", as in "grow up!" (a command or suggestion telling the listener to take a more adult, responsible attitude to the issue) "Don't lie to your boss about being late, just ...
3
votes
2answers
122 views

Do some (prestige?) accents swap /v/ or /f/ for /w/?

I have only a layman's grasp of phonology and a poor ear to boot, but it seems to me that for many Chinese whom I am told have markedly standard pronunciation, /w/ and some type of labiodental ...
1
vote
2answers
818 views

What is the correct pinyin for 哪儿?

I've seen both Nǎ'er and Nǎr. The first form looks more like a literal transcription of each character, while the second one might be the way it's pronounced (assuming there is a difference) I do ...
1
vote
2answers
111 views

Why is 语 used so much when describing the language media is presented in?

It seems that the "language" descriptor on a movie, tv show, or comic is always listed using 语 instead of 文. (国语, 英语, 德语, etc) instead of 英文. This is common even when listing the subtitles (although ...
8
votes
5answers
9k views

How to say “cool” in Chinese

Basically I am looking for words in common usage which are roughly synonymous with English "cool", "wicked", "awesome", "sweet", and related positive slang adjectives. I would also like to know how ...
1
vote
3answers
208 views

Chinese words that are their own antonyms

Are there (m)any Chinese words that are their own antonyms? Similar to English "terrific", "wicked", etc. (which originally had negative meanings and now have positive meanings). I imagine that as ...
2
votes
3answers
125 views

Ways to say “more”

I know a few ways to say "more" or "in addition", and I'm wondering which to use when translating this sentence. I came across the following English sentence and its Chinese translation on ...
2
votes
1answer
117 views

What does […] 给盯背过去 mean?

The full sentence was more or less: 差点没把人家给盯背过去 I was wondering if it was a phrase, or if it just meant that they were staring at the person's back.
2
votes
3answers
144 views

做 as the verb “to be”

Can someone please clarify how and when 做 is used to mean "to be" e.g. 不愿做奴隶人们 I am familiar with 做 meaning "to do" or "to make", and I would expect that if I was saying "I am a slave", “我是一个奴隶“ ...
7
votes
3answers
386 views

What is an idiomatic way to say “This is not good” in Mandarin?

The title mostly covers the question, but some elaboration might help. In English, there is a common construction of ideas whereby the speaker makes a statement about an action or event, and follows ...
1
vote
1answer
121 views

Meaning of 修养­­­­

The dictionary defines 修养 as: accomplishment / training / self-cultivation However many examples in context seem to have the sense of the development of being a gentleman / lady, or being ...
1
vote
2answers
130 views

Meaning of the word 腳

According to CC-CEDICT, this means both "foot" and "leg". How does one know when this word refers to either foot or leg? It is difficult to discern when CC-CEDICT does not include sample sentences.
2
votes
5answers
810 views

Chinese equivalent of “no worries”

"No worries" in English is used as a statement expressing that the speaker regards a task / problem / setback as inconsequential, or that a task is easy to complete. For example: A: "You're going ...
3
votes
2answers
809 views

Correct way to say “when I was young…”

What is the usual way to say something along the lines of "when I was young, petrol was cheap" or "when I was a kid, my family lived in Mexico".

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