All Questions

25
votes
7answers
3k views

How many characters do I need to learn?

How many Chinese characters would I generally need to learn to be able to handle most text in typical every day circumstances? How many would be required to be considered fluent? Are there any good ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Input of Simplified Chinese on Windows

What options are available for input of simplified Chinese on Windows computers? Is it possible to draw characters using a mouse or stylus, or perhaps input using speech recognition?
18
votes
9answers
2k views

Chinese input on Windows based on pinyin and tones

What is the best way for me to type pinyin using a keyboard on Windows? I've tried the built-in IMEs, but... they don't feel very intuitive to me. For example, if I want to get wǔ, I need to type wu, ...
16
votes
7answers
733 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
214 views

The question about “很好”

I've read that when asked the simple question 你好吗? ("how are you?"), answering 我很好 is the standard form, while 我好 is simply not used. 很 means "very", but 我很好 is simply translated as "I'm fine." and ...
12
votes
6answers
585 views

Are children's books a good starting place for beginners?

I was wondering if Chinese children's books might be a good starting place for adult Chinese language newbies (regardless of whether it be Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu, whatever), in particular for ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Various ways to say “nice to meet you”

When I first started learning Chinese I knew the in order to say "Nice to meet you" or "Pleased to meet you", I had to use the following expression: 很高兴见到您。 But recently I've come across other ...
14
votes
2answers
490 views

Tense and use of 了

I struggle a bit to get my head around tenses in Mandarin, and in particular when I need to use 了 (le). Do you have any tips, examples or resources to help me out with this?
5
votes
3answers
195 views

What is 和 used for in this sentence?

I know how to use 和 to link one or more nouns or noun phrases, but in this sentence I don't understand what purpose does it serve at the beginning of the sentence? 和西方人过圣诞节差不多,这是一个全家团聚的节日。 (This ...
18
votes
5answers
533 views

How to differentiate between “On Top” and “Above”

If I wanted to translate the prepositional phrase "on the bed" to Chinese, I know to say "床上", but I don't know what the translation would be for saying "above/over the bed". From what I can gather, ...
8
votes
5answers
242 views

Are there sentences where 跟 and 和 are interchangeable?

For example: 我跟朋友去公园了。 我和朋友去公园了。 Are both of these sentences correct? Are there any subtle differences in the meaning conveyed? If they are not entirely interchangeable, how do we know which one ...
10
votes
4answers
196 views

Are there standard dictionaries for Chinese?

Standard dictionaries have had a profound effect on languages like English. They've helped normalize spelling and pronunciation and provide reference for meanings and disambiguation. When thinking of ...
21
votes
7answers
1k views

Techniques for improving pronunciation

Are there any recommended resources or methodologies to improve ones Chinese pronunciation? Besides having a native speaker at your disposal, are there any tools that can help to correct ...
14
votes
5answers
945 views

Character and word frequencies

I'm trying to build some automated tools for processing Chinese text. I'd like to know the relative frequencies of different characters and character combinations. Are there any web sites with this ...
21
votes
5answers
833 views

What is the difference between 作 and 做?

作 and 做 are both translated as "to do" or "to make"; how can I tell when I should use one or the other?
15
votes
4answers
511 views

Reading handwriting

How can I get better at reading handwriting? Are there fonts that look like it, or web sites with examples for practice? Are there some common shortcuts that people take when writing by hand?

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