3
votes
3answers
342 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
159 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
268 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
900 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
259 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
206 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
210 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
375 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
3k 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
89 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
206 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
253 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
144 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
683 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
11k 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
161 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
138 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
157 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
524 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
253 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
158 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
359 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
611 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?
1
vote
1answer
175 views

Noun Placement in Grammar

I've recently come across this statement. 那你可以在宾馆洗. "Then you can wash them (clothes) at the hotel." I'd like to say, "Can you wash your clothes at the hotel?" But I can't figure out the ...
8
votes
3answers
236 views

Asking “how many cousins do you have?”

What is a collective term for first cousins? Everywhere I've looked it is emphasized that the correct term for "cousin" depends on age, sex and whether the cousin is on father's or mother's side. But ...
3
votes
5answers
286 views

Do 看一看 and 瞧一瞧 have the same meaning?

Is 看一看 equal to 瞧一瞧 in meaning? Are they interchangeable?
10
votes
2answers
292 views

How do you emphasize unformatted Chinese text?

In English, one can write, "I am mad at you!" as "I AM MAD AT YOU!" for greater emphasis; on the internet, it's seen as "yelling". Absent the ability to format text (say, bold or italics), what is ...
5
votes
1answer
81 views

What is the difference between 濱 and 瀕?

Another pair of homonyms with similar/identical meaning. A dictionary check gives me this: 濱 (1) 水邊。如:「河濱」、「海濱」、「她喜歡在湖濱散步。」 (2) 靠近。如:「濱臨」、「濱海公路」。 瀕 (1) 水邊。如:「河瀕」、「江瀕」。 (2) 臨近、迫近。如:「瀕臨」、「瀕危」。 This ...
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, ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Terms of endearment

What are some Chinese words that I can use to call either my spouse or a love interest? In English we have names like sweety, sweetheart, lovely, honey etc. What are some common equivalents that are ...
6
votes
6answers
535 views

Pronunciation of “因为”

因为 is usually pronounced as yīn wèi, but sometimes I hear it pronounced as yīn wéi which really brings out the meaning as reason (yīn) being (wéi). Which pronunciation came about first? Do regional ...
8
votes
8answers
982 views

Difference between 是不是喝酒了? and 喝酒了没有?

What is the difference between 是不是吃了蛋糕? and 吃蛋糕了没有? or 是不是喝酒了? and 喝酒了没有?
9
votes
5answers
811 views

Translation for “sorry” as in “I am sorry to hear that”?

In English we can say "sorry" as an abbreviation for "I am sorry to hear that"/"I feel sorry for you" to express sympathy. Is there a Chinese word or phrase that bears the same meaning? I know one ...
5
votes
1answer
289 views

When is it appropriate to use 亲爱的?

In English it perfectly fine in a business context and for someone you have never met before to use Dear XXXX at the beginning of a letter or email. This causes some difficulty when moving to another ...
10
votes
3answers
933 views

Why do Chinese translations of English names sound very inaccurate?

I have noticed that most Chinese translation of English names sounds really inaccurate and weird. For example, the common translation of person's name "Robert Wilson" is "罗伯特·威尔逊", which is not ...
6
votes
3answers
386 views

Idiomatic expressions for attitude (agreement or disagreement)

I have recently seen two phrases which, in my understanding, looked very similar to each other: 再看吧 [zài kàn ba] 考虑考虑 [kǎo lǜ kǎo lǜ] However, I've been told that the first one means almost ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Different names for each of the fingers

In English we have different names for each of the fingers: Thumb, index, middle, ring and pinky fingers. Are there special names for each of these in Chinese and if necessary what are the ...
2
votes
6answers
749 views

What is 德国 and naming history in China?

Here is what I think and how it is named: In Google translate it says it means "virtue country". My guess is probably wrong but here it is: China is an alliy of America, and America boosted up the ...
2
votes
1answer
150 views

How to say “I live at the bottom of a hill”?

I've only ever people say something like 我住在山坡上 but to me 山坡 sounds like the side of a mountain. Google translate gives me 我住在山脚下. In English we use, I live at the bottom of a hill, not I live at the ...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

What's the meaning of 缘分 in English?

I asked a similar question on English Language & Usage site, but no one seems to come up with a good answer for me. I have decided to give our Chinese site a try. Bonus: how will you describe the ...
7
votes
3answers
484 views

爱老虎油 - is it slang?

Seen this phrase written by a Chinese person: 爱老虎油 [ài lǎo​hǔ yóu] What does it mean? Failed to find it in dictionaries. Is it some slang or 白话?
2
votes
3answers
327 views

Understanding the meaning of 让 in this sentence

我不但能够让外国人坐我的车,还能够让他包我的车。 This is from a Chinese reader. The voice is of a Chinese taxi-driver. The problem is the translation of 让... He's talking about going to hotels and getting customers. ...
5
votes
6answers
307 views

Is this correct: “一个游戏有四个季度”

I wanted to find out how to say a sports game has four quarters and the translation I received from Google was: "一个游戏有四个季度" Certain sports games are split into 4 quarters rather than 2 halves and I ...
9
votes
1answer
341 views

How do non-native speakers get to perceive tones in Chinese?

Recently I've been teaching an English-speaking friend some basics about Chinese, but inevitably he got stuck with the tones. I've demonstrated to him the 4 tones with audio files, yet it seems hard ...
6
votes
2answers
201 views

What's the difference between 証 and 證?

I realized 证 could be 証 and 證. Is there any difference between them?
8
votes
5answers
243 views

What are some ways that I can be self-deprecating about my Chinese speaking ability?

I live in an area where there are many Chinese so I get plenty of opportunity to use my language skills including shopping, eating at restaurants and meeting new people. The Chinese people I meet are ...
5
votes
2answers
141 views

How to say “a beneficial insect”?

I want to be able to say to my son that an insect is beneficial. I know I can use 害虫 for an insect that is harmful, but is there something I can use to say beneficial other than 好虫 which I assume is ...

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