9
votes
7answers
587 views

What is the difference between using 光 vs using 只?

What is the gramatical difference between 光 and 只? 光剩下2毛钱 does not have the same meaning/context as 只剩下2毛钱 It seems there is more emphasis to the part that comes after 光. When is the right time to ...
6
votes
3answers
292 views

How would one accurately translate “万事大吉”?

This is a four character phrase for which I have found no accurate translation online. I hear it all the time around CNY. 万事大吉
3
votes
2answers
191 views

What is the appropriate translation for 'energy'?

There are many times when I want to tell someone that I don't have enough energy to do something. These are close but not exactly what I want: 我太累。 I'm not too tired, I just don't have as much energy ...
16
votes
6answers
1k views

Why is 的 (de) sometimes pronounced “di” even though it is used as a possessive particle?

I've noticed sometimes the word 的 is pronounced as "di" rather than "de". I'm aware that there is a valid use of 的 with pronunciation "di", which means "really and trully". However for the sentence: ...
2
votes
4answers
198 views

回去回来 回来回去 来来回回 来来去去 Are they the same?

In this post, Juckele mention two terms completely new to me : 回去回来 and 回来回去. I know 来来回回 Things keep going in circle, usually use to describe situation in life 来来去去 Same as above But what about ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

茶 - How to identify varieties of tea?

I'm looking for vocabulary to help puzzle-out the kind of tea contained in various packages from the Chinese characters on their labels. So far I recognize 茶(tea) and 叶(leaves). (Apparently these ...
9
votes
2answers
418 views

Difference between 许多 and 很多

What's the difference between 许多 and 很多? For example, in this sentence I found on Jukuu both terms are used: After years of teaching, I have many memories to dwell on in idle moments. ...
7
votes
2answers
157 views

他在工厂住了半年/living in factories

This was an example sentence in Practical Chinese Reader 31. Do people actually live in factories, or is there some cultural context I'm missing? In previous chapters, people are constantly visiting ...
3
votes
6answers
441 views

How can we translate 不是……胜似 into English?

I just saw a friend's profile saying: Not a geek, but like a geek. Somehow I immediately translated it as 不是geek胜似geek. But it seems not right since I feel that 不是geek胜似geek is much semantically ...
-2
votes
2answers
245 views

What written language is more commonly used for video games in China? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the relative literacy rates in for simplified and traditional characters? Just wondering what language to use in game menus, buttons, and settings.
7
votes
4answers
691 views

Difference between 合适 and 适合

Both 合适 and 适合 mean to fit/to suit. I know the grammatical form needed for each one is different: 在这个情况下,你在穿的衣服就不合适。 我在找一个适合我的女孩子。 Aside of that, I have been told they cannot be used ...
5
votes
4answers
274 views

一、 marker meaning? Ordinal number?

What does the drop in 一、 mean?
5
votes
4answers
883 views

Written Cantonese input?

Although traditionally Cantonese speakers just use standard Chinese (mostly Traditional in my experience) for writing and reading, written Cantonese does exist as you can read about in this Wikipedia ...
5
votes
1answer
174 views

Character layout in calligraphy e.g. with respect to a quotation from Confucius

I recently attended a brief introductory workshop about calligraphy at a Confucius Institute. The instructor, who also teaches at the local university and is both a calligrapher and painter from ...
10
votes
5answers
708 views

When should you use 尽管 (jǐnguǎn) instead of 虽然 (suīrán)?

虽然 and 尽管 can both be translated as "despite" and "although". I've been familiar with 虽然 for a longer time already but I recently came across 尽管 for the first time. Is 尽管 a more formal or poetic term? ...
5
votes
2answers
247 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
351 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
245 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
181 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
206 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
204 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
148 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
391 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
188 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
138 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
92 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
343 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
189 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
135 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
276 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
238 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
421 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
164 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
234 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
150 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
190 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
535 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
358 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
161 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
273 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
951 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
214 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
192 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
213 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
392 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
4k 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)

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