8
votes
4answers
1k views

Effective and polite way to end a phone conversation

What are some ways that I can let the other speaker know I want to finish a phone conversation and am going to hang up. I frequently come across as too abrupt. Usually something along the lines of ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How to politely ask someone to please be quiet

There are particularly loud Chinese fellows working together in the university study room I'm working in. How do I politely ask them to quiet down? I found a literal translation on Google Translate ...
1
vote
2answers
683 views

Politeness in Mandarin

I like to say please sometimes when I want to be polite to someone when asking them for something. Is this customary in Mandarin? For example, if I wanted to ask for some water, I might ask my ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

What is a polite way to ask “may I ask who is speaking?”

A man I don't know calls me and starts talking to me in Chinese. All is fine, except I don't know who he is. I sense I'm not the person he's looking for. How do I ask who he is without being too ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I call for a male waiter?

For female waiters, my dad taught me to use the phrase "小姐 ". But for male waiters, my dad doesn't know how to properly call them. I discussed the possibility of using "da ge", "小ge", "da di", "小 ...
3
votes
2answers
299 views

How to address fellow students junior to oneself (学妹,学弟)?

I have sometimes wondered what would be the appropriate way of addressing (fellow) students that are junior to oneself. Given name? Full name? Name + 妹/第? Are there even cases where one can use 哥/兄 ...
8
votes
2answers
284 views

Where is the correct place to use 您 when addressing others?

Almost every foreign text book I've seen mentions 您 as a polite or formal address to others, however I rarely hear it said and rarely see it written except when addressing customers and occasionally ...
11
votes
6answers
597 views

When is it appropriate to address a lady as 先生?

Chairman Mao addressed Soong Ching-ling as 宋庆龄先生. Yang Jiang was also addressed as 杨绛先生 by the public. My dad used to tell me to address some of his female colleagues as 先生 too. I wonder why a lady ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Difference between 特色, 特點, 特性, 特質, and 特徵

Looking up these five words in dictionaries gives results that are almost identical. In Chinese-English dictionaries, I find explanations identical or very close to: a characteristic; a ...
-1
votes
2answers
1k views

Where to start learning mandarin [closed]

I'm about to start learning mandarin chinese myself, without any teachers but with a help of textbooks and video (audio) lessons. My question is: where do I start, I mean, is it better to start with ...
1
vote
4answers
568 views

Are Chinese language equivalent of English /p/ and /b/ sounds the same? [closed]

As per my knowledge, both these sounds are considered the same in Mandarin. Do Chinese speakers them have difficulty in distinguishing between say Paul and Ball? How do they deal with it?
8
votes
7answers
379 views

Is 了 optional when a time word is present?

In sentences that already have a point in time word that indicates that the event happened in the past, is 了 optional? Or could there be some additional meaning with it present? For instance: ...
2
votes
2answers
346 views

Are “好饱了” and “好包了” both correct?

"好饱了" and "好包了" both seem to be used to mean "I'm full". I'm pretty sure that "好饱了" is definitely correct but they both get lots of Google hits and if I combine the search with the English "full" ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How to say “I'm finished”?

When we've finished doing something like I've finished (doing my homework) what we should say. Can we say 好了 "I'm finished"? (Hǎole) How about "are you finished"? Can we say "好了吗"?. (Hǎole ma)
3
votes
4answers
169 views

Possessives in Chinese

I used Google Translate for these sentences but I'm not sure they are correct: Mom 's white dog 妈妈的白狗 My mom's white dog 我妈妈的白狗 And it is possible if I say Mom 's white dog 妈妈的白色的狗 My mom's ...
2
votes
7answers
499 views

How can I translate this correctly into English “今晚怎么意思”

I have a group of friends who regularly meet to play soccer, someone asked on WeChat: 今晚怎么意思 The reply given was the time that we start "7" (meaning 7pm). I may be missing something very ...
2
votes
3answers
122 views

Headline: “YouTube创始人从雅虎手中收购Delicious”. What is the purpose of “手中”

If you take out 手中, isn't the translation, YouTube founder buys Delicious from Yahoo, still conveyed? What does 手中 add? http://tech.sina.com.cn/i/2011-04-28/09065460713.shtml
5
votes
3answers
545 views

Some characters look different handwritten and on the computer - how to learn the differences?

I've mainly been learning to read/write Chinese using computer based software as opposed to going to lessons etc. However, I've realised that there is a small handfull of characters that look ...
7
votes
4answers
328 views

Why is the radical of 难 > 隹 and not 又

难 nan2, difficult; hard Kangxi radical 172 隹 My teacher says the radical for this character is 又 but the dictionary is clear 隹
1
vote
3answers
184 views

How can I type 吗 in Pinyin keyboard setup?

My Mac has a "Pinyin - Traditional" keyboard mapping that shows the most frequently used Chinese characters for the sound typed (i.e. "m" or "a") so I can select the Chinese character I want. This ...
7
votes
4answers
685 views

Origin of beautiful kingdom and hero kingdom

Why in Mandarin chinese, USA is beautiful kingdom and England is hero kingdom?
1
vote
2answers
111 views

what kind of gematria systems are there in chinese?

since in china culture , there is a lot of materials about astronomy and supernatural methods so i interested to know about Gematria as exist in most of languages ... like this : Gematria Calulator ...
2
votes
3answers
282 views

list of Chinese language country name abbreviations

In watching CCTV-4 news, I frequently see country names abbreviated but miss the leading character before I can look it up carefully (I know the major ones). Is there a list anywhere of those ...
4
votes
3answers
167 views

So technically, the correct usage of 得 for run very fast is 跑得很快 - why are there so many Baidu hits for 跑的很快 and 跑地很快?

Is there 的, 地 and 得 confusion among native speakers as well or am I missing some subtleties of the language?
8
votes
4answers
220 views

Is there any difference between 汤 and 羹?

Are 汤 and 羹 used to refer to different kinds of soup or is 羹 merely a part of the full word for soup (汤羹)? For example, is one used to refer to light soups while the other is reserved for heavy ...
10
votes
3answers
480 views

What is the equivalent of the English word 'Fail' in Mandarin?

Fail is a pretty popular term on the internet these days, and one I'm quite fond of. Looking in my Chinese dictionary I can't find a great equivalent - is there a good way to say this? What would be ...
1
vote
3answers
156 views

What is 猫舅 in the following sentence?

I assume this is a cultural thing that I am not aware of, but a friend just updated their status to say: 希望猫舅变成天使守护全家 Xīwàng māo jiù biàn chéng tiānshǐ shǒuhù quán jiā Who or what is 猫舅?
2
votes
2answers
162 views

Which term and which counter to use when ordering simple meals?

When ordering food at a cheap simple eatery in China, which words with which counters should I use that would be something vaguely like English "serve", "serving", "helping", "plate", "bowl". For ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I type bopomofo on Windows without converting to hanzi?

I've just finished my two months travelling in China and have arrived to spend one month in Taiwan. I now want to learn as much as I can about how Mandarin Chinese is used here. One thing different ...
5
votes
4answers
159 views

Can 太久 be used to refer to time past between two dates?

As an example, if I am making plans to meet with a friend, and I say I am free on a specific date, say 2 weeks from now, and then I follow up by asking my friend "Or is that too far ahead?" To ...
3
votes
4answers
352 views

去出回 Where is it appropriate to use each

So these three have always threw me through a loop 去 - Qù - Means to go to a place 出 - Chū - Means to go out 回 - Huí - Means to go back The only case I know to not use 去 (Qù) as a way of going ...
9
votes
2answers
297 views

Why is “steak” 肉排?

肉排 is Chinese for steak (e.g. 牛排 or 猪排 for beef steak and pork steak), but where did the 排 come from? As a Western cuisine dish, did the word have some roundabout origin? 排 means row/rank, which has ...
3
votes
3answers
461 views

Regional pronunciations of standard Mandarin [closed]

When I first came to China, I was quite disappointed to find out that, in so many places, the colloquial pronunciation was so greatly different from the one I've studied so far. The phonological ...
2
votes
2answers
91 views

Videos for learning Chinese Mandarin

I am well aware there of posts such as this, but I am specifically looking for videos that would be on youtube, for example. There are many videos on youtube, but I have been able to find anything ...
7
votes
2answers
191 views

Are “身份证” and “身分证” totally interchangeable?

When wanting to learn the word for "ID card" I seem to find both "身份证" and "身分证". They both have the same pronunciation "shēnfèn zhèng". I don't think they differ by being traditional vs simplified? ...
9
votes
2answers
203 views

Purpose of duplicating measure words?

I came across the following sentence in New Practical Chinese Reader 2, lesson 21, paraphrasing: 南方的花园 中国人常说: ...
2
votes
3answers
185 views

Are there multiple translations for 不上边?

Trying to translate this: 始终是碰不上边的... From the beginning, not able to meet (in agreement) with those above? I searched on "不上边" in 百度 and it seems there are multiple ways to interpret it - ...
5
votes
2answers
119 views

“便利商店” (biànlì shāngdiàn) vs “便利店” (biànlì diàn)

Earlier when I was in China I learned "便利店" (biànlì diàn) to mean "convenience store". I think from looking it up in the English Wiktionary. But now that I'm in Taiwan when I used it people didn't ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

“不客气” (bù kèqì) vs “谢谢你” (xièxiè nǐ)

At home in Australia my neighbouring shop owners are from Shanghai and taught me some Chinese. From them I learned two ways of responding to "谢谢" (xièxiè): "不客气" (bù kèqì) "谢谢你" (xièxiè nǐ) So I ...
7
votes
1answer
257 views

Is there a tone sandhi rule that “4 3” changes to “4 0”?

This is a followup to my earlier question about the tones in the word "豆腐": On their own "豆" and "腐" have the tones 4 and 3: dòu, fǔ As a two-syllable / two-character word, "豆腐" has tone 4 but "fu" ...
6
votes
1answer
121 views

Which term is used for “oyster” in Taiwan?

According to the English Wiktionary there are four Chinese terms equivalent to English "oyster": mǔlì : 牡蠣 / 牡蛎 hǎilìzi : 海蠣子 háo : 蚝 háozi : 蚝子 Is one of these standard or most common in Taiwan? ...
4
votes
1answer
233 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
202 views

Where does 馬上 originate from?

馬上 can be used as an adverb that roughly means "at once" or "immediately", for instance in: 我馬上來幫你. It can also mean "on horseback". Where does the usage with the sense of "at once" originate from, ...
9
votes
4answers
209 views

案: why is a bench also a case?

Sorry about the cryptic title. 案 is a character that can mean "bench"/"desk" but it can also mean "(legal) case" or "file": 长形的桌子或架起来代替桌子用的长木板:~子。~板。书~。条~。拍~而起。 ...
11
votes
3answers
589 views

足: why is “foot” also “enough”?

足 is an ancient character meaning "foot". However, it also means "enough" or "sufficient", and this second definition is also very old. Consider this excerpt: 兵甲已足。——诸葛亮《出师表》 This is from ...
12
votes
3answers
534 views

How does foreign word transliteration work in the context of Cantonese vs Mandarin?

If I understand correctly, Cantonese sounds very different from Mandarin, despite being written in the same way (omitting some small differences, which are irrelevant for the question). If it is the ...
7
votes
4answers
692 views

Where can I find a list of commonly mistaken characters?

I want to quickly identify potential mistakes created by OCR software. Where can I find a list of all Chinese characters that visually look very similar and might often be confused?
6
votes
1answer
438 views

“A pair of mandarin oranges” as a homophone of “the gold”

image courtesy of Today, when Chinese people celebrate the New Year, there's a tradition to offer each other Mandarin oranges. As many sources say, the Mandarin oranges should be offered in pairs, ...
4
votes
3answers
331 views

So when should I use 旅舍,旅社,宾馆,酒店, or 旅馆?

I've heard or seen all of them in real life situations, some of them seem to be exclusively for hostels, others only for larger hotels, but some verification would be nice.
3
votes
2answers
360 views

Issues with machine translation from Traditional to Simplified (not vice versa)

I'm trying to translate my website into Traditional and Simplified Chinese. I have a full human translation for it into Traditional Chinese and I was wondering about what errors and inaccuracies can ...

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