2
votes
3answers
171 views

Meaning: 好棋? (Good move?)

Seems like I'm not the only one confused about this, the country is coming up with slogans nobody understands. Recently there have been a lot of signs put up with things like 中国前进 written on them, ...
6
votes
6answers
772 views

犬子: who's the dog?

犬子 (literally, dog + son) is an archaic, self-depreciatory term to refer to your son (occasionally it's used to insult other people's sons). This answer raises a question though; who is the dog ...
3
votes
5answers
841 views

你是我的小呀小苹果儿 What is the purpose of the second 小?

So I'm listening to this catchy song and the chorus goes 你是我的小呀小苹果儿. I'm wondering why the 小 is being said twice. Is that just something the artist is doing to play with the language in the song or ...
1
vote
2answers
174 views

What's the Mandarin equivalent of “定係”?

I'm writing up something in Chinese, and want to write the following (irrelevant information redacted): Do I need to bring XXX? [...] Or I can just bring a photocopy of it? I'm not completely ...
2
votes
3answers
82 views

How do you say the noun form of “Campaign”

I know that in Chinese we can say "竞选” for campaigning (as in a verb). But, if I wanted to say "campaign" as in "Obama's Campaign" how would I say that? I've seen 竞选活动 in dictionaries。 But, would ...
3
votes
4answers
183 views

How to express the word “enjoy”? As in “enjoy traveling”

As a native english speaker, I've always struggled with the translation of "to enjoy" in to mandarin. I know that a couple of variations involve 享受, or 欣赏. But often the sentences I write using both ...
1
vote
1answer
559 views

How to say “in my opinion” in chinese?

For example, "In my opinion, this music is very good". The translation indicated by Google, 在我看来, seems rather dodgy to me.
3
votes
2answers
108 views

Usage of 去 and 來 : is “context switching” allowed?

I am often confused with the use of 來 and 去. I made a picture synthesizing my current understanding of 來 and 去: 去 is used in the context when someone is going far away from A. 來 is used in the ...
1
vote
1answer
171 views

How to say a “strong flavor”

I know that currently people in Chinese would say "很重的味道“。 But I'm wondering if there are any other ways of saying it. Could I say "很大的味道 “ or ”很浓的味道“ if I'm referring to something like a hot sauce? ...
2
votes
3answers
103 views

Construct: X都不X一下, Mandarin?

I've come across the following construct recently: X 都不 X 一下 Specifically what I heard was: 痒都不痒一下 (Bonus points to anyone who knows where that comes from...) Is this a mandarin construct? Can X ...
5
votes
5answers
402 views

What is the meaning of 十三薪?

It has something to do with salary bonuses. Anyone know how to describe this in English? I haven't the slightest clue.
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Does an Alarm clock 吵醒 or 叫醒?

I'm trying to figure out whether an alarm clock 吵醒我, or 叫醒我。 I'd like to say the sentence my alarm clock woke me up at 5:30 today my translation so far is 今天早上五点半, 我手机的闹钟叫醒了我。 Can 叫醒 be done by ...
10
votes
4answers
272 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
243 views

Etymology of 汉语

I knew a Chinese woman who taught me a lot about Chinese languages. One of them was about 汉语's etymology. I was told that all parts of these characters had a meaning connected to the History of ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

How widespread is the use of 妳?

When addressing a female, do I have to use 妳 instead of 你? How common is the usage of 妳?
4
votes
2answers
286 views

阿: when is it pronunced 'a' when is it pronunced 'e'?

阿 sometimes pronounced 'a' sometimes pronounced 'e'. I've noticed specific instances for both. Are there any rules as to how to pronounce 阿 in different circumstances/contexts?
4
votes
3answers
415 views

What is the meaning and proper usage of 凭什么?

I was watching a TV show and heard them using the expression 凭什么 to say 'why' - I hadn't heard this with this exact meaning before, so I'm wondering what the proper meaning is in English, and what the ...
1
vote
1answer
197 views

减/減 (Reduce/Subtract/Decrease/Diminish): What's it got to do with water?

So here we have 冫+咸 (or 氵+咸) = 减(減). 减(減) means something along the lines of reduce/subtract/decrease/diminish or what have you. What has water got to do with this though? Logically one would ...
4
votes
3answers
228 views

Difference between 继续 and 接着

I learned 接着 a while ago, and the CEDICT definition is as follows: to catch and hold on / to continue / to go on to do sth / to follow / to carry on / then / after that / subsequently / to proceed ...
8
votes
2answers
225 views

Is 再过[时间] the most common way of expressing “in [amount of time], something will happen”?

I ask after encountering the following sentence in Tatoeba: 再过两、三个月,你就能说得一口流利的英语了。
14
votes
5answers
488 views

How do we know what characters correspond to Chinese names?

Recently I've asked "How do we choose the correct characters for a westerner name?", and now, I'm facing a similar, yet kind of different problem, which I think applies to any westerner or Chinese ...
5
votes
2answers
145 views

Is the difference between and saying 有时 and 会偶尔 very big?

Does one imply a much greater frequency? What about register? Is the difference between and saying 有时 and 会偶尔 very big, or is it in all cases quite close?
5
votes
2answers
150 views

Official place names

Is there an official list of place names (esp. for non-Chinese places)? If a bureaucrat or journalist in China is writing about a lesser-known foreign place, how do they determine the characters? I ...
1
vote
2answers
122 views

Tabletop Wargaming / Miniwargaming

Wargame is 战争游戏 and tabletop game is 桌上游戏 so i'm assuming that "Tabletop Wargaming" is 桌上战争游戏? Is this the term used? This type of game is also called "Miniature Wargaming" or "Miniwargaming," is ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

What is Chinese for “Arts Festival”?

I am referring to events such as the Edinburgh Festival.
4
votes
3answers
313 views

Opposite of constructions using 得 (must / have to)

What is the correct way to form a sentence expressing the opposite of 得 (have to) as in "to not have to". I don't think 不得 is correct?! *我不得工作 I am thinking something like... 我不需要工作 or ...
1
vote
2answers
209 views

How do game and program developers solve the pinyin input problem in their programs [closed]

I always wondered about this and never felt the need to ask because I figured I would figure it out on my own. But I can't find an answer. All of these games, especially multiplayer games, we people ...
4
votes
2answers
517 views

一起 vs 一块 - what's the difference?

一起 vs 一块, are these two expressions the same in Chinese, or is there a certain situation where one is more appropriate than the other? Can anyone explain what the difference might be? For example: ...
1
vote
1answer
253 views

日 and 月: Transition from pictographs to hanzi

I've read an article discussing transition of pictographs for Sun and Moon to hanzi. It raised following questions, but left them unanswered: Original pictographs for Sun is a circle with point in ...
2
votes
1answer
301 views

Are there transitive/及物动词 or intransitive/不及物动词 verbs in Chinese?

Problem: Lately I started to get concerned if there are pure transitive or intransitive verbs in Chinese. At first look, there are many verbs that do not require an immediate object/宾语 like 睡觉 or 吃饭. ...
1
vote
2answers
163 views

Why does the usual Verb-Object order seem to have been broken here (很高兴为您服务)?

The sentence 很高兴为您服务 (hen gaoxing wei nin fuwu) breaks down as: hen |gaoxing |wei |nin |fuwu very |glad |to |you |serve But the usual word order in chinese is Subject Verb Object, and here the ...
3
votes
2answers
234 views

Number of unique characters in the X most common words?

I assume this would be wouldn't be too hard to calculate with a proper database, but does anyone know the number of unique characters/morphemes used in the 5000, 10000, 30000, etc. most common words? ...
3
votes
3answers
369 views

Why so many definitions associated with each word?

I'm learning a little Chinese out of curiosity, and I have a basic question about the language as a whole, rather than a specific technical question about a particular word or character. Sorry if this ...
3
votes
4answers
239 views

成语 or expression for perservering

I am looking for an expression (maybe a 成语) which can describe the idea of, "I know I have a long way to go, but if I keep trying, I can succeed." For example, "我的发音还差得远,可是" Meaning, "My ...
6
votes
1answer
182 views

How euphemistic is 傢伙?

傢伙 (an example of a Chinese lexeme that does not map bijectively between simplified and traditional characters, the simplified word being 家伙) is translated, in the only translation Wang Xiaobo's work ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

Can I have some Taiwan restaurant sentences?

Every time I go to a restaurant in Taiwan I say weird weird stuff. They always understand, but I'm sure I'm saying it unnaturally. Also, occasionally I don't entirely catch what they're asking. ...
1
vote
2answers
56 views

Colloquial Translation: Dynamics

It seems that a lot of colloquial English terms are actually seen to be quite formal or academic in Chinese. In English we have the term dynamics as in: group dynamics, social dynamics, ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Female Equivalent: 膀爷

It's summer time guys the 膀爷s are out on full parade! Although I haven't seen that many females as exhibitionist as the males - there's still a fair share of ladies showing off their midriffs. What's ...
5
votes
4answers
408 views

Searching for characters by parts

Are there any online or computer dictionaries that allow searching for characters by any sub-part of the character? Occasionally it I see a character the parts of which I can already type. But I ...
9
votes
2answers
166 views

Beginning of the week / end of the week

It is possible to say: 三月初 (the beginning of March) 三月底 (the end of March) Example: 我三月底要回国 You can also refer to: 年初 and 年底 But is there something you can use to convey the beginning or end of ...
5
votes
1answer
301 views

Meanings behind “吹牛” and “拍马屁”

I would like to find out more about the two sayings "吹牛" and "拍马屁". How these sayings come about and get their current meanings? 吹牛 chuīniú meaning to brag 拍马屁 pāimǎpì meaning to excessively ...
4
votes
1answer
178 views

What does 些 mean when it's combined with 什麼?

I found this sentence on tatoeba.org: 我就是不知道說些什麼。 I just don't know what to say. I understand most of the sentence, but what is "些" doing there? I've always seen it used to mean "a few".
3
votes
2answers
99 views

Correct word to use for a suburban fence?

What should I be using to describe a suburban fence? Here is an image of what I am trying to find the right word for: Author: Greg O'Beirne - source I guess I might go with 篱笆 or 栏杆. Could I get ...
3
votes
1answer
875 views

When is it proper to use 托您的福?

I think it means that I succeeded in part because of your luck. I've heard this used when I was in Beijing a few times.
5
votes
2answers
94 views

Why 回 is used in 回事 instead of 件事?

In this dialogue: A: 昨天他开车的时候,头撞了一下。 B: 怎么一回事? Why is the classifier 回 used instead of 件?
13
votes
1answer
654 views

When to use 了 and when to use 过 to express past actions or events

I kind of have an idea when 了 and 过 should be used but it's mostly on a case by case basis, and I don't know the exact rules. So if I want to express something that happened in the past, when should ...
1
vote
2answers
171 views

How should one answer this question about 年?

Thanks to @xiaohuozi's wonderful suggestion. This is my question for the friendly contest. How should one answer this question 今年是什么年? (jin nian shi shen me nian) - which/what year is this? ...
6
votes
2answers
155 views

Chinese weather periods

The only time I have traveled to Beijing a taxi driver told me I had come at the worst and hottest time of year. He explained to me that the year was divided up in periods of roughly 16 days and the ...
3
votes
1answer
469 views

What is the exact meaning and etymology of 拜年?

Since Chinese New Year is on the way (and thanks to Xiaohouzi's great suggestion), I've been thinking all about the new year. One term the sticks out is 拜年. I'm very curious to know the exact ...
3
votes
1answer
508 views

Is there a Chinese equivalent song of 'auld lang syne'?

In Western countries (or New Zealand at least), auld lang syne is a very common song over the the New Year holiday. Is there an equivalent song in Chinese that everyone instantly associates with ...

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