6
votes
3answers
308 views

Difference: 小气 vs. 小器?

Especially in the sense of stingy, miserly. What's the difference between 小气 and 小器? I remember being told that one is more "correct", than the other, but I can't quite recall which. The search ...
6
votes
7answers
1k views

Written Cantonese Pronunciation

I recently attended a Cantonese reading class in Hong Kong and discovered that pronunciation of the spoken form of written Cantonese can be very different from normal speech. The teacher was not able ...
5
votes
1answer
271 views

An unknown Traditional Chinese character on a decorative piece for Lunar New Year

I'm a East Asian preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year and have found this piece of decoration. The Chinese character on it is, I'm pretty sure, a Traditional one, literally full of strokes and ...
5
votes
2answers
160 views

Character 瞓: where did the pronunciations come from?

The character 瞓 is a Cantonese character meaning "sleep". It is pronounced xùn in mandarin and fan3 in Cantonese. I was wondering how two so different pronunciations (I would expect xun to match syun ...
5
votes
3answers
280 views

How formal is 如何 in the context of 最近如何?

I was told by friend who is a native mainland speaker that "最近如何", or anything using "如何" to inquire about the state of a person, is a very ancient/formal way of speaking. This was quite a shock to ...
5
votes
4answers
446 views

Two “question words” in one sentence

One of my teachers asked us the example question: 你有什么安排吗? I asked her why there would be two "question words", 什么 and 吗, when I believed you should only have one question word (in this case, 吗 ...
5
votes
5answers
861 views

Teaching Pinyin and Characters together vs Teaching Pinyin then Characters

I'm designing a curriculum to teach middle school students elementary Chinese. When I started learning, I began with Traditional Chinese characters and pinyin together on day one. I'm not so sure the ...
5
votes
4answers
347 views

That mystical 就 again

Here is a sentence: 厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳 Below are my translation variants. Bold letters should be a 'jiu' english analog here. The mirror on top of the kitchen's fireplace scared Harry the ...
5
votes
5answers
856 views

What is the most common word in use to describe 'DVD' and what is its measure word

I've heard the Chinese are fine to use the English word DVD, rather than the chinese word. What is more common, and what measure word do they use with it?
4
votes
2answers
180 views

Is 你好,北京 grammatical?

Today Victoria Beckham tweeted it. But is this reverse form (as opposed to 北京,你好) correct?
4
votes
3answers
106 views

How to type 辶 using 拼音

How does one type the radical 辶 using the standard method of entering 拼音 (as opposed to, for example, 五笔)? (Typing "chuo" does not seem to bring this choice up on Windows using Microsoft Pinyin, ...
4
votes
2answers
82 views

Tone three sandhi

If there are two third tones in a row, e.g. ni3hao3, the first one is pronounced as a second tone, i.e. ni3hao3=ni2hao3. At least, that's what I was told in a course. What happens with more ...
4
votes
4answers
663 views

Difference between 我饿了 and 我很饿?

Someone tried to explain the difference in this answer http://chinese.stackexchange.com/a/43/38 saying that 我饿了 means "I became hungry", but I don't see the difference because we don't say I became ...
4
votes
3answers
274 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
443 views

Wubihua / Traditional Chinese / Open-source index

I have been looking for an open-source index of Chinese characters (Traditional) indexed by the Wubihua (五筆劃). I have found only partial lists (up to four digits), and only for Simplified. I know ...
4
votes
2answers
272 views

What is the difference between 怎么 and 如何?

Is it mostly a question of register?
3
votes
1answer
76 views

小姐 and similar terms before the cultural revolution

I have listened to a lot of controversy about the modern usage of 小姐 and similar terms. Here I just want to know whether what I thought as a child reflected the usage prior to the cultural revolution. ...
3
votes
6answers
194 views

How should a professor address a woman student?

Several answers on this site suggest addressing a woman as 大姐 but that seems wrong for a professor speaking to a woman student. To be clear, by professor here I mean a university professor speaking ...
3
votes
1answer
571 views

Subway door announcement mystery

I think probably every metro system around the world has to have an audio announcement warning passengers to stay away from the train's doors as they're closing. Here in New York, a pre-recorded voice ...
3
votes
3answers
86 views

How to spot (if possible) if a final 了 is part of an omitted 要 in a 要…了 construction or simply a past information?

There are some examples of sentence 了 that indicate future action which (seems to) have a 要 omitted: 我(要)走了,拜! - I am going to leave, bye! I know context usually helps with the issue of time and, ...
3
votes
5answers
714 views

When to use `他的太太` and when `他太太`?

I've read the two different sentences, on which the one uses 他的太太 and the other uses 他太太. However, how can I tell the difference between the two? For example, in the following sentence: 现在他想他的太太。 ...
3
votes
3answers
138 views

what are some dictionaries about vocabulary of classical chinese?

vocabulary of classical Chinese, explanatory glosses on their usage, example sentences, semantic difference of similar characters used in modern vernacular Chinese and classical and such alike ...
3
votes
2answers
127 views

What kind of typology does ancient Chinese belong to?

Modern Chinese belongs to the group of languages are isolating, just like English, but even purer. English once was not isolating but possessed flection. Is the situation with English similar to that ...
3
votes
1answer
205 views

Cantonese sandhi

In Mandarin, there is limited tone sandhi, mainly about third tones and the tone variations of yi1 (one) and bù (not). By contrast, Min has sandhi rules for all tones, as illustrated by this diagram. ...
3
votes
2answers
386 views

Are there relative pronouns in Chinese

Are there words for relative pronouns, for example: The man, who was walking to the shop, was tall. Is there a Chinese word for the bolded "who"?
3
votes
7answers
629 views

What does 起来 mean in this phrase?

把被子收起来吧. Translation: Let's put the quilt away. In other circumstances, 起来 means to get up but here there is a different meaning, and from the definitions I can't decide which definition is ...
3
votes
3answers
301 views

Is it 說 /说 / shuō or 講 / 讲 / jiǎng for “to speak a language”?

I've realized that I still don't know the way to talk about "speaking a language", for instance the Chinese equivalents to sentences like these: Do you speak English? I can speak a little Chinese. ...
3
votes
3answers
518 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
300 views

Tonal difference between 浪费 and 糟蹋

Both 浪费 and 糟蹋 mean "to waste." (I'm not really concerned with the other uses of 糟蹋 right now.) I've seen the collocations 糟蹋粮食 and 糟蹋人才, and 浪费 is very common in phrases like 浪费时间 and 浪费水. Are ...
3
votes
6answers
331 views

Usage of 了 and 以后

For the sentence 'I watched a movie after I had food', are the following translations equivalent? Additionally, is the 3rd translation incorrect (is the ...了...以后... usage valid)? 我吃了饭看电影。 我吃饭以后看电影。 ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

Mandarin Neutral Tone: Tone Value?

One of my dialectical dictionaries takes tone value 21 and compares it to Mandarin's neutral tone. The same tone, coincidentally enough, had been described in the same way to me by a local native ...
2
votes
1answer
135 views

Confucian Messianism, Mencius, etc

Just picked up Popular Religious Movements and Heterodox Sects in Chinese History by Hubert Seiwert (In collaboration with Ma Xisha) and was kind of caught aback by the idea of Confucian messianism. ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

How Should I Pronounce the Character 說 In This Lyric?

Reading the following lyric (詞) of Nara Singde (納蘭性德), set to the tune 念奴嬌, where rhyming characters are enclosed in parentheses according to this reference: 怕見人去樓空,柳枝無恙,猶掃窗間(月)。 無分暗香深處住,悔把蘭襟親(結)。 ...
2
votes
2answers
132 views

What is important to consider while building an adverbial phrase?

As far as I know, in Chinese, the adverbial phrase is put right in front of the verb and its purpose is to describe the verb. Sentence pattern: S adverbialphrase V O What are the rules to put a ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How to use jyutping as an input method on windows 8.1

Is there a way to use Jyutping as the input method on Windows 8.1?
2
votes
2answers
286 views

What word could you use to approach your friend in Chinese with?

Either close friends, family friends or fun/casual friends. E.g. "hey ... (close/family/fun friend), what are you up to?" I am looking for a word to replace the "close/family/fun friend" with.
2
votes
2answers
902 views

Are there online resources for learning the Chongqing dialect?

I'd like to learn the Chongqing dialect or chongqinghua. If anyone can help me to find resources like phrasebooks, differences with putonghua, or any article on this topic, I would be thankful.
2
votes
3answers
162 views

What's the role of 曾经 in this sentence?

In this sentence: 他曾经在北京学过两年汉语。 what's the role of 曾经? I understand that 过 already implies that the action happened in the past.
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there poems in Chinese that rhyme?

I've mostly read classical poems from guys such as 李白 and 杜甫, very nice in their own way, but it made me wonder if there is some form of poetry with rhymes in Chinese. It would probably be more ...
1
vote
2answers
100 views

Translation: Chinese relative names + numerals into English

Working on some translations but always come across things like: 李二嫂 王二叔 三奶奶 张幺伯儿 For 李二嫂 I think I came up with something like: The Li family's second eldest son's wife, ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Breaking a sentence into grammatical structures

There's a very robust deck of Anki flash cards I've been using to build vocabulary. But sometimes I get stuck when new grammatical constructs are shown. The deck says 你想走的时候就走吧。 is translated "Go ...
1
vote
3answers
449 views

“that” in Mandarin joining clauses or sentences?

Can someone help me understand how to say "that" in the following uses? Please provide pinyin in your answer, since my characters aren't so good :( He is the one THAT I saw. It's the one THAT I ...
1
vote
2answers
89 views

“Today” in Spoken Singaporean Mandarin

Is "今日" or "今天" more appropriate to use when speaking Singaporean Mandarin? Is it different than the one that is used in writing?
1
vote
3answers
260 views

Radical meaning vs characters in use

The radical 阜 and its other form 阝, used on the left, supposedly means mound or dam. Looking at image web search hits for 阜 or 阝, I get nothing related to dam or mound. When I look up the Chinese ...
1
vote
3answers
201 views

怎么用汉语说 ”early/mid/late 20's“ 或 “low/mid/high” 20's"?

比如,如果我要翻译: The temperature in Beijing tomorrow will be in its low/mid/late 20's 或者 I'm guessing she's in her early/mid/(high or upper) 20's 要怎么翻译? 更新: 1.)一般来说,early/low 等于 20-23, mid 等于 ...
1
vote
2answers
244 views

Hong Kong Cantonese variations

I am interested to learn whether the changes in Hong Kong pronunciation of Cantonese came about, was it because the English in Hong Kong had difficulty understanding the Cantonese? For instance, I ...
1
vote
3answers
204 views

What is the difference between 看到 and 看过?

I've learned them in Chinese class, but still a bit confused, 看 means see, but what is the difference between 看到 and 看过?
1
vote
1answer
80 views

Comparing “as A” and “as B”

While poking around the internet, I came across this sentence from a non-native speaker, which sounded off: 她是朋友比爱人更好。 Intended meaning: She is better as a friend than as a lover [for the ...
1
vote
3answers
279 views

What is the difference between 假如 and 例如?

What's the difference between 假如 and 例如? As far as I know, their usage is the same.
1
vote
1answer
189 views

What is the difference between qi3 and qi3 lai2?

In both situations my pen is now on a table. Speaking to another person, why do we say: 1) Qing3 na2 qi3 wo3 de5 bi3. 请拿起我的笔。 Not: 2) Qing3 na2 qi3 lai2 wo3 de5 bi3. 请拿起来我的笔。 How does the ...

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