9
votes
2answers
266 views

What is the first attested use of 美國/美国 in the sense of 'America' in Chinese?

The beginnings of Sino-American relations date back to the late 18th century (e.g. the Old China Trade). When did the Chinese begin to refer to America (or the US) as 美國/美国? Were there alternative ...
9
votes
4answers
278 views

Difference between 同一 and 一样

I would like to know when to use 同一 and when to use 一样 when describing items or people as similar? What is the difference in usage between these two phrases?
9
votes
5answers
205 views

How common is the use of “瞧” and which region?

I've seen 瞧 used every now and then in written Chinese, but I've rarely heard it said in spoken Chinese except for the occasional mention of 瞧不起. A couple of days ago I was watching Kung Fu Panda and ...
9
votes
1answer
414 views

Determine radicals for simplifed characters that lost their traditional form completely

Having read this question: How can one determine the radical for a given character?, it gave me another question. Since many simplified characters lost their original form (compared to traditional ...
8
votes
4answers
667 views

Why is the 会 in 会计 pronounced kuài?

The character 会 has two different pronunciations; usually it is huì but in 会计 it is pronounced kuài. It seems that the latter pronunciation is exclusively used in the "accounting" meaning. How did ...
8
votes
5answers
607 views

What is a good form of address for a male friend who is too old to be 小, too young to be 老, and too humble to be called 大?

I have a male "friend", last name 柯 (kē) who is over 30. From ages 18-30 or so, he went by 小柯, but that seems less and less appropriate as he gets older. Always going by his full name seems overly ...
7
votes
4answers
349 views

Rhyming in modern Mandarin

What syllables rhyme in modern Mandarin, according to the native speakers? I'm looking for some rules or rhyme tables. I have found some, but I'm confused by the fact that 韵 may both mean "rhyme" and ...
7
votes
3answers
324 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
505 views

Macau Cantonese, any differences from HK?

Does anyone know how Cantonese from Macau differ from HK if there are any? Any slangs or terms used in Macanese Cantonese that is rarely used or heard in HK? Maybe some sinicised portuguese words? ...
7
votes
3answers
268 views

How is 青 and 苍 used in classical Chinese to denote colors?

Here is what the dictionary says about 青:  1. 深绿色或浅蓝色:~草。~苔。 Dark Blue or light green.  2. 靛蓝色:靛~。~紫。 Indigo blue.  3. 黑色:~布。~衣。 Black. Similar case is 苍:  1. 深青色,深绿色:~翠。~天。 Dark ...
7
votes
2answers
315 views

What is the difference between 整个 and 全?

The dictionary definitions for 整个 and 全 both use "whole" and "entire". However, 全 additionally has definitions of "all" and "complete". I have a homework assignment that asks me to distinguish their ...
7
votes
2answers
243 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
811 views

我(也)很好 and tone sandhi

What are the (resultant) tones in those sentences, where all the words in isolation have 3rd tone? 我很好。 我也很好。 Reading tone shandhi rules on Wikipedia, there is no explanation about tree or ...
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
285 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
172 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
297 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
463 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
937 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
363 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
936 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
191 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
109 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
88 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
732 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
282 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
471 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
299 views

What is the difference between 怎么 and 如何?

Is it mostly a question of register?
4
votes
2answers
215 views

Which expression do native speakers actually use: Chinese New Year or Spring Festival (or other)?

In relation to the Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival) I've heard different names, as you can see from what I just wrote. In Chinese we have: 春節 / 春节 = Spring Festival Chūn jié 農曆新年 / ...
3
votes
1answer
79 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
202 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
2answers
862 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
89 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
3answers
143 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
130 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
246 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
456 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
695 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
335 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
553 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
311 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
344 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
3answers
178 views

When is a 方言 a language and not a dialect

I have always thought, perhaps wrongly, that it was mutual intelligibility that was the deciding factor as to whether a 方言 would be considered a dialect or it's own separate language. Wikipedia's ...
2
votes
6answers
128 views

How can I convert Chinese characters sketched with my mouse, into computerised characters?

Are there any websites or resources analogous to Detextify for maths? Presently, I do not know (but desire to learn) how to type Chinese characters.
2
votes
2answers
74 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
145 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
86 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
151 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
312 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.

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