6
votes
2answers
144 views

Which ma belongs in the phrase 我 “ma” 好的

This may be a SE dialect thing, but plenty of my friends say 我 "ma" 好的 to mean 我很好 or "ma" 好的 to mean good or I agree with you. Can someone tell me which character (if there is one) is supposed to be ...
11
votes
8answers
852 views

Sheep or goat? 一只羊跑过来

In the sentence: 一只羊跑过来 Would a Chinese person typically assume this is a goat or a sheep?
10
votes
4answers
881 views

Classical Chinese Literature - What languages could be written with it? And why?

I understand that classical Chinese (see Wikipedia) was very different from spoken Chinese (at least in the last centuries of its usage). Nevertheless, despite or maybe even because of this, it was ...
13
votes
3answers
232 views

Character Pronunciation Clues

Is there any way to know what a character's pronunciation or tone is, based on the strokes or radicals that make up the characters?
23
votes
11answers
62k views

How to describe differences between Cantonese and Mandarin?

When I tell people I speak Cantonese I'm often asked, "What's the difference between that and Mandarin?". This inevitably leads to a very poor explanation that includes references to the differences ...
35
votes
9answers
6k views

How many characters do I need to learn?

How many Chinese characters would I generally need to learn to be able to handle most text in typical every day circumstances? How many would be required to be considered fluent? Are there any good ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Input of Simplified Chinese on Windows

What options are available for input of simplified Chinese on Windows computers? Is it possible to draw characters using a mouse or stylus, or perhaps input using speech recognition?
20
votes
9answers
3k views

Chinese input on Windows based on pinyin and tones

What is the best way for me to type pinyin using a keyboard on Windows? I've tried the built-in IMEs, but... they don't feel very intuitive to me. For example, if I want to get wǔ, I need to type wu, ...
18
votes
7answers
1k views

Where to practice speaking Chinese?

Living in Utah, I find it quite difficult to find places to practice speaking Chinese, especially Cantonese. Apart from accosting people in stores and other public places when I happen to hear them ...
17
votes
5answers
340 views

Question about “很好”

I've read that when asked the simple question 你好吗? ("How are you?"), answering 我很好 is the standard form, while 我好 is simply not used. 很 means "very", but 我很好 is simply translated as "I'm fine." and ...
13
votes
6answers
758 views

Are children's books a good starting place for beginners?

I was wondering if Chinese children's books might be a good starting place for adult Chinese language newbies (regardless of whether it be Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu, whatever), in particular for ...
11
votes
5answers
4k views

Various ways to say “nice to meet you”

When I first started learning Chinese I knew the in order to say "Nice to meet you" or "Pleased to meet you," I had to use the following expression: 很高兴见到您。 But recently I've come across other ...
16
votes
3answers
762 views

Tense and use of 了

I struggle a bit to get my head around tenses in Mandarin, and in particular when I need to use 了 (le). Do you have any tips, examples or resources to help me out with this?
5
votes
5answers
323 views

What is 和 used for in this sentence?

I know how to use 和 to link one or more nouns or noun phrases, but in this sentence I don't understand what purpose does it serve at the beginning of the sentence? 和西方人过圣诞节差不多,这是一个全家团聚的节日。 (This ...
20
votes
5answers
687 views

How to differentiate between “On Top” and “Above”

If I wanted to translate the prepositional phrase "on the bed" to Chinese, I know to say "床上", but I don't know what the translation would be for saying "above/over the bed". From what I can gather, ...
8
votes
5answers
274 views

Are there sentences where 跟 and 和 are interchangeable?

For example: 我跟朋友去公园了。 我和朋友去公园了。 Are both of these sentences correct? Are there any subtle differences in the meaning conveyed? If they are not entirely interchangeable, how do we know which one ...
10
votes
4answers
245 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 ...
25
votes
7answers
1k views

Techniques for improving pronunciation

Are there any recommended resources or methodologies to improve ones Chinese pronunciation? Besides having a native speaker at your disposal, are there any tools that can help to correct ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

Character and word frequencies

I'm trying to build some automated tools for processing Chinese text. I'd like to know the relative frequencies of different characters and character combinations. Are there any web sites with this ...
26
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the difference between 作 and 做?

作 and 做 are both translated as "to do" or "to make"; how can I tell when I should use one or the other?
18
votes
4answers
755 views

Reading handwriting

How can I get better at reading handwriting? Are there fonts that look like it, or web sites with examples for practice? Are there some common shortcuts that people take when writing by hand?

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