8
votes
3answers
182 views

How to distinguish the difference between the pronunciation of different erhuayin?

For example, 小黄儿, 小欢儿, 小花儿; 唱歌儿, 树根儿, 一横儿; What's the difference? I can't understand the difference between each phonetic symbol in the same row in the table below: The picture is from ...
8
votes
1answer
246 views

What's the difference between 看起来 and 看上去?

I see them both used in the same way and both seem to get equal hits in Baidu. Here are some sample sentences containing each. http://www.dictall.com/st/60/37/60372038C00.htm ...
8
votes
1answer
389 views

V + 到。。。。头上来: Exact meaning and how to use?

I know that the abovementioned formula expresses a negative result, but I am not exactly sure how to translate it. Some questions: 1 How to translate it well into English? 2 Can I use it ...
8
votes
2answers
160 views

Why was 滾 (gǔn) simplified to 滚?

Why was the traditional character 滾 simplified to 滚? It's only one stroke less so it seems doubtful that it was done to make the character simpler to write. Does it change the meaning of the character ...
8
votes
2answers
235 views

Are there Chinese approximations for the colloquial/slang English terms “snot rocket” or “bushman's blow”?

In English I know of two colourful terms for blowing your nose without use of a handkerchief or tissue by holding one nostril closed and expelling mucus from the other: bushman's blow [1][2] snot ...
8
votes
1answer
352 views

Analog of Hong Kong grade level for Chinese characters?

The Unihan database lists a kGradeLevel for each entry. This is the primary grade in the Hong Kong school system by which a student is expected to know the corresponding character. Is there a similar ...
8
votes
2answers
185 views

Do the Chinese have a (potentially politically incorrect) way of imitating English speakers?

I do not mean to cause offence with this question; I ask only to potentially become better acquainted with Chinese vernacular, and, I must admit, a little out of curiosity. A politically incorrect, ...
8
votes
2answers
279 views

Writing in Chinese - What rules are there for handwriting vs printed

I've recently found out that I've been incorrectly writing a lot of Chinese characters Examples: 口日目 I've been writing them with the little feet (not sure of a better name for them) but have ...
8
votes
3answers
418 views

How did 外国人 become 老外?

From Baidu: 老外,是中国人对国外人的一种俗称,类似与老张、老王、老李之类的称呼。称呼中加“老”显得亲热,比如“老乡”“老表”,称呼你老外,就像称呼老张老李那样,大大咧咧,随便亲切。过去中国人对外国人的称呼都是用在第三人称上,只有“老外”可以用于第二人称。 To translate, it says laowai is a colloquial term for ...
8
votes
2answers
213 views

Where can I find recordings of people reading things now that mp3.baidu.com is dead? [closed]

Baidu's MP3 search engine used to be my first stop when studying anything Chinese. Absurdly, even recordings of relatively rare poetry (for instance) were easy to find. These recordings were not ...
7
votes
8answers
488 views

Neutral Terms for “White People”

This is always a difficult topic because racial and ethnic identities are so complex, sensitive, and dynamic: what are the best (as in the most precise and neutral) terms for "White" people? I've ...
7
votes
6answers
376 views

How gender specific in writing is the character 他

A couple of years ago I wrote this comment below an answer: On mainland China 他 is used for both male and female. I've only seen 她 used as a stylistic thing for advertising and some old formal ...
7
votes
4answers
471 views

Origin of beautiful kingdom and hero kingdom

Why in Mandarin chinese, USA is beautiful kingdom and England is hero kingdom?
7
votes
5answers
704 views

Usage of 一定 vs 当然

I recently had a homework assignment to select the correct answer 我学了10年汉语了,含有水平 。。。 很高 I chose 一定,but the correct answer turned out to be 当然 Was my answer incorrect, why? How do these two ...
7
votes
3answers
250 views

“Actually” as a sentence-starter of speech filler

When casually speaking English I use the word "actually" a lot at the beginning of a sentance, or as part of the flow of my speech. e.g. Actually, next semester doesn't start for a month. ...
7
votes
3answers
465 views

爱老虎油 - is it slang?

Seen this phrase written by a Chinese person: 爱老虎油 [ài lǎo​hǔ yóu] What does it mean? Failed to find it in dictionaries. Is it some slang or 白话?
7
votes
3answers
304 views

Why does Chinese lack some level of abstraction in some idioms? (e.g. 兄弟姐妹)

Example: in Chinese, you can't* speak of siblings in a general term, and in turn you have to enumerate all 4 combinations of sex and age: 兄弟姐妹 ( older brother, younger brother, older sister, younger ...
7
votes
9answers
1k views

How to translate “你给我滚” properly

In a sentence like: “你*给我*拿一杯水” You would translate it something like: Get me a glass of water. How is the "给我" in the sentence “你给我滚” supposed to be translated? Should it just be "Get lost / P*ss ...
7
votes
4answers
478 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?
7
votes
5answers
976 views

What's the meaning of “不见面也有不见面的好”?

I really couldn't understand the meaning of this sentences. 见面 means to meet, to see 不见面 means not meet, not see. 不见面也有不见面的好。 But I really couldn't get what it is saying.
7
votes
2answers
399 views

Equivalent phrase to “Bon Appetit”/“Enjoy (your food)”

In European languages there's a phrase you can say when you or a waiter serves food. For example, - bon appetit (French/English) - buen provecho (Spanish) Does Chinese have a similar phrase?
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Take away (when ordering food): is it 带走 or 打包?

I was told that when you are ordering food you can say either 带走 or 打包. However, when you are not ordering food and you mean "take this away", then you use 拿走。 Is there a difference in context or ...
7
votes
6answers
6k views

Does 危机 really mean both crisis and opportunity?

A lot of people, mostly those who haven't studied Chinese, like to claim something along the lines of "In Chinese, the word for crisis 危机, also bears the meaning of opportunity." This is usually ...
7
votes
4answers
520 views

What is 人 doing in 你现在人在哪里?

I got this sentence in my "daily exercise" newsletter, and I really don't understand what's 人 doing there? Doesn't it mean the same when 人 is removed? Could this simply be a typo?
7
votes
4answers
262 views

Is there a nuance 今天早晨 conveys that 今天早上 does not?

I have a feeling that one might mean slightly earlier. Is this right?
7
votes
7answers
896 views

Why do native speakers often say a character has “no meaning”?

Many times I will know all the characters in a name but one & I'll ask what that one character means. 9 times out of 10 the response is, "That character has no meaning". While it might be true ...
7
votes
3answers
240 views

What is the difference between 夸张 and 过分

I often hear both used to describe a person or a person's action. The direct translations aren't the same, but from my experience, when used in context, I can't tell when to use one over the other. ...
7
votes
3answers
389 views

Why is it written LIU in Pinyin, when there's clearly an O sound?

Does anybody know why this decision was made in Pinyin, about not writing any hint of the sound /O/ in liu, instead of writing something like liou or liow ? Because the first reaction of any ...
7
votes
2answers
335 views

If the simplified version of 態 is 态 is why isn't there one for 熊?

I ask because I'm curious as to what's the reasoning behind simplification. It would look something like: 太 灬
7
votes
5answers
575 views

Is 師奶 (see lai) strictly a Cantonese word? Is it a neutral word or does it have a negative connotation?

I had heard a husband refer to his wife in Cantonese as 師奶 (pronounced "see lai"). The way he said it sounded like an insult but I was told it's not a bad word. How would 師奶 be described in English? ...
7
votes
1answer
352 views

How to say a negative number in Mandarin?

There are plenty of posts for rules on numbers, but I can't seem to figure out how one would say, for example, -5 (negative five). I know that negative number is 负数, so would it just be 负五?
7
votes
1answer
197 views

How is the Kanji character 豚 related to the chinese 猪 / 豬

The Chinese character for pig is 猪 / 豬 (zhu1) In many Japanese restaurants around Hong Kong I've seen this somewhat different character 豚 which appears to also mean pig. How would you say it in ...
7
votes
4answers
724 views

Learning Traditional first with the goal of learning both

I found this in the Mandarin wikibook: "It is considered easier for people who learn Traditional to read both sets than people who learn Simplified only, but Simplified characters are less ...
7
votes
4answers
618 views

Chinese equivalent of: 'ew'?

When disgusted by something people will usually say, 'ew, yuck!' or 'ew, gross.' Is there an equivalent of 'ew' in Mandarin? The only things I was able to find about it (here) - just explain what ...
7
votes
2answers
322 views

What's the difference between 咁 (gam3) and 噉 (gam2)?

What does "gam" mean in these two contexts, and why is a different character used in each? Note 咁 used in this sentence 我睇見你坐喺梳化椅處, 唔停咁同張太太,何太太,王小姐佢哋傾偈。 (ngo5 tai2 gin3 nei5 co5 hai2 so1 ...
7
votes
5answers
268 views

Equivalent expression to: “I don't give a f***”

Is there something in Mandarin like "I don't give a f***", something that expresses the same sense of "I don't care" but with more force.
7
votes
3answers
570 views

How to Say the “something” in the phrase “Do something”

I was trying to explain the meaning of the phrase "hang out" to a Chinese friend, and the first thing that came to mind was 一起做什么了, with me intending 什么了 to mean "something". He seemed to understand ...
7
votes
3answers
179 views

我一字一字地学习汉语 OR 我一个字一个字地学习汉语

Which is the correct use of this grammar pattern? 我一字一字地学习汉语。 我一个字一个字地学习汉语。 The first one feels correct to me. The pattern is: 一{MW,N}一{MW,N} + 地 + V
7
votes
1answer
146 views

Difference between 更好 and 比较好?

I'm confused about the difference between 更好 and 比较好. Since both seem to mean "better", how are these used differently? In what cases would you use them?
7
votes
2answers
154 views

他在工厂住了半年/living in factories

This was an example sentence in Practical Chinese Reader 31. Do people actually live in factories, or is there some cultural context I'm missing? In previous chapters, people are constantly visiting ...
7
votes
2answers
424 views

Pronunciation of 一 in 一个

When I first learnt the numbers, I learnt 一 with the first tone yi1. But now, during a Memrise lesson, they teach me that 一个 should be pronounced yi2 ge4 or yi2 ge5. Is this correct and, if so, is ...
7
votes
3answers
99 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
256 views

Character and meaning for the 四川话 sentence-ending particle 'ga'?

Scholars of Chinese will have a lot of work to do in the next 100-200 years, because eventually academics will take notice and want to document the self-emergent standardization of orthography for ...
7
votes
6answers
379 views

What are the differences between 男女, 公母, and 雄雌?

In what situations would you use one of the following instead of the others? 男女 nán nǚ 公母 gōng mǔ 雄雌 xióng cí Is it a matter of formality or is each term confined to a particular ...
7
votes
1answer
233 views

What are the different kinds of poems in Chinese?

In the question "Are there poems in Chinese that rhyme?", a debate started about what is considered a poem in Chinese. The texts I presented — 《三字經》 (Three Character Classic), 《百家姓》 (The Hundred ...
7
votes
2answers
492 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
185 views

How to say “dull the knife”?

I want to translate "Using the knife on these types of surfaces will dull the knife." This I find to be difficult grammatically as well. However, I'm not sure how to say "dull" in Mandarin, and google ...
7
votes
1answer
254 views

Did a king ask for a ball? How did 王 + 求 become 球?

The character 球 means ball and is composed of 王 meaning king and 求 meaning demand. Where does this composition come from? Did a king ask for a ball?
7
votes
2answers
111 views

Antiquated honorifics

Are any of these honorifics still in use today? If not, might they be used and understood (as a joke) by regular Chinese in, say, a period film, much as English speakers would recognize someone using ...
7
votes
3answers
364 views

What is an idiomatic way to say “This is not good” in Mandarin?

The title mostly covers the question, but some elaboration might help. In English, there is a common construction of ideas whereby the speaker makes a statement about an action or event, and follows ...

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