8
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there an equivalent for the Cantonese phrase “M Goi”

The Cantonese phrase "M Goi" has many meanings: "Excuse me" "Thanks" (casual) "Hey" Does it have a 普通话 equivalent? And how can I write it in pinyin? Is it even possible?
8
votes
3answers
222 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
382 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
513 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
187 views

Two-character homonyms with same meaning

This is question about synonymous homonyms in Chinese, in particular, two-character words with same sound, tone. Edit: to keep the question simple and broad, I am using the word "homonym" in a ...
8
votes
2answers
263 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
574 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
609 views

What is the name of this traditional Chinese character font?

The image below is from a book I bought while in Hong Kong (ISBN 957-14-4160-0. It's an edition of a work in classical Chinese, with an ancient commentary in classical Chinese, and a modern commentary ...
8
votes
2answers
556 views

Help translating 海南鸡饭 - 2

I've come across Zhang Shaolin's Hoi-nam kai-fan (characters 海南鸡饭, lyrics only in subtitles), a song in Hakka. It is split into three parts. This question concentrates on part 2, part 1 being here and ...
8
votes
3answers
548 views

What is the origin of '日' as a curse word?

I read a bunch of answers on 百度知道 but they are all very vague, indecisive and unauthoritative. 1 ...
8
votes
2answers
350 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
2answers
227 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
10answers
1k views

What does 非也 mean?

What does 非也 mean? I heard it used here: Is this XXX? 非也! It's YYY! Does it mean "Oh my god!" or something? Thank you very much for your help!
7
votes
8answers
557 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
4answers
514 views

How would one say “my computer died”?

I know 关掉 to mean "turn off" but it doesn't seem to convey the sudden-ness or unwelcome connotation of "died". 突然关掉 is more precise but still seems to lack the negitivity. Also, as this is a common ...
7
votes
6answers
940 views

Usage of 一定 vs 当然

I recently had to select the correct answer for a homework assignment: 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the correct way to say: “I thought you were somebody else.”

In English if you mistake someone for another person it is common to say "I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else". How should this be said in Chinese?
7
votes
6answers
408 views

“小王” 和 “老王” how to determine which to use?

This is something I still haven't mastered and still just go with the flow. If I wanted to call someone a nickname, say for Mr. Wang, which one should I choose? What defines whether I should call him ...
7
votes
4answers
685 views

Origin of beautiful kingdom and hero kingdom

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

Is "一“ in 一线城市 first or second tone?

Quick question: Is "一“ in 一线城市 first or second tone? If it is first tone, is this because it is being used as a number? Cheers, Stephen
7
votes
3answers
272 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
532 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
334 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
4answers
688 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
1k 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
10answers
641 views

What is the Chinese equivalent of English idiom “As if!”?

The English idiom "as if!" is used to express the speakers rejection that something is possible: A: "In a few years I'll be driving a Ferrari." B: "As if you'll ever have a Ferrari!" Here, B, ...
7
votes
2answers
393 views

What is the proper usage of 而已 in Chinese?

I always hear Chinese people making sentences using 而已 - but I've never quite, 100%, understood how to use this in sentences myself. What is the correct way to apply it, and what is the English ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What does 'duang' mean in 'online Chinese'?

I see this word popping up on Weibo and Taobao. It's not written with any character, but spelled out in Pinyin. What does it mean? EDIT: For the annals:
7
votes
9answers
249 views

Is 我妈妈 or 我的妈妈 more natural?

The possessive particle 的 is often dropped when I see an expression like this, especially when referring to a family member (such as in this case). Which is more natural in casual conversation and are ...
7
votes
5answers
4k 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
10k 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
285 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
4answers
843 views

What does 反动 mean?

The dictionary definition of 反动 means reactionary, and in the political sense it can also mean someone who is very conservative, as opposed to progressive. However, it seems that this word is being ...
7
votes
2answers
214 views

How can I skip characters I can't read when reading aloud?

As an example, I was at the cinema and I wanted to buy tickets for a film named 北京遇上西雅图 However, I can't read all of the characters. In English I'd say; Can I get a ticket for that film ...
7
votes
4answers
550 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
1answer
579 views

Expressing “tea is not just a drink”

I encountered a misunderstanding today due to my poor Chinese language skill. What could I have done better? I was standing in a German hospital and a native Chinese asked me if I wanted tea or ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

“不客气” (bù kèqì) vs “谢谢你” (xièxiè nǐ)

At home in Australia my neighbouring shop owners are from Shanghai and taught me some Chinese. From them I learned two ways of responding to "谢谢" (xièxiè): "不客气" (bù kèqì) "谢谢你" (xièxiè nǐ) So I ...
7
votes
7answers
1k 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
469 views

How to translate “很不起眼儿” in English

What's the best (传神) translation of "很不起眼儿" in English? 例句: 不认识他的人觉得他很不起眼儿,认识他的人觉得他很优秀。 辨析: A more formal term that related to "很不起眼儿" is "其貌不扬", but "其貌不扬" will normally be "很不起眼儿", yet ...
7
votes
5answers
435 views

When native Chinese refer to China, what's the difference between 大陆, 中国 and 中国大陆?

Do they generally mean the same thing? Is one more formal than the other? Both 大陆, 中国 seem to have the same number of hits on Baidu.
7
votes
3answers
278 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
2answers
270 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
4answers
806 views

What's the difference between 舅舅 and 叔叔?

My favorite short story in modern Mandarin, 2015 by 王小波, is basically a long, humorous digression about the author's 舅舅: ...
7
votes
3answers
462 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
4answers
5k views

When are “《” and “ 》” and other brackets used?

In some texts, I have seen the following brackets: Carrot brackets: 《, 》,〈, and 〉. Square brackets: 【, 】,〖, and 〗. C-brackets: 〔 and 〕. L-brackets: 「, 」, 『, and 』. Some questions: What are the ...
7
votes
2answers
298 views

What's the difference between 房子 and 屋?

It seems like "house" is usually translated as 房子 (fáng zi) in standard Chinese, although 屋 (wū) is also a common translation, especially in Cantonese. Is there a difference between the two? When ...
7
votes
3answers
319 views

How to Translate 江湖?

I've always wondered how to translate the word "江湖" in a context such as that in Du Mu's poem: 落魄江湖载酒行, 楚腰纤细掌中轻。 This link clearly explains what 江湖 means, but "underworld" isn't particularly ...
7
votes
4answers
264 views

Why should I use 由 here and not 被?

I could choose 由 or 被. Why should I choose 由? Are there any good reasons for this choice? 这件事 _______ 公司负责。My girlfriend immediately said 由, but she couldn't say why. Considering the answers below ...
7
votes
2answers
350 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
6answers
2k 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? ...

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