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19

There are some historical reasons, in short: 一: one bar. May mean the whole, the universe. Reference. 二: two bars. May mean the positive and negative. The upper may refer to the heaven, the lower the earth. Reference. 三: three bars. The upper may refer to the heaven, the lower the earth, and the middle the human. Reference. 四: First |||| (four bars), then ...


15

Rather than saying that 两 is used with nouns, I would say that 两 is used with measure words. If you use any type of measure word with the number 2, use 两. For convenience, I've identified 3 types of measure words: Standard measure words, e.g. 两个人、两本书、两棵树. Numbers that are larger than 100, e.g. 两百, 两千三百六十二. 百, 千, and 万 can be seen as a sort of measure word. ...


15

The Story of 没 As other commenters have noted, looking for logic in language is almost always futile. No natural language is logical. But there is a historical logic to language development; even if the existence of a phrase is a historical accident, it's sometimes interesting to see when that "accident" took place, and why. Such is the case with 没. One ...


13

Etymology of 一, 二, and 三 Explanation of 一/二/三 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictographs) “一”是特殊指事字,抽象符号“一”既代表最为简单的起源,也代表最为丰富的浑沌整体。造字本义:最小原始单位,最小的正整数。古人认为“道立于一,一生二,二生三,三生万物”。就是说,混沌太初的存在整体是“一”;然后由太初混沌的“一”,分出天地“二”极;天地二极之间,又生出人这第“三”部分;天地人三者,衍化出宇宙万物。一 ,代替混沌太初的整体;二,上面的一横代表“天”,下面的一横代表“地”;三,上下两横代表“天地”,中间的一横代表“人”。 一 is a special self-explanatory character. The ...


12

豚 is pronounced tun2 in Mandarin and tyun4 in Cantonese. The only word I know which still uses it is 海豚 hai3tun2 "dolphin". The Japanese reading is ton (on), buta (kun), as I'm sure you know. 豚 was the original character (with the meat radical on the left hand side), while 猪 meant a wild pig (which is suggested by its radical). Japanese borrowings from ...


11

I've only heard it used in describing sexual situations, and wiktionary.org describes its usage as follows: This idiom usually only refers to a man taking advantage of a woman in a sexual situation. A typical example would be some creepy guy pinching the flight attendant's backside as she walks past. There's also a good discussion at ...


11

Wiki page of 牛排 gives a clue of its etymology, written by, 姚德懷, the current chairman of 香港中國語文學會 (The Chinese Language Society of Hong Kong Ltd.), a non-profit organization in Hong Kong. Here's a summary: According to 漢語大詞典, the word 牛排 has been cited in some novels in Qing Dynasty in the beginning of 20th century. Such as: ...


11

Let the "foot" meaning of 足 be A, the "plenty, enough" meaning be B. Will discuss about this topic in the following two sections. Different Root First, 現代漢語規範詞典 第二版 ("Modern Chinese Standard Dictionary" 2nd Edition) suggests that meaning A and meaning B come from different origin, though they share the same character currently. Figure 1. Meanings of 足 in ...


10

The gender neutral form of the term 先生 is an antiquated Chinese title used for addressing a knowledgeable person who is your senior. This person could be a teacher, a principal, a scholar, a professor or a doctor. This term, which literally means "born (生) before (先)", has been in use for a very long time. Somebody who is born before you would be your ...


10

This radical is called the 双耳旁 or 双二刀, due to it looking somewhat like an ear or the 刀 character. There are actually two radicals depending on whether it's placed to the left or right: 左耳刀 if on the left, 右耳刀 if on the right. The two radicals have different origins and different meanings. http://baike.baidu.com/view/457766.htm The left version is derived ...


9

Nope. The radical was simplified from 玉 (jade), originally referring to a polished sphere of jade. 求 is the phonetic component. For reference, Baxter's Old Chinese reconstruction has 求 *grju, and 球 *grju. In this particular case, 求 has remained a good phonetic for three millennia! The sense of 'sounding stone made of jade' can be seen in the Kangxi ...


9

Have a look at http://zh.wiktionary.org/zh-hant/%E5%9C%8B%E5%AE%B6, which explains lots of traditional meanings of 国家. The basic meaning is related to 古代諸侯的封地稱國,大夫的封地稱家. In the classical age of China, there were vassal states and the land of a vassal was called 国. There were also officials titled 大夫 who were given land as well, and a 大夫's land is called 家. ...


8

A personal experience, most etymology explanations of characters are not definitive. Explanations can be derived from theoretic work or maybe just personal imagination. That been said, I searched in google and found: Figures on how 奴 as written in ancient and modern times. Link from hkbu.edu.hk. Now, please look at the figure below, which is 奴 in its 小篆 ...


8

The answer is in this article: 从"出洋"、"游学"到"留学"——晚清"留学"词源考 It is really a complicated history, but in short: During the Tang Dynasty Japanse students came to China to study. These were called 留学生 in Japan. During the Late Qing Dynasty 留学 was taken over in China and became more and more popular.


8

It's the transliteration of the French word salon. It is equivalent to the English word saloon or salon (alternative spellings). The French word probably is derived from the Italian word salone meaning a large living area in the house or more generally a place where people gather to socialize. In China, the hairdresser's is often an unofficial social ...


8

In a literal sense, 加油 means to step on the gas pedal when you drive a car. Imagine what happens when you step on the gas pedal? More gasoline is added to the engine. What happens when more gasoline is added to the engine? The engine roarsssss! If someone is having a hard time, they are like a car being stuck in the mud or a similar situation and unable to ...


8

They are not really called beautiful kingdom and hero kingdom. When Chinese come up with phonetic names of foreign things, they try to find a character that come close enough in sound while having a good meaning. Luckily 英 and 美 happen to correspond well with "Eng-" and "-me-" while having suitable meaning. Just like France 法兰西 (法国) has meaning of 法 Law. ...


7

Wen Lin is an amazing piece of software that has all of the etymological features you are looking for. The central downside is that it is a bit pricey. Most universities have a copy, though, and there may be the opportunity to get some kind of student pricing discount. (Not sure if that applies to your case.)


7

Is this story true? Sorry, but no. If it helps you remember how to write the characters, then knock yourself out. In fact, there is a whole book of such mnemonics (as well as an unfavorable review of said book, followed by a fascinating discussion in the comments) If not, what's its etymology? That depends on what you mean by etymology (a term often ...


7

二 (èr) is used (with nouns), if you are talking about their order, but if you are counting how many, 两 (liăng) is used (also with nouns). Stated concisely: 两 (liăng) is a cardinal number, as in, 两个 (liăng-ge) 'two of something.' 二 (èr) is an ordinal number, as in, 第二个 (dì èr-ge) 'the second thing.' Perhaps more common in speech are the cardinal numbers, ...


7

Reference Materials about the differences between / origins of the 2 confusing words: from online newspaper - 光明网 conclusion in translation: one should use "待在" to express "to stay" from research materials - 中国知网 a Chinese blog containing the full-text of "中国知网" paper conclusion in translation: the 2 Chinese characters are different in meaning ...


7

先生 is an address with long history. But it is important that this address is only for male during a very very long time. Here are part of them (may have relevance to this question): Original meaning is literal, first born. 《诗·大雅·生民》:诞弥厥月,先生如达。 朱熹 集传:“先生,首生也。 Later extended as father or elder brother. 《仪礼·有司》:其先生之脀,折胁一。 郑玄 注:先生,长兄弟。 Older and learned ...


7

As recorded in Baidu, this unique pronunciation of “和” as "hàn" actually originates from the Old Beijing dialect. Extracted from the blog article titled 台湾人为嘛把“和”读作hàn?, it says the following: 1945年10月台湾光复,日语的“国语”黯然退出,台胞急着要回复祖国的语文,要说国语,要认汉字。 ...


7

Yep, they do As you can find on the great and all knowing wiki, the word for tea in most languages comes from the Chinese: Cognate to Min tê: English tea Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish te Finnish and Estonian tee French thé German Tee Greek τέϊον Hebrew תה Indonesian and Malay teh A great many others Cognate to Mandarin chá: Greek τσάι ...


7

The Phonology of Standard Chinese by San Duanmu (端木三) has an entire chapter devoted to this topic (The Word Length Problem): In this section I review six previous approaches to the disyllabic phenomenon in Chinese. For convenience, I call them (a) the homophone-avoidance approach, (b) the speech-tempo approach, (c) the grammatical approach, (d) the ...


7

Wikitionary has an etymology for this character 四 which says: The original shell and bone character was 一 written four times, 亖 (compare 二 and 三). The bronzeware style of the character featured a repositioning of those four lines inside 口; this later evolved into the combination used today of 口 mouth and 八 divide which meant a dispersal of ...


7

Etymology of 五 Explanation of 五 in 象形字典 (Dictionary of Pictographs) “五”也是特殊指事字,“五”的甲骨文字形用一个叉号寓意天、地万物的交汇,以表示大于“四”的正整数。有的甲骨文在字形(万物交汇)基础上加(天地之间),造字本义:金、木、水、火、土等宇宙的构成要素,代表天地间万物构成元素的极限数,大于四,小于六。在造字时期的远古时代,一,二,三,四,五,六,七,八,九,十,都曾是极限数。 五 is also a special self-explanatory character. Its oracle glyph uses a cross to imply "meeting of everything between ...


7

In Classical Chinese, the word 乎has several other uses besides as an interrogative marker. In Ch 27 of ‘Classical Chinese, A Basic Reader’ by Yuan, Tang and Geiss, it occurs with an adjective: 巍巍乎若泰山 ‘solemn and majestic like Mount Tai’ (referring to lute playing). They describe 乎 here as ‘an enclitic particle attached to an adjective to intensify or ...


7

About the "乔" part of "George[dʒɔ:dʒ]", you can find some material in the 译音表(the Form of Ttransliteration). Besides, "奇" should be instead of "治" following the form. However, "约定俗成(the convention)" is one of the important rules of 《英文人名翻译准则》. Everybody often use "乔治" refer to "George", so that "乔治" is agreed upon gradually. Anyway, I don't know why did ...


6

My understanding is that it is originally a military usage. Since the pronunciation yī is easily mistaken for 七 qī in radio transmissions etc, yāo is substituted in the interest of aural clarity. This usage is not found in Taiwan (although I can't speak for the Taiwanese military). This question has been answered before.



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