Hot answers tagged etymology
There's no difference in meaning. They are not actually all that distinct: both words came from 哪, a generic interrogative character used for indicating a question. Given an appropriate context (e.g. 在哪), the character expresses the meaning of "where". Both 哪儿 and 哪里 builds upon that. The suffix 儿 is generally meaningless, and reflects the northern ...
There is a specific case where 哪里 cannot be replaced by 哪儿. When one is praised or flattered, 哪里 or 哪里哪里 is generally considered a proper, polite and humble response in Chinese culture. Its literal meaning is "Where am I? I'm nowhere near as good as you imagine" (although you actually may be that good or even better). Note that it is rarely used among ...
http://dict.shufaji.com/word-2326.html 甲骨文（水，喻流程）（矢，代军事操练），造字本义：古代军事模拟实战的流程式操练。篆文将甲骨文的“矢”写成“寅”，明确了军事操练的含义。隶书将篆文的成。 the 氵also got another meaning of flow (process flow), so it does mean that process flor for traditional battle(war) training.
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