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16

I think it would be easier to learn Chinese after learning Japanese and vice versa, because too many Chinese characters are used in Japanese. I would like to talk about this from three points. Pronunciations Usually, in Japanese, one character has 2 types of pronunciations, "音読 おんどく ondoku or 音読み おんよみ onyomi" and "訓読 くんどく kundoku or 訓読み くんよみ kunyomi". The ...


15

Based on my own experience, Not! Although the schools are asked to use the Mandarin in classroom, there are still many schools that doesn't follow this rule. I was born in a little city in west China, and I had never spoken in Mandarin, before I went to the university. In big cities, schools follow this rule, while in small cities, especially in the poor ...


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 ...


14

Not sure if listening skill to tones in Chinese songs has its own implication, I get the impression that songs are generally harder than daily conversations for a non-native language. To answer the first part of your question: native speaker can not tell the lyrics all the time. One particularly interesting case is the songs by Jay Chou, who is one of the ...


13

When 的 is used for possession or 's, it is often omitted in speaking when it's the subject of a sentence. For example: 她(的)家很漂亮/她(的)家很漂亮 = Her house/home is beautiful. 你(的)電腦很慢/你(的)电脑很慢 = Your computer is really slow. 他(的)新車很貴/他(的)新车很贵 = His new car is quite expensive. But 的 is usually kept when it's the object of a sentence. 我喜歡他的車/我喜欢他的车 = I like his ...


13

Usually 了 is used to indicate past tense (or the completion of). Such as: 我吃了 了 is added to the end of the sentence that change the statement to past tense. You can add 过 before 了 to add emphasis. E.g., 我吃了 (I ate) vs. 我吃过了 (I have (already) eaten.) but 了 may be used for different reasons, some of which have nothing to do with past tense. ...


12

There is a technique I started to use and actually, I've seen it also in other dictionaries, so maybe I wasn't that original... But anyway, the answer is colors! When you're studying new Hanzi or vocabulary, just color each character according to the tone... It's very helpful to remember the tones, because after a while, you visualize the tones in your ...


11

Apart from the Kanji/Hanzi, that they (partly) have in common, concerning the written part, there is nothing that can really help you with the other language: Chinese is pretty much SVO, Japanese is SOV; Chinese has tones, Japanese has no tones. When speaking, sentences do have a certain "tone", but not phonemic, i.e. it doesn't totally change the meaning; ...


11

No. In songs, most tones disappear. The syllables are sung along the melody of music. We only tell the tone because we can catch what the whole word or sentence is. In songs, usually the melody should be written to convey the tones of syllables (or syllables chosen to much the melody). Mismatch of melody and lyrics can result in misunderstandings. However, ...


11

It's your name and you can arbitrarily pick characters to be your name. We Chinese generally select characters with positive meanings (of course, I think characters with negative meanings would not be the choice for most people) and avoid possible bad meanings from the words with the same or similar pronunciation with the name. For example, it's common to ...


11

“而已” is always used at the end of a sentence and with words like “仅仅”,"只","不过". A similar word in Chinese is "罢了"(actually, this word comes from 满语). You use the structure "......(part A),不过......(part B)而已" to emphasize the expression that A is just limited within B. You could only use "不过", also, and "而已“ weakens your mood and sometimes expresses that you ...


11

My friends use 谢谢 all the time, so even if someone pours them a drink for the 10th time they will still say 谢谢. One thing I noticed when I first started learning was that how I said it sounded too exaggerated, so it was coming across like I was trying to thank someone for saving my life when it was just supposed to be a simple thanks. So maybe try toning it ...


11

This idiom comes from the famous book of 《论语》, a book recording the Confucius and his disciples' words. Here is the source: 《论语·卫灵公》:“子曰:‘当仁,不让于师’。” Explanations: 卫灵公 is the name of a chapter of that book. In that chapter, you can read this sentence(the 36th) "子曰:‘当仁,不让于师’。“ The Confucius said:" when [you are] facing 仁(see note), you should ...


11

Most languages use an alternate greeting for telephone calls; the English "hello", although originating from before the telephone, was popularised by it, so much so that it has become a common greeting outside the telephone: hello 1883, alt. of hallo (1840), itself an alt. of holla, hollo, a shout to attract attention, first recorded 1588. Perhaps ...


10

The pronunciation of the two are totally different. Hong Kong people humorously call it "the chicken talking to the duck" as they cannot understand each other. The two are both tonal languages (different tones has different meanings for the same sound) and they also have different vowels and consonants, too. Cantonese preserves some older grammatical ...


10

For the most part both dialects use the same words and phrases (primarily with differences in slang terms). While some phrases are used more frequently in one dialect than another to express the same idea, the meanings are preserved across dialects (they don't mean different things, just people who use one dialect may prefer one saying to another). In ...


10

There is "我非常好" I'm extremely well, or I'm extremely good. There is also "我非常开心" I'm extremely happy. Maybe if you want to aim for something a little more subtle you could try "我很开心" I'm very happy. If you are mentioning that you are this "good" you will likely be asked for an explanation!


10

A significant difference between Chinese and English is that sometimes the border between a "verb" and a "preposition" is blurred. In your case, both "去" and "到" has the meaning of "go", "go to", "reach", or "visit", and therefore can be used interchangeably. You don't need a preposition if you use a transitive verb to translate "去": 某天我去北京。 = Some day ...


10

This is actually a common problem in newspapers and television in Singapore, where the original report may have been filed by a reporter who did not or cannot use Chinese. In these cases, the author simply chooses phonetically matching characters to fill in the name of the person, then add (音) or (译音) to indicate that the name shown is only a phonetic ...


10

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 ...


10

Here's my take on it. 更好 = "even better." For example, X很好。Y更好。= "X is good. Y is even better." This comparison could be over time too: X已经很好,现在更好了 = "X was already good, now it's even better." 比较好 = "better", without an implication that the object of comparison was/is already good. So, it's acceptable to say X不怎么样,Y比较好。= "X kind of sucks, Y is better" ...


9

I agree with the viewpoints from xiaohouzi79, and I would like to make a supplement here. Many idioms come from classic poems and books,and as xiaohouzi79 mentioned, four-character sentences were popular in these materials, especially I think in poems and books(such 《诗经》,《左传》,etc.) before Qin Dynast(221BC-207BC).Although foreigner may be more familiar with ...


9

Let me answer the most general question first: "even if the different languages are not mutually understandable when spoken, they are when written." To a large extent, this is true - but for two different reasons. Before the modern era, this is true because "written Chinese" was based on classical Chinese; whereas the spoken languages were highly divergent ...


9

You're right, most foreign words are transliterated differently in Mandarin and in Cantonese. Sometimes there are even different standards in different Mandarin speaking regions. It's an interesting idea to use characters that have similar pronunciations in both dialects to unify the transliteration but it's not what has already happened. A few examples of ...


9

“坏” is a very general word meaning something "useless", but what makes the thing "坏了" has many reasons, and “破了” is one of them, so when something's state is “破了”, you can also say something is “坏了”;However “破” means something is broken or has cracks. So when you describe something that is useless because of inner reasons such as quality, but it still looks ...


9

Chinese characters and phonetics You say: Unlike English, Chinese is not a spelling language, which means there is no hint from the characters for pronunciation!!! Luckily for us, that's not true! Actually, by some estimates, almost 90% of characters have a phonetic component to them. To understand what that actually means, you have to know how ...


8

很高兴见到您。 means glad to see you. It's usually used if you know (or heard of) someone for a long time, but haven't seen him/her for sometime(first time in case of heard of). For example, you would use 很高兴见到您 to greet someone you know from the internet. It's a bit weird to say 很高兴见到您 to someone you know very well or see everyday. If it's the first time you ...


8

First, grammars of Chinese and English are totally different, you don't need the preposition like in English. Second, in my opinion, 去 indicates that you start the action of "going to a place",and "到" indicates that you have finished that action, so you "reach a place " or "arrive at a place". An example: 本周二我会坐火车去北京,周三到。 I will go to Beijing by ...


8

Taken from my.chinese.cn: 成语为什么四字者为多?这大概是因为四字容易上口。如我国古代的诗歌总集《诗经》,就以四字句为多,古代历史《尚书》,其中四字句也有一些。后来初学读的三、百、千《三字经》《百家姓》《千字文》,其中后两种即全为四字句。《四言杂字》《龙文鞭影》初、二、三集,都是四言。这虽然是训蒙书,也足以说明四字句之为人所喜爱、所乐诵。 Why are idioms mostly four characters? This is basically because four words are catchy. Our country's famous book of poetry, 《诗经》, mostly uses four-character sentences, ...


8

What's the pinyin for this/that character? 这个/那个字的拼音是什么? What's the character for this/that pinyin? 这个/那个拼音代表的(or 对应的)汉字是什么? I would use the words “代表(dài biăo)的” or “对应(duì yìng)的" for the second translation, because in general, you can determine the PinYin for a specific character (though some characters have two or more pronunciations). However, ...



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