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21

This is actually not one character, but a stylistic conglomeration of the characters in the phrase 招財進寶, meaning "ushering in wealth and prosperity". The characters 財 and 寶 end up being represented with the same 貝 component in this "character". While the left side of 招 (扌) and the right side of 財 (才) are technically not the same component, they look similar ...


10

一 in 一线 has two kinds of tones, and two corresponding meanings: yi1 xian4 (1st tone), means front line / 1st line, such as 一线城市 (first-tier city), 亲临一线, 一线队. yi2 xian4 (2nd tone), means a gleam of / a ray of, such as 一线光明, 一线生机. Basically, before the word with 4th tone, 一 should be pronounced as the 2nd tone (“一”的音变), such as 一样, 一辈子. But if it is used ...


9

For people to understand better...


8

You're right. Chinese people read Kanji using their Chinese pronunciations. For Chinese people who don't speak Japanese, they have probably only learned 'tokyo' from the English word and they don't have a clue what 'akihabara' is. The same applies to nouns, proper nouns and names.


7

How was it pronounced in older times (i.e. Middle Chinese)? I haven't found a record of 瞓 in classical Chinese, but since 瞓 and 训 are both read as fan in Cantonese, I'll take 训 instead. It is read qhuns in reconstructed Old Chinese that is before the 1st century B.C. In Middle Chinese it is pronounced as hyonh. How did the pronunciations ...


7

I do not think that such a list exists. If it did, Chinese-speaking learners of English would never need to struggle with the pronunciation of their new language. Let's say we have a List E, which contains all the phonemes in English (whichever variety you choose), and another List C, which contains all the phonemes in Chinese (again, whichever variety you ...


7

一 is First tone here, meaning first class, the best. Other examples: 一等奖, first prize; 第一, first.


6

nóo vs. ló These two are both for literary pronunciation. Since 白頭偕老(白头偕老) is a traditional Chinese idiomatic expression (成語 Chengyu), we tend to pronounce it in the literary way. The difference between these two might be in the sub-dialect aspect. I'd pronounce it as pe̍h-thâu-kai-ló since it's easier for me to pronounce. But I reckon that ...


5

Middle Chinese starting from the Sui dynasty (with the Qièyùn, 切韻, published in 601 CE) actually documented its phonology. These are called rime tables, and break down each character pronunciation into groups by tone and by final. These were employed by scholars in both reciting and composing verse. Using the fanqie 反切 spelling would also have aided scholars ...


5

Welcome more questions Thomas. Very good answer above. It is a Spring Couplet 挥春/揮春. 招財進寶 is an auspicious saying to wish families more wealth and treasure. Chinese paste this on the front door or wall before the Chinese New Year. And they renew it annually. Some companies hope like this lucky saying so they paste it too. Besides, "福"(fu) is very popular ...


5

They're called 合文! (combined characters ) or 合书! http://baike.baidu.com/view/2915764.htm ( Good question - I was also curious about this a while back ) :)


5

I think you're doing it right. The alveo-palatal part of sound (which j/x/q have in common) should be created by the gap between the middle of your tongue and the roof of your mouth, and that's exactly what 'alveo-palatal' means. The difference among j/x/q though, aspiration and frication, are controlled by other part of the mouth, but I don't think that's ...


5

When 监 is in the forth tone, it usually refers to a specific government department. For example 国子监 was the education department, 钦天监 was the calender department, 太监 was the department of 内务, i.e., affairs of the royal family. Then gradually people start to use 太监 to refer to the specific occupation, or people who belong to the department. Then 监's meaning ...


4

I had a second (tenth?) listen, and extracted the sound to an mp3. Then I put this through Praat. I noticed something interesting: This is the first occurrence of 來, around 72 seconds in: 齐家吃开晓来称赞 This is the second occurrence of 來, around 121 seconds in: 明星或歌星日日来帮衬 The first one is definitely [lɔi], whereas the second one is definitely [lei], and ...


4

I believe that 𦨻 is a mistake in transcription for 觥 (gong1) because they could look very similar in cursive script. 觥 means drinking vessel and 觥船 means a big drinking vessel, see, e.g., http://www.zdic.net/c/5/f0/248556.htm .


4

Old Pekin dialect (>50 years ago) pronounce it as lin(4th tone) and that might be influencing some other dialects. I am not sure about the situation in TW, but mandarin standard is lun(4th tone) except for 论语, habitually lun (2nd tone).


4

It's the 4th in 一概而论, both regions: Check. e.g.: Mainland: 在线新华字典 Taiwan: 教育部重编国语字典 (Both URLs point to the '一概而论' entry) 论 does have a 2nd tone reading, but 论语 seems to be the only where it is used.


4

My observation is that there is a trend in the internet that some people, especially the youths, intentionally alter the "Han Zi" expression of some frequently used words. It is a way they make fun of their text and want to be more attractive. The reason is not because the tone in the language is less important or has any change. It is simply a technical ...


4

As others have explained, ě is currently used in certain nonstandard dialects. You might be interested to know that ě is the expected pronunciation based on the regular sound changes that connect Mandarin to the Middle Chinese pronunciations recorded in rhyming dictionaries. Compare these words: 我: Mand. wǒ, MC nga, rising tone, 餓: Mand. è, MC nga, ...


4

An excellent resource for answering questions like this is 漢字古今音資料庫 at http://xiaoxue.iis.sinica.edu.tw/ccr/. Unfortunately it doesn't have Song or Yuan reconstructions, but it does list the 攝, which is a Song era classification. 祯 was in 梗攝, and 蒸 was in 曾攝 so they shouldn't have been complete homonyms. The difference, however, was probably in the vowel, ...


4

Standard Cantonese's 陽平 tone is definitely pronounced with a falling contour (21). Modern Cantonese Phonology by Robert S. Bauer, p. 144 appears to acknowledge, but did not find, a low-level contour for this tone though: For the Mid-Low Falling tone both Yuan (1983:181) and Zhan (1985:168) also recognized a variant low level contour of ˩11 in addition to ...


3

As Wang Dingwei notes in his answer, 瞓 is a phono-semantic character that uses 訓 (also pronounced fan3 in Cantonese) as the phonetic component to represent the word fan3 in its meaning of "sleep". However, 瞓 is a character that was invented in recent times. The phonetic 訓 was chosen because it happens to have the same pronunciation in modern Cantonese, but ...


3

Zhuyin is commonly encountered in Taiwan and Taiwan-centric overseas communities. Not sure about its prevalence in other overseas communities a la Singapore, but I've found zhuyin easier to use with vertical text Chinese as is printed commonly in Taiwan and elsewhere, and suspect Zhuyin/bopomofo/bpmf would be more popular in those regions due to the better ...


3

the usage is classical and shows up at least as far back as mencius: 吾豈好辨哉?吾不得已也。Here the meaning is quite literally "I cannot (不) achieve/obtain (得) an end (已)" to my argumentativeness. In other words, i have no choice but to argue. You might compare it with the much more colloquial 不得不. By the way be careful about the whole multi-character words thing. ...


3

Studies have shown that if you grow up in a language environment where speakers do not distinguish between two sounds, your brain will lose the ability to easily perceive the difference between them. A notable example of this phenomenon is the inability for most Japanese speakers to distinguish between r and l. Jiangsu is an area where the Wu Chinese ...


3

Since final consonants in Mandarin are not as firm as those in, say, Cantonese and English, people who speak Mandarin often relay on vowel quality to distinguish the -n/ng pair. -in is of course realized as a front vowel /i/, while -ing often has a tint of back vowel, which someone may find similar to Pinyin i+eng. I think it is perfectly acceptable to ...


3

Originally, you had two separate characters (zdic links): 粘 = zhan1 = (v.) to stick 黏 = nian2 = (adj.) sticky The usage distinction still remains, but it is now acceptable to use 粘 for either word. Unihan lists the characters as semantic variants.


3

If you'd ever seen Mathews' Chinese-English dictionary (rev. American ed. Harvard UP, 1957 and a million pirate editions), this would ring a bell. "Chiai" goes back to the OLD National Pronunciation system of 1920 and can also be found in a system used by the missionaries of the China Inland Mission, of whom R. H. Mathews was one. The revision of Mathews ...


3

Mandarin 你会说汉语吗? (Ni3 hui4 shuo1 han4 yu3 ma5) Or polite form: 您会说汉语吗?(Nin2 hui4 shuo1 han4 yu3 ma5) Of course, you can say 中文 (zhong1 wen2) instead of 汉语. That is not the big question here, but rather that you have to include 会, which underlines that you ask if the person you are speaking to, can speak Chinese or not. Only asking 你说汉语吗? is not ...


2

The correct answer to this question is in the comment (by @neubau) of the question, not in the form of an answer. So I guess I reiterate it here so other people would know it has been answered. Regarding the pronunciation, the standard tone for 期(period of time, date) in Mainland China is the 1st tone and in Taiwan it is the 2nd tone. (Any mainlander who ...



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