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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 ...


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

Yes, there are rules - it is not irregular at all. The two different pronunciations of 阿 actually reflect different usages. The original Old Chinese pronunciation of ē is for using the character as a verb or noun, which is what the character 阿 originally meant. In contrast, the later pronunciation of ā emerged as a particle with completely different ...


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 ...


6

In recent years, Mainland Chinese have officially adopted shuōfú across the board. If you only wish to be understood and/or conform to current official standards, a sufficient answer is: just use the shuōfú pronunciation. Everyone will understand what you mean regardless of whether they agree with it. For a more academic answer: Strictly speaking, shuìfú ...


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

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

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

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

First and foremost, I think it's very dangerous to try to approximate Mandarin sounds with parts of English words, partly because we all pronounce English slightly differently and partly because some sounds just don't exist in English. There is no "ü" [y] in English, so trying to use English here will just trap students and never really allow them to learn ...


4

'e' is the older pronunciation and is used to reflect the older pronunciation in some particular words (usually more formal words), such as 阿胶 (ē jiāo, some animal gelatin), 阿房宫(ē páng gōng -- notice that 房 is pronounced páng instead of fáng), 阿谀奉承. 'a' is the modern and default pronunciation, used in translation of foreign names (e.g., Algebria - 阿尔及利亚) as ...


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

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

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

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

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 ...


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, ...


3

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 ...


3

It's difficult for westerners to master the four tones in a few days, but if you have a few months, you can try! It's also difficult to learn how to read Chinese characters, but you can memorize some common words in a few days, such as restaurant, hotel, supermarket, museum, park etc, so that you can know where to go (most places have English signs in ...


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

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

A story tells of an ethnic minority student who simply wanted to borrow a pen from a female comrade. Ethnic minorites in China are often as tone deaf as Westerners, and when the guy wanted to borrow a pen (借你的笔 / jie4 ni3 de bi3), it became 借你的屄 (jie4 ni3 de bi1), and the female student got all red in her face pondering the proposal of lending her cunt to ...


2

I think both shuìfú and shuōfú are correct, but for different meanings. 说服 shuìfú It is closely related to the word 游说 yoúshuì, which means "lobby", or "sell an idea to some important persons or decision/law makers" or "try to persuade someone of high social status with your own arguments which may or may not be true." In 说服 shuìfú : 说 takes the same ...


2

For Android, there is Pinyiner (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.astratech.chinesereader_free) . It works offline, you can even read books, mark new words and create flashcards.


2

As a native English speaker, I've found that after leaving China for four years now, my ability to remember tones has been negatively affected. Second, is remembering words. Weirdly enough, having not read much these past years, I never really lost an reading comprehension (though as before I may forget the meaning of a word and/or its pronunciation). The ...



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