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location Vancouver, BC, Canada
age 40
visits member for 1 year, 7 months
seen Oct 6 at 23:17

Mother Tongue: Mandarin (Northern China)

Learning Language: English


Jul
15
comment Is there a comprehensive list of separable verbs/离合动词 anywhere?
Actually, the verbs you listed are not pure verbs, they are phrases consisting of verb + noun. I would say most of this kind of phrases are separable, meaning you can put additional stuff in between. For pure verbs, I don't think we can add any stuff in between, like 参加, 运动, 演出, 歌唱, 朗诵, 抄写, 支付, 羡慕, and a lot others.
Jul
15
comment Is there a comprehensive list of separable verbs/离合动词 anywhere?
I don't think it helps much even when you have this list on hand, because it is very hard to memorize the list. Do you also need a list of all nouns, a list of all verbs, etc.? No, you don't need those lists. My suggestion is that you look up a new verb and most dictionaries will tell you if it is separable verb or not. You can also pay attention to how other people use verbs. E.g. you know 睡觉 already, and if you hear someone says 睡一觉, then you know 睡觉 is a separable verb. You will collect those verbs over time.
Jul
14
comment Why so many definitions associated with each word?
@JackM In order to learn Chinese well, you will have to learn characters, but you DON'T have to learn pinyin, just like if you want to learn English, you will have to learn the words like "main" or "mane", but you don't have to learn their IPA /meɪn/. Pinyin was created 60+ years ago, and before then (and now still in Taiwan) Chinese people used Bopomofo (ㄅ ㄆ ㄇ ㄈ ㄉ and a lot others) as phonetic notation for spoken Chinese. So Pinyin is replaceable, but characters are not. Characters are the core of written Chinese.
Jul
14
comment Why so many definitions associated with each word?
@JackM Chinese characters are NOT words. You look up a character in a dictionary, there will be quite a few meanings for character, but most of those meanings are restricted for certain words containing this character. Pinyin (like IPA) just shows how to pronounce characters. Pinyin itself is not words. So jiǎng is not a word. If you want to learn Chinese well, you will have to learn characters. Pinyin is for pronunciation and we use characters to "spell out" Chinese sentences. Just like in English, /meɪn/ is for pronunciation, but main or mane are for spelling.
Jul
14
comment Why so many definitions associated with each word?
@JackM If someone says jiǎng to you without any context, of cause you won't know what the speaker means. Just like in English, if someone says "pee-s" you don't know if it is piece or peace. Just think about how you work out "pee-s" in English, then apply the same idea to Chinese. Note that Chinese sentences heavily rely on context for the info you need to understand the meaning of the sentences. E.g 我去看电影。 This sentence is just a generic statement and it has no tense at all. Its tense could be in the past, at present, or in the future. So the tense has to be drawn form the context.
Jul
14
comment Why so many definitions associated with each word?
Another example: in spaceship each syllable (space or ship) has its own meanings, and when combined together both syllables contribute their own meaning to the new word. I will say most of Chinese disyllabic or trisyllabic words are formed in the "spaceship" way. But this rule doesn't apply to the Chinese words transliterated from other languages, like 奥林匹克 for Olympic.
Jul
14
comment Why so many definitions associated with each word?
Let's take the syllable stu for an example: student, stupid, study, studio, stubble, stubborn, stucco and etc. If those words were Chinese, the syllable stu would have a few meanings on its own, and other syllables like dent, pid, dy, dio, bble, bborn, cco would have their own meanings as well. We would combine stu and dent to make a new word student where stu and dent contribute something to the compounded word.
Jul
14
comment Why so many definitions associated with each word?
If we have to compare Chinese characters with something similar in English, I will say one single Chinese character is equivalent to a syllable. In English, sometime the syllables in a word have meaning, sometimes not. E.g. unfair has 2 syllables, un for not, and fair for impartial. Another example: stupid has 2 syllables, but both stu and pid have no meanings. But in Chinese, each character (syllable+tone) has its own meanings, and we combine characters to form disyllabic or trisyllabic words. In most cases (maybe 90%) each character contribute something to the meaning of the whole word.
Jun
1
comment How do Chinese judge the right sound quality (softness, awkwardness, respectfulness (面子), negativity)
Usually we say 你有病 (you are sick), which has 2 meanings depending on how you say it and the context. It could mean "you are ill (as suffering from a disease or not feeling well)", or "you are gross or disgusting.
May
30
comment Are These Equivalent Grammatical Syntax?
@ Tommie C. Level 1 is for the main structure, like Subject + Verb Phrase. Level 2 is for the substructure, so in level 1 structure, Verb Phrase can be decomposed further into Verb + Complement, which is on the second level in terms of analyzing sentence structure in different layers.
May
5
comment When to use “们”
们 is used for plurals, but we don't use 们 when the plural has been expressed already. Like 三个朋友,it is plural already, so we don't say 三个朋友们. Another example: 人民, it is a collective noun showing plural already, so we don't say 人民们 (Note: in the word 人们, 们 is not for plural). For 我的同学, it can mean both singular or plural, so in this case saying 我的同学们 is ok.
May
5
comment When to use “们”
In children's tales, 们 can be used after animals or things, when animals or things are personified.
Mar
26
comment Do the Chinese have a (potentially politically incorrect) way of imitating English speakers?
鸟语or说鸟语 is used to mean that someone speaks foreign languages or some Chinese dialects that are totally not understandable, but it is not for imitating. For imitating foreign speakers, we just intentionally put the wrong tones on the characters in a sentence. But this is only for fun, not offending at all.
Mar
26
comment What is the best way to learn tones?
@zyc Good catch. Typo corrected. Thanks.
Mar
25
comment Chinese equivalent of 'Surprise!'
@j5shi I think in any spoken languages, the actual meaning of a word, a phrase or a sentence depends on how you say it, what moods/intonation used. So "我太惊讶了" doesn't always mean "I am prentending to be surprised." Another example, a girl may say 你真坏! to a guy, but it can mean anything from "You son of a bitch!" all the way to "You are so adorable" depending on how it is said.
Mar
25
comment Chinese equivalent of 'Surprise!'
+1 for the video. Now more and more young Chinese people start using English words directly in Chinese sentences for the meanings hard to express in Chinese. For example, one girl may say: 我想找一个很man的男朋友。Here "man" means 有男子气概。
Mar
25
comment What is the best way to learn tones?
@hippietrail I agree that it is hard to describe tones in words. After all, tones are something about sound and even you have some clues of how to say those tones, you still need to hear those tones said by real person to have a good sense of what the tones sound like. By the way, I revised my answer by adding more examples for the 4th tones.
Mar
20
comment Strategies to discourage uptalk in Chinese language learners?
I think the issue you have is not your classmates' uptalking, but the extra time the teacher spends on correcting them. I suggest this: when someone uptalks, the teacher just asks that student to say this sentence ONCE: 第二次世界大战正在迫近, then move on. You may have noticed that all the characters in that sentence have the fourth tone.
Mar
7
comment Chinese [Topolectical] IPA Placeholder: Ẓ
As a Mandarin native speaker, I see no points of using "IPA" to learn Chinese, unless you are doing some kind of academic research. For just the purpose of learning Mandarin, What you need is just to master Pinyin well. Here is a good video on pinyin. youtube.com/watch?v=VwyQK62tO_U
Mar
6
comment What are the differences between 男女, 公母, and 雄雌?
公母 can also be used for human. In my dialect(northeast), we say 公母俩 to mean "husband and wife". We can also use 公母 on human in humorous ways. For example, if someone mistakes a girl for a guy (maybe the girl has short hair and wears a suit and tie), then we can tease that person saying: 你怎么分不清公母啊? 雄雌 can be used for human for sure. One sentence in 《木兰诗》 goes: 安能辨我是雄雌?The word 英雄 is well-known, but there is also 英雌(means 女英雄) but not used very often.