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Jan
28
comment How did 东西 come to mean “something” in the expression “吃东西”?
An analogous example: no native English speaker's first thought upon hearing the word "airport" is "a place where ships dock, but for things from the air!" That may be the word's origin, but in no sense is it its literal meaning.
Jan
28
comment How did 东西 come to mean “something” in the expression “吃东西”?
To say that 东西 means "east and west" is to misunderstand how Chinese forms words from individual characters. I assure you that no Chinese person thinks of 吃东西 as "literally mean[ing] eating east and west"; it just means "something," full stop. The two uses aren't even pronounced the same: 东西 meaning "something" is pronounced dōngxi (xi is neutral tone), while the phrase 东西 meaning "east and west" is pronounced dōngxī (full first tone on both syllables).
Jan
20
comment Why use 非 and 亚 for continent names?
+1: I have wondered the same thing. Surely they could have used similar-sounding characters with more auspicious meanings.
Jan
20
comment Time periods relating to Chinese holidays (暑假, 寒假 etc.)
寒假 is the holiday period around Spring Festival.
Jan
18
comment Recommendations for novels written in colloquial Chinese
I have read some English novels translated into Chinese but have always felt somehow inauthentic in the process. Thanks for the validation. :)
Jan
18
comment What is the correct way to write 'niu bi', and how did it get its meaning in Chinese?
@Ciaocibai: I believe it's 牛叉. This baidu page has more information.
Jan
18
asked Recommendations for novels written in colloquial Chinese
Jan
15
answered What's the role of 曾经 in this sentence?
Jan
14
comment Stative verbs in Chinese: only for adjectives?
+1 for being the only answer so far to mention why an adverb like 很 is necessary in such cases. In general, 很 does not mean "very" unless it is stressed.
Jan
13
comment Why is 有 (yǒu) the only verb that requires 没 while other verbs can use 不?
@MarkDBlackwell: you're right that that sough is problematic, but I didn't want to change Ledyard's original example. The source is the Wikipedia page on fanqie.
Jan
13
comment Stative verbs in Chinese: only for adjectives?
I don't really understand the question. If 高 is being used as a stative verb, doesn't it make sense that 很 ought to be an adverb?
Jan
13
comment Position of 面熟 in this sentence
+1 for mentioning topic-comment construction, which is really the ur-structure for most Chinese sentences.
Jan
13
comment Why is 有 (yǒu) the only verb that requires 没 while other verbs can use 不?
@Claw: yes, thanks, I used sic to indicate that the spelling was not erroneous.
Jan
12
comment Why is 有 (yǒu) the only verb that requires 没 while other verbs can use 不?
As I mention in the answer, my primary reference is the article I linked to in the comment of the question. Perhaps it's best to say that languages have an a posteriori logic, but I do not think that languages are logical in and of themselves.
Jan
12
answered Why is 有 (yǒu) the only verb that requires 没 while other verbs can use 不?
Jan
12
answered Is there a nuance 今天早晨 conveys that 今天早上 does not?
Jan
11
revised When would 产生了 be used?
added 7 characters in body
Jan
11
answered Is 在瞬间 something like 'at some point'?
Jan
11
answered When would 产生了 be used?
Jan
11
comment Why is 有 (yǒu) the only verb that requires 没 while other verbs can use 不?
Bingo: I finally found the information I was looking for in this article‌​, an account of the origin and grammaticalization process of 没. I'm not making this an answer because I don't have time to translate it or summarize it now. The article does answer your question, however.