2,950 reputation
819
bio website peterthenelson.com
location United States
age 26
visits member for 2 years, 1 month
seen 1 hour ago

I lived in China for a couple years. My Chinese isn't too bad, but I'm always trying to get better. Special interests in:

  • Etymology
  • Historical phonology
  • Winning arguments in other languages

Jul
16
comment Are there transitive/及物动词 or intransitive/不及物动词 verbs in Chinese?
@minerals 比賽 is definitely a direct object in that sentence. You're reasoning about it wrong--"direct object" is a syntactic property, not a semantic one. Although it often is the case that a direct object is "a thing that is acted upon", that need not be the case. In order for it to be an indirect object, it would really need to be part of a preposition phrase or some similar syntactic construct (e.g., "double" objects).
Jul
8
comment Why does the word 萌 mean “cute”?
@KyeWShi It's Chinese internet slang that comes from Japanese internet slang.
Jul
2
awarded  Curious
Jun
28
comment Hong Kong Cantonese variations
No. See wikipedia for details on what changes have taken place. They're very 'natural' changes, and furthermore (as noted in the article), they actually make communication with English speakers harder (e.g., n-l merger).
Jun
28
comment Toneless Sinetic Dialects/Topolects
@YangMuye That's probably the closest. In Shanghainese, there's a two-way phonemic "tone" contrast, but the tone of the first character in a word determines the realization for the entire word. Because of this, you could describe Shanghainese as a "pitch accent" language rather than a (contour) tonal one.
Jun
28
comment Loanwords with Chinese Equivalents
You listed typhoon here. Are you claiming 台风 is a transliteration? AFAIK, the origins of both "Typhoon" and "台风" are disputed, but it doesn't seem likely that the Chinese is from the English.
Jun
28
revised Loanwords with Chinese Equivalents
Other transliteration for blog, other translation for cheese, generalize tomato sauce to sauce
Jun
25
comment Why does 三明治 mean sandwich when 三 means 3, 明 means bright/clear, and 治 means to rule?
三明治 is not an English word. It's a Chinese word. Pronounced by Chinese speakers. It's not a foreign language. It's been borrowed into Chinese and adapted to a pronunciation compatible with Chinese. The example I gave was going the other way: 白菜 was borrowed into English as "Bok Choy" (and the pronunciation was adapted to English phonology). Phonology is a property of a language, not of an individual. "Sandwich"=[sændwɪtʃ] is not a well-formed Mandarin word, regardless of how well educated someone is. 三明治=[san˥miŋ˧˥tʂɨ˥˩] is.
Jun
25
comment Why does 三明治 mean sandwich when 三 means 3, 明 means bright/clear, and 治 means to rule?
It is true that Chinese generally prefers calques over phonetic borrowings (especially mainland), but it's not the case that one is more "linguistic" than the other. Both are ways that words are borrowed from one language to another. It's also not the case that transliteration in Chinese is new--the meaning for 塔 of "tower" is from a transliteration of Sanskrit "stupa" into Chinese.
Jun
24
comment Why does 三明治 mean sandwich when 三 means 3, 明 means bright/clear, and 治 means to rule?
Education level is irrelevant. When a word is borrowed into a language, it needs to be adapted to the phonology of that language. "Bok choy" is pronounced [paːk˨ tsʰɔːi˧] in Cantonese but [bak tʃʰɔːi] in English. This is not because English speakers are uneducated or careless. It's because English phonology is totally different from Cantonese phonology! Similarly, "sandwich" has a phonetic structure that is incompatible with that of Mandarin, including the -nd- consonant cluster and final -ch.
Jun
24
comment Why does 三明治 mean sandwich when 三 means 3, 明 means bright/clear, and 治 means to rule?
@noncom This may work as a mnemonic, but it is clearly an incorrect theory. As made clear by the answers below, it's a transliteration, nothing more.
Jun
24
comment Why does 三明治 mean sandwich when 三 means 3, 明 means bright/clear, and 治 means to rule?
Transliteration is not "lazy pronunciation".
Jun
18
awarded  Yearling
Jun
12
comment Finding the “second character”?
This is a really good question! I've often found myself struggling to find the "second character", especially when trying to clarify what I was saying.
Jun
3
revised Using variants of 那
adding which to 哪
May
22
comment Chinese [Topolectical] IPA Placeholder: Ẓ
Are you reading transcribed Mandarin? Some other dialect? What's the source text you're seeing this in?
May
16
comment “an” final pronunciation
Presumably you're not a native english speaker though... I pronounce the mandarin as /a/ and the english short-u as /ʌ/. Although there is variation within both languages, this distinction is normatively correct, relative to "standard" pronunciations. See: here and here.
May
10
comment Do 之 and 的 come from the same word?
I agree with hippietrail's assessment. This is a thoughtful, well-written answer that happens to be wrong. I look forward to future answers that distinguish between Chinese the language and Chinese the writing system :)
May
8
comment How do current Mandarin speakers usually pronounce 阿Q正传?
Please give some background on the scope of your answer (Where you're from, who--e.g., fellow students, teachers--you've heard pronounce it that way).
May
7
comment How do current Mandarin speakers usually pronounce 阿Q正传?
@user58955 That would be a good start to an answer.