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bio website peterthenelson.com
location United States
age 26
visits member for 2 years, 2 months
seen yesterday

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

Dec
13
comment Meaning of 脏话 in 这里能说脏话吗
@Cocowalla See this picture. There's a well-known incident where a reporter asks a man what he thinks about gas prices. He says, "Can I swear? No? Then I don't have anything to say."
Dec
6
comment What does the sound “app” mean in Chinese?
"App" is not a valid syllable in Mandarin, so I imagine the pronunciation A-P-P was easier to pronounce for some people.
Dec
5
comment Differences between 征, 伐, 讨, 侵, 袭?
Perhaps it would be more illuminating to ask about the words they're used in?
Nov
21
comment Etymology of 二百五?
Wikipedia is a decent source, but that paragraph doesn't seem to have any references. This explanation seems plausible; can you improve your answer by finding more sources? :-)
Nov
21
comment Etymology of 二百五?
Source? This kind of word attracts folk etymologies. Finding the real etymology requires justifying it with textual references from early references.
Nov
18
comment unix(apue) 高级程序设计理解问题
Good Guy 孤影萍踪
Nov
16
comment Are there Chinese approximations for the colloquial/slang English terms “snot rocket” or “bushman's blow”?
I LOVE THIS QUESTION!
Nov
13
comment What does 了mean in this sentence?
@Stan Actually now that I think about it more, I think it's a distinction between Complements and Adjuncts. Usually location phrases are adjuncts (and would therefore never have 了s stuck in the middle of them), but sometimes they can act as complements (of result, like the 到 example). I guess I had just never seen such an example before.
Nov
13
comment What does 了mean in this sentence?
@Stan Those are different... you don't ever say 他撞了到树上. With 在, it's usually connected to the place and not the verb that precedes it (e.g., 手机丢了在异地可以报案吗?).
Nov
13
comment What does 了mean in this sentence?
@Stan That sounds really interesting. I think it really deserves more explanation. I think that most of the time, you have V+了+在Place, but some verbs can be V在+了+Place. I did a quick google search for "了在" and 输,落,and 长 were common verbs taking this form. Maybe it's just lexical which verbs can do this, or maybe there's some structure I don't know.
Nov
12
comment What does 了mean in this sentence?
@Stan I'm actually really confused here. Why is 了 after 在? The verb is 落, and 在房间内 is the complement indicating location.
Nov
12
comment In Dao De Jing, 常 should be translated as “eternal” or as “common”?
@Rodrigo The sources I read all suggest that it means "unchanging" or "enduring" in the opening passage. I cannot speak to other usages in the book. As you point out, both characters can mean both things in different contexts.
Nov
11
comment Is 去 (qù) pronunced /tɕʰu/ or /tɕʰy/?
Because the answer is misleading and would probably confuse more than help someone searching for an answer. Try looking for some questions where, after reading the existing answers, you think "I definitely have something important to add" or "my answer would serve as a complete answer, better than what's here."
Nov
10
comment Is 去 (qù) pronunced /tɕʰu/ or /tɕʰy/?
The u in qu has no English equivalent... It's like a German ü.
Nov
10
comment Which is the correct sentence? Question about birthday
This isn't really relevant to the question that was asked. The sentence in question is "你(的)生日(是)几月几号?" which is definitely not a 是...的 form. The two words in this sentence really don't have anything to do with eachother.
Nov
8
comment How to distinguish the difference between the pronunciation of different erhuayin?
Although this has useful information, I don't think this really answers the question, which is, as far as I can tell, "How do you tell the difference between ger/genr/gengr (or any series of -r/-nr/-ngr)?". If you look at the chart, it suggests that the -r and -nr syllables are always pronounced identically, but the -ngr syllables have nasalized vowels. I personally have never been able to hear a difference. But then I moved south and it didn't matter any more :)
Nov
8
comment How to distinguish the difference between the pronunciation of different erhuayin?
@shuangwhywhy As much as I hate 儿化音, even CCTV newscasters use it (although much less than the average northerner), so I think it's greatly exaggerating to say that standard Mandarin "doesn't have" any 儿化音.
Nov
3
comment What does “&” (Ampersand) means in Chinese language?
I think this must be the explanation. It's part of an artist's self-chosen "name" (Iain Baxter&) who has an exhibit at the garden in question. His works of art all seem to have an ampersand in them.
Oct
31
comment Why is the 車 in Chinese chess pronounced jū?
@user58955 The Latin is unrelated (it derives from PIE *krsos). The Burmese might be related, but in general, you need to provide good, systematic reconstructions to prove relation ("sounding similar" is not good evidence).
Oct
30
comment Complimenting someone on their appearance
I feel like example words are important (you can't mix and match all of these at random).