3,107 reputation
1820
bio website peterthenelson.com
location United States
age 26
visits member for 2 years, 6 months
seen 2 hours 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

Jan
23
comment About Confucius' Ta-Hio
If you read the comments, you'll see that that's pretty unlikely.
Jan
5
comment Why Cantonese is considered as a dialect of Chinese?
@user58955 What you are describing is diglossia. People speak in one language (their native 方言), and they write in another (previously in 文言文, now basically in formal Mandarin). If Spanish and French speakers had continued writing in Latin since Roman times, the situation would be the same--they would be "written the same", even though the languages were wildly divergent.
Jan
2
comment How to translate: 人是铁,饭是钢,一顿不吃烦得慌. What is the logic?
+1 for a translation preserving the rhyme scheme!
Dec
26
comment Relative clause in Chinese
@Daniela No problem, glad to help.
Dec
18
comment What does 卡了壳 mean?
FYI, we would say "cartridge" rather than "cassette".
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.