3,107 reputation
1820
bio website peterthenelson.com
location United States
age 26
visits member for 2 years, 6 months
seen 4 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

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).
Oct
30
comment Why is the 車 in Chinese chess pronounced jū?
@user58955 Baxter gives distinct MC and OC for the two pronunciations of 车 (here and here), but both OC pronunciations do end in -a. Your explanation is actually different and much better than this answer--it's not an "ancient" pronunciation that's been retained. It's a(n initially small) distinction that has become larger through phonological change.
Oct
29
comment Why is the 車 in Chinese chess pronounced jū?
I'm not sure this is a good explanation. Historical reconstructions suggest that there have been two very different pronunciations of 車 for a long time (MC & OC).
Oct
23
comment How do you say 'dates back to' in Mandarin?
The dictionary pronunciation for 溯 is su4, not shuo4, although I'm sure they're both used in practice (My pinyin IME recognizes zhuisudao and zhuishuodao as "追溯到")
Oct
23
comment Where to start learning mandarin
Ahhh they're not hieroglyphs!
Oct
22
comment Meanings and pronunciation of 截
@MinimusHeximus I can understand why you are mishearing. The pronunciation is jiéquándào (pinyin) = [tɕjɛ tɕʰyɛn tɑʊ] (IPA) = "jee-a choo-en dao" (how an american might approximate it by spelling). You are presumably hearing the beginning of the next syllable (quán ~ "choo-en") as a "t".
Oct
22
comment Where to put the time phrase
What are you trying to say? I don't think I quite understand the intended meaning.
Oct
18
comment Chinese idiom for “tilt at windmills” or “fighting against windmills”
The full story of the Mantis seems to be an admonishment to not think your abilities greater than they actually are. Don Quixote is not falsely believing himself to be more powerful than he is--he falsely believes the windmills are giants!
Oct
17
comment Teaching Pinyin and Characters together vs Teaching Pinyin then Characters
@商榮沛 IMHO, it's useful to get to "I can have a conversation" as quickly as possible, even if you have to memorize a bunch of stuff to get there. Of course you need a comprehensive approach to grammar and vocabulary to get beyond the basics, but I see it as best to start from both ends (phrase-book approach and building-block approach) and meet in the middle.
Oct
16
comment How to say "歪打正着“ in English?
I would call this situation a "happy accident"
Oct
14
comment Special meanings applied to numbers 0 - 10
@Gapton I would expect LOL to be in the dictionary.
Oct
9
comment About Confucius' Ta-Hio
@Claw (Using Baxter's Middle Chinese notation) It seems lots of [jqx]ue and [jqx]iao words started with -æwk endings in MC. Baxter doesn't make any notes that one is regular or irregular though, so I expect it's a 白/文 distinction. This info + chart implies that -iao is regular Mandarin and -ue is literary (Beijingified Nanjing chinese?). Perhaps xiao~hio was the normal pronunciation in Beijing a long time ago?
Oct
9
comment Is there a Chinese equivelant of the word stress
+1 for multiple alternatives, w/real examples of appropriate use
Oct
8
comment Refreshing and bubbly
@NS.X. e.g., "The sparkling water made fizzing and popping noises as the dissolved CO2 came out of solution"
Oct
8
comment Use of polyphonic characters in transliteration
My guess is that there isn't any logic, and it's totally by convention. I'm looking forward to seeing if anyone has some useful information to share though :)
Oct
8
comment About Confucius' Ta-Hio
@user58955 and Claw What (and when) was the Legge transcription based on? Beijing court mandarin? Nanjing court mandarin? That's totally answer material you guys have got!