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Jan
10
revised Is there a Chinese WordNet?
added 84 characters in body
Jan
10
asked Is there a Chinese WordNet?
Jan
10
asked Characters which have several different shapes
Jan
2
revised Are there any online etymological dictionaries of Mandarin (not for characters but for spoken words)
added 73 characters in body
Jan
2
revised Are there any online etymological dictionaries of Mandarin (not for characters but for spoken words)
added 90 characters in body
Dec
28
comment Are there any online etymological dictionaries of Mandarin (not for characters but for spoken words)
Yes, you are right that this question isn't different from an analogous question for English, and it is s complex one, yet there are many etymological dictionaries for English giving this kind of information. (I'd point you to the OED, but unfortunately it's not freely accessible unless you happen to be at a university that is subscribed). Languages can be and are sometimes heavily influenced by the writing system, but we must not forget that the writing system is not the same as the language, and the language was there before the writing.
Dec
22
comment Are there any online etymological dictionaries of Mandarin (not for characters but for spoken words)
Take the concrete example I mentioned: how could I find out if 牦牛 has anything to do with 毛牛? Checking what those things are called in some other Chinese languages (especially those spoken at places where 牦牛 actually live and are domesticated) would be interesting, but usually the most I can get is the pronunciations assigned to written character in Mandarin and maybe Cantonese, but that's all.
Dec
22
comment Are there any online etymological dictionaries of Mandarin (not for characters but for spoken words)
For this question, I am interested in the history of spoken words, not the writing system. Why a certain thing is called what it's called, and not why a certain logogram is drawn the way it's drawn. Most of the time when I ask questions like this I hit a wall where people apparently insist of implicitly interpreting "Chinese" as "Chinese written using Chinese characters", so here I excplitily clarified this. Chinese was spoken even before Chinese characters existed, right?
Dec
22
awarded  Supporter
Dec
22
awarded  Student
Dec
22
awarded  Editor
Dec
22
revised Are there any online etymological dictionaries of Mandarin (not for characters but for spoken words)
edited title
Dec
22
asked Are there any online etymological dictionaries of Mandarin (not for characters but for spoken words)
Dec
21
comment Why is 有 (yǒu) the only verb that requires 没 while other verbs can use 不?
@Petruza Indeed, I was always amazed by the fact that it matches the use of "to have" in many European languages (at least Germanic, Romance and Greek, I don't know about Slavic). In my language (Hungarian) there is no such thing (actually there is no verb "to have"). Do you know why this is so? Is this a mere accident? Surely there can't be any such fundamental relationship between Chinese and English, yet the verb "to have" is used in very similar ways to express very different meanings. Do you know why?
Dec
15
comment How to describe differences between Cantonese and Mandarin?
... Since I speak neither, and am only learning one, I'd really appreciate a clear and referenced explanation of the real extent of differences between them.
Dec
15
comment How to describe differences between Cantonese and Mandarin?
I have read it several times that "they only differ in pronunciation" but "the words are identical". Some other sources say that there are genuine differences in grammar too (set of particles used & their function, order of words, etc.), and there are Mandarin-only and Cantonese-only characters, which sounds much more plausible. Other sources say that written Cantonese is usually Mandarin-like, and doesn't reflect actual idiomatic spoken Cantonese---therefore many Mandarin-only speakers are not aware of the extent of the differences ...
Dec
15
comment Why is 有 (yǒu) the only verb that requires 没 while other verbs can use 不?
Is 我没去 by any chance a shortening of 我没有去? Which would take us back to 没 being a negator of 有 only.