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At first I thought I could use 听起来, but if I'm not mistaken this is only used for actual sound, not "you just told me your dad is back from the hospital, it sounds like he's getting better each day". (My version: 听起来你的爸爸越来越好,太棒了!)

What about 看起来? Some of the meanings given by the dictionary are "gives the impression that" and "looks as if", is 看起来 reserved for actual physical appearance or can it be used in the context above?

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    听起来(好像) can also be used to express this figurative usage. E.g.: 听起来很好玩 That sounds like a lot of fun! 听上去 would be another option. – imrek Aug 30 '15 at 18:50
  • If you need books, you can find some good ones on en.fltrp.com , but they don't seem to sell them. I buy on taobao.com or jd.com usually between 30 to 60 RMB with a CD. Just the postage to Croatia might be expensive. In China its cheap, and jd delivers next day usually, same smiling guy knocks at my door each time! – Pedroski Aug 31 '15 at 0:55
  • Also try blcup.com for books – Pedroski Aug 31 '15 at 1:36
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Drunken (programming) Master is right. These 2 from iciba:

It sounds like a wonderful idea to me, does it really work?

听起来这个主意很不错,真的能行吗?

His rhetoric sounds like the death rattle of a fading leadership.

他的慷慨陈词听起来像是一个衰落的领导层垂死的挣扎。

They also have examples of 听上去。It's a great site for finding example sentences.

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  • I see that 像 is used in one example but not in the other, are there any rules regarding this? If 听起来 already means "sounds like" what role does 像 fulfil? – dr Hannibal Lecter Aug 31 '15 at 22:52
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    Rules pertaining to this I don't know I'm afraid. Sometimes 听起来 will just translate 'sounds' or 'sounded', other times 'sounds like'. There is not a lot of difference in meaning. There is not just one translation. Check out this page, and compare the English translations. dj.iciba.com/%E5%90%AC%E8%B5%B7%E6%9D%A5-1.html If you do not see 20 examples, click the arrow at the bottom to get more examples. Warning: sometimes the English is not good. I find Chinese often doubles up, uses 2 words with the same meaning. It is also possible that 听起来 is short for 听起来像。 – Pedroski Aug 31 '15 at 23:32
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    Here a link to a set of the 4 most well known classical Chinese novels. These are for children, they have pinyin, which can help us 外国人. I bought them recently for a friend. item.jd.com/11367903.html They may help your studies. – Pedroski Aug 31 '15 at 23:42
  • Very interesting site, I'll give it a go once I get a bit better! Right now I like to read ebooks on my kindle because it enables me to do a quick dictionary lookup, something which is much more cumbersome and pace-breaking when done with a physical book/dictionary. – dr Hannibal Lecter Sep 1 '15 at 11:50

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