I see these two road signs at Nankai University (Jinnan campus), Tianjin:

enter image description here

请勿泊车 = qǐng wù bóchē

enter image description here

禁止停车 = jìnzhǐ tíngchē

Both seem to mean "no parking" with:

  • 请勿 meaning "please no ..." and 禁止 meaning "forbidden ...", and

  • 泊车 meaning something like "anchor car" and 停车 meaning "stop car".

Question: What's the difference between 停车 (tíngchē) and 泊车 (bóchē), which both seem to mean "park car"?

  • bkrs:泊车to park (a vehicle) (loanword) parking parked car similarly:拷贝copy to copy (loanword) – user6065 Jun 5 '17 at 1:54
  • 1
    禁 falling tone \ – Colin Jun 5 '17 at 5:16
  • 泊车 always seems to give me the impression of "valet parking" - not sure why. – user3306356 Jun 5 '17 at 6:31
up vote 10 down vote accepted

请勿泊车 = No Parking

No Parking mean you can stop the vehicle there, and you can load or unload people and goods, but you can't leave the vehicle unattended and go off.

禁止停车 = No Stopping

No Stopping means no dropping people off or picking them up, and no loading/unloading. You're not supposed to be there unless you're moving.

The signs above the text should clarify - they are international signs and there is only a slight difference between the individual meanings of Stopping, Standing/Waiting, and Parking, anywhere in the world.

No Stopping signs are the strictest, and No Parking signs are the most lenient.

People are missing an important point here. 停車 means stopping -- look at the sign, it is a cross: two red lines on blue. This means that not only you can't park, you're not allowed to stop at the curb (to drop off or pick up someone).

No parking vs No stopping

  • Are you from HK? I'm pretty sure on the mainland (in Mandarin speaking areas) 停车 also means "parking" as well as "stopping". – Stumpy Joe Pete Jun 5 '17 at 8:34
  • It might be worth mentioned that the sign on the left (with one stroke) means No Parking. – xiaomy Jun 5 '17 at 18:28
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    @StumpyJoePete It's somewhat ambiguous. Some signs use adverbs to help distinguish the meaning(e.g. 临时停车, temporarily/briefly stopping; 长时间停车, stopping for an extended period of time, i.e. parking). The signs themselves are much more straight-forward. – xiaomy Jun 5 '17 at 18:32

泊 has the meaning of stop, which was used in term "泊船" (put a boat ship alongside quay / land), and "泊車" (stoping a chariot / car). both terms appeared in literatures of yore, describing the stopping status of vessels, or vehicles.

"泊船" was used in the book "異苑" volume 3, by mr 劉敬叔 of 劉宋 dynasty (420-479)

enter image description here

"泊車" was used in the book "孫可之集" volume 5, by mr 孫樵 of 唐 dynasty (618-907)

樵起耒而遊﹒泊車而休﹒登降信宿

https://zh.wikisource.org/wiki/孫可之集_(四庫全書本)/卷05

here, "泊車" had the meaning of "stopping a vehicle" (i guess it's chariot).

though 泊 (u+6cca) in cantonese can be pronounced as paak3, sound file, it's a deviation. in 廣韻, 泊 is 傍各切, which is bok6 :)

i would say that "parking" is translated to 泊 originally (according to the meaning), then with the influence of english, the cantonese pronunciation of "泊" (bok6) derived another pronunciation paak3, to stimulate the english pronunciation of "park".

泊 is not phonetic loan from "parking"

have fun :)

Stumpy is right. actually "泊" is transliteration of "parking", so "泊车" is closer to the meaning of "parking". In my opinion, the scope of "停车" is bigger than "泊车", any action of "stopping a car" can be recognized as "停车"; When stop and get off the car to do something long term(go shopping or go to hospital...), we can consider it "泊车".

I believe they mean the same thing.

In Cantonese, is pronounced paak3, so I'm pretty sure that it's a phonetic loan from English "park", with the character chosen to be at least suggestive of the meaning (as opposed to some other character pronounced like paak). However, as you've noticed, both 泊车 and 停车 are in use on the mainland, regardless of whether 泊车 came via Cantonese.

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