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For example, in Chinese, the erhwa changes a verb into a noun : 吃儿 (something to eat), 喝儿 (something to drink).

In Taiwanese, except for disyllabic words like 饮食 and 食物, how can I express something to eat maintaining the word 吃? Maybe 吃物?

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    We never say 吃儿 and 喝儿 I think, but 玩儿 is commonly used. 吃的 and 喝的 means something to eat/drink. Also, I doubt this statement "the erhwa changes a verb into a noun " is true.
    – dan
    Oct 23 '17 at 11:50
  • But in the dictionary, 吃儿 is on the list. Oct 23 '17 at 11:53
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    what dictionary says 吃儿?
    – dan
    Oct 23 '17 at 12:15
  • Oh, it's really not used. By the way, instead of 玩儿, can 玩的 be used? Oct 23 '17 at 12:35
  • yes, 玩的 means something you play with. 玩儿 means just play.
    – dan
    Oct 23 '17 at 12:38
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You can use 吃的,喝的 etc. That would be the most common way to do it.

Edit: Assuming you mean Taiwanese Mandarin and not Taiwanese Hokkien. I wouldn't know about Hokkien.

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  • Also in Chinese, 的 can be used instead of 儿? Oct 23 '17 at 11:47
  • Yes in China many people would use 的 as well. I don't have enough experience with the north to be sure but I think it would be used like that mostly anywhere in China.
    – Chisq
    Oct 23 '17 at 11:49
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In my experience 儿 doesn't really perform the role you mention about changing a verb into a noun, it just reinforces that something is a noun when it's ambiguous. For example 画 is 'to paint' or a painting, so if you mean a painting you say 画儿 to be clear you don't mean 'to paint'. But 吃 doesn't mean food, it means 'to eat', so 吃儿 doesn't need to exist to distinguish the two.

In Beijing I've found that most of the words with extra 儿's at the end are nouns that sound like other words. Adding the 儿 reduces the ambiguity when speaking by reducing the entropy of the language. That being said, there are lots of exceptions, 玩儿, 那儿, 这儿 etc.

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