Does anyone have an idea whether there is a difference in meaning between 近几年 and 这几年？ I have the feeling that 近几年 is more formal - but correct me if I'm wrong!
What gave you that feeling?– SemaphoreAug 2, 2014 at 0:19
近几年 I have only read never heard!– StephenAug 2, 2014 at 14:16
As a native Chinese speaker, I would say that your feeling is correct. Usually, "近几年" is used in the news - like in newspapers and on the news on TV or in broadcasts. Anyway, they are interchangeable, so don't worry about the usage of them. They have the complete same meaning.
They are interchangeable and have the same meaning in almost all cases. However, 近幾年 is slightly more genteel and tends to appear in literatures.
In daily conversation, we generally say "這幾年".
近几年 = the several years near to (implicated:) this year or now
这几年 = these several years. These here often indicate the current year or now
Does this not include this year then? Aug 2, 2014 at 14:14
so, I could also say 近几年 for the previous three years (of another time) like 1993年的近几年经济不景气 (or something along those lines) Aug 2, 2014 at 14:16
@Stephone, you say 1993年这几年 because means near to this current year. 这几年 can mean the year of reference, which in the sentence is 1993. However there also could be 那几年 where 那 means that. If you say 1993那几年, the year of reference is current year, but you used 那 to refer to a concept(1993) that is not in current scope. Aug 2, 2014 at 15:06
So I shouldn't say 1993近几年？ Aug 3, 2014 at 21:37
@Stephen: No you should say 1993年这几年 or 1993年那几年. You don't say 1993年近几年. The difference between 1993年这几年 and 1993年那几年 is the time of reference. The first one sets the time of reference to 1993, while the second one does not. Aug 4, 2014 at 2:48
近几年 - recent years 这几年 - these years
"recent years" refer to the immediate past. "these years" refer to the past, present and possibly has the implication that it may extend to the immediate future.