A Chinese family relative sent me this message (I am not Asian). I need some help deconstructing the message because at times the word sequence or implied idea is lost on me (even when I know most of the grammar rules). So, I have a series of related questions in this post that I hope will help me become a better student of Chinese language. Your patience is appreciated.

The original message

📻📻📻 點唱機 (Diǎn chàngjī)


àn niánfèn hòu, dāngnián de liúxíng qǔ jiù chūláile, yī àn jí diǎn 👆


Google Translate is not that good but delivers the following:

📻📻📻 jukebox

By year after year of pop songs came out, a press that point 👆

My attempt at deconstructing the message with questions (in yellow)

📻📻📻 點唱機 (Diǎn chàngjī) -

Ok, I get this idea as an electric singing machine but what happens when an idea (like this one - 點唱機) can belong to more than one thing? At least to one who has not heard this word before, could there be other interpretations? When I look at the words I thought of radio (not quite right, has news and talk), music-box (not quite, doesn't sing), etc. Jukebox was at the far-end of my list.


àn niánfèn hòu, dāngnián de liúxíng qǔ jiù chūláile, yī àn jí diǎn

àn niánfèn hòu, dāngnián - not sure how this one means "By year after year", I see fèn hòu but I don't follow the thread completely. I read àn nián 按年 as something to be contrasted with dāngnián 當年. Although again with (按年), I'm a bit lost on the implicit meaning. What comes to my mind is two ideas of "pushing down + year." In this case, I'd appreciate some help on this meaning?

Finally, although I can see that 的流行曲就出來了 refers to something popular (流行) came out (出來了),

But I don't quite understand the notion of songs here. Could someone identify what I may be missing?


I can see that my problems center around my not understanding some of the words such as , with a context of to order or request... I still can't find the proper meaning in a dictionary or translation program. Just wondering if the meaning is related to another word that changes it's default meaning?


  • 1
    Regarding the edit, like other characters, you'd have to infer 's meaning from its context. It's not a matter of "default" meanings changing. It's simply that none of the other meanings apply to "song/music (唱)" here.
    – Semaphore
    Aug 9, 2014 at 16:28
  • A jukebox that lets one select a year; Once you request one, it plays the pop songs of the year. (simply) Click to select!
    – Unihedron
    Aug 9, 2014 at 16:52

2 Answers 2


(verb: press) 年份 (noun: year) (after)

當年 (noun: that year) (possessive particle) 流行 (adjective: popular) (noun: song)* (will) 出來 (verb: appear) (end of action particle)

(adverb: upon) (verb: press) (adverb: immediately) (verb: select)

* note: 流行曲 (流行歌曲) means "pop songs".

Regarding 點唱機, when you break it down the phrase becomes (verb: order [as in ordering a drink at a bar]) (noun: music, song) (noun: machine, device). From that, we can deduce it is a jukebox, since you normally can't order music on a radio or musicbox. It helps to know that radio is 收音機 and musicbox is 音樂盒, but unfortunately there's no shortcuts around that.

Note that is far more commonly a verb.

  • 出來 implies the song playing, it's hiding the character in "(唱)出來" with "了". Nice deduction by the way!
    – Unihedron
    Aug 9, 2014 at 16:56

It is a little bit hard to understand. I try to translate it word by word, and hope it can help you.


點唱 means request song, so literally it means:

A machine, if you request a song to it, it will play it for you.


here means click, 當年的流行曲 means the popular song of the year, so literally it means:

When you click the year (such as 1980), 
the popular songs of the year (such as 1980) will be played, 
click to request.
  • 先谢谢您, I see how 按 can mean click, now that you've mentioned it but I don't understand why 點 means request in this context. Hope you can help me understand this one. I also found that 曲子 means song but I am confused how to avoid 曲解 and the other possible meanings.
    – Tommie C.
    Aug 9, 2014 at 15:50
  • @TommieC. has a meaning of request, order. Such as 點唱 means request songs, 點菜 means order dishes. Sorry I can't understand your question about 曲子.
    – user4072
    Aug 9, 2014 at 16:24

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