Questions tagged [colloquialisms]

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Function of 行 in this statement (cantonese)

I am reading a Cantonese statement: 我日日都開行冷氣。 What is the function of 行? For me, it would have been perfectly fine as 我日日都開冷氣。 As in, I turn on the a/c everyday. Please give insights. Thanks
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3 votes
4 answers
468 views

What is the function of 埋? (Cantonese)

In this sentence: 做乜唔叫埋我? What is the function of 埋? I understood this sentence to be: "why didn't you call me?" (perhaps to an outing or a party). What is the difference with the sentence &...
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1 answer
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Is there a Chinese saying, ''even mosquito legs are meat''?

Is this the correct saying/correct wording of the adage? I've seen this a lot in machine translated novels so i'm not sure of the actual wording or if this is entirely a mistranslation, but i imagine ...
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1 vote
5 answers
125 views

Slogan “澀得起,就係我”

This is the slogan of a popular lemon tea drink in Hong Kong. I wanted to ask what 澀 is. I searched it and it meant “astringent” and a bunch of other negative adjectives. I think calling your lemon ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Does this 希望能帮得你 have the same meaning as 希望有帮上你的忙?

Within the context of this: 谢谢你,你真是帮了大忙。 This line was from a native speaker. 不客气, 希望有帮上你的忙。 This line was also from a native speaker. 不客气, 希望能帮得你。 This is the one I formed.
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2 votes
1 answer
84 views

What is 貼地 and 離地

This is perhaps a colloquialism that i have seen many times in Hong kong youtubers eating and tasting food. My guess is that 貼地 means local? As in 地道? what, then, is 離地? May i also know the “etymology”...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Borrowed cantonese word for “normal”

I have been watching local Hong Kong food reviews and have been hearing the word “lo1mou2” being said again and again. I have been wondering for a very long time what this word could have meant. A ...
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1 vote
3 answers
120 views

using 值得 in a phrase

I have seen the usage of 值得 (deserving) in the following way (Cantonese, colloquial) 值得一來 值得買 I wanted to ask why there is a '一' in the first phrase, and not 值得一買? What other alternatives are there to ...
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3 votes
2 answers
361 views

'it cant be helped' translation in cantonese

I was looking for a colloquial Cantonese translation of 'It can't be helped' or 'We can't do anything about this (situation)'. The context is we are left to resign to the fact that we are helpless ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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question about the usage of 返 (Cantonese)

In the sentence 我已經做咗好多日,而家想放返幾日假, I would like to ask about 返. What is the difference between just saying 放幾日假 and 放返幾日假. What is the function of 返? Thanks
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1 answer
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profanities in written cantonese blurred out

I was watching a youtube video published by a famous populist news channel from Hong Kong. The topic was about food and featured comments from viewers saying that it "was F***ing delicious". ...
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0 votes
2 answers
107 views

What is the meaning of 提提大家?

What is the meaning and usage of 提提大家?please give an example sentence or phrase. I have seen that the meaning of 提提 is to keep calm, but putting these two in google translate gives me “mention ...
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2 votes
6 answers
698 views

How do I express the notion of "drama" in Chinese?

If you have housemates or a romantic partner, you might (unfortunately) encounter what we call "drama" (n.): A way of relating to the world in which a person consistently overreacts to or ...
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3 votes
1 answer
159 views

What does this mean? Colloquial interviews

I was watching a local hong kong show when an interviewer (I) asked a lady (L): I: 40歲未呀? L: 點止呀!三個嫲嫲⋯⋯ What did the lady answer? The subtitle was in standard written Chinese and i couldn’t make out ...
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4 votes
2 answers
858 views

What is 'hea' (in Cantonese conversations)?

I have been seeing this word 'hea' in YouTube transcriptions involving 'relaxing' or travelling. What is the original word and how has it evolved to 'hea'? (I know it must sound similar to anglicised '...
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2 votes
1 answer
90 views

New idiom related to surveillance: People do things, the sky watches

I'm trying to find information (including the original Chinese) on an idiom that seems to be gaining popularity recently, related to surveillance (unsure whether this is a traditional phrase or not). ...
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3 votes
2 answers
141 views

Is there a chengyu to describe small-time thieves or scoundrels with a playful connotation?

I'm looking for a chengyu or an idiom to colloquially describe small-time criminals, but without excessive negative connotation. There are already words both in Chinese and English that come close: ...
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4 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why does "I go" also mean damn it? (我去)

According to MDBG, 我去 is slang, meaning "shoot" or "dang." But obviously, it also means "I go." Does anyone know the etymology of this? Did it arise from people angrily saying that they're so upset ...
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1 vote
2 answers
134 views

Where does this quote come from? “How can you say you have no clothes? I’ll share my robe with you”?

Where does it come from? Google can’t help me
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2 votes
1 answer
81 views

和这个白人女子, 在鸟不下蛋的地点. Hanging out in the middle of nowhere with this white girl

Does anyone know if this colloquial phrase "鸟不下蛋的地点" is always taken as "middle of nowhere"? Also I have started a fun sort of instagram account to try to learn how to write Chinese that I would ...
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3 votes
2 answers
672 views

What are Chinese terms for 'androgynous', 'gender neutral', 'non binary' etc. to imply gender neutrality?

I’m currently working on a textiles project for University inspired by Asian streetwear subculture and my main focus is androgyny and gender fluidity with the aim to create a collection of unisex/...
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0 votes
1 answer
84 views

Do people say 一下 as a very colloquial "just a sec"?

Usually my Chinese is a good enough to recognize people saying new phrases I haven't learned yet. Just now in a convenience store in Chiayi I'm sure the busy server just told me 一下 and I thought that ...
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4 votes
6 answers
5k views

Difference between 晚安, 晚安安,安安, and 晚安啦

I have some friends in China and I started to learn Chinese. Nothing serious but a few phrases here and there. Due to the time difference the conversation usually ends in one of us saying good night ...
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3 votes
4 answers
282 views

What famous word or phrase can I use to tell people my surname is 袁?

I know in Chinese people sometimes use other common words or phrases to tell people what characters their Chinese name has. My Chinese name is Yuan Li Heng (袁禮恒) For Li I can say Li Wu 禮物 and for ...
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4 votes
4 answers
896 views

What phrases in Cantonese are thought to be colloquial but are actually used in Mandarin?

I only learnt HK Cantonese from my mother, and did not have the environment to speak or use it otherwise. She would tell me that certain Cantonese words are only spoken colloquially, but would not be ...
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2 votes
1 answer
4k views

What's the origin of the Hong Kong colloquialism "I go to school by bus"?

I've seen this phrase being used frequently on social media amongst the youth of Hong Kong. I go to school by bus Would anyone kindly explain how this phrase came to be and what it means? From my ...
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0 votes
2 answers
59 views

Usage of 对峙 in colloquial Chinese.

Since I have recently seen 对峙 used a few times in the Chinese shows that I watch, I decided to look it up and Baidu.com says it means"两山相对耸立" (two mountains standing and facing each other or at a ...
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3 votes
8 answers
8k views

How do I say 'excuse me'?

So, I just found myself in a spot of bother. I decided to go to learn how to make some Chinese knots, but everything there was Chinese, so I had to speak Chinese. I understood the instructions that ...
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2 votes
2 answers
2k views

Insults in Chinese [closed]

Please answer in simplified characters. I've studied Chinese for quite a few years but I still don't know how to insult anyone. I've got to bring it to them hard and fast, strong, relentless. I'm ...
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3 votes
2 answers
177 views

Usage of 的 to refer to a generic class of things

I'm wondering if this idea is correct: that 的 can generally be appended to and adjective in order to refer to the entire class of objects satisfying that adjective. Example: 好吃的 (delicious things); ...
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6 votes
3 answers
4k views

The meaning of 牛气 and 很牛

I have seen one of my language partners use 牛气 and 很牛, but he couldn't explain it to me. The context suggested it meant something like "bullshit" or "you are kidding me", a sign or disbelief, but the ...
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2 votes
3 answers
210 views

Is there a more colloquial way of saying “vegan” than “纯素食者”?

Like a more laypersons way of understanding what veganism means. Kinda like "我吃素的" as a vegetarian.
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0 votes
1 answer
115 views

What is the most commonly used way to say "thank you" in Chinese promotional and marketing materials?

I may appear in my company's marketing materials that will cater to a more international base and it was requested that I simply say "thank you" in Mandarin in a way directed at our Chinese client ...
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3 votes
3 answers
1k views

How and when to use 不见不错 vs. 不见不散?

Could someone please explain me how and when to use these expressions? Is there any difference between the two of them? Is it something like "see you later/see you there/see you soon"?
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0 votes
3 answers
1k views

Colloquialisms: "(Please) Take a Seat"

English has take the weight off your feet or cop a squat as a colloquialisms meaning take a seat. I've heard Canadian-French has the expression to grab some wood, or more literally to pull oneself a ...
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