Questions tagged [culture]

Questions about the Chinese language which are influenced by culture.

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2
votes
5answers
769 views

What is 吐槽? How should I translate it?

I am having a hard time explaining the concept of 吐槽 to a foreigner. How can I explain the nature of 吐槽? I tried something like this but it doesn't seem to convey the art of 吐槽 in full: 吐槽 is the ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How do native Chinese greet each other on daily basis?

I have read somewhere that "你好" and "你好吗?" are mostly textbook greetings and are not used by native Chinese, at least not on daily basis. I would also find it hard to believe that two friends who know ...
15
votes
4answers
9k views

How do I say “damn!” or “bloody hell” in Chinese?

The phrase 他妈的 has been explained in this question. Since I'm a no-expletives guy, I don't feel comfortable so close to the f-word. :) I was wondering what would be the correct way to use some of the ...
17
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13answers
5k views

Are there word games in Chinese?

Do Chinese characters make it a lot harder to create or play word games in Chinese than it is in English? I have seen a few Chinese crosswords, but it seems like they aren't as densely cross-linked as ...
0
votes
1answer
47 views

Why the name 中元节 for hungry ghost festival?

Today is Hungry Ghost festival day and people prepare the food and put out in the street for the hungry ghost. I know today fest name is 鬼节 and I understand this (鬼 = ghost). Where does the other name ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

What are the types of 剧 (theatrical work, opera, drama) in modern China?

When studying Chinese, the Chinese learner journal had a section to talk about the various kinds of 剧 (theatrical work, opera, drama), for example 北京剧, etc. It almost seems to me like every city had ...
2
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1answer
77 views

How many days does a 节气 last for?

People usually say there are 24 Solar Terms (24节气) in a year, and each lasts 15 days. If so, 24x15 days = 360 days. But a year has at least 365 days. Does it mean some 节气 have more than 15 days?
27
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6answers
3k views

How polite is too polite?

I've noticed in China that people don't tend to use as many 'polite' words as we do in western languages, like 'please' or 'thank you'. I want to make it clear that I'm not complaining about this; I ...
7
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1answer
2k views

In what kind of scenarios are honorifics such as 大姐, 大哥, and 师傅 used, and when is it acceptable or polite to use them?

In Chinese films I've often heard characters refer to each other using some of these honorifics: 大姐 dàjiě (big sister; auntie) 大哥 dàgē (big brother) 师傅 shīfù (master) In what kind of scenarios are ...
0
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1answer
65 views

What sorts of essays do school-age children (and test-takers, generally) in China have to write?

In the US, there is this thing called the "five paragraph essay" consisting of an introduction (1 paragraph), a body (3 paragraphs), and a conclusion (1 paragraph). Basically, you say what ...
3
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5answers
182 views

How do friends use each other's name?

How do people (especially in Taiwan) use their names when talking among friends, for example, in University? I've previously heard that some people always use the complete name when addressing other ...
2
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4answers
197 views

How do Chinese people feel about the term 非中国人 to express non-Chinese people?

I have found myself using the word 非中国人 to express what Chinese people would call 外国人 or 老外. How do Chinese people feel about this word ? Just to confirm I am using it with Chinese people. Here are ...
7
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4answers
890 views

Where does the middle name go in a name that has been translated into Chinese?

Many westerners (like I) possess a three-part name in full. given + middle + family [名·中间名·姓] It's understood that―in China―middle names typically don't exist. Usually, westerners only translate ...
2
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2answers
367 views

Does the usage of the word “proud” (骄傲, 自豪, or 而荣) in Chinese differ from that in English?

I know this is going to get closed because it's more philosophical in nature but it's something that's brought up (subtle Asian traits, if curious) Is the word proud is rarely used in Chinese culture ...
2
votes
1answer
96 views

What is the origin of 火黑暗?

What is the origin of 火黑暗? According to wikipedia it comes from the Zangshu, "Book of Burial", but no where in that book (or anywhere else) can I find this supposed phrase: "Qi vapors in the fire, ...
3
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3answers
721 views

What does it mean for a woman to be 贤惠 (xiánhuì)?

Judging from what I've read, Chinese culture honors women who are 贤惠 (xiánhuì), e.g. a man would want a 贤惠 wife (this actually arose in my recent question). However, I get the feeling there's not ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

What kind of party is 黑灯舞?

I heard that in the past, around the 1980s, people could be executed for this. But what does it consist of? Is there an english/american equivalent or something similar?
2
votes
1answer
77 views

先进个人奖, what is this?

I'm not really sure this is the correct website to ask for this, I'm sorry if it is not. Anyway, I'm trying to understand what this honour/award is (in English I often see it translated as "...
8
votes
2answers
176 views

他在工厂住了半年/living in factories

This was an example sentence in Practical Chinese Reader 31. Do people actually live in factories, or is there some cultural context I'm missing? In previous chapters, people are constantly visiting ...
6
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2answers
207 views

Why is 十面埋伏 related to the number 10?

How does that count? As we know, Chinese directions can be categorized as 六合八方, but none of them is related to the number 10?
1
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2answers
82 views

What does 一起 imply about a romantic relationship?

In stories I see 一起 used to describe a romantic couple being "together", but I would like to understand what it implies. For example: “……要是我能和她在一起该多好啊!” in this context the boy has just seen a very ...
0
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2answers
118 views

Are the Asian girls in this music video Chinese or Malaysian, and are they singing in Chinese?

https://youtu.be/BuAULI7PbRw?t=7 They are obviously Asian, and I seem to recognize some of the letters as being Chinese. Also, the song itself seems to be a famous/classic Chinese song which I've ...
2
votes
1answer
81 views

A culture shock for me, what is in this alcohol?

I bought some Chilean red wine on Taobao. Very nice! The company sent me a little, flat bottle of something containing 35% alcohol as a free gift. On the label of the bottle it says: 至宝 特质三鞭酒 Among ...
3
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1answer
268 views

What exactly is an ancient Tang dynasty 壺?

Note: I have now asked this question on the History Stack Exchange also. There are at least 33 types of ancient sacrificial, wine, food and water ritual bronze vessels of ancient China, none of which ...
2
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6answers
297 views

Do many Taiwanese self identify as Mandarin speakers and if not, why?

I was chatting with a Taiwanese student the other day and asked him what language they speak there. He just answered "Chinese" and didn't know about a dialect or variant of Mandarin. Even the words ...
1
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1answer
141 views

Translation of a painting's signature, ink + gold (Characters identified: 日本製略曆) [duplicate]

I am very grateful for helping me with signature on lovely Chinese painting, I have one more in my collection, judging by the back of it it has at least 100 years. It is painted with ink and gold, the ...
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3answers
82 views

Can it be considered rude to start speaking to a stranger in mandarin in a western country? [closed]

I will preface this with the fact that I have some symptoms of asperger's and so, it's easy for me to make faux pas social situations, and difficult for me to judge what would be rude or not. I think ...
0
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1answer
131 views

Does (western) humor exist in Chinese culture? How do you use the language to make friends with Chinese?

Some Chinese, especially those in China, have no concpets of western humor and their interpretation could be unexpected. Satire can be interpreted as personal attack and self mocking can be ...
3
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2answers
130 views

how to translate this slogan '向前一小步,文明一大步' and the like in almost every public toilet in China

the other one is '靠近方便, 贴近文明', both of which have different versions of English translations, most of them, though, suck. they go like: One small step forward One giant leap toward civilization A ...
1
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4answers
522 views

Is Southwestern Mandarin different from Mandarin?

I'm moving in two years to Yunnan. I'm learning Mandarin. But I've read that in Yunnan the official language is "Southwestern Mandarin". What's the difference? Will they be able to understand me?
0
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3answers
3k views

Why Is The Color Red Considered Lucky In Chinese Language and Culture?

A constant feature in all things Chinese is the color (colour, for those yank-challanged among y'all) red. As common knowledge goes, it is because red is considered to be lucky. Why?
1
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3answers
2k views

What do Chinese write on a condolence card?

I was wondering what Chinese people would write when they write a condolence card. Is it just a translation from the English or are there specific sentences?
1
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1answer
107 views

A song called “Lu Hua”

I recently heard a live performance of an amazing song by a Chinese woman in the United States. She said the title of the song is "Lu Hua", and I was able to find a version on YouTube: https://www....
1
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3answers
538 views

Usage of 理由 vs 原因

What is the difference in the usage of 理由 vs 原因? Both seem to translate to "reason." According to my understanding, 理由 is more like the rationale behind a decision, behind a move, etc. and 原因 is more ...
1
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1answer
179 views

How to formally say : “I am yyy calling from xxx company, how can I help you ?”

From a customer service standpoint , how to formally say : "I am yyy calling from xxx company, how can I help you ?". 1:“我是客服 yyy,从 xxx 公司 打过来的。请问有什么可以帮助您 ?” 2: “我叫 yyy , 从 xxx 公司给您打电话了。请问怎么能帮助您 ?” ...
2
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1answer
103 views

How to say “If you would like to know any updates , you can always call or message me”

According to my understanding, “update” is translated to “更新” . But this seems to be in the context of Software。 Eg. Software update, OS update ,etc. But how would you convey update in the following ...
12
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5answers
4k views

How to say “giving someone the benefit of the doubt” in Chinese?

This expression connotes that one is willing to not insist on accusing someone of a mistake despite most evidence pointing to that someone as being responsible. As in a legal proceeding where the jury ...
-1
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1answer
54 views

Were women not allowed to honour their ancestors?

祭祖的时候,贾敬是主祭,贾赦是陪祭,贾珍献爵,贾琏贾琮献帛,宝玉捧香。青衣奏乐,献爵三次,焚帛奠酒。 As far as I know, 贾敬、贾赦、贾珍、贾琏、贾琮、宝玉都是男人。 青衣,I'm not sure if this is a woman or a man. 没有什么贾氏的女人。 Were women not allowed to make offerings to ...
-2
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1answer
70 views

Identifying Chinese tea [closed]

Can someone help me identify this tea? I received it as a gift and would love to know what I am drinking. It looks rather refined.
0
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1answer
96 views

Asking for a small business favor (whom and how)

Let's say my current job requires me to contact a certain hardware manufacturer in China and request technical documentation. But they don't speak English and I don't speak Chinese. Hiring a ...
3
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1answer
150 views

Antique Chinese painting

Before I ask I'd like to say how much I admire Chinese culture and art. Hence I always dig in antique shops for something from China. A few years ago I bought these beautiful twin paintings (not ...
-1
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1answer
64 views

Are witches/wizards the equivalent of a devil in China or which cultural thing am I not getting here

A Guy in my brawl stars clan said 狗男巫 is a delusional name. Is there a cultural string plucked with having witches/wizards, another guy said it also wasn't a good name. Just how bad are is that, and ...
15
votes
6answers
920 views

When not to use 厕所 when asking for the toilet?

I've noticed sometimes in polite company or in the company of strangers some people will saying they are going to wash their hands 去洗手 (qù xǐshǒu) instead of going to the toilet 去上厕所 (qù shàng cèsuǒ). ...
3
votes
2answers
275 views

Do 男人 and 女人 have an unfavourable connotation?

I've sometimes earned laughter when I used 一个女人 or 一个男人. Does it have a derogative connotation? Is it better to use 女的/男的 or 女生/男生? Are there regional differences in the usage?
0
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3answers
127 views

乐谱 Chinese music tablature

Looking at some guitar music in Chinese, I noticed that a notation system called 简谱 jiǎnpǔ "simple (numbered) tablature" is quite widespread. Is there any particular reason why this way of ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Why chinese people always use chinese subtitles ¿?

This is my question, almost every program, TV Show, movie... everything has subtitles, one reason could be that there are many different accents in different provinces but I don't really find that ...
5
votes
2answers
913 views

Is the Chinese character “蒙” being associated with Mongolia and ignorance coincidence?

In the translingual section, Wiktionary mentions that the Chinese character 蒙 has a variety of meanings: to cover ignorant suffer fourth hexagram of the I Ching Mongolia - radical composition becomes ...
0
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2answers
51 views

Longjing tea in English [closed]

In China there is a kind of tea called Longjing. But can we call it Dragon Well tea? Because I heard that in foreign countries a dragon does not have a positive image.
1
vote
1answer
468 views

What could be the meaning of 主治陳進陽草菅人命, 插管插到死, 腎臟料 and 人命?

What could be the context of banners put up in front of a hospital with the following text: 主治陳進陽草菅人命 插管插到死 腎臟料 人命 For the name and location of the hospital, or a high resolution version, see ...
3
votes
4answers
991 views

Who should be counted when responding to 你家有几口人 (nǐjiā yǒu jǐkǒurén) “how many people are there in your family”?

An early question in Chinese people learn is: 你家有几口人? How many people are there in your family? (nǐjiā yǒu jǐkǒurén) My Chinese text book contains these example responses: 五口人。他们是我爸爸,我哥哥,我弟弟和我。你呢?(...