Questions tagged [loanwords]

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What is the origin of 名堂?Compound or loanword?

Does anyone know of the origin of this word? It feels like it must be a loan word from another language as I can't find the semantic connection to 名 and 堂。Any ideas?
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  • 474
4 votes
1 answer
261 views

Did the Chinese 獅子 = "lion" originate from the Persian شیر (šīr)?

There's Wikipedia page List of loanwords in Chinese (listed as "incomplete" at the time of writing) which contains the entry: 獅子 (shīzi) "lion" شیر (šīr) "lion" So the ...
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3 votes
2 answers
171 views

Loan words borrowed from the middle/end of original word?

I was thinking about 氡, radon recently. The pronunciation: dōng (dong1) seems to suggest that sound was borrowed from the ending of the English word. Wiktionary corroborates this theory: Etymology ...
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  • 34.2k
5 votes
2 answers
181 views

Which came first? Chinese 蘑菇 or Mongolian мөөг?

Wiktionary isn't certain whether the Chinese 蘑菇 (mógū) is a loanword from Mongolian мөөг (möög) or vice-versa. Both mean "mushroom" and are pronounced very similarly so there's clearly some ...
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5 votes
1 answer
489 views

Are there loanwords from Portuguese used in Macau Cantonese?

I'd like to know if there are some words from Macau Cantonese that are from Portuguese. As HK Cantonese has some words from English, I think Macau also can have some words. Thank you for any examples ...
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3 votes
2 answers
108 views

In which dialect of Mandarin can I see or hear 乳酪?

In this website they write "乳酪 ru3 lao4" is a word which is used in Taiwan to describe cheese. But my Taiwanese friend told me they don't use this word, they use "nai3 lao4" or &...
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1 vote
1 answer
162 views

History of the pronunciation of 辰

Today, it is pronounced chén in Mandarin. However, in Chữ Nôm, this character is used for the sound thì. This is surprising, since most Chữ Nôm characters either borrow the meaning of existing ...
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  • 1,652
7 votes
1 answer
298 views

Is 邏輯 a phono-semantic matching of the English word logic?

Wiktionary has the following entry for the etymology of 邏輯: Phono-semantic matching of English logic. However, the Chinese Wikipedia entry states the following: 當代中文一般採取音譯方式,將其譯為邏輯。 Which ...
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0 votes
1 answer
150 views

How is 果岭 a loanword from the English "green" (i.e.: putting green)?

MDBG has the following entry: 果岭 guǒ​lǐng​ green (golf) (loanword) 果岭 doesn't really sound anything remotely like green, 岭 especially doesn't match up with the end of green. How did green ...
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8 votes
7 answers
1k views

Chinese words with non-Chinese letters / characters?

Some Chinese words mix Roman letters and Chinese characters. For example: AA制, meaning to split the bill evenly (or "go dutch" as that's often called in English). N次方根, meaning "nth root" (i.e., ...
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1 vote
2 answers
80 views

Chinese loanwords whose characters also carry the corresponding meaning

A while ago, I recall coming across some Chinese loanwords that not only sounded like their foreign language (usually English) counterparts, but whose characters also carried roughly that same meaning....
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1 vote
3 answers
2k views

Why does 哆啦A梦 use an alphabet instead of an equivalent Chinese character?

Doraemon is represented as 哆啦A梦 in Chinese. It includes an alphabet ‘A’. But I wonder why it uses the alphabet. Why not simply use a word equivalent for ‘A’, such as: 哆啦欸梦 I haven’t seen such ...
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6 votes
2 answers
400 views

How did "kitsch" (刻奇) come to stand for emotional contagion in a group?

刻奇 is said to be a loanword from English meaning: kitsch Kitsch in short is said to be: Kitsch is garish and sentimental art or other objects. In long it is defined as: Kitsch (/kɪtʃ/; ...
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1 vote
2 answers
395 views

The origin of the word chopstick

Looking up chopstick and chop-chop (meaning 'quickly' in English), I find: the original word for 筷子 is 著 pronounced the same as 住, which has a meaning of stop. This was considered unlucky, so 著 was, ...
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0 votes
1 answer
183 views

The etymology of 便当 in Chinese

The following excerpt is from the top answer on 知乎: 丈夫每天吃自己做的便当(没错,是他自己做的,不是他妻子做的)她吃大餐,去一次美容院就能花4.2万。看表情就知道,这位太太毫无愧疚之心,可能还觉得自己萌萌哒。两人摊牌后,妻子没有道歉,而是要求丈夫以后更努力工作赚钱。最后以这男人跳下站台自杀,妻子改嫁结束。 The 便当 here ...
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  • 5,295
5 votes
2 answers
329 views

The origin of 水母

I, among others, do not understand why this word would be chosen for jellyfish. Is a jellyfish held in regard as some sort of cultural/spiritual analogue ? A mother tries to be everywhere at once ...
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5 votes
2 answers
278 views

Is this Chinese and what is the meaning: 阿ㄘㄟˊ

I was listening to a pop song by the Chinese singer 那英. The song is called 天生不完美. I was curious to read the lyrics and so checked them at the following address: https://mojim.com/twy100287x13x7.htm ...
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  • 185
2 votes
1 answer
204 views

How are new element names/characters decided?

Saw this on Twitter: 4 new elements = 4 new Chinese characters (since every new element generally gets a newly-invented character). Then, I found this article which says: 化学元素周期表原子序113的新元素将命名为“...
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  • 34.2k
0 votes
2 answers
388 views

What is the origin of the character "糬" seeminly only used in "麻糬" to translate a Japanese word which doesn't use either character?

I was just given some mochi by a Taiwanese host in Kaohsiung. So I decided to look up the local word and found "麻糬" máshǔ. It's a transliteration of Japanese "mochi", which is written 餅 in that ...
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  • 3,829
3 votes
3 answers
167 views

Email as noun and verb

Could you guys and gals clarify how you use Email as noun and verb please? My textbook uses 电子邮件 as a noun and 发电子邮件 as a verb (send an Email). I have also found 伊妹儿 in a dictionary, which looks like ...
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  • 447
4 votes
6 answers
920 views

Modern loanwords in Chinese

I've noticed that in modern Chinese there's a lot of loanwords that are translated in multiple ways: 激光 vs 雷射 互联网 vs 因特网 Generally one version will sound similar to the English pronunciation ...
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  • 1,427
3 votes
1 answer
145 views

How is 古代汉语 defined?

According to Hanyu Wailaici Cidian (Dictionary of Chinese Loanwords), bóshì (博士) with the modern sense "doctor" is derived from the Japanese hakushi, which in turn is of "Ancient Chinese" (古代汉语) ...
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5 votes
1 answer
130 views

What kind of food is 漢巴德? (from 官場現形記)

In the Qing dynasty novel 官場現形記, there is this passage: 三荷包接過看時,只見上面開的是:清牛湯、炙鰣魚、冰蠶阿、丁灣羊肉、漢巴德、牛排、凍豬腳、橙子冰忌廉、澳洲翠鳥雞、龜仔蘆筍、生菜英腿、加利蛋飯、白浪布丁(10300620)、濱格、豬古辣冰忌廉、葡萄乾、香蕉、咖啡。另外幾樣酒是:勃蘭地、魏司格、紅酒、巴德、香檳,外帶甜水、鹹水。 ...
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  • 8,372
2 votes
3 answers
485 views

Is it appropriate to use 喂 by text?

喂 is used to answer the phone, but is it accepted over text? If not, is there an alternative to 你好 that's in common use (informally, like "hi", "hey", or "yo" in English). Is 嗨 widely accepted in ...
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  • 1,375
4 votes
3 answers
246 views

Transliterated Loanwords From Two Seperate Languages Of The Same Thing

Request for (at least) 2 loanwords, transliterated, from separate languages meaning the same thing. Horrible example: 埃默拉尔德 - English transliterated loanword for emerald 祖母绿 - Arabic transliterated ...
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5 votes
4 answers
3k views

What are the differences in usage and nuances between 现在,正在 and 还在?

I think it's pretty hard to tell the differences between these three words, and here's the dialogue: A: 你现在在干什么? B: 我正在做作业。 A: 你怎么还在做作业呀! Can you help me to understand and remember these words? ...
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4 votes
1 answer
153 views

Query about tone and stress in Mandarin foreign transcriptions/loanwords

Chinese transcription of foreign names and countries often results in long words that (in my opinion) stick out from the native lexicon significantly. There is general agreement that Mainland ...
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4 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the verb for "hacking" (as in computing) in Chinese?

Using my dictionary and some research, I've found that there seems to be three words for "hacker" in Chinese. 黑客,骇客,and 红客. The first two look to just mean "hacker," while the third is a word for the ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
82 views

Does anyone known a source where find from which characters the modern one borrowed their loaned meanings?

Like I said in the title I would really like to know if anyone knows where to find the original characters that gave to the modern one their loaned meanings.
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1 vote
3 answers
343 views

How does 平均 differ from 均匀?

I already knew that 平均 means "average", 均匀 means "even" or "evenly distributed". But how to distiguish these two phrases? Can you give me some examples? Thanks a lot!
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2 votes
4 answers
564 views

How appropriate is "拜拜"?

How appropriate, in terms of casualness and/or childishness, is "拜拜"? Is it as childish as "Bye-bye" would be in English, or is it more acceptable? In case location matters, I'm mainly interested in ...
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6 votes
5 answers
790 views

Loanwords with Chinese Equivalents

How many loanwords in Chinese have Chinese equivalents? Example: 三文鱼 is a loanword, borrowed from English, meaning salmon, but Chinese also has the word 鲑鱼 meaning salmon. Are there a lot of these ...
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6 votes
4 answers
364 views

Is there a limited character set for European loanwords?

In Japanese, there's a set of 48 characters called katakana that is often used for transliterating words of European origin. (This is a slight simplification - katakana is used for other purposes as ...
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10 votes
1 answer
519 views

Why is "steak" 肉排?

肉排 is Chinese for steak (e.g. 牛排 or 猪排 for beef steak and pork steak), but where did the 排 come from? As a Western cuisine dish, did the word have some roundabout origin? 排 means row/rank, which has ...
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  • 8,372
15 votes
2 answers
14k views

The origins of "AA制"

Every since I learned the expression AA制*, I have been curious as to its origins. The morphology seems clear enough: AA + 制(定) = "to draw up (the bill) in an AA way". What is not clear is how AA ...
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11 votes
3 answers
399 views

What is the origin of the word 雪茄 (cigar)?

I assume 雪茄 (cigar) is a loanword. Who can tell me what language this word was loaned from and, if appropriate, how it was transcribed? My own guess is that the word was transcribed from English and ...
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