Questions tagged [mandarin]

Question specifically about the Mandarin dialect. (Not for arbitrary questions that happen to involve Mandarin.)

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2answers
594 views

留学: Why the use of “留”?

I'm sure like many students of Chinese, my first encounter with the character 留 was in the word 留学, meaning "to study abroad". Some time later I encountered 留 as an independent word, meaning "to stay"...
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2answers
179 views

How do expressions like “二嫂” work in Mandarin?

From what I've known from watching Chinese dramas, siblings or fellow disciples may refer to each other as: "big brother/sister" (oldest/first) "2nd/3rd brother/sister" (in-...
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2answers
3k views

What is the English equivalent of 拜托, and what is it's proper usage in Chinese?

I quite like the expression 拜托, but I've never been 100% sure of what exactly it means in English, and I'm not quite sure how to use it properly in Chinese. Little help?
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5answers
760 views

Too many synonyms. How do I know which words are too formal/informal?

Particularly when it comes to verbs, I've noticed that there are so many synonyms. For example, "To resist": 抗,抵抗,抵制,抗拒,反抗 etc. "To feel": 感觉,觉得, 感到,感,感觉到 etc. "To handle": 处理,办理,处置,应付,办 etc. Right ...
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782 views

How to add emphasis to sentences

Last week a kid wrote on the office white board "Give me all your cheese now!" and I attempted a translation into Chinese (mostly to practice my handwriting). I wrote 马上给我你的奶酪。 I felt like this ...
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3answers
478 views

How much did the Cultural Revolution change the Chinese language on the mainland?

I've always had an inkling that the Cultural Revolution drastically changed the Chinese language (think: TW 国语 vs. mainland 普通话). [Some even claim TW doesn't even have the concept of 书面语 pk 口语, it's ...
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1answer
332 views

Do Cantonese 畀 and Mandarin 被 have any historical connection?

畀 and 被's modern pronunciations are quite similar. Although 畀 can mean “give” like the Mandarin 给 it also can work like 被: 佢畀人睇見 他被人家看見 Do Cantonese 畀 and Mandarin 被 have any historical connection?
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The origin of 鸡贼

I speak Mandarin Chinese, but it is the first time that I stumbled upon the word 鸡贼. According to 百度百科 (Baidu wiki), it means being stingy. The wiki page also says that it comes from the Beijing ...
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1answer
334 views

9 Questions from the movie Red Sorghum (红高粱)

My friend bought me a set of four Zhang Yi Mou movies. I watched Red Sorghum (红高粱) today, and there were a few sentences which, after looking up the meanings, I still couldn't quite understand. I'll ...
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2answers
727 views

The development of rhotic vowels in Mandarin

Schuessler's reconstruction of the Old Chinese reading of 二 is *ńźi. It seems there is a correspondence between OC syllables beginning in *ń or *ńź and Mandarin syllables romanised as er. However, I'...
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1answer
407 views

Why is the 車 in Chinese chess pronounced jū?

The 車 in Chinese chess is pronounced jū. Why isn't it pronounced chē? Is this pronunciation used outside of Chinese chess?
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4answers
911 views

What's the difference between 慢慢 and 渐渐?

what's the difference between 慢慢 and 渐渐? For example why can you use 慢慢 here,but not 渐渐? ex) 你慢慢吃吧,别着急!
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347 views

Language Learning Software That Teaches Mechanics (Not Phrases)

I've tried out various language learning software (Rosetta Stone, Tell Me More, Transparent), and I've been severely disappointed by the fact that not one of them actually teaches you the LANGUAGE, ...
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408 views

Academic explanation for rhyming fillers with irrelevant meaning in doggerel

在打油诗、顺口溜、儿歌里经常有纯粹是为了押韵或节拍而插入的和文意无关的词汇。在北方话、传统北京/天津评书相声里尤甚。我想知道在语言学专业里这种情况是怎么解释的,有没有术语或相关资料。 例如北京顺口溜: 嗝屁着凉大海棠,脚不丫子蘸白糖。 里“大海棠”完全是为押韵,无意义;蘸白糖虽然略有意义,但选词十分随机,更多是为了一种插科打诨的效果。 Brief translation: It's ...
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712 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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Origin of 呆在 vs 待在

Both 呆在 and 待在 are acceptable ways of writing dai1 zai4 meaning "stay at/in". For instance, a couple sentences from iciba: 我们因天气寒冷呆在家里。 Because of the cold weather, we stayed at home. ...
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2answers
4k views

Is there any other language intelligible to Mandarin Chinese speakers?

Can native speakers of Mandarin Chinese readily understand speakers of neighbouring regions such as Korea, Japan, Mongolia, or Canton? Are Mandarin Chinese and any of these languages mutually ...
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592 views

Difference between 小吃 and 零食

Both of these words in the dictionary have themselves defined as “snack” but what are the differences between these 2 words?
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4answers
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How is the currency of Taiwan referred to in Mandarin?

(I'm not going to use the hanzi or even proper pinyin for some terms because I only know them from speaking as an absolute beginning learner.) In Mainland China the currency is the "yuan" but in ...
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4answers
307 views

Using phrase 打不死

I recently encountered 打不死 as the title of a column in a US Chinese language newspaper. Asking my Chinese language teacher, she gave the literal translation of "beaten but not dead", meaning something ...
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5answers
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What does the `里` mean in `这些狗里有一只穿红色的毛衣`?

In the following sentence: 这些狗里有一只穿红色的毛衣 What does the 里 mean? I think the sentence means something like The dogs wear red sweaters. But why does it require 里 there and what meaning does it add? I'...
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8answers
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Ways to politely insult somebody's intelligence in Mandarin?

I know of many words to insult people and call them stupid, but a majority of them are incredibly offensive. There are more polite phrases, such as 真笨, which I've seen used within families (as a plain ...
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5answers
666 views

Two “question words” in one sentence

One of my teachers asked us the example question: 你有什么安排吗? I asked her why there would be two "question words", 什么 and 吗, when I believed you should only have one question word (in this case, 吗 ...
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3answers
397 views

Meaning of 这么多好吃

I want to get the correct meaning of this sentence: 我恨不得一下子把这么多好吃的都吃完。 I understand this sentence as "I wish to eat up all those delicious things, all at once". I don't fully understand the ...
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5answers
421 views

寻 找 , 就 寻 见: I do not understand the second “xún”

At the website http://learnchinesethrubible.org/ I find the following phrase: seek and you will find 寻 找 , 就 寻 见 I do not understand the second "xún". In the dictionary http://www.mdbg.net ...
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3answers
877 views

What is the meaning and proper usage of 凭什么?

I was watching a TV show and heard them using the expression 凭什么 to say 'why' - I hadn't heard this with this exact meaning before, so I'm wondering what the proper meaning is in English, and what the ...
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1answer
782 views

Usage of the phrase '不错用' in Taiwan Mandarin

I heard my Taiwanese friends use the Mandarin phrase 不错用 more than once, but didn't have a chance to ask them: Is it widely used in Taiwan, or is it used by a certain circle/type of person? What's ...
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2answers
576 views

How can I improve the speed of my spoken Chinese?

I'm currently trying to learn '听妈妈的话' on SingChineseSongs, and I'm having trouble keeping up with the fast parts. I also have trouble trying to speak terribly fast in Mandarin anyway. Does anyone ...
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3answers
254 views

Why does 他没看书 use 没 and not 不 in this dialogue?

I was reviewing some old Anki cards that I created from HSK Standard Course 1 by Jiang Liping and I came across this dialogue: A: 喂你在做什么呢 B: 我在看书呢 A: 大卫也在看书吗 B: 他没看书。他在学做中国菜呢 A: Hello, what are you ...
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1answer
142 views

What is the role of 在 in 您要在关闭文件前保存吗?

I was using a text editor in Chinese, when I tried to exit without saving the currently opened file it showed me this sentence: 您要在关闭文件前保存吗? What is the role of 在 here? Is it related to the usage ...
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3answers
227 views

Differences between 条 and 根

Both of these two words 条 and 根 in the dictionary are said to be measure words for long and thin objects. What are the differences between them?
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2answers
2k views

Why does Chinese sometimes put 儿 after verbs and nouns?

I tend to see it a lot in text books and guides: 唱歌/唱歌儿 事/事儿 But it's always listed as optional, so what's the deal with it?
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2answers
570 views

Measure word for 中药 and 西药

My question is simple... The correct measure word for 中药 西药 Appreciate your time!
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1answer
308 views

What does 触控 mean in 使用者将可轻松地以触控的方式浏览教科书内容?

I was busy reading about Apple's new textbook announcement on Engadget China, and I came across the following sentence: 使用者将可轻松地以触控的方式浏览教科书内容. What is the meaning of 触控 in this sentence? (My guess ...
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3answers
1k views

Is there a traditional Chinese New Year greeting?

I know people often say 新年快乐 to mean happy new year, but is there a traditional greeting used in Chinese to express your good wishes for the new year? If so, what, and how did it originate?
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7answers
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How to say, “In Chinese" in Chinese

If I want to tell someone they can speak to me in Chinese, how can I say it? My guess is: 你可以给我说用中文 Is this correct, and is there any other way to say it, for example using the 把 structure (i.e. ...
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2answers
307 views

Methods/resources for improving formal/business Chinese?

I'm returning to China early next year to manage a business, and will be dealing with a variety of Chinese clients in that environment. I want to ensure my formal/business Chinese skills are up to ...
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1answer
247 views

How to say 'protect x from y'?

In my routine HSK vocab study, I recently came upon the word 保护; to protect. Obviously, it works easily like any other verb in statements simply of protection, but I have no idea how to translate the ...
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5answers
352 views

Why can't 了 be used to indicate a completed action that has yet to come?

了 is a particle that indicates the perfective--the verb has no interior composition. This is different from the perfect aspect in English which focuses on the result of an action in the past that may ...
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7answers
1k views

不得不, 必须, 只好, 应该: what's the difference?

This is what I'm thinking: 不得不 pm. "cannot but, have to" this seems colloquial, and the fact that dictionaries think of this as a set phrase/fixed expression makes me think so. Also feels like the ...
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4answers
447 views

Usage of 師傅 in Mandarin

In Cantonese 師傅 will often be used to refer to some sort of specialized worker (e.g. a plumber, or a renovator) or some sort of "master" or "teacher" (not in the sense used in a school setting), ...
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5answers
413 views

Why do we have to say 一百 一千 but not 一十?

This has always stumped me as all other base 10 numbers (>10) in Chinese you declare 1 through 9 for the quantity [1] of these units but you only have to declare 2 through 9 for 十 as 1 is implied [2] ...
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5answers
2k views

Why 天 is chosen for counting days instead of 日 in Mandarin?

In Classical Chinese, the proper word for counting days is 日. In Southern Chinese languages, 日 is more prevalent in counting days. Why 天 is chosen for counting days in Mandarin instead of 日? Edit ...
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7answers
1k views

Difference between 坏 and 破

Looking for some concrete answers on the difference between 坏 and 破 From what I have been able to understand: 坏 bad: as in 坏人 (bad person) or 鱼坏了 (rotten food) broken: as in 手机坏了 (broken mobile ...
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3answers
2k views

What qualities does Hong Kong Mandarin have?

With Mandarin making more and more in-roads into Cantonese speaking Hong Kong, I'm wondering what characteristics set it apart from Standard Mandarin or other regional Mandarin dialects and/or accents....
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What is the correct way to write 'niu bi', and how did it get its meaning in Chinese?

'niu bi' (牛逼? like the bees knees in English) is one of the more amusing expressions I learnt in my time in China. The literal meaning in English is quite colourful, so I won't describe it here, but I'...
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3answers
1k views

What do these two characters on cufflinks signify? (Characters identified: 福 and 壽/夀)

I was given a pair of gold cufflinks by my grandfather who was in Shanghai 100 years ago. Each shows a Chinese character (Mandarin, I guess) and I would like to know what these mean. However I have ...
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3answers
439 views

Errors and Unnatural Language in a Translation Challenge

I was recently challenged to translate the following sentence from English into Chinese: You should stay away from that bar. A friend of mine went there before, and he ended up in the hospital after ...
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2answers
241 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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2answers
846 views

Are `sh` and `x` really different phonemes, or just different realizations of the same phoneme?

I can't think of any minimal pairs; like shu vs. xu probably shouldn't count as a minimal pair since the vowel is different.

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