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Questions tagged [mandarin]

Mandarin is a group of Chinese dialects that are considered the official language in many Chinese-speaking communities. The Beijing dialect is considered as standard pronunciation of Mandarin. Thus, when people say the "Chinese language", they implicitly refer to Mandarin.

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Is there a term for the noisy bringing up of phlegm in preparation to spit?

There's a colloquial term in some regions in English I've seen spelled hoik and hoick to refer to the noisy act of clearing the throat/nasal cavity of mucus/phlegm, usually just before spitting it out....
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Do you change your voice when you're surprised, unsure etc. in Mandarin?

In English you sometimes pronounce words in very different pitches/tones to express your emotions. For example when you're offended, surprised or when being sarcastic. Depending on the situation you ...
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Where can I find a list of chinese characters and their transcription in the 5 stroke classes used in the 五笔画 (wǔ bǐhuà) and Wubixing input method?

For a personal project I want to create a (huge) graph that contains some (as many as possible) chinese characters along the paths of their corresponding keyboard input using the 5 stroke classes ...
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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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Advice on Mandarin Chinese passive learning

What are the best Chinese online TV channels with English subtitles for passive Mandarin learning. I find Chinese a rather musical language and would love to watch subbed TV (news, documentaries, ...
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How did 秘 “bi” become “mi”?

I came across this comment just now: “秘”声符是“必”没问题,但是并不是说“秘”和“必”一定同音,“秘”这个字是北京话读错了,其实应该读bi,“秘鲁”一词还残存bi的读音 Which got me thinking. 秘 is still read "bi" in: surnames transcriptions (e.g.: Peru) ...
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How do I word a polite notice about toilets in Mandarin?

My friend has asked me how to translate a sign asking people using a bathroom (toilet) at the tourist attraction where she works. She wants to ask that they do not to throw toilet paper in the ...
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Is Learning and Memorizing Chinese Characters much different than English?

Unlike English, Chinese is not a spelling language, which means there is no hint from the characters themselves for pronunciation. Therefore, we can only work on the characters individually to figure ...
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What is the difference between 他, 它, and 她

What is the difference between 他, 她, and 它? I want to know when you use one and when not to. It seems pretty basic language because I hear 他, 她, and 它 everywhere in Chinese language. Anything else ...
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Two words for 'escorting,' 'showing around'

带你出去... 护送你出去... 陪你去玩儿... I am especially interested in the difference in meaning between the first and third. The third may not be correct because I may be recalling it poorly. The first seems ...
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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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“an” final pronunciation

I have had eight mainland Chinese teachers over the time I have spent studying, and I am still confused, because I find there are inconsistencies between my textbook's audio CDs, my teachers' ...
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What is the meaning of 機歪?

I was listening to a Chinese song the other day. The song name is 謝謝妳愛我, sung by R.chord(謝和弦). In the second line of the first chorus, which goes "脾氣壞 固執任性機歪 還有點變態 ", I don't understand the word Ji ...
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My Chinese Character Writing is Sloppy

Since learning Mandarin through Rosetta Stone, Youtube videos, and friends, I've begun to keep a journal of mandarin characters and phrases. I first draw the character, along with the pinyin and ...
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Any real difference between 句子 and 句话 in Mandarin?

I have learned that both words mean "a sentence". But they behave differently: 句子 requires a measure word and can be used separately, while 句话 does not (?) need the measure word and shouldn't be used ...
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Politeness in Mandarin

I like to say please sometimes when I want to be polite to someone when asking them for something. Is this customary in Mandarin? For example, if I wanted to ask for some water, I might ask my ...
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Is 你是哪个人 the correct way to ask where you are from in China?

I saw one of my friends used "你是哪个人" to ask where you are from in China. I thought it is the valid expression to date. However, I just used it to a Chinese people and she didn't understand it. So I ...
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What are a few alternative ways to say “to expect”?

There are many situations I'd like to say the following in Chinese: "That phone call was unexpected" "I did not expect that meeting to be so difficult" The only approach I know of is: "我没想到那个电话“ ”...
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Expressing “Fair enough”

The English expression "fair enough" can be used to concede a point in an argument, or acknowledge the other person's position, without expressing complete agreement. To take an example from ...
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Difference between 很 and 挺

As far as I know, both means “very”. I would like to know if there are any further differences that exist between them
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Why is 儿 in different positions in “儿子” and “女儿”?

儿 [Er] child 儿子 [Érzi] son 女儿 [Nǚ'ér] daughter So, why is 儿 in different positions in each word but they are both valid?
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What's the difference between 雕像 and 雕塑?

I've read the two sentences that used the word 雕像 and 雕塑, respectively. However, I don't see what's the difference between the two words. When you look it up in a dictionary, both say "it is statue". ...
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Are Sinitic languages mutually comprehensible?

According to this map, there are different Chinese "languages" (Sinitic languages) in the Chinese area. Is my understanding correct that the "official" Chinese language is the Mandarin? In other ...
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“我们过去了” was he joking?

One man and I were crossing a busy Beijing intersection and were almost across when tour buses cut us off from both sides and we stood between them as they passed. He smiled at me and said "我们过去了!' ...
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What are the differences between 本 and 版 when it comes to edition

I’ve found that 本 and 版 can be used to describe the edition of a published material, but do they have any differences between them? If they have, please give some examples
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What does 就 mean in this sentence?

你怎么就睡在这里了呀? Searching 就 up on the Chinese Grammar Wiki gives a pretty long list of usages, and I have no idea what (if any) is most applicable.
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Using 色 with colors

I'm making something to teach students Chinese colors... Let's say they have to match a color to a square- Is it okay to just use 红, 蓝, 紫, etc on each block just as long as they know 色 means color... ...
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Is Putonghua Mandarin Chinese or is it standard Mandarin Chinese?

This is driving me crazy. I've always thought that Mandarin was the common language of China and Putonghua was the term use to express this language spoken with standard pronunciation. I've often ...
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How do I use 着呢 correctly?

So 着呢, from the book I am currently studying (汉语教程) says it uses it at the end of a sentence to express “very”. However, my teacher said this is incorrect and said 着呢 is used to express something is ...
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Why does the `请` take two duplicate words on its verb occasionally (e.g. `请洗洗你的袜子`)

I've read these sentences in my Rosetta Stone courses: 请洗洗你的袜子 请洗一下楼梯 However, why does the first sentence use two 洗 consecutively before taking the object? Also, how can I tell when to use one verb ...
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Empathy and Sympathy use same characters in Chinese 同情?

Any alternative characters to clarify the difference, as the English words and their Greek roots have different meaning. Thanks!
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Difference between 孩子 and 儿童 (and 孩童,少儿,…)

There are several words that mean "child" in Chinese, e.g. 孩子, 儿童 and a few others. When can they be used interchangeably and when not? For example: The children are playing: 孩子们在玩呢 or 儿童们在玩呢 or both ...
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忠美聖愛仁義利義好哀恕 -I believe this is a proverb relating to Confucian values, but I can't break it into separate words

I saw a single row of characters with no punctuation. 忠美聖愛仁義利義好哀恕 Zhongmei might be loyalty. Sheng-ai is probably love between humans and gods. Ren-yi is compassion. Li might be benefit. I can't ...
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Taiwanese Mandarin vs Mainland Mandarin [closed]

A reference request. Is there any good source of the differences word choice/meaning between Taiwan and Mainland Chinese? Not asking about Chinese Characters, but usage. Spain have different ...
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How to say “Hopefully we can treat each other with more X”

Is there a general template for translating, "hopefully we can treat each with more X" where X is some noun. Examples: Hopefully we can treat each other with more consideration. Hopefully we can ...
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How do you say “You mean …?” to respond to what you don't understand enough?

In English, it is common to ask "You mean XXX...?" when a person does not understand enough what the conversation opponent said. I'm now in China, and to express the same thing I usually say the ...
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質: when to pronounce in 2nd tone or 4th (Mandarin)?

In Mandarin, sometimes 質 is pronounced with the 2nd tone (e.g., 質地, 特質) and other times it's pronounced with the 4th tone (e.g., 質疑, 質量, 品質). Here are two words pronounced with the 2nd tone: 質地 http:...
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Confusion when words are combined

Hello I have been learning Mandarin for only a few weeks, although an issue has been bugging me. It concerns combining words together to make a sentence. For example I have heard that a correct ...
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What's the word for 'human quality'?

For example when someone jumps the queue, I might tell them they lack good manners / human quality, what's the word in Chinese (Mandarin)?
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Poetic two-character words of the form: Verb + Natural Noun?

I was looking for examples in Mandarin of poetic two-character words. What words have the following form... Verb + Noun ...where the noun is something that occurs in nature? The first examples ...
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What Chinese podcasts are available to improve my listening skills? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Resources for learning Mandarin Chinese I'm a big podcast fan, and I think listening to Chinese podcasts would be a great way to improve my listening skills. I enjoy listening ...
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How do I say “Why not both” in Mandarin?

Specifically, how would I say "Why not (choose) both?" or "Why not (do) both?" Ex. "Do you want to go to the park or go watch a movie?" "Why not both?" I tried to do some searching and found two ...
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Mandarin pronunciation for <hen> and <yuan>

Consider for example the words 很 (hěn) and 员 (yuán). I constantly hear each term pronounced in at least two distinct ways by native speakers. The issue is really the vowel sound in the finals. ...
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Appropriate responses to unexpected gift?

I have been on the receiving end of an unexpected gift. Actually I was in a restaurant and the owner (who knows I am learning Cantonese/Mandarin), just gives me some dong gua tong (soup). I didn't ...
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Benefits of Learning a Chinese Dialect in Addition to Standardized Mandarin

Edit: This is now cross-posted to linguistics. Studies have shown that learning more than one language helps people of all ages learn each one of the languages. For a nice mainstream media piece on ...
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Usage of 感动 (active/passive?)

According to mdbg.net 感动 means both 'to move (emotionally)' and 'moving'. But from what I understand from some texts I have '邻居们都很感动' implying a more passive meaning for 感动. Can someone shed some ...
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What good resources are available to assist first time travellers to learn basic Chinese? [closed]

I'm moving back to China again in a few weeks, and I've already got a few friends planning visits - this brings me to my problem: I can't always be around to translate, and I find people have a more ...
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Differences between 摔,落 and 掉

The 3 words all have a meaning of fall but what are the differences between the 3 of them?
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Question words at the end or beginning? Shei (very confusing)

So far, question words in Chinese have always appeared at the end.. but with "shei" I saw sentences like "Shei shi nide baba?" So it can be used at the start or end of a sentence? We could say, "Nide ...
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Should I pronounce “er” as [ɚ] or [aɚ̯]?

What I learned growing up was that words with the pinyin “er”, like 儿, 二, and 耳 were pronounced [ɚ], but younger/more native speakers of Standard Chinese seem to pronounce it as [aɚ], and I was ...