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Questions tagged [meaning-in-context]

Questions concerned understanding of individual words or phrases, considering a context in which these words and phrases are expressed.

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49 views

Literal versus contextual translation of 斷腸

I saw in the translation of a set of Chinese lyrics that 斷腸 was translated into 'heartbroken' or 'broken heart'. This is a curious case where there is already a common expression for heart broken - ...
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4answers
85 views

How does 你的健康都难得到保证,就更别说幸福了 work?

From 标准教程HSK4上(p.124; nearly finished this book!): 当你生病了,如果由于缺钱而不能及时去看医生,你的健康都难得到保证,就更别说幸福了。 I translate this to: When you're sick, if because of lack of money [you] cannot promptly visit the ...
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Why does 兴奋 (excitement) not mean what I think it means?

I wrote this: 我觉得小夏后悔过去的比赛,小夏回忆没进球也也许让一个好机会错过。所以小夏在房间里老坐着。马克想帮助小夏带他去足球比赛再体验足球的兴奋,让小夏高兴点儿。 My teacher made the following corrections (my question relates to the 5-th item below): she deleted the ...
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68 views

Why is Little Lin's nose bleeding? 还不习惯北方的气候,估计是天气太干。

This snippet is from 标准教程HSK4上 chapter 7 (my translation): 小李:你的鼻子怎么流血了?快用纸擦擦。 Little Li: Your nose is [how] bleeding? Quickly get a tissue and wipe [it]. 小林:我还不习惯北方的气候,估计是天气太干。今天天气不是很冷,...
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2answers
161 views

Is 让 more [make] than [let]?

Based on someone’s answer on question regarding how to state unpleasantness in Chinese: 让 (to make) implies "to force/ to order". If something has to be forced upon you, that something is most ...
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1answer
45 views

How to state unpleasantness in written form? let becomes make

In English, unpleasantness can be stated by changing let to make. Classmate sharing pleasant things to classmate: My parents let me eat chocolates. 我父母让我吃巧克力 Classmate complaining to classmate: ...
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1answer
43 views

How to interpret 重地上,轻地下?

I think this is an oblique reference to 孙子兵法,but in a modern context it just means: 'the government only cares about what is above ground, what is beneath the ground is unimportant' 女:...
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209 views

Meaning of 閒日 (cantonese)

In the sentence 唔知佢點解,佢閒日唔會打電話嚟。 What is the meaning of 閒日? The official translation given by my reference is “weekdays”, but when i searched this in the dictionary, the meaning given is “free time”. ...
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Is the 健 in 健忘 (“forgetful”) ironic?

The word 健忘 looks like a contradictio in adiecto: "healthy" + "forget". Am I missing something?
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68 views

Does 差不多 (chàbùduō) imply “slightly less than” when comparing quantities?

差 implies a kind of deficiency, so I expect A比B差不多 to mean A is slightly "worse" than B in some way. For example, I would expect 我比你差不多高 to imply I am slightly shorter than you. I'm not sure ...
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What part of speech is 到 (to) when used in this case?

I was having trouble with the sentence "两只饿到眼绿的老鼠正在房梁上打架" because I could not understand the usage of 到 here. After I spent some time thinking I figure the meaning is that the rats were hungry to the ...
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115 views

What does 足有 mean?

I found this in Matilda (p.13): 这本书的这一版本足有四百一十一页。 that edition contained four hundred and eleven pages. [original English (ref.)] the book's [这本书的] edition [这一版本] has (?) [足有] 411 pages [...
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46 views

What is 给 doing in 你给宠坏了 and 一个人给丢在家里 (Matilda 玛蒂尔达, p.7)?

I bought the Chinese version of Matilda, and I'm confused about this: Specifically, I'm confused about why 给 (usually meaning "to give") is in these phrases: 你给宠坏了 You're getting spoiled [...
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116 views

What does the word 'field' mean in this context?

I edit a manuscript for non-chinese-speakers. The writer was an expert in Chinese language and literature. I want to learn, but I am not a native speaker. So, I have difficulty in interpreting how ...
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88 views

What does 友並表 mean?

Can somebody tell me what 友並表 means? I know that 友 means friend.
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168 views

What does 我正好是诗情勃发 mean in the Chinese translation of Roald Dahl's Matilda (p.2)?

I went to a library the other day and found Roald Dahl's Matilda. I started reading, and I found what I think might be a typo (but maybe not---Roald Dahl has a quirky writing style): My ...
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1answer
58 views

What should I picture when I read 终端?

I have a text talking about a GPS system. 北斗卫星 导航 系统 北斗系统终端不仅可以为船只导航,还能通过其特有的短报文通信技术,报告船只位置和随航人员的情况。 Should I just picture a computer terminal when I read 终端? A screen where I can see information ...
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84 views

Function of “也” in “一点儿也不喜欢”

In the sentence "我一点儿也不喜欢这件衣服", translated as "I don't like this piece of clothing at all", what is the function of "也"? Is it valid to think of this syntax as "not even a little bit [do I like this ...
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57 views

How to use 走勢 in finance/tech industry

I'm struggling to clearly understand how to use the term 走勢. I've been told that this translates to "trend" but I'm not clear if this suggests trend in terms of general popularity, or trend in terms ...
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1answer
42 views

Lost Postcard Shop

I travelled to Shanghai a long time ago and recently got to come back for CPhI. I returned to Tianzifang, where I bought these beautiful poscards, and though I can speak and read some Chinese, I ...
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229 views

Can 吃 be used for liquids?

I was confused by the lyrics of the children's song 三个和尚: 一个和尚挑水吃 两个和尚抬水吃 三个和尚没水吃呀 三个和尚没水吃 没水吃呀 I've seen other versions of the song that use 喝 instead of 吃, which makes more sense to me....
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69 views

How widespread is the idiom 蘑菇?

I have seen the word for mushroom [蘑菇, mógū] to be an action such as dilly dally. Is this an inherent idiom in the written language apparent across a large spectrum of dialect, whereas the word ...
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3answers
135 views

How does do (做) mean become (成)?

In the sentence ‘I want to be[come] a policeman’, why is the verb for ‘become’, ‘do’? 我想做一个警察。 Wǒ xiǎng zuò yīgè jǐngchá. I have seen one of the dictionary definitions of 做 to mean become, ...
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88 views

What does 经济生活 mean here?

I'm a bit stuck translating these 6 characters. What does he mean with : 经济生活途径? (Probably not 'economic life way') 记者对社会学者进行访谈。 记者:您认为目前人们交友的目的是什么? 学者:。。。。 在他们看来,现代都市的人际关系应该务实,...
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108 views

Is 香气袭人 only ever used for a good smell?

I was reading about 雪莲。 It says “雪莲花香袭人,” I'm pretty sure that ’香气袭人‘ is used to indicate a good smell, not a stench. Is that correct? However, 袭 seems to mean 'attack, assail'. In English, if a ...
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212 views

Does the single character 神 refer to “God” (the unique God, such as in e.g. Christianity) or just “god” or “deity”?

Some people get the single Chinese character 神 (shén) tattooed on them (e.g. 1 2) thinking it means "God". I suspect most of them are Christians, where it's a fundamental part of their beliefs that ...
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84 views

What's a good translation for 说法?

在我们这边是有这种说法——混血儿会比较聪明。 I know several meanings for it. 官方说法, Official statement; 讨说法, seek explanation or justice. 今日说法, talk about law. However, here 说法 means a kind of public opinion. Can it be ...
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1answer
52 views

What does 东突之敌 mean here?

I am reading the article titled 沙场骁将浩气长存——沉痛悼念杨勇同志 in 人民日報, published on 1983/01/22. It describes the combat tactics of PRC general 楊勇, who had just passed away. A passage reads: 第一旅在西关向城内进行主要攻击;...
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1answer
29 views

How does 遥望却间隔 translate to "Look at the distance?

A lyric from this song: https://mojim.com/cny111282x11x2.htm https://translate.google.com/#view=home&op=translate&sl=auto&tl=en&text=%E9%81%A5%E6%9C%9B%E5%8D%B4%E9%97%B4%E9%9A%94 遥望 ...
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1answer
32 views

Meaning in car/wiring context

Whenever I try to use any available translator I've got strange results like "special for free light". 16款自由光专用 What can this sentence mean in car or electric wiring context?
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66 views

Why do we use 做 in this sentence as “being”?

Sentence: 我太喜欢和他做朋友了 How can we use 做 in this meaning in other sentences? Where can I read more about it and what is the name of this "rule"? And what is the meaning of the 了 in this sentence?
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1answer
136 views

Translation of 白眼狼

十里桃花三生三世 To-the-Sky-King-Tang-Qi.pdf 可叹大师兄竟救了玄女,将一条白眼狼引入昆仑山。 Unfortunately, First Apprentice had looked after Xuan Nu, taken her in, and by so doing unleashed white-eyed terror upon Mount ...
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1answer
95 views

What is the meaning of 左右着 here?

How would you translate 左右着他们 here? What other phrase could I substitute for 左右着他们 here? 在古代的时候,科学水平还没那么高,人们对自然的认识也是有限的。因此,碰见灾难的时候,就会认为后神灵在左右着他们,所以人们祈求于神灵。 就会认为后神灵在左右着他们, then they might believe the ...
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Ten obligations in 三字经

Here's the final excerpt from part one of 三字经 [1]: 父子恩 夫婦從 兄則友 弟則恭 長幼序 友與朋 君則敬 臣則忠 此十義 人所同 Simplified Chinese: 父子恩 夫妇从 兄则友 弟则恭 长幼序 友与朋 君则敬 臣则忠 此十义 人所同 Translation [2]: ...
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What does 玄机 mean?

When we were talking about chengyu 知难而上, one my Chinese friend said, 你没看出来这里面的玄机 Then he explained 知难而上 can be understood as 知男而上. By the dictionary, 玄机 means mystery. However, I think it being ...
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75 views

Is this translation English to Chinese translation correct or close?

An unprecedented look into the food and culture of ice, from Iceland's premier chef and the owner of Reykjavik's Restaurant Dill. 一个史无前例的食物和冰岛的文化,从冰岛总理厨师和雷克雅未克的所有者迪尔餐厅。
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How to distinguish PICTURE OF ME and PICTURE OF MINE in Chinese?

This is a PICTURE OF ME. This is a PICTURE OF MINE. Both can be translated to 这是我的图片
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3answers
309 views

How did 零 came to mean zero?

I understand that 零 originally meant rain, however for some reason it eventually became fragments then also zero. How did the meaning of this character shifted to become also fragments (rain drops, ...
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5answers
143 views

What does 还真别说 mean?

Some commented about a joke, 还真别说,这个笑话有点意思。 The translator gives Don't mention it I don't think it's right.
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Meaning of 重剑 aside from the fencing sword epee

The main translation of 重剑 is epee, which is a fencing sword. However, in a novel, I saw the term used in a fighting scene. It was also described to be placed on the character's back. Since the two ...
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1answer
47 views

“以” in “敗義以求生, 豈荀巨伯所行邪”

Does "以" have the same meaning in the following sentences? 敗義以求生, 豈荀巨伯所行邪 志士仁人 無求生以害仁
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1answer
48 views

What is 茜 in the phrase 茜纱窗下?

晴雯死了。宝玉祭文。黛玉听见了。宝玉说,”有什么不妥的地方,还请你替我修改修改。“ 宝玉写的是:红绡帐里 黛玉说,”何不说 ‘茜纱窗下’“ Is 茜 just 红色? Or is it what the window screen is made of? Is it 芦苇?
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1k views

What does 算不上 mean in 算不上太美好的日子?

This is from the book 我是马拉拉 (the Chinese version of I am Malala). I transcribe it to: 2012年10月9日,星期二那天发生的事情,改变了一切。那天原本要大考,对学生们来说算不上太美好的日子。但和大多数同学不一样,我号称“小书虫”,感觉考试并不是什么大事。 I translate this to: ...
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1answer
58 views

How does word order affect the meaning of a sentence

A foreign friend of mine asked me the following questions and I cannot explain to him very well. So I am looking for help here. Context: I said to him: it's ok to say a sentence in different word ...
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3answers
103 views

What tense is this sentence?

"你会不会怕我" example What tense is this sentence? It seems like future tense, but if you watch the video the person talking (the dad) is talking to his daughter. But, that makes me think it is current ...
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2answers
75 views

Is it known to which bird species 雎鸠 refers?

关关雎鸠,在河之洲。is a very well known line. When I look up 雎鸠 in Baidu, I see pictures of ospreys, cormorants,herons, seagulls and other species. Is it known to which bird species 雎鸠 refers? According to ...
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2answers
173 views

What does this 切 mean here?

Looking at 诗经,第一首诗: 求之不得, 寤寐思服。 悠哉悠哉, 辗转反侧。 in 现代的普通话 追求的姑娘却总得不到, 日日夜夜心里想着她。 时常思念情意切, 翻来覆去难入眠。 In the 3rd line, what does 切 mean? true? ? sure?
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167 views

Whats the difference between 抛弃,放弃,舍弃, 丢弃?

I know they all mean to give up, or abandon but what would be the different meanings and context these words are used in? Thanks!
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3answers
59 views

Whats the difference between 毁灭,销毁,和烧毁?

I know they all mean to Destroy to some extent, but was told 烧毁 is specifically to use fire. What are the different contexts or situations you would use them in? Thanks!
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1answer
37 views

meaning and function of 使 as in “不如小决使道,不如吾闻而药之也”

What is the meaning and function of 使 in the following? 大决所犯,伤人必多,吾不克救也;不如小决使道,不如吾闻而药之也。 道 means 導, meaning "to lead" or "to guide," but how does it combine with 使, meaning "to cause"?