Questions tagged [meaning-in-context]

Questions about understanding words or phrases within a given context.

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1 vote
2 answers
88 views

Who is acting cool, and who is innocent and generous, and what is their relationship?

I'm trying to understand an obscure pop song from the early 90s called 小鸟 by a band called 现代人乐队. You can hear the entire song here: https://youtu.be/Eef7wcIdqsc It has a verse which goes like this: ...
1 vote
2 answers
62 views

Which 魏 did 蘇軾 mean in 上神宗皇帝書?

Text In his 上神宗皇帝書 Su Shi opines on a permanent problem of Chinese governmental philosophy: the power distribution between centre and periphery or intra-capital and extra-capital officials. He comes ...
0 votes
2 answers
61 views

Meaning of 特异人士

In the song 皇后大道东 there is a verse which says: 冷暖气候同样影响这都市 但是换季可能靠特异人士 What are the 特异人士 here on whom the changing of the seasons depends? Google translates this as "special people" but I ...
1 vote
2 answers
82 views

Why is 愈演愈烈 before 一件事情 here?

My assumption is: 社交媒体是讨论的平台. I saw this: 最近中国社交媒体中愈演愈烈的一件事情是, I immediately wondered, "Why not write like this?" 最近中国社交媒体中一件愈演愈烈的事情是, My answer: The topic does not change. The discussion, ...
0 votes
1 answer
40 views

How to understand 无法可修饰的一对手

The song 真的爱你 begins with this line: 无法可修饰的一对手 which means literally "A pair of hands that can't be decorated". It's his mother's hands so they might be aged a bit but I feel there must be ...
4 votes
7 answers
2k views

总 vs. 中 - can someone help me get the whole picture? Possible Typo?

I am currently looking at a text about the situation of chinese kids in schools. The following sentence asks the (rhetorical) question of whether kids are allowed to rest a few weeks in the holidays. ...
2 votes
3 answers
132 views

What's the deeper meaning behind 不吃饭则饥,不读书则愚?

I'm loving learning some of these wise sayings, but I'm having a little trouble getting the deeper meaning. It seems like it basically is "don't eat the hungry, don't read the stupid". Does ...
1 vote
3 answers
144 views

Uncrowned bodies, and altruistic ideology

Beyond released a song called 长城, The Great Wall. It seems to reflect mixed feelings and a sense of the human cost that went into building the Wall. https://youtu.be/IOXoAvF6r_A?si=bOuI6TCa67321S2I In ...
2 votes
4 answers
976 views

What is the literal translation of the first line of the Tao Te Ching?

You see this: 道可道非常道 dào kě dào fēicháng dào Often translated as "The Dao that can be told is not the eternal and unchanging Dao". What is the literal translation? What's missing is, we ...
1 vote
2 answers
271 views

What's the meaning of 年前 in the context of "年前估计出不来"?

I asked a factory about how long to produce. 生产多久? They replied: 年前估计出不来 Translation tools shows: "Years ago". Does it mean that they haven't been able to produce it for several years, ...
1 vote
6 answers
373 views

What is the literal translation of 比尔 • 盖茨每年都要进行两次为期一周的 “闭关”?

从20世纪80年代起,比尔 • 盖茨每年都要进行两次为期一周的 “闭关” 。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK 5, chapter 26. I want your help in the literal translation of this: 比尔 • 盖茨每年都要进行两次为期一周的 “闭关” 。 I have reached on ...
1 vote
4 answers
88 views

Help understand this 却少了抬头看路,少了思考、总结这一重要的步骤?

“那是为了让我们的灵魂,能够追得上我们赶了三天路的疲劳的身体。” 多么富有哲理的话!在这个提倡和鼓励竞争的时代,我们常常只顾低头拉车,却少了抬头看路,少了思考、总结这一重要的步骤。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, section 26. I need your help for understanding this 却少了抬头看路,...
1 vote
6 answers
761 views

Can 他给它吃掉 mean both "he ate it" and "it ate him"?

他给它吃掉。 (男人给苹果吃掉。) Normally, we'd interpret this as meaning "he ate it". However, 给 can also be equivalent to the passive 被: CC-CEDICT 给 (gěi​) to / for / for the benefit of / to give / ...
0 votes
2 answers
57 views

What is the meaning of 走 in 假如借走回家看?

...,在摊里看,每册1分钱,选好书坐下就看,看完连书带钱交给摊主;假如借走回家看,则每本每天2分钱,挑好书后交给摊主,... This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, segment 20. What is the meaning of 走 in 假如借走回家看? Actually, it looks like it means to go, ...
1 vote
2 answers
167 views

If 为, meaning 'for...', takes the reading [wèi] why, in the following examples, is [wéi] being used?

I had learned that 为 'for the purpose/sake of' took the reading 'wèi'. However, I have seen several instances of 'wéi' being used to mean the same thing. Are these readings interchangeable or is 'wéi' ...
5 votes
2 answers
562 views

What did Liu Cixin mean by: In this book, a man named “humanity” confronts a disaster?

In a postscript to the American edition of The Three-Body Problem / 三体, the author says: In science fiction, humanity is often described as a collective. In this book, a man named “humanity” ...
0 votes
2 answers
46 views

How to literally translate this: 能够追得上我们赶了三天路的疲劳的身体?

“那是为了让我们的灵魂,能够追得上我们赶了三天路的疲劳的身体。” This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 26. I need your help in its literal translation. 那是(that is)为了(for the sake of)让(letting, allowing or making)...
1 vote
3 answers
281 views

How to literally translate this: 在赶路时,用尽全力地向前冲?

经过沟通,大导演总算搞明白了,当地人自古就有一种习俗:在赶路时,用尽全力地向前冲,但每走上三天,便要休息一天。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 26. I need your help in the literal translation of this part: 在赶路时,用尽全力地向前冲。 So far, I ...
4 votes
3 answers
811 views

What is the function of 可 here: 他可不敢得罪?

二来,会因为费用增加而让投资人不高兴,至于这部影片的投资人,可是一位大人物,他可不敢得罪。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 26. What is the function (and the meaning) of 可 here: 他可不敢得罪? I ask because for me the sentence ...
1 vote
3 answers
209 views

What is the difference between 所 and 被 in passive voice?

假如借走回家看,则每本每天2分钱,挑好书后交给摊主,摊主仔细地将租书人的姓名、地址和所借小人书的书名登记在本子上,收了租金就可以拿走了,... This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, section 20. What is the difference between 所 and 被 in passive voice? Some ...
1 vote
2 answers
108 views

What is the difference between the classifiers 册 and 本?

租借小人书很便宜,在摊里看,每册1分钱,选好书坐下就看,看完连书带钱交给摊主;假如借走回家看,则每本每天2分钱,挑好书后交给摊主,... This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 20. What is the difference between the classifiers 册 and 本? 在摊里看,每册1分钱 在摊里看,...
1 vote
2 answers
262 views

What is the meaning of 为 in 老有所为

This is the title of an article from 人民网. 人民来论: 老有所学、老有所乐,更可老有所为 The first part of the article is: 随着我国人口老龄化的不断加剧,各地积极推动老年教育,以丰富多彩的活动形式助力老年人老有所学、老有所乐,让老人们生活变得充实、快乐。 为 seems to correspond with: ...
1 vote
4 answers
342 views

How to literally translate this: 看完连书带钱交给摊主?

租借小人书很便宜,在摊里看,每册1分钱,选好书坐下就看,看完连书带钱交给摊主; This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 20. How to literally translate this: 看完连书带钱交给摊主? I know that 看完 here means reading finished or reading ...
1 vote
3 answers
71 views

What is the literal translation of this: 摊主是位上了年纪、身材瘦小的老人?

...,整齐漂亮的毛笔字能充分地显示出书摊主人的文化水平。摊主是位上了年纪、身材瘦小的老人,总是穿着一件灰色长衫,... This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 20. I need your help in literal translating this: 摊主是位上了年纪、身材瘦小的老人。 So far, this is ...
0 votes
3 answers
58 views

Is this sentence correct 很多人需开始工作得帮家

I'm making a text for a test and I ended up with this sentence 很多人需开始工作得帮家. What I'm Trying to say is: Many people need to start working to help their families It's a complex phrase for my level and I'...
0 votes
2 answers
63 views

Help understand this: 每本小人书都用牛皮纸加了层封皮,封皮上用毛笔写上书名

为了减少损坏程度,每本小人书都用牛皮纸加了层封皮,封皮上用毛笔写上书名,整齐漂亮的毛笔字能充分地显示出书摊主人的文化水平。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 20. I need your help in understanding this: 每本小人书都用牛皮纸加了层封皮,封皮上用毛笔写上书名,... Actually ...
0 votes
3 answers
88 views

How to literally translate this: 会因为费用增加而让投资人不高兴?

大导演非常着急,一来,耽误了时间,日程就得重新安排;二来,会因为费用增加而让投资人不高兴,至于这部影片的投资人,... This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, section 26. How to literally translate this: 会因为费用增加而让投资人不高兴? I have reached to the following ...
1 vote
5 answers
157 views

What is the meaning of 重重 in 尽管他们背着重重的行李?

他雇了20来个当地人为他带路和搬运行李。这批当地人个个都表现出色,尽管他们背着重重的行李,但他们的脚力过人,健步如飞。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 26. What is the meaning of 重重? How to make it make sense? 尽管(despite)他们(they)背着(...
0 votes
4 answers
59 views

What is the meaning of 脚力过人 in 尽管他们背着重重的行李,但他们的脚力过人,健步如飞?

他雇了20来个当地人为他带路和搬运行李。这批当地人个个都表现出色,尽管他们背着重重的行李,但他们的脚力过人,健步如飞。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, segment 26. What is the meaning of 脚力过人? Baidu translate: Despite carrying heavy luggage, ...
4 votes
5 answers
168 views

Differences between 知识,知,识,知感 and 认识?

“知识” 两个字我始终认为它是要分开来谈的,“知” 就是知感,“识” 就是认识。所谓 “知感” 就是别人告诉你、说给你听、要求你记住的那一部分。但只有这一部分是不够的,还要有认识、思考。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 22. I would appreciate if you explain the ...
1 vote
2 answers
175 views

Does "要超高15天" mean "15 days at most" or "more than 15 days"?

I asked my supplier how long to produce something in green color. 做绿色的要多长时间? They replied 要超高15天 Does "要超高15天" mean "15 days at most" or "more than 15 days"?
3 votes
5 answers
673 views

What does 家 mean in 家医院?

I came across 家医院 in example sentences in an anki deck I downloaded. I know that 医院 means hospital. I tried to look up 家医院 in two dictionaries but could not find it. What is 家医院? Is it equivalent ...
0 votes
3 answers
70 views

How to literally translate this: 极爱冒险的大导演...?

据说,曾经有一位很有个性、极爱冒险的大导演到南美丛林拍有关古代印加文明的纪录片。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 26. About its literal translation, I have reached to the following point: 据说 (it is said that),曾经(once)有(...
6 votes
4 answers
2k views

What does 朱幂 and 黄幂 mean in this ancient illustration of the Pythagorean Theorem?

The above is an illustration of the Pythagorean Theorem from the work 周髀算经. On the left it says: 勾股幂合以成弦幂 Which I think is a 8-character statement of the Pythagorean Theorem, as follows: 勾 ("...
2 votes
6 answers
109 views

What exactly is supplied (供) in 供游人休息并欣赏黄浦江两岸的美景?

This is from an article about The Bund 外滩 in Shanghai in the textbook 新实用汉语课本5, page 79 (photo of original): “情人墙”建在黄浦江边,全长约1700米。观光台的地面是彩色的,有32个半圆形的观景阳台,还有很多方灯、花坛、方亭、六角亭和绿化带,供游人休息并欣赏黄浦江两岸的美景。 I don'...
1 vote
3 answers
103 views

How do you understand sentences like 你相信圣诞老人吗? Do they mean "do you believe Santa Claus?" or "do you believe *in* Santa Claus?"

CC-CEDICT: 相信 (xiāng​xìn​): to be convinced (that sth is true); to believe; to accept sth as true Recently I encountered the sentence 你相信鬼吗? which surprised me because it translated to "do you ...
0 votes
2 answers
64 views

To Be - 变成 vs 当

In the song 学猫叫 (Xue Mao Jiao) are two lines that seem to have similar English translations: 我想要当你的小猫猫 - "I want to be your cat" 想要变成你的猫 - "I want to be your cat" Do 当 and 变成 ...
1 vote
4 answers
84 views

What is the meaning of 却 in 却可以使我们不会在错误的道路上走得太远?

我有一个体会:现实中,我们不一定知道正确的道路是什么,但时时反省、总结,却可以使我们不会在错误的道路上走得太远。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 26. What is the meaning of 却 here? 却(?)可以(can)使(let)我们(us)不会(will not)在(in)错误的(wrong)道路(...
2 votes
4 answers
148 views

What is the meaning of 大事小事?

文文从小是个乖乖女,学习刻苦,遵守纪律。大事小事,尽管妈妈表示也要征求她的意见,但上哪所学校、念什么专业,甚至跟什么人交朋友,基本上都是妈妈说了算。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 23. What is the meaning of 大事小事? What does "big thing small thing&...
2 votes
3 answers
153 views

What is the exact meaning of 着 and how to use it in a sentence?

What is the exact meaning of 着 and how can I use it in a sentence?
1 vote
2 answers
90 views

How to literally translate this: 正当水手们慌张得不知如何是好时, ..., 使劲儿朝里面放水?

有一位经验丰富的老船长,一次返航中,天气恶劣,他们的船遇到了可怕的巨大风浪。正当水手们慌张得不知如何是好时,老船长命令水手们立刻打开货舱,使劲儿朝里面放水。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, segment 25. How to literally translate this: 正当水手们慌张得不知如何是好时,...
7 votes
9 answers
9k views

Meaning of "去你的头"

I just heard "去你的头" in a joke, and while it sounds like an approving "go ahead" OR "go with your head/what you think" I realized at the end of the joke it's kind of an equivalent of "go f*** yourself" ...
3 votes
1 answer
251 views

How does one express "truthfully", like at the beginning of a sentence in chinese?

In english I would use "actually", 其实,but the particular thing I am trying to convey is that previously, I gave information that was incorrect, but now I am correcting that information. “I ...
1 vote
4 answers
306 views

What is the difference between 潜艇 and 潜航器?

是意味着乌克兰现在对于克里米亚的这个战术,发生了一些新的改变,呃应该说克里米亚地区的安全形势大幅的恶化,跟乌军战法的更新,有很大关系,首先,乌军,现在的这个从装备的角度讲呢,有很多选择比如说无人机,无人艇和无人潜航器,加上现在的北约援助给乌克兰的,这个远程的战术巡航导弹等等,那么,主要还是要看到就是这各种啊,所谓的无人机... This is from a news broadcast I ...
0 votes
1 answer
48 views

How to literally translate this: 第二种忙,忙得很主动,忙而不乱,人是工作的主人?

工作中的忙碌大概可以分为三种:第一种忙, ...;第二种忙,忙得很主动,忙而不乱,人是工作的主人;第三种忙,... This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 26. I want your help for the literal translation of this: 第二种忙,忙得很主动,忙而不乱,人是工作的主人 第二(...
1 vote
2 answers
77 views

What is the meaning of 萝图荟萃?

《萝图荟萃》 is the title of the catalogue of the imperial map collection from 1760. However, according to various dictionaries, 萝 means "radish" which makes no sense in this context. Some ...
3 votes
6 answers
965 views

What does 就那样吧 mean?

This is a conversation with my friend and she started to live in Moscow recently. I: 你莫斯科生活怎么样? She: 就那样吧 Pleco showed 那样 means "like" or "that kind", but in this case that doesn'...
2 votes
6 answers
482 views

Difference between 怎么办 and 做什么?

1994年,理查德得了心脏病,当时医生说他剩下的时间可能不多了。那时,他开始思考自己的人生,“我该怎么办? 我该做什么?” This is from the Standard Book of HSK5, section 21. I am in this point: 我(I)该(should)怎么(what)办(do)? 我(I)该(should)做(do)什么(what)? So what is ...
0 votes
1 answer
44 views

Difference between 打电话给 and 打电话和?

如果只能活24小时,我会打电话和朋友们说再见。 This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, segment 21. What is the difference between 打电话给 and 打电话和?I would write it as: 如果只能活24小时,我会打电话给朋友们说再见。 So what is the difference? ...
2 votes
2 answers
117 views

Differences between 学生,学童 and 同学?

比如,他们讨论过《卖火柴的小女孩儿》是写给谁看的,还讨论过灰姑娘的故事。老师讲完故事之后,问同学们: ... This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, section 22. I don't understand why the word 同学 is used. Why not 学生 or 学童? 老师讲完故事之后,问学生们: ... ...

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