Questions tagged [meaning]

Questions about understanding the meaning of words, phrases, etc. For in-context meaning, use [meaning-in-context].

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9
votes
1answer
521 views

When should I use the 是…的 construction?

I've been told that 是...的 is used to put emphasis on something, but I'm not sure when or why I should use it.
14
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3answers
1k views

Why is 月 used when speaking about anatomy?

One thing I've been curious about while learning Chinese is the use of 月 in many 汉字 representing anatomical features (for example, 脸, 腰, or 腿). What is the etymology of the use of 月 as a radical?
6
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3answers
792 views

To 了 or not to 了

I'm Chinese learner and as everybody else I'm puzzled by the verbal aspect 了. My research into the subject gave such results: 了 belongs to a class of perfective aspect markers just as many other ...
9
votes
6answers
877 views

A unified theory of 就 meaning

就 always bothered me. I couldn't (and maybe still can't) get a hold of its meaning. By looking at many examples of the usage I came to realization that 就 marks a process of becoming a subject to or ...
5
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6answers
2k views

Why use combined characters that have the same meaning?

(rèn shí ) both characters means ( to know)and when combined it still have the same meaning. So why can't I use only one of them ?
17
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7answers
6k views

What's the difference between 星期X and 周X?

When accepting an answer, I noticed that the example used the word 周三 for Wednesday, but in my grammar, the days of the week are 星期一, 星期二, etc... They seem both correct but, what's the difference? ...
22
votes
5answers
43k views

What is the exact meaning of 吃豆腐, and where does the expression come from?

I'm not talking about eating tofu, but the expression that means something more like taking advantage of someone. What exactly does 吃豆腐 mean, and where does this expression come from?
23
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12answers
40k views

How offensive is 他妈的?

How offensive is the expression 他妈的? What is an English expression with a similar degree of offensiveness? In what situations is this expression appropriate / not appropriate?
11
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3answers
2k views

也 和 并 与 及 跟 而 同 difference? [closed]

I have read about connectives 也 和 并 与 及 and asked some questions about them but still I'm somewhat not satisfied with my understanding. Let me summarize my knowledge: 1. 与 connects: nouns only (...
16
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8answers
2k views

Sheep or goat? 一只羊跑过来

In the sentence: 一只羊跑过来 Would a Chinese person typically assume this is a goat or a sheep?
11
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7answers
2k views

How gender specific in writing is the character 他

A couple of years ago I wrote this comment below an answer: On mainland China 他 is used for both male and female. I've only seen 她 used as a stylistic thing for advertising and some old formal ...
8
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5answers
1k views

What is the meaning of 相声?

Today I read a blog post talking about a Canadian guy called Mark Rowswell (aka 大山) that appears on Chinese TV shows and who is able to do 相声. This 相声 is referred to as "the art of language". What ...
3
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3answers
2k views

What is the difference between 打算 (dǎ suàn) and 计划 (jì huà)

Are 打算 (dǎ suàn) and 计划 (jì huà) both synonyms for "plan," or are there some additional nuances here?
2
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2answers
171 views

Differences between “Verb + Adj”, “Adj + Verb”, “Verb + 得 + Adj” and “Adj + 地 + Verb”?

I am having some difficulties understanding the differences in meaning between the following structures (the examples are from Line dictionary): Verb + Adj e.g: 走快了她会累。 Zŏu kuài le tā huì lĕi. ...
1
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2answers
206 views

What is the purpose of verb reduplication?

In English, we can say: I sneezed a big sneeze. She sleeps a long sleep. "Waiting for a king to apologize, one can wait rather a long wait." (from the film The Kings Speech) and many more such ...
4
votes
2answers
736 views

Roots of the difference between 谈,论,说,讲,议, 叙,言,报,告,述

All those talk, discuss, chat and ect. In any language there are a lot of words expressing different connotation of people speaking. In my own language (russian) there are lot's of them BUT I can ...
1
vote
3answers
895 views

What's the difference between 周 and 星期? [duplicate]

From a dictionary lookup, it seems that both 周 and 星期 can mean "a week"—is there any difference in usage?
15
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9answers
9k views

Is Sunday 星期天 or 星期日?

I am using the ChineseSkill app to learn Chinese and I learned that 'Sunday' in Chinese is 星期天 (xīngqītiān). However, sometimes on the internet I see 星期日 (xīngqīrì). Are both correct? Why is there ...
11
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4answers
19k views

Why 干菜类 was mistakenly translated to Fuck Vegetables?

In the following famous sign which appeared in some supermarket in China: why 干菜类 was mistakenly translated to Fuck Vegetables instead of Dried Vegetables? Is there any hidden meaning in it? Source: ...
9
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5answers
3k views

What is the meaning of 真是的

What is a meaning of 真是的. I heard for many times in context something like 你真是的! And yet I have doubts about proper meaning of this expression.
14
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2answers
144k views

Very frequently used word in Mandarin that sounds like “nica” or “nigah”

I work in a group where I am the only person that does not speak Chinese, thus I hear Chinese conversations all day every day. I've noticed that there's a word which is used extremely frequently, in ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Is there a difference between 担心 (dānxīn) and 着急 (zháojí)?

They're both verbs, they both have meanings "to worry, to be anxious", they both seem to be able to be used as adjectives also. I just want to know if there's any difference: is one used more in ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Difference in MEANING (NOT structure) between 得 vs 地

Please, don't explain when to use 得 or 地. I already know that the grammar difference between them both, which is: V 得 adjective (老师话说得很快。) adverb 地 V (老师快快地说话。) Also there are many posts on this ...
2
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4answers
3k views

Talking future tense: 将,要,将要, 会, 将会

I have been looking at various explanations and definitions all over the Internet, but they seem mutually exclusive and quite chaotic. One explanation I got is that 要 generally means “going to”, or ...
12
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5answers
2k views

Why does 有机 as in 有机食品 mean organic?

有 and 机 are some of the first characters we learn in Chinese, but only recently did I find out that they mean "organic" when put together. Can anyone explain why this is?
6
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4answers
2k views

What does the `的` mean in `我是九点去上班的`?

In the reply to 你是什么时候去上班的?, what does the 的 in 我是九点去上班的 mean? I think that without the 的, the sentence makes sense in and of itself, right? And the meaning is that I start to work at 9:00 am...., ...
4
votes
7answers
97k views

What should I use to say “I love you”: “wa ai lo” or “wo ai ni”?

Some of my Chinese friends speak Chinese. I asked them how to say "I love you" in their language, but most of them said "wa ai lo" not "wo ai ni", how can this be? I look for google translate, it ...
23
votes
12answers
4k views

Why do native speakers often say a character has “no meaning”?

Many times I will know all the characters in a name but one & I'll ask what that one character means. 9 times out of 10 the response is, "That character has no meaning". While it might be true ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Why do people say 慢点儿阿(“man dianer a”) when you leave their shop?

When you leave a shop, you often hear the shopkeeper saying something like "man dianer a", which sounds like 慢点儿阿 (something parents say to their kids to get them to walk more slowly [even if they ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Using 老头 / 老头子 when speaking to others

I'm trying to get some clarification on whether or not it is impolite to use 老头 / 老头子 when speaking outside a group of friends when referring to a third party. From my understanding 老头 is quite ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

犬子: who's the dog?

犬子 (literally, dog + son) is an archaic, self-depreciatory term to refer to your son (occasionally it's used to insult other people's sons). This answer raises a question though; who is the dog ...
7
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5answers
1k views

When to use 想 versus 喜欢?

Could someone please give we a hint when to use either of those?! My take is that 想 is used for actions and 喜欢 for things!? Am I right?
7
votes
5answers
381 views

太: Meaning in 灰太狼

灰太狼 灰太狼 (A character in a TV show) is translated in English as "Grey Wolf". What has happened to the 太, wouldn't 灰狼 be enough to mean "Grey Wolf"?
7
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4answers
4k views

Difference between 我饿了 and 我很饿?

Someone tried to explain the difference in this answer https://chinese.stackexchange.com/a/43/38 saying that 我饿了 means "I became hungry", but I don't see the difference because we don't say I became ...
5
votes
3answers
942 views

What does j8傻逼 mean?

In the following picture: I understand the meaning of 傻逼 but what is the "j8" before it?
5
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3answers
497 views

What is the difference between 嘗試,試圖,and 企圖?

I'm trying to translate this sentence to Mandarin: She's trying to recover the torn photo. So I was trying to find a meaning of "to try" in Pinpin Dictionary, and I came up with three different ...
5
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7answers
2k views

What does 尽信书不如无书 mean?

After pointing out the many bugs in an online Chinese "how to give a presentation in English" webpage, one of my colleagues wrote this on WeChat: 尽信书不如无书 Jìn xìn shū bùrú wú shū Question: What ...
4
votes
7answers
2k views

What does 起来 mean in this phrase?

把被子收起来吧. Translation: Let's put the quilt away. In other circumstances, 起来 means to get up but here there is a different meaning, and from the definitions I can't decide which definition is used ...
3
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5answers
1k views

What is the meaning of 的 in “有一天你会明白的”?

From Why is 的 used in 你是哪一天出生的 and 我们什么时候开始的 and 前天你什么时候来的这里?, I understand 的 at the end of a sentence describes an event that happened in the past. However, I am not sure whether I understand the ...
3
votes
3answers
251 views

How does a body with no arms mean finished? 了子

Reading Henry's question about 了 below, I thought I would look up 了。 http://www.fantizi5.com/ziyuan/ You will have to enter 了。 了是象形字。 To my mind, a child with no arms, or its arms cut off, is '...
3
votes
3answers
658 views

Radical meaning vs characters in use

The radical 阜 and its other form 阝, used on the left, supposedly means mound or dam. Looking at image web search hits for 阜 or 阝, I get nothing related to dam or mound. When I look up the Chinese ...
3
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5answers
1k views

What does “大概” mean? Are there any words with the same meaning?

I looked up in the dictionary, there are 12 meanings for it! well aiblins anywhere belike supposedly probably prob. maybe mayhap presumedly presumably ordinarily somewhere easily mainly Just wonder ...
2
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3answers
169 views

What would the meaning of '之前知道' be? And '之前知道了'?

If someone said '我之前知道【proposition】' would this imply that they knew it before, but no longer do? How about '我之前知道了【proposition】'? What about when the time is specific such as ‘昨天我知道【proposition】’? ...
2
votes
4answers
228 views

“我被他当做(了)自己的儿子。” 干爹 gāndiē or 教父 jiàofù?

Here is an issue that came up while I was discussing a grammar exercise with my Chinese language partner. My grammar book has an exercise where the solution is "我被他当做(了)自己的儿子。" My language partner ...
2
votes
3answers
340 views

why is ‘fruit’ referred to as 水果 if 果 already means fruit?

i’m trying to learn chinese again for the first time after a very long time and i’m just looking at meanings of words to see what individual characters of certain words mean (like 饭 is rice and 店 is ...
1
vote
3answers
382 views

What does the zhe 着 after a verb do?

mdbg.net has for zhe 着: aspect particle indicating action in progress That implies it corresponds with -ing. Many times however, I find 着 cannot be translated in this way. What does 着 do? What ...
9
votes
2answers
8k views

Who exactly is a 干妈

This dictionary translates 干妈 as "Godmother", and my pocket dictionary also gives "nominal mother". In English, "Godmother" and "Godfather" are very specific titles - Your Godparents are the people ...
7
votes
2answers
671 views

Meaning of 差 in 现在差一刻九点?

I have difficulties understanding sentence. What is meaning of 差 in the following sentence? 我看一下,现在差一刻九点。
6
votes
3answers
4k views

How is 马马虎虎 used?

I think it's used like 'so so' in English. Like 问题:你觉得怎么样? 回答:马马虎虎。 Am I correct in this? Are there other ways to use it?
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Difference between 正在 and 在?

I am a beginner in Chinese (Mandarin), and I am following a phone app to learn. However I cannot understand what is the difference between 正在 and 在 ? For example: 你正在干什么? and 你在干什么? The app ...