Questions tagged [vocabulary]

For questions about vocabulary, i.e. a set of words, as a whole. NOT for questions about meaning or translations, even when more than one word or phrase is involved.

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30
votes
9answers
12k views

What is a good technique for remembering tones?

I find it a great struggle to try and remember tones for all the new vocab I learn, and aside from gradually picking up tones by listening and talking with native speakers, I can't really remember ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Difference between 想 and 要?

I know both of them mean "want to" but have usage in different contexts. When should I use each one? For example: 我要去上海市 and 我想去上海市 What's the difference in the meaning between them? Also, I've ...
4
votes
3answers
306 views

The word order of co-existing adverbs in a sentence

I am wondering whether there is a commonly accepted rule about the word order of co-existing adverbs in a sentence. For example, in the following sentences, 果然,昨天,直接,从学校 are adverbs. Which of the ...
9
votes
10answers
16k views

How to translate “暧昧” into English?

Many dictionaries translate it to "ambiguity",but it looks so indefinitely. I'm looking for more expressive answer.
12
votes
6answers
4k views

What's the difference between 对不起, 对不住 and 不好意思

When I was in China, I heard people using 不好意思 to apologize casually. I also heard the expression 对不住 in TV series and movies. Is there any differences?
12
votes
5answers
11k views

Chinese computer vocabulary, and most frequently encountered common computer terms

What are the most frequent words I'm likely to encounter when using a computer in Chinese. Stuff like file menu, cut, copy, paste, edit, properties, ok, cancel, back, refresh, save, print etc... ...
7
votes
1answer
248 views

words where it is important to distinguish between the neutral tone and the citation tone

I'm working through the HSK vocab lists, and sometimes I find it hard to remember if a character should be pronounced with the neutral tone or with the citation tone. It would help if I knew when it'...
6
votes
1answer
297 views

What difference(s) does it make to use the citation tone instead of the neutral tone, for the tail character in these words?

Here’s my list: 队伍, 成分, 身分, 才力, 呼噜, 亮堂, 好处, 种子, 妥当, 爽快, 痛快, 记性, 出息, 佩服, 分析, 哈欠, 寒毛, 活泼, 鼻涕, 道理, 滑稽, 考究, 讲究, 打算, 正经, 裁缝, 得罪, 意识 (and also意识 形态), 熟识, 见识, 体谅, 兴趣, [东/西/南/前/后/那/上/下/头/里/外/左/右]边, 知道, 父亲 and ...
8
votes
5answers
908 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
votes
2answers
294 views

Why are there duplicates in the following words 游游泳, 化化妆, 散散步, …, etc?

I am looking through my text book and I came across some words like: 游游泳, 化化妆, 散散步. What is the difference between those and their regular counterparts 游泳, 化妆, 散步?
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Difference between 哥 and 哥哥

Is there any difference between 哥 and 哥哥? Both are defined as “elder/older brother” in various online dictionaries.
1
vote
1answer
127 views

How well-known is the expression 杯弓蛇影?

I like this 成语 and brought it up in a conversation, but the person I was speaking with (an expat Chinese) didn't know it. So I would like to know how well-known it is. Would a 10 year old in Beijing ...
23
votes
6answers
3k views

Character and word frequencies

I'm trying to build some automated tools for processing Chinese text. I'd like to know the relative frequencies of different characters and character combinations. Are there any web sites with this ...
17
votes
7answers
5k 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? ...
26
votes
4answers
6k views

但是, 可是 and 不过 - how to know which one to use?

According to my dictionary, 但是, 可是 and 不过 all mean "but/however"? However are there any differences between them? Are there some cases, where one can be used but not another?
17
votes
12answers
5k views

Are there word games in Chinese?

Do Chinese characters make it a lot harder to create or play word games in Chinese than it is in English? I have seen a few Chinese crosswords, but it seems like they aren't as densely cross-linked as ...
10
votes
8answers
2k views

Neutral Terms for “White People”

This is always a difficult topic because racial and ethnic identities are so complex, sensitive, and dynamic: what are the best (as in the most precise and neutral) terms for "White" people? I've ...
9
votes
1answer
354 views

Politeness in referring to a recent death

Some people in the US normally avoid saying a person has "died." They say the person "passed on," or "has left us." Are there similar, gentle ways in Chinese to avoid saying a person died? Would it ...
5
votes
5answers
12k views

茶 - How to identify varieties of tea?

I'm looking for vocabulary to help puzzle-out the kind of tea contained in various packages from the Chinese characters on their labels. So far I recognize 茶(tea) and 叶(leaves). (Apparently these ...
3
votes
2answers
208 views

What are the most common Mandarin words for each pinyin syllable?

I've been practicing my pronunciation by reciting the different pinyin syllables described in my book. My book lists some examples of common words for some syllables. I was wondering where I could ...
2
votes
1answer
168 views

How to deal with elasticity/flexibility in HSK vocabulary? [closed]

I'll be concise for those knowledgeable, and refer to brief and basic bibliography for those who are not. The Chinese elasticity/flexibility is a lexical property of Chinese terms, two sides of the ...
4
votes
2answers
619 views

What are the differences between 报名,登记,挂号?

It looks like they all mean "register". Are there any differences between these three words?
3
votes
4answers
915 views

What percentage of Chinese words are 1-character ? … 2-character?

Within an average Chinese person's vocabulary ... (which may be ~ 30,000 (?) words, but this number isn't important) could you guess what percentage of the words are 1-character, and what ...
2
votes
2answers
207 views

List of historical Chinese currency terms

Does anyone know where I can find a list of terms used for units of currency throughout the history of China? I am especially interested in finding those terms that can function as 量词, like 文 and 贯. ...
1
vote
3answers
781 views

“Immediately” 立即, 即時, 立刻, 馬上 etc

I'm trying to find a suitable translation for the word immediately. The dictionary has all of these words (I limited it to 4 in the title but there are over 10 results from what I can see). Could ...
8
votes
3answers
481 views

How is 青 and 苍 used in classical Chinese to denote colors?

Here is what the dictionary says about 青:  1. 深绿色或浅蓝色:~草。~苔。 Dark Blue or light green.  2. 靛蓝色:靛~。~紫。 Indigo blue.  3. 黑色:~布。~衣。 Black. Similar case is 苍:  1. 深青色,深绿色:~翠。~天。 Dark blue or green.  2. ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the most common word in use to describe 'DVD' and what is its measure word

I've heard the Chinese are fine to use the English word DVD, rather than the chinese word. What is more common, and what measure word do they use with it?
5
votes
4answers
4k views

How do I say “a loaf of bread”?

According to Google translate it is 一个面包, but that doesn't sound right. How do I say "A loaf of bread"? UPDATE: This is what I mean by a "loaf" of bread. Not just a bun.
4
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the difference between 听到、听过 and 听说?

There are 3 听 (hear or listen to). What is the difference between 听到, 听过, and 听说?
4
votes
5answers
807 views

In Chinese, how can I describe someone as being cynical?

cynical as in "believing the worst of human nature and motives; having a sneering disbelief in e.g. selflessness of others."
3
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the polite way to say a grandparent has passed away?

I've been trying to find out what is the polite way of telling someone that someone, specifically a relative, has passed away? I'm pretty sure it's not very nice to say someone died (死)。 Google ...
3
votes
2answers
205 views

How come the first tone in the character of 边 in the word 东边 is not written?

I am reading my textbook and I notice that the the pinyin next to 东边 is written as dōng​bian Why is the first tone not present on the bian? The weird thing is that in my other textbook the pinyin ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the meaning of 看在 and 分上?

看在孩子的分上,夫妇二人没有离婚。 In the phrase above, what do they mean? Neither is found in a dictionary. The sentence is said to translate to "The pair would not divorce because of the children".
2
votes
1answer
122 views

Is 未長未短 grammatically correct (in classical Chinese)?

Is 未長未短 grammatically correct (in classical Chinese)? The article http://www.hainan-today.com/2012/201201/web/201201_28.htm uses “未長未短”: 但与大门前的“翻天覆地”相比,作为景区主体之一的“雨林谷”变化却“含蓄”许多,景观还是两年前的样子,没多没少,...
1
vote
2answers
353 views

Does xiang (third tone) mean “want” or “echo”?

I am reading this set of poems for my humanities class. One of the lines is: Supposedly, the last character is xiang with a third tone and it means to "sound" or "echo". But I thought this character ...
1
vote
4answers
697 views

Difference between 製作 and 製造?

Both 製作 and 製造 mean "to make" according to this dictionary: http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/words/2913/ http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/words/6021/ It seems like 製造 might ...
0
votes
4answers
71 views

What's the usage/meaning of 就 in this case?

I've asked a question regarding 就 before here and the answer helped a lot. But I'm a bit confused regarding another example sentence that I came across. The sentence is: 大的行李托运了,这个小的行李就随身带着。 The ...