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6
votes
9answers
2k views

Is 我很对不起你 a unique sentence structure?

I'd never seen or heard this before until I recently watched a TV series and had to ask my wife to explain. My initial guess was that it meant "I feel sorry for you" when in fact it means something ...
7
votes
1answer
224 views

Why 『衛護』's 『護』 is 言部?

護《說文》:『救視也』。但『擭』非同字,《說文》:『搫擭也。一曰布擭也,一曰握也』。 我覺得『衛護』的『護』寫作『擭』更好。如題問,『護』為什麼是言部?
3
votes
4answers
558 views

Meaning of 我知道的就这么多了 [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Translation of “this much and no more” I found this sentence on Tatoeba: 我知道的就這麼多了。 (Simplified Chinese: 我知道的就这么多了。) Beyond this I know nothing. I mistakenly ...
6
votes
3answers
326 views

What is the function of 已 in 好像她已出去好几天了。

What is the purpose of 已 in the following sentence? 好像她已出去好几天了。 The English translation given is: It looks as if she's gone away for a few days. Or is this an incorrect-character, supposed to ...
6
votes
4answers
233 views

What's an appropriate conversational response to 这是什么?

In English, if someone points to a book and says "What's that?", "A book" is a sufficient reply. In Chinese, if someone points to a book and says "这是什么?", can you say "书" or maybe "一本书"? What's the ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Pronunciation of 一 in 一个

When I first learnt the numbers, I learnt 一 with the first tone yi1. But now, during a Memrise lesson, they teach me that 一个 should be pronounced yi2 ge4 or yi2 ge5. Is this correct and, if so, is ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

How to pronounce “下载”

How to pronounce the word "下载", "xià zǎi" or "xià zài"? Most Chinese people pronounce it "xià zǎi", but there are some people insist on pronouncing it "xià zài". There are different also different ...
3
votes
3answers
247 views

Should the temporal indicators be in a certain order?

To translate “what did you eat today at lunch?” in Chinese, I have 午饭 to translate lunch, and 今天 for today. Do they have to be located at the beginning of the sentence? 今天午饭你吃了什么? or can I put ...
4
votes
5answers
340 views

Table-tennis table: 乒乓球桌, 乒乓球台 or 乒乓球案子?

I have found those translations of a "table-tennis table": 乒乓球桌 乒乓球台 乒乓球案子 Searching for pictures of them, all 3 appear to be the same thing. On http://www.mdbg.net/ I only found 乒乓球台 . Are ...
5
votes
2answers
354 views

Authoritative source for 一 changing to 4th tone before 1st, 2nd or 3rd

In another users answer https://chinese.stackexchange.com/a/2046/38 they said: 一 is pronounced in the first tone when it stands alone. It is pronounced in the fourth tone when it precedes a first,...
9
votes
1answer
820 views

Pinyin “ying” has an “o” sound?

Look at 1:54 and 5:22 of this video: Chinese Pinyin in 6 Mins Is ying really pronounced with an "o" sound? This seems counterintuitive, especially when yin (at 1:49 in the video) sounds as a native ...
8
votes
4answers
482 views

That mystical 就 again

Here is a sentence: 厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳 Below are my translation variants. Bold letters should be a 'jiu' english analog here. The mirror on top of the kitchen's fireplace scared Harry the most. ...
4
votes
2answers
697 views

Tips for multiple-pronunciation characters (多音字)

This is a broad request for tips, but I have a specific question in mind as well. 尽 can be pronounced as "jin4" or "jin3". In Pleco, the definition for "jin3" is "to the greatest extent" while one ...
16
votes
3answers
7k views

Difference between 与,和 and 跟?

Do the following three sentences mean the same thing, that is, can they be used interchangeably? 她的父母就来我们家与我的家人见面了。 她的父母就来我们家和我的家人见面了。 她的父母就来我们家跟我的家人见面了。
5
votes
2answers
222 views

Difference between 活 and 住?

I read that both 活 and 住 both refer to the verb "to live". Is there a difference between the two?
2
votes
2answers
630 views

Ordering food from a menu in a restaurant

How should I order food from a menu in a restaurant? In English I'd usually say something like 'I'll have the beef' or 'one of these and two of those' while pointing. In the past in China I have ...
8
votes
3answers
345 views

Visual puns and phrases

Some characters are visual puns: 尜 (小大小), 尖 (小大); others are a phrase written as a single character: 膥 (未成肉), 籴 (入米), 汆 (入水), 奀 (不大). What are some other characters which fit into these categories?
22
votes
5answers
1k views

How to differentiate between “On Top” and “Above”

If I wanted to translate the prepositional phrase "on the bed" to Chinese, I know to say "床上", but I don't know what the translation would be for saying "above/over the bed". From what I can gather, ...
2
votes
3answers
715 views

国家 vs. 国, when can 国 be used alone?

In the Chinese book for beginners by Bellassen, it is stated that 国 cannot be used alone: it doesn't have a meaning on its own, and thus the word country/fatherland is 国家 and not 国. However... I am ...
7
votes
2answers
581 views

留学: Why the use of “留”?

I'm sure like many students of Chinese, my first encounter with the character 留 was in the word 留学, meaning "to study abroad". Some time later I encountered 留 as an independent word, meaning "to stay"...
11
votes
4answers
12k views

How is 就 (jiù) used?

Pimsleur's Mandarin course teaches "I'm leaving very early tomorrow morning" as: 我明天早上很早就走 (wŏ míngtiān zăoshàng hĕn zăo jiù zŏu) It says that 就 (jiù) doesn't have a corresponding meaning in ...
1
vote
1answer
187 views

询问奸雄所见略同的由来 and how does it relate to chinese

The quote"我很想询问奸雄所见略同的由来" seems very interesting to me. And in Google Translate, it translates to "I would like to ask the king's men great minds think alike the origin of." It doesn't seem to make ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How useful are the kanji in reading Chinese? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it easier to learn Chinese after learning Japanese or vice versa? I'm learning Japanese, and I'm going to learn all of the jouyou kanji, which is about 2000 characters. Of ...
13
votes
3answers
520 views

Use of 十年中 to express duration

Does 十年中 mean "in ten years"? I found it in this sentence from tatoeba.org: 他十年中第一次回家。 He returned home for the first time in ten years. It seems like I could use the same pattern to say, &...
5
votes
1answer
394 views

Tone of 竟 and 境 in Mandarin and Cantonese

竟 and 境 are both read ging2 in Cantonese, which usually corresponds to a third tone syllable in Mandarin (as is the case for 警, which is ging2 in Cantonese and jing3 in Mandarin). However, both of ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Cantonese 咩 (me1) vs. 嗎 (maa1)

What is the difference between 咩 (me1) and 嗎 (maa1) in Cantonese? Are they always interchangeable? Example: m4 sai2 faan1 gung1 me1? (You don't have to go to work)
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Difference between 两个都 and 我们俩

Pimsleur's Mandarin course teaches 'both of us' as 我们两个都 (wǒ men liăng ge dōu), but in another question I asked here I recently found that 我们俩 (wǒ men liă). Are these always interchangeable, or are ...
4
votes
2answers
233 views

Does 外行的想法 mean “rookie mistake”?

I found this sentence and its translation on tatoeba.org. Is there a better way to translate it into English? 這是外行的想法。 That's a layman's idea. I looked up 外行, and it does mean amateur or layman, but ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the name of this traditional Chinese character font?

The image below is from a book I bought while in Hong Kong (ISBN 957-14-4160-0. It's an edition of a work in classical Chinese, with an ancient commentary in classical Chinese, and a modern commentary ...
8
votes
1answer
8k views

How to ask someone to take a photo?

Recently on vacation I wanted to ask a Chinese tourist if they would mind taking a photo of my wife and I - but I didn't know how, so just asked 你可以吗? (nǐ kěyǐ ma?) while pointing to my camera. How ...
3
votes
4answers
258 views

How to ask “is it really so that…”?

How do I ask a question like "is it really so that you're just 18?" or "is it really so that the movie was good?", i.e. a surprised question? My guess is something along the lines of "这是真的,你只有十八岁呢?", ...
4
votes
2answers
273 views

How do you say “preferences” as opposed to “demands”?

I encounter many situations where I want to ask someone what they would like as opposed to what they need. For example, I wanted to find a restaurant for our class to have an end of the semester ...
4
votes
1answer
385 views

What's the difference between “问一下”,“查询”, “询问”?

In the context of phone conversations with vendors I often default to either: 我想问一下… 请问… I'm looking for a possibly more appropriate way to address someone in this context. Would it be appropriate ...
2
votes
1answer
773 views

Expressions that have no meaning (什么/来着)

I know that these two expression, in certain circumstances, have no meaning and are optional. I'm trying to figure out how to use them, even though they have no meaning. 什么 This has a meaning, (...
3
votes
2answers
266 views

Simplification of 蘭(兰)

I've always been curious about the process of simplifying 蘭 to 兰. I'm not really familiar with the simplification process, but this one is shocking to me. From what I've seen (I've studied only ...
3
votes
1answer
522 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
147 views

(Literally) Seeing Through Things

Earlier today, I ended up in a discussion which somehow involved people who were (literally) transparent. I was somewhat at a loss for how to say "Can you see through him?". After some research, I've ...
3
votes
2answers
460 views

What are some good dictionaries about Mathematics?

I have found a dictionary about Mathematics; however, it goes from Chinese to English. I have tried different bookstores in my city, but they don't have an English to Chinese dictionary. I have ...
8
votes
4answers
8k views

What is the correct way to say: “I thought you were somebody else.”

In English if you mistake someone for another person it is common to say "I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else". How should this be said in Chinese?
4
votes
4answers
608 views

Did phonological systems (namely bopomofo) standardize Chinese phonemes?

As far as I know, Zhuyin fuhao, or Bopomofo, is the first system of phonetic symbols devised to aid to write Chinese phonology. That was in 1910, so we could say very recent in the history of Chinese. ...
9
votes
1answer
732 views

Correct usage for 跟。。。过不去

This question has two parts: What's the precise meaning of this expression? What is the correct usage? Question (1) I understand it to mean that the person referred to (eg, 跟她过不去) is uncomfortable ...
5
votes
1answer
401 views

Where can I find Codecademy for Written Chinese?

Recently, my wife has been learning to program JavaScript using Codecademy. I like how it walks people through exercises step by step, and builds up concepts, etc. All the marking is automated, and ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the cantonese expression 五福臨門 present in Mandarin too?

A recent question prompted me to look for expressions related to the Chinese New Year and, among them, I found one that particularly stroke me as interesting: 五福臨門 = according to the poster it means:...
3
votes
2answers
874 views

How to describe a puppet show

I want to describe a puppet show we saw. It was in a theatre and performed by professional puppeteers. I found three terms for puppet: 人形, 木偶, and 傀儡. I couldn't find anything for puppeteer. Here's ...
2
votes
1answer
8k views

What website will speak Cantonese to me? [closed]

My parents are born in Hong Kong so I can speak Cantonese semi-fluently, although I cannot write. I've been learning Mandarin and I find that my cantonese has been useful because if the word is used ...
0
votes
2answers
190 views

How extensible is the tonal quality rule?

I'm starting a Chinese languange course now, I've just seen that ma can have four meanings, it depends only on their tonal qualities. I wonder: How extensible is this tonal quality rule in forming ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

How to say “to give”?

I've been doing research on how to translate the verb "to give". I'm trying to find a common way to say it as in sentances like "I gave my friend one apple" or "My friend gave me one apple". I haven'...
2
votes
3answers
788 views

Proper response to 不好意思

If someone make a mistake and say this: 不好意思,非常不好意思! What is the proper response? Should 没事 or 没关系 be used to reply?
5
votes
1answer
812 views

Wubihua / Traditional Chinese / Open-source index

I have been looking for an open-source index of Chinese characters (Traditional) indexed by the Wubihua (五筆劃). I have found only partial lists (up to four digits), and only for Simplified. I know ...
6
votes
4answers
271 views

What is the difference between 东西 and 用品?

What is the difference between 东西 and 用品? They both seem to have the meaning "stuff" in certain circumstances, but then 用品 is used in more formal situations, such as 医药用品 which I am assuming is not in ...

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