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19 votes
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Why do Chinese people always use Chinese subtitles?

There are Chinese-language-only reasons like the many mutually-unintelligible dialects/topolects, the huge difference between spoken and written Chinese languages, but this doesn't explain why ...
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  • 8,477
11 votes

Is there a Chinese word for liberation?

Your teacher was probably not very good. The typical Chinese word for "liberation" is 解放, and it has been used in the same sense of political liberation for many years. Apart from its use in ...
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11 votes
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What is the "Chinese Dream?" (中国梦)

Chinese Dream is mostly a political slogan of Chinese President Xi Jinping. It's the Communist Party's official vision for China since the 18th National Congress. 大家都在讨论中国梦,我以为,实现中华民族伟大复兴,...
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  • 4,910
10 votes

警察 vs 武警 difference

警察: Police. In China the term 民警 (abbreviation for 人民警察 people's police) is used more often. 武警: Abbreviation for 武装警察 armed police. Although it is "police", actually it is a military unit. ...
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8 votes

Is knowing how Chinese Characters are formed common knowledge?

This is a textbook excerpt from the first grade, isn't it cute? 六书 is taught in 6th to 9th grade in mainland China, so I think the answer is yes. Good teachers often tell you how the character is ...
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8 votes
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Proper way to address a waiter or waitress

From what I have learned, the most proper and respectful is to use 服务员. There are many people that find 小姐 not appropriate or too traditional, I met several people who feel that 小姐 has some sexist ...
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  • 398
8 votes
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How are blanks indicated for placeholders in Chinese (like ???)

Generally putting XX is fine unless formal. People use that a lot orally. X is usually pronounced as 叉, but can vary based on region. Formally and also very commonly for missing name is using 某. 王某 ...
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8 votes
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Where does the middle name go in a name that has been translated into Chinese?

Very easy, just use Wikipedia to find examples, such as: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is listed as 沃尔夫冈·阿马德乌斯·莫扎特 on Chinese Wikipedia Johann Sebastian Bach is 约翰·塞巴斯蒂安·巴赫 in Chinese. Thomas Alva Edison ...
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  • 7,118
7 votes
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How many days does a 节气 last for?

before 清 dynasty (1644-1911), the calendar system in china used 平氣, solar terms lasts 15 days+ (it's roughly 365.25 days / 24). then, the 時憲曆 changed the method to 定氣, that 360° div 24 = 15°, upon ...
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7 votes
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Usage of 理由 vs 原因

理由 (logic + cause): justification; argument; reason 原因 (origin + cause): cause; reason When stating a 理由 (reason) for an action, you need to explain the justification, logical argument for the action ...
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6 votes

Are there word games in Chinese?

During Chinese New Year there is 猜灯谜 also called 射虎台。The idea is to deduce people, places, etc from phrases. Here's a 青少年学生-level example from this web page: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/...
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6 votes
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The formal version of "謝謝", "對不起", especially in an email?

Alter words: 谢谢:多谢,感谢,谢恩(古代臣子百姓对君王说的) 对不起:抱歉,有愧,歉仄 As your case, 對不起現在才回覆您。 謝謝你的幫助! rephrase: (非常)抱歉现在才回复您。 (十分)感谢您的帮助!
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  • 92
6 votes

Why do Chinese people always use Chinese subtitles?

There are not just different accents in different regions. There are different spoken languages, using essentially the same written language. And on this point, very distinctive English accents such ...
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6 votes
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Who should be counted when responding to 你家有几口人 (nǐjiā yǒu jǐkǒurén) "how many people are there in your family"?

It is simple-- The "家" in "你家有几口人?" always refers to "家庭" (household) Your answer should only list the family members living in the household . Using 口 as a classifier also indicates it only count ...
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6 votes

Do many Taiwanese self identify as Mandarin speakers and if not, why?

Mandarin originally refers to the official language of Qing By the end of the last dynasty in 19th century, the government KMT released some standard of 国语(national language), which is based on the ...
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  • 6,057
6 votes

How do Chinese people feel about the term 非中国人 to express non-Chinese people?

In my opinion, 非中国人 sounds more exclusive. 非 stresses 'are not' (they are not Chinese) 外国人 sounds more neutral. 外国 indicates 'where ones came from ( they are from outside of this country)' 非我族类(其心也异) ...
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5 votes
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When is it appropriate to use 剩女?

If you use this to refer to your close friend, she would probably not get angry with you. But in other cases it seems a little offensive. Well I think this is the "dark side" of the traditional ...
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  • 918
5 votes

Writing direction on seals

The general principle is from top to bottom, from right to left, but the format can be very flexible. For a four-character seal, there are 6 ways to arrange the characters (see picture). Seal ...
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  • 96
5 votes

How are blanks indicated for placeholders in Chinese (like ???)

□ (white square) is used to indicate that some characters are missing or unrecognizable. Each white square correspond to one such character. See 虚缺号的用法.
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5 votes

What is the meaning of the phrase 铁血丹心 ?

Although it looks like an idiom expression (chengyu), I believe it is actually a coined phrase, specifically for the TV adaptation of the Wuxia novel (射鵰英雄傳, 1983 TVB Hongkong) you mentioned. ...
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  • 925
5 votes
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What was the relationship between 诸葛亮和周瑜?

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. They may be "friends", but they are still enemies. They are the minister of two different kingdoms, 蜀 and 吴, they just happen to have a stronger common enemy 魏 so ...
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  • 881
5 votes

Is it allowable in Mainland China to use Traditional Characters?

some tidbits as i known, or heard: calligraphy must be in traditional chinese, no matter in which scripts (cursive, regular, or seal) so, signboards, billboards could be in traditional chinese, such ...
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5 votes

How is 你是哪里人 properly answered?

It is indeed a confusing question nowadays. For me, it is generally a question of self identity. For instance, one was born in Sichuan Province, then left after birth and raised in Beijing for first ...
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4 votes
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Why Is The Color Red Considered Lucky In Chinese Language and Culture?

Here we have an old tale in China, saying that there is a beast called the "Nian" (年獸), and it will only attack people in spring. But it's afraid of all things red. That's why Chinese people use many ...
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4 votes

When is it appropriate to use 剩女?

In my opinion, it is usually offensive to call someone 剩女 in the face, even when joking. Of course there might be exceptions, for example, a senior family member may possibly use the word 剩女 to urge a ...
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  • 474
4 votes

Why do Chinese people always use Chinese subtitles?

That is mainly to make sure deaf people can understand. 2012年实施的《无障碍环境建设条例》规定:公开出版发行的影视类录像制品应当配备字幕。 Ref: 为什么在中国流通的影视作品普遍显示字幕? - 知乎用户的回答 - 知乎
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