16 votes
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What's the difference between classifiers and measure words?

Yes, there is a slight difference (although it appears there's no complete consensus on this). A classifier, in linguistics (not just in Mandarin), is a word or morpheme used to express that a ...
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16 votes
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What is an “exoactive” Chinese character?

These terms were devised in the late 20th century analysis of Classical Japanese, originally, for the difference between -(さ)す (glossed as externally instigated) and -(ら)る (glossed as internally ...
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  • 5,608
8 votes

How can we translate the term "tone sequence"?

Only the first one is correct (聲調輪廓), as a jargon used in linguistics. The second one is a (bad) word-for-word translation of tone (音調) + contour (曲綫).
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7 votes
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Why does Mandarin Chinese have a smaller inventory of unique syllables?

From San Duanmu, The Phonology of Standard Chinese: While Middle Chinese (about AD 600) had over 3,000 syllables (including tonal distinctions), modern Standard Chinese (SC) has just over 1,300. Thus,...
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7 votes

What is an “exoactive” Chinese character?

On p. 43 of ABC Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese By Axel Schuessler we have the following introduction: which is later expound on: On p. 44 we find the exact example that you are asking about: ...
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6 votes

What's the meaning of 虚化 in Chinese linguistics?

結果補語的「虛」與「實」 漢語動結式(又稱黏合式述補結構)中有一類的補語被稱為「虛化結果補語」,包括「完、好、掉、住、成、著、了、過等」 根據過去的研究,虛化結果補語區別實義結果補語的特點是:皆由實義動詞虛化而來、本身詞匯意義不明顯、語義指向述語、不是動結式的語義中心、主要表示動作事件「完結、結束」等。但是,這些區別特點主要都體現語義層面上,而句法上,無論是對前項動詞的選擇、還是與賓語的搭配,...
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4 votes

What's the meaning of 虚化 in Chinese linguistics?

In Chinese linguistics, the most common example of 虚化 is the grammaticalization of verbs into verbal suffixes that function as aspect markers. For example: 了, 过, 着. It is an abstraction whereby a verb ...
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  • 251
4 votes

How can we translate the term "tone sequence"?

I saw your question accidently on the website. I'm Chinese and I think there is a term '调值' matches the meaning with 'tone contour' in English. Here is the meaning of Chinese '调值': 调值 [ diào zhí ] ...
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3 votes

Why does Mandarin Chinese have a smaller inventory of unique syllables?

I think this is a result of the underlying assumptions made in a language. Case: if you assume case is necessary, you need to differentiate each noun and adjective for case, that is declension. If you ...
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3 votes

“What is Standard Mandarin?”, and How was it "Standardized"?

As this is a Forum for non-Chinese readers, I believe a brief translated summary of what @r13 posted might assist some on this interesting Topic. I'll only do what happens on the Mainland, and leave ...
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3 votes

“What is Standard Mandarin?”, and How was it "Standardized"?

Hope this article gives you some idea about how "the Speaking Chinese" was standardized. However, presently, there exist two closely resembling/interrelated "standards", depending ...
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3 votes

“What is Standard Mandarin?”, and How was it "Standardized"?

I don't think OP wanted to have a semantics or history lesson. I'm quite sure this question (OP, please tell me if I'm wrong) comes from the need to answer the fundamental questions: What language am ...
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3 votes
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Chinese equivalent of eggcorns?

白字 http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/words/14500/ wrong character of phonetic equivalent Examples of 白字詞句 (words or phrases contain wrong character of phonetic equivalent): '白撞'(to ...
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3 votes

What's the meaning of 虚化 in Chinese linguistics?

虚化 often gets translated as 'grammaticalization'. Example: 我们考察发现虚化和同音假借是连词的主要来源。 We conclude that grammaticalization and loan homonym are the main source of conjunction. Tang Ho's excellent research ...
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3 votes

What's the difference between classifiers and measure words?

Nouns denote things, physical or abstract. Based on the primitive properties of the things (this perception may vary according to socio-cultural background), we distinguish between "discrete ...
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  • 251
2 votes

What's the difference between classifiers and measure words?

To me, classifiers belongs to measure words. In other words, classifiers is a type of measure words. The idea of classifiers offers a way to construct a type in order to count that type of things. ...
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2 votes

What's the difference between classifiers and measure words?

May be due to my Cantonese background I have a different understanding of the difference between 'classifier' and 'measure word as Chinese grammar terms. For me, classifier classifies objects, base on ...
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2 votes

What's the meaning of 虚化 in Chinese linguistics?

I think the sense of 虚 is the same as in 虚词. According to dictionaries, 虚词 is defined as: 虚词 {语} function word; form word; empty word; grammatically-partial word; structural word; syncategorematic ...
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2 votes
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Pronouncing pinyin "ing" (bopomofoㄧㄥ ) as /iŋ/ or /jəŋ/ e.g. in 冰

It really does not matter that much. They are more like free variants. For learners, there are probably many aspects of pronunciation needing attention that are much more important than this. On forvo....
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2 votes

“What is Standard Mandarin?”, and How was it "Standardized"?

Short answer: the very meaning of the word Mandarin refers to government officials in imperial China. Mandarin Chinese simply refers to the common dialect spoken in official settings. As other answers ...
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2 votes

What literary device would we associate with the aforementioned Chinese old fashioned way of greeting? ( (Chī le ma) ? )

Is a greeting a literary device in your opinion? wotcha is a common greeting in England. wotcha: is a contraction of the greeting 'what cheer?' (York Mysteries, c.1440), meaning 'How are you?' moin is ...
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2 votes

What are the answers to this linguistics graduate-student entrance exam question?

Community Wiki answer (please edit): 现代汉民族共同语是以北方话为基础方言。 从发音部位分,普通话的声母m属双唇鼻音。 词是最小的有意义的独立运用的的语言单位。 (It's not 有意义 by itself; that's 语素 = "morpheme".) 从结构关系看,“风浪、寒冷、开关”这类词是并列式。 “腐败”的反义词是清廉。 (...
1 vote

What literary device would we associate with the aforementioned Chinese old fashioned way of greeting? ( (Chī le ma) ? )

Considering its usage I would probably file it as an: Interjection
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1 vote

What literary device would we associate with the aforementioned Chinese old fashioned way of greeting? ( (Chī le ma) ? )

The old idiom below tells a lot of what is deemed the most important thing in a (Chinese) person's life: 民以食為天 - The importance of eating is as large as the sky. Also, there is an old teaching that ...
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1 vote

汉语里的这种看似而并非纯属口语、平时不跟他字搭配成词的字有特别的名字吗?

蒙:受迷惑(的人)。“蒙者,微昧闇弱之名。” 例句:你别蒙我。 替换为:使迷惑,属于常见的使动用法。即:“你别使我迷惑” 例句:这球踢进门,全是蒙上的。 替换为:在迷惑的状态下,往往带有侥幸的语气。即:“这球踢进门,全是在迷惑的状态下完成的” 例句:一上台就蒙了,不知道该说什么好。 本意,作为状态的转移。即:“(主语)一上台,(主语)就变得很迷惑,不知道该说什么好。” 例句:被人打蒙了。 ...
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1 vote

What's the difference between classifiers and measure words?

All the other answers were very insightful. I also find appropriate to reference the instructive Wikipedia entry for Chinese classifier: The terms classifier and measure word are frequently used ...
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1 vote
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Is verbal position used to indicate definiteness in modern Mandarin?

In my (long) studies I've never come across a formal definition of "definiteness/indefiniteness" specifically used to describe a grammar rule of Mandarin. However the phenomenon you are ...
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1 vote

Can the 的 particle ever function without "nominalizing"?

You can find the answer in 百度百科 using the key word 语气词 in Baidu search. Here is the quote relevant to your question: 普通话里最基本的语气词实际上只有六个:的、了、呢、吧、吗、啊。其他一些,有的用得较少,有的是因为语气词连用而产生连读合音的结果,例如“啦”是“了啊”的合音。...
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1 vote

What is the role of 美國 in "中國向美國報復"?

This kind of confusion is usually caused by using English grammar to understand Chinese. In Chinese grammar, 中國向美國報復: 中国, subject 向美国, prepositional phrase worked as adverbial(介词短语作状语); 美国 is the ...
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1 vote

Does Chinese have an equivalent to Arabic-style praising grammar (translates to 褒贬句)?

There isn't a certain structure of praising or disparaging something in Chinese actually. The meaning of a Chinese sentence is all about the words it uses. If simply expressing approving/...
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