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8 votes

Pronunciation of Tang Dynasty Poetry

well, this answer is "limited" only, in relation to poetry in 唐 dynasty & cantonese. 1 cantonese (and several southern dialects/languages) is highly correlated to middle chinese, which was ...
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7 votes

Why native speakers always say "一块钱" and write "一元钱 "instead of "壹圆钱"?

To begin with, there is one thing called 大写 (daxie, “upper case”), in contrast to 小写 (xiaoxie, “lower case”). 小写:一二三四五六七八九十百千 - 元 大写:壹贰叁肆伍陆柒捌玖拾佰仟 - 圆 Daxie numbers are only used in ...
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6 votes
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In Cantonese, what is a less "childish" way to call one's own parents?

In Cantonese, 我爸爸 and 我媽媽 are perfectly fine to use to refer to your parents, no matter what your age is. They are neither rigid nor childish. Slightly more familiar terms are 我阿爸 and 我阿媽. In a very ...
  • 5,691
6 votes

Pronunciation of Tang Dynasty Poetry

This is incorrect. Cantonese is a modern language just like Mandarin, English and every single other modern language is. Exactly speaking, Tang Dynasty poetry were pronounced back then in Tang ...
6 votes
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Would an ancient chinese be able to understand today's language?

I would argue that mutual intelligibility between Chinese speakers 2200 years apart would be essentially nothing, for the spoken language. I say 2200 years as the emperor in the film is the Dragon ...
5 votes

Pronunciation of Tang Dynasty Poetry

水巷孑蠻 and Rethliopuks gave quite a lot of details. But this does not address quite right to the question. Read the origin question: "It was related to me that Tang Dynasty poetry is meant to be ...
  • 1,994
5 votes
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How should I understand the absence of conjunctions in 流行音乐歌唱的大都是男女爱情、歌词贴近生活、通俗易懂、易于传唱、受到欢迎、不足为怪?

流行音乐歌唱的大都是男女爱情、歌词贴近生活、通俗易懂、易于传唱、受到欢迎、不足为怪。 There are punctuation issues in this sentence. A way to modify it is: 流行音乐歌唱的大都是男女爱情、歌词贴近生活、通俗易懂、易于传唱、受到欢迎不足为怪。 We can also replace 顿号(、) with 逗号(,): ...
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5 votes
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How do natives pronounce the 2nd tone in regular conversation? (Pitch levels: 35, 33, or 434?)

A tone may, upon certain instances, take on a pitch different from its classic pitch. That is to say, while a pitch is absolute (in sound frequency), a tone is not. 中餐 may change from the classic ...
  • 5,425
5 votes
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can I get help with the concept of "balance" in chinese writing/speech?

My answer to this question What is the difference between 有时 and 有时候? How are they used differently in context? may explain some aspects of this topic. Generally, using the full term make the speech ...
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5 votes
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Why is speaking 书面语 ("written language") a problem?

Question: Why is speaking 书面语 ("written language") a problem? Using 书面语 ("written language") is not a problem in itself. The problem is when you use it in a situation or with a ...
  • 5,691
4 votes

How can I find the exact written versions of commonly spoken Cantonese words?

There are a lot of Cantonese dictionaries online. The one I often use is CantoDict. It is volunteer-contributed and is pretty comprehensive. I has both characters and words, and has pronunciation for ...
4 votes
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How do I tell the difference between "ing" and "in"?

The difference between "in" and "ing" is in the ending sound. Say "in", hold it for a second or two, and feel the position of your tongue. Your tongue should be in the front, touching the roof of your ...
  • 5,691
4 votes
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How to hear tones in speech better

It will come with more exposure. Watch movies/shows, listen to music, talk with people via voice-chat or in person. One of the ways I trained myself to recognize the tones is to listen to the same ...
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4 votes

What is @ ("at") called when giving an email address over the phone?

I've heard at least two versions personally. One is to use the English reading of "at". The other is "圈(儿)a". Meaning "a" with a circle around it. It might be different in different regions.
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4 votes
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What is @ ("at") called when giving an email address over the phone?

As pointed out by @Daniel Yeung above, they call it 小老鼠 (Xiao3 Lao3 Shu3)in Taiwan, which means 'little mouse'. Takes a little imagination to see the resemblance. I think that is precisely what you ...
  • 320
4 votes

When can nouns be used as verbs?

A noun becomes a verb, this phenomenon exists in many human languages. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthimeria For example, - How can I contact you? - You can message me. / You can send me a ...
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4 votes

How should I understand the absence of conjunctions in 流行音乐歌唱的大都是男女爱情、歌词贴近生活、通俗易懂、易于传唱、受到欢迎、不足为怪?

流行音乐歌唱的大都是男女爱情、歌词贴近生活、通俗易懂、易于传唱、受到欢迎、不足为怪。 [流行音乐歌] - topic [唱的大都是男女爱情, 歌词贴近生活]- comment that describes the topic The comment continues with an opinion: [通俗易懂,易于传唱] - stating reasons for the opinion [...
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4 votes
Accepted

In the movie 北京遇上西雅图 (Finding Mr. Right), what does 文佳佳 mean when she yells “像话么,你”?

像话么,你? It is a rhetorical question, and it is not a dialect. Pretty much everyone use this. You thoughts about 像话么,你 is correct. Let's look back to sentences before that 我是花钱买服务的,我整整坐了12个小时的飞机,我需要休息。...
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4 votes

What does 你就是个托 mean, which 文佳佳 yells at Frank in the movie 北京遇上西雅图 (Finding Mr. Right)?

In this context, "托" means the person who pretend to involve an activity or to support someone to perform a scam typically. It is related to 衬托, but derogatory sense only.
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4 votes
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What is 'hea' (in Cantonese conversations)?

the actual Cantonese words well, some argued that it’s 歇 (u+6b47) in toishan “dialect” (台山話) <https://jonathanovsky.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/再談「hea」字/> we just use “hea” to write it, no han-...
  • 13.5k
4 votes

In the song 酒干倘卖无 why is the last word spoken with an initial "M" sound?

If we trace back to late Middle Chinese, 無's onset is 微 (w), while 沒's onset is 明 (m). If we go a little bit further back to early Middle Chinese, we only have the onset 明. In other words, the early ...
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4 votes
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梨 (lí) vs 离 (lí)

The general case is discussed here: How to distinguish two words the same pronunciation but different meaning (gāo jià) For 梨 (lí) and 离 (lí) in particular, they're readily differentiated by ...
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4 votes
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What do people in Hong Kong say when you are approaching a counter to buy something?

Most likely a contraction of "下一位" (next customer please) 下一位/haa6 jat1 wai6^2/ --> 下~位/haat1 wai6^2/
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4 votes
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What is the man saying in this Cantonese cartoon?

You are correct 咪嘈(don't be noisy) means "be quiet!" Master Q was saying "咪嘈呀!" 呀 is a final particle that conveys different emotions, and manners or simply emphasizes the sentence ...
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3 votes
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What is the difference between 好多 vs. 很多?

好 may be used with the meaning of 很. The difference is that it's more colloquial. Source: myself =P
3 votes

Tourists in China but can not understand Chinese

It's difficult for westerners to master the four tones in a few days, but if you have a few months, you can try! It's also difficult to learn how to read Chinese characters, but you can memorize some ...
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3 votes

How can I find the exact written versions of commonly spoken Cantonese words?

The best way is to install a Cantonese input plugin for your computer/phone. I have jyutping (粵拼) installed both on my Mac and Android phone. Works great. I use this to write both in Cantonese and (...
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3 votes
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How can I find the exact written versions of commonly spoken Cantonese words?

广州话方言词典 2010 Comerical Press 8,453 (approx.) entries Is a good place to start. For instance the entry for 係 1 是 係唔係? 是不是? 你係邊個? 你是誰? 係就話係。 是就說是。 2 只有(與“至”配搭着用) 係你佢至服 只有你他才服 係噉至好。 只有這樣才好。 Not only ...
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