28 votes
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Why is hot water called 开水?

One of the meanings of 開 is 沸騰 (boiling) in 《漢語大辭典》開32. It's nothing to do with "open" or "how". 開水 boiled water 熱水 hot water 燒水 to boil water When the water is still very hot, we can use 開水 or 熱開水 ...
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  • 5,846
19 votes
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What's the difference between 帐户 and 账户?

账户 is the correct form, and 帐户 is a common typo seen a lot in online services. 账 or 账本 means "books", and 记账 is the action of "accounting". The word 账户 means a "bank account", and is also used as "...
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  • 397
15 votes

Chinese computer vocabulary, and most frequently encountered common computer terms

computer - 电脑 internet - 因特网 software - 软件 program - 程序 Windows - 视窗 Mac - 苹果(电脑) Apple - 苹果 (公司) Microsoft - 微软 (公司) Google - 谷歌 file - 文件 copy - 复制 save - 保存 delete - 删除 open - 打开 ...
15 votes

How do new Chinese characters get added to the language?

From the point of view of computing, rather than linguistics, character sets are standardized and revised by committee. In the PRC, the GB2312 character set standard has evolved into GBK: With the ...
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15 votes
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Does Chinese have an equivalent to “Person A”?

You would say 甲、乙、丙、丁…… which come from 天干, you could also say 路人甲、路人乙、路人丙…… If you know the person's surname, you could also say 李某、王某…… In case if you want the specify that person's ...
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  • 3,044
14 votes
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Proper letter writing etiquette

I think those are generally fine for normal purposes, especially if you're emailing. Traditional etiquette has substantially declined with email use. 亲爱 is quite a bit more personal than the ...
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  • 4,910
14 votes
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Difference between 肯定 and 确定

肯定 certain; sure; affirm; (the outcome is virtually a fact) 确定 determine; confirm; finalize (the outcome is already a fact) You can say, "Team China certainly (肯定) will lose to team Germany in the ...
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  • 67.5k
13 votes

Why can't I say "我的腰不好”

腰 or 腰子 is slang for kidney. In traditional Chinese medicine theory, kidney is responsible for producing and storing sperms. Thus 腰不好 becomes a slang implying weakness in bed. It takes a cheeky ...
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  • 4,492
13 votes
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What are the most common Mandarin words for each pinyin syllable?

After a bit of searching I could not find a proper resource to answer this question, so I started compiling compiled a comprehensive list by hand. Since you say that the most common character for each ...
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  • 5,336
12 votes
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What are the differences between 报名,登记,挂号?

Definitions: 报名 To fill in personal information to the organizer in order to participate in the activities. (参加活动时,向主办单位填写个人资料。) 登记 To record the relevant matters in the form or the booklet of the ...
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  • 1,426
11 votes

What is the difference between 变成、变化、变得、改变、转变?

I think I really need more context to tell the differences. Sometimes they are interchangeable. 变成 -> Become / Turn into 五年过去了,我从一个学生变成了一名老师 - I was a student. After 5 years I am a teacher now. 变化 ...
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  • 1,291
11 votes
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What is the meaning behind 5000萬「袋住先」and D7689!@#?

The pronunciation of "D"-"7" is similar to a Cantonese foul phrase (something similar to fxxking hard). 689 is a common way to refer to the current Chief Executive (CE) of Hong Kong, because he won ...
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  • 2,421
11 votes
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Politeness in referring to a recent death

TL;DR The most general euphemism for "die" in Chinese is 去世 Literally means "leave the world". Similar to the English expression "pass on/away". It would be polite enough to address anyone's ...
10 votes

Is 帮忙 and 帮助 interchangeable?

帮忙 is more colloquial, it is intransitive or separable. 'A comes to help' translates into 'A来帮忙了' and 'A helps B' into 'A帮B的忙', not *'A帮忙B'. 帮助 is a transitive verb or a noun. 'A helps B' translates ...
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  • 2,119
10 votes

What Chinese characters are rare in modern but common in classical Chinese?

There are people studying this. Classical Chinese Character Frequency List Modern Chinese Character Frequency List Now do your own comparisons because I'm lazy. Update -- I feel less lazy today so ...
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  • 4,492
10 votes
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Do people use 刻苦 nowadays?

Yes 刻苦 is still commonly used in colloquial language. “他那一年刻苦地学西班牙文” is grammatical. In spoken language it sounds more natural to say “他那一年学西班牙文学得很刻苦” . 刻苦 is 'hardworking' while 认真 is 'take seriously'...
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10 votes
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When to use 世界 and when to use 国际

I guess you just use them the same way as in English. Look at e.g. this list: Everything that uses 国际 translates as 'international'. Similarly in this list everything that is 世界 translates as 'world'. ...
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  • 7,078
10 votes
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What other words than 奥 exist for places of reveration?

四隅(four corners of a room) 宧(yí / ㄧˊ):室內東北角(northeastern corner) 窔(yào / ㄧㄠˋ )同“穾”:室內東南角(southeast corner) 奥(ào / ㄠˋ):室內西南角(southwest corner) 屋漏(wū lòu / ㄨ ㄌㄡˋ):室內西北角(northwest corner)
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  • 5,846
9 votes
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Chinese computer vocabulary, and most frequently encountered common computer terms

menu - 菜单 cut - 剪切 copy - 复制 paste - 粘贴 edit - 编辑 properties - 属性 ok - OK / 好的 cancel - 取消 back - 返回 refresh - 刷新 save - 保存 print - 打印
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  • 316
9 votes
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What does 软文 and 小号 mean in internet slang?

On the Internet, 軟文 means an article intended as advertisement but disguised as ordinary posts. 小號 means the auxiliary accounts, referring to the usual practice of cyber forum participants maintaining ...
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  • 568
9 votes
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How to answer "wait" in a conversation in simple Mandarin?

等一下 is fine, but if you want shorter answers, there are other options: 等等:pretty much the same as 等一下 馬上:means immediately, will be there in a moment These are the two word answers I can think of ...
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  • 530
9 votes
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The real meaning of "傲嬌"

傲嬌 is a word from Japanese animation and just used in the Internet. 傲娇指的是这样一种性格: 表面上对陌生人/喜欢的人很冷淡或趾高气昂,即展现出“傲”的一面,而一旦关系突破某一好感度/耻度界限后,或者遭遇某种契机(特殊事件)的时候,就会突然变得害羞、娇俏可人,即表现出“娇”的一面。 ref : http://zh....
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  • 761
9 votes
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Ways to politely insult somebody's intelligence in Mandarin?

I don't know if there is a way to politely insult someone's intellect, that almost seems like an oxymoron to me. 糊涂 (silly) is the only expression I can think of that doesn't stigmatize the ...
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  • 7,078
9 votes

Which one is correct? 桂林的冬天 or 冬天的桂林

Both are correct. There is no "better" because they both have very different meanings. In 我不喜欢桂林的冬天, you are referring specifically to "the state of the weather" only; i.e. how you ...
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  • 2,862
9 votes
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Nuance between the two words for orange , cheng se and ju se

IN SHORT Both words are indeed used. In everyday conversation they're usually not distinguished but have different usages. If we go a little deeper, they also represent different colors: 橘色 has a more ...
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  • 1,684
8 votes

What is a good technique for remembering tones?

I feel this is a pedagogical shortcoming. New words should be introduced using pairs of words with the same sound but different tones, for example {天、甜},{湯、糖},{上海、傷害}. This might help the learner make ...
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  • 315
8 votes
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What is the difference between 突然 and 忽然?

They are identical when used as an Adverb. 天空突然/忽然下起了大雨。 But 突然 can also be used as a complement of a verb. 这雨下得太突然了。 Where you can only use 突然。
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