Chinese Language Weekly Newsletter

Chinese Language newsletter

Top new questions this week:

If Confucius came back to life today and scribbled a message, could most modern Chinese people understand it?

For example (and I am not sure if this is a good example), if presented the following stone inscription (石鼓文, source, c. 374 B.C.), could most modern Chinese people understand it (even vaguely)? …

asked by Kenny LJ 6 votes
answered by congusbongus 5 votes

What is the difference between 究竟 and 到底 ?

So, a teacher explained to me that 究竟 is a more formal way of saying 到底. However, I'm still curious are there any other usage differences between the two? Is 究竟 only used in examples that are …

asked by Stephen 6 votes
answered by Comeseeconquer 4 votes

Use of 不太 and when is it necessary?

I suspect that 太 has a similar function in negatives as 很 does in negative sentences. Some Chinese speakers have corrected some of my negative sentences in include a 太. e.g.: 他不高兴 was corrected to …

asked by Robert Budzul 5 votes
answered by songyuanyao 7 votes

Tone three sandhi

If there are two third tones in a row, e.g. ni3hao3, the first one is pronounced as a second tone, i.e. ni3hao3=ni2hao3. At least, that's what I was told in a course. What happens with more …

tones sandhi  
asked by MickG 4 votes
answered by neubau 2 votes

What's the difference between 江 and 河?

My daily newsletter contained the following sentence: 长江是中国最长的河。 According to the dictionary, 江 and 河 both mean "river", but they seem to be used differently. Am I right in assuming that 长河是中国最长的江 …

word-choice characters  
asked by dr Hannibal Lecter 4 votes
answered by George Chen 3 votes

difference between 伤痕, 伤疤 and 疤痕?

Recently, I read that someone's 额头上有一个伤痕 。 I knew that the sentence literally meant that there was a scar. But then I thought "Why didn't they say "伤疤” or “疤痕”。 All three of these translate to scar …

asked by Stephen 4 votes
answered by Comeseeconquer 2 votes

The tricky prepositions. . . "in my garden"

I think prepositions are tricky in every language. The other day I was trying to figure out how to write correctly : In my garden there are many fruit-trees. The first sentence I thought of was: …

grammar preposition  
asked by miree 3 votes
answered by George Chen 3 votes

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

How did 黃 (yellow) come to mean "pornographic"?

In my dictionary it defines 黃 (Huáng) - yellow - pornographic - to fall through - surname Huang or Hwang Imperial China and the robes of the emperor are commonly associated with the colour yellow. …

meaning-in-context slang  
asked by Matthew Rudy 马泰 15 votes
answered by 杨以轩 9 votes

How to pronounce the “的” in “他妈的”?

How usually native chinese speaker pronounce the “的” orally in “他妈的”? Is it "Ta Ma De" or "Ta Ma Di"?

pronunciation swearing  
asked by suud 4 votes
answered by rhughes 5 votes

Can you answer these?

Zhuyin IME setting to make tones optional

When I type Chinese via a Pinyin IME, I can write "nihao" to get "你好". Writing out "ni3hao3" is not required. But when I try to write "ㄋㄧㄏㄠ", the IME interprets this as "ㄏㄧㄠ". Basically I'm forced to …

tones ime zhuyin-fuhao  
asked by Dan Cecile 3 votes

Hokkien pronunciation of `白头偕老`

白头偕老 is a set expression in Mandarin, meaning to get old together, in a loose translation. I found it in a Hokkien song called 牵阮的手 (Mandarin 牵我的手, English While you hold my hand). In the linked …

pronunciation dialect hokkien  
asked by MickG 2 votes
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