Chinese Language Weekly Newsletter

Chinese Language newsletter

Top new questions this week:

或: how did "region" become "either"?

The character 或 is used today for the meanings "or", "either", "maybe", and "perhaps". Historically, it had the meaning of "region", and it is this meaning that characters like 國 and 域 derive from. ...

characters etymology  
asked by congusbongus 4 votes
answered by Master Sparkles 4 votes

Difference between alveolars and alveolo-palatals in Cantonese

I would like to understand the difference in distribution between the alveolar consonants s, ts, tsʰ and the alveolo-palatal consonants ɕ, tɕ, tɕʰ in Cantonese. One source told me that the ...

asked by 無色受想行識 4 votes
answered by Michaelyus 4 votes

Chinese Words that Accurately Reflect English Phonemes

I'm a retired computer science professor who helps Chinese graduate students master English. The students have a good background for reading and writing scientific papers but struggle with their ...

pronunciation equivalent-phrase  
asked by Dennis Stevenson 4 votes
answered by monalisa 7 votes

Why the change in tones of the words in some phrases?

I am a native Cantonese speaker. I found that we have to change the tones of some words, when used in particular phrases. But I don't know why. It seems that it doesn't follow any "rules of changing ...

cantonese tones  
asked by Kyson 3 votes
answered by Alex 1 vote

不得不, 必须, 只好, 应该: what's the difference?

This is what I'm thinking: 不得不 pm. "cannot but, have to" this seems colloquial, and the fact that dictionaries think of this as a set phrase/fixed expression makes me think so. Also feels like ...

word-choice mandarin  
asked by Ming 3 votes
answered by zzy 0 votes

Describing Characters: AB的A/B

When trying to describe what specific character one is talking about, people often use the following method: AB的A/B For instance: 包: 书包的包 宇: 宇宙的宇 My questions: What is this thing ...

asked by user3306356 3 votes
answered by 倪阔乐 3 votes

The word order of co-existing adverbs in a sentence

I am wondering whether there is a commonly accepted rule about the word order of co-existing adverbs in a sentence. For example, in the following sentences, 果然,昨天,直接,从学校 are adverbs. Which of the ...

grammar vocabulary  
asked by cnwang09 1 vote
answered by S.Rhee 1 vote

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

Tips for pronouncing X vs SH in Mandarin?

I'd like to think my Mandarin pronunciation is generally pretty reasonable, but I often get tripped up with X and SH - for example words like 雪 and 水, or 虾 and 莎. Even with different tones, I find ...

mandarin pronunciation  
asked by Ciaocibai 8 votes
answered by xiaohouzi79 5 votes

Various ways to say "nice to meet you"

When I first started learning Chinese I knew the in order to say "Nice to meet you" or "Pleased to meet you," I had to use the following expression: 很高兴见到您。 But recently I've come across other ...

mandarin expressions greetings  
asked by Alenanno 11 votes
answered by StarCub 9 votes
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