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Chinese: extremely rich in synonyms?


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just my 0.2,please feel free to correct me:mrgreen:

i think Chinese is extremely rich in synonyms (perhaps richer than most western languages besides English) because:

1.History:a language that is almost 5,000 years old,and possesses no rigorous grammatical rules to supervise the words.

2.Ideograms:the formation of words in Chinese is highly flexible.well,to what extent? -----as long as you make yourself understood.

3.Spoken by 1,400 million people

for examples

Moon(月亮) in Chinese(68 ways)

婵娟 望舒 纤维 金波 玉弓 桂殿 团扇

玉桂 银台 五羊 夜光 清光 太清 蟾

蟾蜍 玉蟾 霜蟾 素蟾 冰蟾 银蟾 瑶蟾

蟾宫 皓蟾 金魄 圆蟾 金蟾 蟾魄 素魄

圆魄 冰魄 桂魄 瑶魄 玉盘 金盘 银盘

圆盘 广寒 霜盘 水晶盘 白玉盘 金镜 玉镜

圆镜 寒镜 秦镜 瑶镜 金轮 银轮 玉轮

圆轮 冰轮 霜轮 孤轮 斜轮 玉兔 玉钩

银钩 垂钩 悬钩 金兔 白兔 圆兔 蛾眉

悬弓 妲蛾 素娥 丹桂 广寒宫

Sun(太阳) in Chinese(122 ways)

日 乌 阳 炎 羲

一轮 九阳 三足 大明 飞鸟 飞金 飞辔 天阳 天晷 日车 日母 日头

日驭 日色 日阳 日轮 丹灵 乌阳 乌轮 乌焰 六龙 火伞 火轮 火精

火镜 东君 白日 白景 玄晖 老火 老阳 朱明 朱炎 朱羲 阳日 阳乌

阳婆 阳精 红轮 赤日 赤乌 赤龙 赤羽 赤轮 赤帜 赤鸦 赤萍 赤盖

旸乌 利眼 灵乌 规毁 金乌 金轮 金鸦 金钲 炎精 织乌 赵盾 赵衰

素日 热头 圆轮 翔阳 毁炎 赫熹 赫曦 踆乌 赪轮 羲驭 羲阳 羲轮

羲和 羲御 羲曜 曜灵 曦车 耀灵 

三足乌 太阳爷 太阳星 日头公 日头爷 日爷儿 丹砂毂 老爷儿 赵盾儿

圆光蔚 赪玉盘 濯耀罗 

三足老鸦 日头旸儿 紫金毕逋

however,unlike many western languages,chinese is poor in word forms(conjugations),perhaps that's the price we have to pay:roll:

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Maybe. I am curious if some native speaker could say how many of these words for sun and moon could reasonably be used in everyday language. I think another reason for synonyms can be geographical separation.

約翰好!

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I am curious if some native speaker could say how many of these words for sun and moon could reasonably be used in everyday language.

not many,i only use the words '日' and '太阳' for sun:roll:

Homonyms,people think that Chinese is rich in homonyms for two reasons:

1.people think chinese has too many homonyms mainly because they are messing up Chinese characters with Chinese words,there are many times more Chinese words than there are characters as most Chinese words are made up of two or more different characters.

yes, many of these single-syllable morphemes ( zì, 字 in Chinese) can stand alone as individual words, they more often than not form multi-syllabic compounds, known as cí (词/詞), which more closely resembles the traditional Western notion of a word. A Chinese cí (“word”) can consist of more than one character-morpheme, usually two, but there can be three or more.

2.or perhaps people have no clue about the characters at all(esp. these beginners or 门外汉)

for example:

the syllable 'li' actully represents the follwing characters:

丽 例 俐 俚 俪 傈 儮 儷 兣 凓 刕 利 剓 剺 劙 力 励 勵 历 厉 厘 厤 厯 厲 叓 吏 呖 哩 唎 唳 喱 嚟 嚦 囄 囇 坜 塛 壢 娌 娳 婯 嫠 孋 孷 屴 岦 峛 峢 峲 巁 廲 悝 悡 悧 悷 慄 戻 戾 捩 搮 摛 擽 攊 攡 攦 攭 斄 暦 曆 曞 朸 李 杝 枥 栃 栎 栗 栛 栵 梨 梩 梸 棃 棙 樆 檪 櫔 櫟 櫪 欐 欚 歴 歷 氂 沥 沴 泣 浬 浰 涖 淚 溧 漓 漦 澧 濼 濿 瀝 灑 灕 爄 爏 牦 犁 犂 犛 犡 狸 猁 珕 珞 理 琍 瑮 璃 瓅 瓈 瓑 瓥 甅 疠 疬 痢 癘 癧 皪 盠 盭 睙 睝 矋 砅 砬 砺 砾 硌 磿 礪 礫 礰 礼 禮 禲 离 秜 秝 穲 立 竰 笠 筣 篥 篱 籬 类 粍 粒 粚 粝 粴 糎 糲 綟 縭 纅 纚 缡 罹 翮 聢 脷 艃 苈 苙 茘 荔 荲 莅 莉 菞 蒚 蒞 蓠 蔾 薶 藜 藶 蘺 蚸 蛎 蛠 蜊 蜧 蝕 蝷 蟍 蟸 蠇 蠡 蠣 蠫 裏 裡 褵 觻 詈 謧 讈 豊 貍 赲 跞 躒 轢 轣 轹 迣 逦 邌 邐 郦 酈 酾 醨 醴 釃 里 釐 鉝 鋫 鋰 錅 錺 鎘 鏫 鑗 鑠 锂 镉 隶 隷 隸 離 雳 雴 霾 靂 靋 類 颯 騹 驪 骊 髦 鬁 鬲 魞 鯉 鯏 鯐 鯬 鱧 鱱 鱳 鱺 鲡 鲤 鳢 鳨 鴗 鵆 鵹 鷅 鷑 鸝 鹂 麗 麜 黎 黐 黧 㟳 㠟 㠣 㡂 㑦 㒧 㒿 㓯 㔏 㕸 㗚 㘑 㤡 㤦 㥎 㦒 㧰 㬏 㮚 㯤 㰀 㰚 㱹 㴃 㴝 㷰 㷴 㸚 㹈 㺡 㻎 㻺 㼖 㽁 㽝 㾐 㾖 㿛 㿨 䁻 䃯 䄜 䅄 䅻 䇐 䉫 䊍 䊪 䋥 䍠 䍥 䍦 䍽 䓞 䔁 䔆 䔉 䔣 䔧 䕻 䖥 䖽 䖿 䗍 䗶 䘈 䙰 䚏 䚕 䟏 䟐 䡃 䣓 䣫 䤙 䤚 䥶 䧉 䬅 䬆 䮋 䮥 䰛 䰜 䱘 䲞 䴄 䴡 䴻 䵓 䵩 䶘

no wonder 'li' has so many different meanings.

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NOTE: You've decided to put in your 20 cents instead of "Your 2 cents"!

It must be very good?!

Most of what you posted for sun & moon are in the Classical or poetic forms of Chinese, which isn't used in everyday language, unless in the case of a poem recital.

the syllable 'li' actully represents the follwing characters:

Wrong:

Chinese isn't based on syllables, it's based on 4 tones in Mandarin, and more in other dialects [9 tones in Cantonese]. Some characters you posted are the same, just written differently, no thanks to Mao, for simplifying the Traditional Chinese characters, which most don't make sense, and now people in China had to learn Traditional Chinese characters to grasp the true meaning of the characters[in private, because schools and government only teach Simplified Chinese in China].

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There's also at least two definitions for the term homonym. The Chinese language scores a lot in both definitions.

A more popular one is that if a word sounds the same as another, it is a homonym. In that case any combination of sound + tone often produces many more than a single Chinese word possibility.

A stricter definition is that a word must not only sound the same, but have the same spelling. Now the definition of spelling has problems in a language that has no alphabet! But if we're talking about a single unique character, specific radicals, etc we can still get quite a few homonymns.

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A lot of those words for sun and moon look very poetic but don't seem to be in actual use (ie the average Chinese could live her entire life without ever seeing this word once, except maybe in a poem). Now if you count the poetic terms, I think western languages would score a lot higher than they seem to do now. Homeros called 日出 the 'rose-fingered Eoos', to name but one.

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sure, chinese is rich in synonyms, but I agree with lu up above.

also in practical usage Chinese is actually just crammed with VERBS...unlike let's say english for example and it's love of prepositions and nouns, every chinese sentence is a pile of verbs....verbs hold all the power in Chinese.

I personally wouldn't save to much mental capacity for synonyms really unless I liked poetry and didn't want to lug a dictionary with me for some reason. I would save some space up there for verbs and what they properly 'dapei' and some chengyu and keep it at that...but i may have trailed off the main idea of this thread...oh well

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Besides the strict grammatical definition of a homonym/homophone, there is also the issue of the similarity people perceive. And while it's true that most words are unique if you factor in the different tones, many learners find it difficult to hear the difference in fast conversation, and for them, the words do sound the same.

You can't always hear the difference between 钥匙 and 要是, or 事实, 时时, 时事, 事事, etc.

And even with perfect tones, you still have words like 时势 and 时事, 肌肉 and 鸡肉, 老实 and 老是, and many other examples. So I would say that there are plenty of real homophones in Chinese.

But perhaps this should be split and moved to the Speaking section.

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ok,maybe sun and moon a not very good examples

here's the word 'wife' in Chinese:

formal:妻子

alternative:爱人、夫人、太太、媳妇、大姐姐、姐、大嫂、娘子、荆人、拙荆、贱荆、贱内、中馈、糟糠、内助、贤内助、内掌柜、内当家、山妻、婆姨、堂客、老婆、老伴 、家里的、家主婆、孩子他妈。。。。。。

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If you look up English (or other) words in a thesaurus there will be a lot of synonyms as well for many words, they may be special, formal, obsolete, regional, slang, pejorative, diminutive, rare, etc. These words may be useful in certain situations but when learning a language it's better concentrate on the main, most useful words, although I agree that there many synonyms in Chinese due to many varieties and the long history. The family tree words in Chinese are more developed, so you get words like "elder brother's wife", instead of just saying descriptively (which you also can).

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The family tree words in Chinese are more developed, so you get words like "elder brother's wife", instead of just saying descriptively (which you also can).

__________________

does English have a word for the day after tomorrow(or the day before yesterday)?

family tree words?what about Russian?and other western languages?thanks:mrgreen:

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does English have a word for the day after tomorrow(or the day before yesterday)?
Every language has words that can only be expressed in another language with smaller phrases or sentences.

Does Chinese have words for biannual, or biennial?

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does English have a word for the day after tomorrow(or the day before yesterday)?

No but that's not the same thing, it means Chinese has specific words for those things, not more synonyms. Well, Chinese doesn't have "tonight" in one word but English does.

family tree words?what about Russian?and other western languages?thanks

Russian has more words than English but less than Chinese, so mother-/father/sister/brother/son/daughter-in-law will have different words, depending on which side (wife's or husband's, etc).

Just a couple of examples from Russian:

тесть, тёща [t'est', t'oshcha]- father-in-law, mother-in-law (wife's parents)

свёкр (or: свёкор), свекровь [sv'okr (sv'okor), sv'ekrov']- father-in-law, mother-in-law (husband's parents).

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biennial=

would your consider this a word,or a pharse?

Did you mean to provide a Chinese definition here?

Anyway, the reason I brought this up, was because just yesterday my Chinese coworkers were talking about these two English words, and how you needed a phrase in Chinese to describe them.

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