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Christa

When 舊 and when 老?

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Christa

Here's a question for you geniuses: under which circumstance should one use 舊 and  老 to mean "old". I mean, I seem to be fine using 老 to mean old with people but when should we use 舊 to mean old? And when should we use  老 to mean old with things other than people?

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imron

Wonderfully concise.

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Christa
3 hours ago, Lu said:

舊: not new

老: not young

 

That's the main difference.

 

Awesome!

 

So would that mean that, in practice, 老 can only be used with living things?

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Christa

Actually though, I just had a thought. Wouldn't you say 老故事 and 老情歌 rather than 舊故事 and 舊情歌?

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zander1
3 hours ago, Christa said:

老 can only be used with living things?

 

Although I think Lu’s answer is broadly correct, as with all things in language these rules are not set in stone. E.g you can and will often hear 老房子

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Lu

I knew there would be a better answer! Thank you Publius.

  • Like 1

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ParkeNYU

Then how would you fit 古 into all this? Specifically ancient? 舊 to the extreme?

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imron

Ancient - in the biblical sense. This can clearly be seen by analysing the components of the character and noting that it's a cross upon a hill*

 

*not strictly accurate.

 

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