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Myndale

Hi everyone....first time poster, absolute beginner at Mandarin (~150 words). 

I have a bit of a general question about the paring of xiǎng (想) with verbs and how specific you have to be with the associated noun. My understanding is that the phrase "I want a bowl of noodles" can be translated as "Wǒ xiǎng yào yī wǎn miàntiáo" (我想要一碗面条). Is it also valid to use a direct translation of the English "I want to eat a bowl of noodles" i.e. "Wǒ xiǎng chī yī wǎn miàntiáo" (我想吃一碗面条)? Or would this be interpreted as literally wanting to eat the bowl itself?

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Shelley

Hello and welcome to the forum.

 

I think what we have here is a measure word misunderstanding. In Chinese you need to have a measure word when you want to say how many. So in your example"I want to eat a bowl of noodles" Really you are saying " I want to eat one bowl of noodles" as there is no translation for "a" you have to say one. The word bowl here is attached as it were to the word noodle and no one would think you wanted to eat the bowl.

 

Have you started learning about measure words yet? If not have a look here https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Measure_word

 

This is a very useful resource to have.

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Beelzebro

碗 is just a measure word for how many noodles you want to eat (a bowlful). If you wanted to eat the bowl itself you would say 我想吃一个面条碗 (I want to eat a noodle bowl)

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Myndale

Beelzebro: Thank you! I vaguely remember exposure to languages in my childhood where you had to be careful with literal expressions such as "I want to eat a bag of chips" could be interpreted as wanting to eat the bag itself. Your clarification makes it it crystal clear.

Shelley: appreciate your response as well. I'm currently studying measure words but I'm still trying to get my head around the subtleties, and the example I provided was probably not the best for what I was asking. I'll be sure to follow-up the resource you linked, thank you.
 

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陳德聰

This is not so much of a question of yào vs. chī as it is a question about xiǎngyào vs. xiǎng [insert verb].

 

In many cases, 想要 xiǎngyào is one word and it means to want. It is also possible to say 我想要吃一碗麵{面}.

 

If you wanted 要 to act on its own as a main verb after 想, it would mean something like “to ask for; to demand; to order (as in a meal).

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