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Could someone help me to translate this sentence from pinyin to English? This is where I am at right now:


zhe ge nan hai zi jing chang xi zao, zhi shao mei ge xing qi er shi ci. = this [cl.] boy regularly to bathe, at least every [cl.] Tuesday “shi ci”.


I can't figure out what the "shi ci" means. There is an upstroke over the "shi" and a downstroke over the "ci"


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十次 'ten times'. But I think you're reading it slightly wrong, I read it not as 'meige xingqi'er / shi ci' but as 'meige xingqi / ershi ci', twenty times a week. (Still a pretty large number.)


For typing pinyin with tone marks, you can download Pinyinput, more info here.


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Ok thanks. I thought the translation as "10" must be wrong because it is unrealistic to be a true statement. Sometimes the Rosetta Stone program I got this sentence from seems to deviate from standard tone marks. For example "yi" representing 1 or one, will often be represented with an up or down tone mark rather than the flat tone mark. 

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It's really difficult to read Pinyin in that format, with spaces between each syllable and no tone marks. Usually you'd write the sentence in Pinyin like this, with spaces between each word:


Zhège nánháizi jīngcháng xǐzǎo, zhìshǎo měi gè xīngqī èrshí cì.


That also makes the meaning clear — if it was 10 times every Tuesday, it'd be “měi gè xīngqī’èr shí cì”.


The difference can also be expressed in spoken Mandarin using different intonation, and in written characters using Arabic numerals: “每个星期 20 次” vs “每个星期二 10 次”.

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On 6/10/2021 at 9:49 AM, whatisalot said:

Could someone help me to translate this sentence from pinyin to English? This is where I am at right now:


Try to get through that phase as fast as you can. 


Many years ago, just starting out, I wrote a note to the mother of a friend in Harbin thanking her for a weekend in which she had been very hospitable and kind. I spent hours wrestling my thoughts into perfect Pinyin, complete with tone marks. 


It took her forever to comment. When I pressed, she said "I had to get my 7-year old child to translate it for me. He's in elementary school. Nobody else here can read Pinyin." That was an eye-opener and it was the point at which I decided I had to immediately begin struggling with Hanzi characters. Did it and never looked back. 


Never loose sight of Pinyin as mainly being a temporary crutch. It is the training wheels for your kiddie bike. 

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4 hours ago, abcdefg said:

Never loose sight of Pinyin as mainly being a temporary crutch

Let's remember that for many learners, the idea of learning Hanzi from the start can be so overwhelming it will turn you off from learning Chinese at all. Hanzi > Pinyin, but Pinyin > not learning because you're intimidated.

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thanks for the responses.  I haven't figured out how to add the tone marks yet but I have another question:


"zai" for indicating an action in progress, as in the following: zhe ge nu hai zi zai pao bu = this [classifier] female child running or this [classifier] female child is running ?

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I would translate it as 'The girl is running'.


Zhège nǚháizi literally means 'this girl', so in an exam or something I'd write that, but in regular text, 'the girl' usually looks more natural.

nǚháizi means 'girl', not 'female child' (that would be nǚxìng de háizi). Note that nu is not the same as nü.

You're correct that zài means that the action is ongoing. In English, this kind of grammatical construction is usually expressed with 'is ~ing'. This is a normal, grammatically correct Chinese sentence, so you should translate it into a normal, grammatically correct English sentence. If you want to translate word by word, linguistically, you need to look up how to express zài, I don't know that by heart (I'm not a linguist).


Download Pinyinput to write tones. You type the letters and then the number of the tone you want:

a1 -> ā

a2 -> á

a3 -> ǎ

a4 -> à

The ü in nü or lü is written by typing a v.

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I'll ask a few more at the same time:


ru guo zhe fu jin you ti kuan ji, wo jiu hui you xian jin le.

if this nearby had ATM, I then could have cash?


ru guo wo you san ming zhi, wo jiu bu hui e le.

if I have sandwich, I then not will hunger?


wo cong lai mei qu guo E guo, ke shi wo you yi tian yao qu na li guan guang.

I never to go to (experienced action marker) Russia, but I intend day will go there to tour?


wo ba ka fei gei ni na lai le. 

I hold coffee for you to take came?


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ru guo xia geng duo de yu, wo de hua yuan li de zhi wu hui zhang de geng hao le.

if later more numerous of rain, my garden interior of plants will grow of more good?


completed action markers at the end of a sentence. As in this example and the ATM example. How do they affect the translation?

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Tā jīnnián shénme xīn yīfu dōu méiyǒu mǎi.
Ta 今年什么新衣服都没有买。

  • 什么…都 [negative] is a construction. It means "not... any". In this case, this person has not bought any new clothes.

Rúguǒ zhè fùjìn yǒu tíkuǎnjī, wǒ jiù huì yǒu xiànjīn le.


  • 如果…就 expresses causality (if...then).
  • The 这 in 这附近 is best thought of as an abbreviation of 这里 or 这儿, "here". 附近 means the approximate area, so you can think of 这附近/这里附近/这儿附近 as "around here".
  • I've never come across 提款机 for ATM, only 取款机 or simply "ATM [机]". I'm guessing 提款机 is more common in Taiwan usage. On a practical note, at least in mainland China, you're much better off asking for a bank (银行) — people tend to give you confused expressions if you ask for an ATM.
  • The 了 at the end expresses a change in state, in this case from not having cash to having cash, so you can think of 有现金了 as "get cash".


Rúguǒ wǒ yǒu sānmíngzhì, wǒ jiù bù huì è le.


  • Same two constructions as above, hopefully the translation is straightforward.


Wǒ cónglái méiyǒu qùguò Éguó, kěshì wǒ yǒu yī tiān yào qù nàlǐ guàngguang.

  • 从来没有…过 have never. 从来没有去过 have never been [to].
  • 有一天 one day (similar to usage in English, an indefinite day in the future).
  • 要 here expresses a future intention. You can think of it as "am going to".
  • 去那里逛逛 is a case of the "[verb of movement] [place] [verb]" construction, which expresses what you're going to that place to do. 去/海边/玩 go to the seaside to have fun. 回/家/看书 return home to read a book. 去/那里/逛逛 go there to go sightseeing (逛逛 can be sightseeing, shopping, really any leisure activity that involves walking around an area).


Wǒ bǎ kāfēi gěi nǐ ná lái le.



Rúguǒ xià gèng duō de yǔ, wǒ de huāyuán lǐ de zhíwù huì zhǎng de gèng hǎo le.

如果下更多的雨, 我的花园里的植物会长得更好了。

  • Sometimes the 就 is omitted in 如果…就, just like in English how you sometimes just say "if..." instead of "if...then".
  • 得 see https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Complement (here it's a complement of degree, …得更好).
  • 了 again expresses a change of state. Before the hypothetical rain they weren't growing so well, now they're growing better.
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