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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation on 08/15/2020 in Posts

  1. 3 points
    We just released a huge update to the dictionary, which adds another 700+ completed entries and brings the total up to just over 2700 characters (announcement here). We're also running a little summer sale, with 20% off anything in the store if you use the discount code 'summer20' at checkout.
  2. 2 points
    The linguist John McWhorter covered how "standard languages" come about. Most of us have a sense that that standard language is spoken in some place....whereas the reality it's usually an artificially created "standard" and it's standard for now. The standard may be different in 50, 100 or more years. E.g., Americans tend to think that American newscaster English is based on some place vaguely in the center of the country; it's not. Newscaster English was a created standard. As zhouhaochen, "standard" Mandarin is based on what is spoken in Northern China - but just based on. I've heard some say it's based on Beijing mandarin, but what a native Beijing taxi driver says is far afield from more educated person (drivers seem to add "er" to every word). I was surprised in one of my first trips to China, a colleague in Hangzhou said "You have a good accent." He didn't say I spoke well - just that my accent was good - because I said things like 一点儿. Similarly, I've had friends from Fujian & Taiwan say "Your Chinese is much better than mine." These are individuals whose entire schooling, including college, was in Mandarin. Their Mandarin is way way way above mine. However, they've been taught to think their accent in Mandarin is "bad." The sounds may not be as clear to others from outside the area, but they would be clear to those in the South. E.g., I might have trouble understanding a "thick" Scottish accent, but a local Scot could understand it more easily. They might have trouble understanding me. What constitutes an accent is based on perspective.
  3. 1 point
    Here's an example of current language use in mountain climbing: (It's also a pretty good movie with top cast and great scenery.) https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/59183-%E6%94%80%E7%99%BB%E8%80%85-the-climbers/ The titile of the film is 攀登者 pandengzhi. English translation "The Climbers." I saw it on the big screen in Kunming. Don't know about its availability as a download. Most of it was filmed in Tibet. Directed by Tsui Hark 徐克。 Here are some clips: https://movie.douban.com/video/104243/
  4. 1 point
    There can be several levels of this: a language may not have a precise word for the concept and require multiple words to convey the same idea. In other cases, a word may be relatively precise in one language and have more meanings in another (i.e., mountain climbing in English has a more narrow meaning than 爬山 in Chinese). For new concepts, other words may evolve to fill that gap or the language may borrow words from others. A fun example (and this is specifically for the other Monty Python fans I've seen post to this site): Why is junk email called "spam" in English? What does the "meat" called spam have to do with email? The book "The Etymologicon" related the story of one of the first computer viruses: It would trigger computers to print, on-screen, an endless loop of the lyrics to the Monty Python song "Spam". And thus this word evolved to describe needless emails. (the programming language "Python" also derives from MP, albeit for unknown reasons) Chinese friends often ask me "what is the word for...." and sometimes I can't think of just 1 word. I have to "work around it" to describe the same thing in English. Sometimes, the English words lack the same "ring" as in Chinese. For example, while I can translate 很麻烦 in multiple ways into English (that's annoying, what a bother, what a hassle...), I prefer the Chinese word and wish I could use it with my English speaking friends. Situations like this can trigger vocabulary sharing between languages when enough people speak the same 2nd language.
  5. 1 point
    That's more usually 登山 in the context of e.g. an Everest summit attempt. ETA: see https://baike.baidu.com/item/登山/6176955 or http://cmasports.sport.org.cn for example
  6. 1 point
    Mandarin is based on what is spoken in Northern China (actually school children after liberation in Chengde), so thats what was defined as correct and so the closer you are to that kind of correct the more correct you are. In reality of course this is also just an accent or dialect or language or whatever you want to call it, no more or less correct than what anyone else speaks. A Yunnan farmer who cant read or write speaks. It was just decided that this is the standard for political reasons and thats what it is. Had they decided to make the way that Yunnan farmer speaks the standard then he would be completely correct and everyone else would be as correct as they speak similarly to him. Education is then used to get other people to speak like that kind "correct speech“ and the more people spend studying it the more similar they will be able to speak to what has been defined as correct so one can see that they spent more time being "educated". Judging people by speaking "well" or not is just a way to make sure that you can easily know who comes from a rich family and was brought in an "educated" way and who didnt and is not really supposed to be part of the ruling elite, because their parents didnt have the means to get him to speak more similar to what has been defined as "correct". However, thats just my own opinion.
  7. 1 point
    Is the search function the same? I know on the OED CD-ROM, the function which allows you to search not just for dictionary entries but for any word or phrase appearing anywhere in the text of the dictionary is invaluable. I'd also make clear whether you're getting the dictionary downloaded to your device, or whether you're just buying online access. Of course you need to make sure you're getting the unabridged original dictionary. Dictionary names and how they are sold can be confusing.
  8. 1 point
    HK Book City is selling it for about US$150. (But buy at least 60 copies and you'll get a 20 percent discount.) Note that international shipping at the moment is really expensive because HK Post has stopped most overseas airmail service, so the store's using DHL etc. http://www.hkbookcity.com/showbook2.php?serial_no=116294
  9. 1 point
    From my own experience, there are the two things you need. Your passport and the certificate/letter that says you’re free to marry. In my case this was provided by the U.K. embassy here. For foreigners marrying Chinese people you need to go to the home province’s capital city. The smaller cities can not handle Chinese-Foreign marriages. For example, if you’re boyfriend was from Qingdao In Shandong you'd have to go to Jinan. There was no one else at the office when we went. We didn’t see anyone else getting married the whole time. One person at the office spoke enough English and insisted on doing so even though we were all speaking Chinese. They had examples of forms with English translations on then to see what each box was asking for. My form was Chinese but my answers were in English. The whole process took about 15 minutes. The longest part was waiting for the marriage books once everything is done. You also need to have your passport and letter translated. My letter was bilingual mostly but it still needed to be translated at a verified/official translation office. I guess it might be obvious but we called the wedding office to check what we needed and also had a local friend go there to ask. It wasn’t mentioned. It’s more than likely the wedding office you go to has a translator that they use. Just use them because they know exactly what the office wants. It’s worth knowing in case you plan to go to the wedding office for opening and have a train that day... only to be told you need things translated. That initial translation took about 30-40 minutes. After you have been married, you should probably take all the stuff back to the translators office and have them translate it all into English, stamp it, etc. We were told you this translation must be done in the city/province you’re married in. However, they could have just been getting us to pay them to do it! 😂 It wasn’t that expensive anyway. This involves translating more stuff so was about a 1-2 hour wait. Do you mind if I ask how you will do this?
  10. 1 point
    How can I have an I-talki type lesson, where the teacher is not just explaining stuff to me, that’s not a drill, but rather has a communicative purpose? What can I give them that outlines a speaking lesson related to what I have recently studied and want to practice(I.e jobs, food, personal traits, hobbies, travel etc)? I have tried a number of teachers. The first session is always fine, because it has the purpose of basic intro/ask/answer about each other - a genuine reason for communication. I find on subsequent lessons, I don’t know how to get a purpose to speak. -Discussing an article would be great, but is too had right now, because my level/vocab is not high enough -I tried following a book together, but they seem to focus too much on explaining grammar or vocabulary. I can do this on my own! I need them to practice speaking and listening with. *I’m at an elementary level, been studying for around 8 months consistently.
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