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Thread: 我学习中文! (I'm learning Chinese)

  1. #31
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    "The astronomy forum, it permits/forgives ignorance"?

  2. #32
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    Very good. I used "allows" when I put it into babelfish.

  3. #33
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    All I need to get me by is good old Firefox and some random extensions.
    所有我需要让我的好老火狐狸和一些随机的扩展。
    Todo lo que necesitas para m es bueno por el viejo zorro de fuego y algunas extensiones al azar.
    Все что мне нужно, чтобы получить меня хорошая старая лиса огонь и некоторые случайные расширениями.
    كل ما أحتاج أن يحصل لي من هو حسن البالغ من العمر النار الثعالب وبعض الامتدادات العشوائية.

    现在我只是需要一个便携版本,可以翻译谈及飞行的语言。

    I <3 teh Firefox.

  4. #34
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    On a side note, I'm half considering learning Japanese. Not for any particular purpose other than for the sake of learning in itself. That, and I can't get enough of Japanese TV, and getting subtitled versions is nigh impossible in most cases.
    So, SolusLupus, why Chinese? Is it for something work-related, or is it for reasons similar to my own? (Learning for the sake of learning)

  5. #35
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    One is learning for the sake of learning. Another is because I have an interest in Eastern history, so learning Mandarin and Chinese characters can help.

  6. #36
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    你认识不认识他?

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolusLupus View Post
    你认识不认识他?
    Hehe. My lil' translater gave me "Do you know do not know him" for that line.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Earl View Post
    Hehe. My lil' translater gave me "Do you know do not know him" for that line.
    Not bad. Actually I'm not sure what is means, but literally it's "you something, no something him"? Which is a typical way questions are asked in Chinese. To ask if a person lives in France, you would say "you live, no live in France?" So it probably means "do you know him"? But actually I don't know what 认识 means.

    A lot of times you can read Chinese if you know Japanese, but in some cases the words are different. It's a bit like "false friends" in European languages. One good example is that 手紙 (literally "hand paper") means "letter" in Japanese, but "toilet paper" in Chinese.
    As above, so below

  9. #39
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    Actually, maybe it means "understand." So it might mean, "do you understand him?"
    As above, so below

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Earl View Post
    Hehe. My lil' translater gave me "Do you know do not know him" for that line.
    Yeap. It's a bit of Chinese grammar. It's the same as saying, "你认识他吗?" -- "Ni (you) ren shi (to meet) ta (him) ma (indicator that this is a question)?"

    Saying "Meet/did not meet" is the same as phrasing it as a question, only without any need for the "ma?".

    I'll also note that it's not particularly easier to write out, as it involves more characters (albeit repeated).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jens
    Actually, maybe it means "understand." So it might mean, "do you understand him?"
    Nope (at least, not in this particular context)! It means "To meet/know (someone)" -- such as, "Do you know/have you met this person?"

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    One good example is that 手紙 (literally "hand paper") means "letter" in Japanese, but "toilet paper" in Chinese.
    Random fact: The Chinese invented toilet paper (during the Tang Dynasty). They were criticized by the Muslims, though, as they couldn't see how just wiping could cleanse yourself.

    The first recorded use of toilet paper was made in 589, by Yan Zhitui.

  12. #42
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    The only thing I'll say, for now, for those of you who are learning putonghua is: the verb system in Chinese is deceptively simple*.

    OK, two things: it's perfectly OK to ma your ma; but you should be very, very careful not to ma your ma.

    * e.g. how to differentiate these? "I am now studying Chinese", "I study Chinese (in the evening)", "I studied Chinese (yesterday)", "I studied Chinese (in my second year at university, 30 years ago)", ...

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid
    * e.g. how to differentiate these? "I am now studying Chinese", "I study Chinese (in the evening)", "I studied Chinese (yesterday)", "I studied Chinese (in my second year at university, 30 years ago)", ...
    For "I studied Chinese", you would include a "le" for past tense. For "I study Chinese in the evening", you would specify (I'm not sure how myself). For "I studied Chinese (in my second year at university, 30 years ago)", that's a lot more words than I know how to use now.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolusLupus View Post
    For "I studied Chinese", you would include a "le" for past tense. For "I study Chinese in the evening", you would specify (I'm not sure how myself). For "I studied Chinese (in my second year at university, 30 years ago)", that's a lot more words than I know how to use now.
    I think the second would just be "wo wanshang xue putonghua."

    The "30 years ago" bit would probably use the "shi...de" formulation, but I'm not sure.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  15. #45
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    Yeah, that level of grammar is a bit ahead of me.

  16. #46
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    It's perfectly OK (well, sorta) to ma (scold) your ma (horse), but not to scold your ...

    But what distinguishes ma from ma? (HINT: they are not, as you might think, *merely* different characters ... but to many whose mother languages are Indo-European (etc), they are hononyms).

    Of course, if you are much less interested in the speaking/listening aspects (than the writing/reading) ...

  17. #47
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    Wah qwa shwah eedeeyar putonghua. Wah shwah duh boo hau.

    I took a little up on a CD from Pimsleur. I use Spanish the most since I live in a Latino neighborhood. I took up pieces of Korean but haven't used it since I retired from the post office in 2004. Polish, Ukrainian, Kiswahili and Farsi courses along with Danish are still sitting on the shelf and I will get back into them in the future. Romanian is something I am also interested in taking up. I like the way the Korean language is written and took up a little reading of Japenese from a book introducing me to Chinese idiograms. Really fascinating!

  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    It's perfectly OK (well, sorta) to ma (scold) your ma (horse), but not to scold your ...

    But what distinguishes ma from ma?.
    Pronunciation. If you wrote it in Pinyin, you should include the accents, or a number to indicate the tone. Failing that, context.

    Horse is mǎ (pronounced starting high, dipping down, and then getting back to a high note again)

    To scold/curse/revile is m (Entire dip in tone).

    Mother is mā (start high, stay high, no dipping or rising).

  19. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueshift View Post
    Wah qwa shwah eedeeyar putonghua. Wah shwah duh boo hau.

    I took a little up on a CD from Pimsleur. I use Spanish the most since I live in a Latino neighborhood. I took up pieces of Korean but haven't used it since I retired from the post office in 2004. Polish, Ukrainian, Kiswahili and Farsi courses along with Danish are still sitting on the shelf and I will get back into them in the future. Romanian is something I am also interested in taking up. I like the way the Korean language is written and took up a little reading of Japenese from a book introducing me to Chinese idiograms. Really fascinating!
    I (?) study (studied?) a little Chinese. I studied badly (I didn't study very well).

    Or, perhaps instead of 'study' (xue), 'write' (xie):

    I can write a little Chinese. I write badly.

    Or, perhaps, 'speak' (shuo):

    I can speak a little Chinese. I speak badly.

  20. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolusLupus View Post
    Pronunciation. If you wrote it in Pinyin, you should include the accents, or a number to indicate the tone. Failing that, context.

    Horse is mǎ (pronounced starting high, dipping down, and then getting back to a high note again)

    To scold/curse/revile is m (Entire dip in tone).

    Mother is mā (start high, stay high, no dipping or rising).
    Bingo!

    Chinese is a tonal language, unlike any (contemporary) Indo-European language.

    There are many tonal languages - Thai, Vietnamese, a great many native to sub-Saharan Africa, ...

    It's not easy to master the tones, but it can be done (I recall watching a nationally televised New Year's performance by a young - foreign - student in Beijing, who not only spoke fluently and very much like a native, but also delivered a horribly difficult, long tongue-twister, involving tones, both fast and flawlessly ... he got a standing ovation). Does any reader know about the lion, the poet, and the stone?

  21. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereid View Post
    Bingo!
    They kind of covered it on the first day.

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