Questions tagged [chinese]

A branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family which is mostly spoken in China and consists of many spoken varieties, including the standard and most prominent variety, Mandarin. For non-linguistic questions about the Chinese language, visit our sister site Chinese Language Stack Exchange.

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Question about Chinese stress

Does Chinese have stress, as many people suggested there’s stress on Chinese trisyllabic words?
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Is there such a thing as attributive vs. modifier uses of adj? Is un rojo carro vs. un carro rojo the same difference as 红房子 vs. 红的房子?

In teaching Spanish I often explain the difference between pre-nominal adjectives and post-nominal adjectives as the difference between an English noun phrase in which the adjective is stressed, and ...
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How is the ability of sortal classifiers to form compound words in Chinese and other Sino-Tibetan languages?

I couldn't find how in general sortal classifiers work in compound words but I notice the following myself. By sortal classifiers I mean those that actualize shape boundaries, in contrast with ...
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1 answer
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Are alveolo-palatal consonants more likely to be followed by high vowels, whereas retroflex consonants are more likely followed by low vowels?

It seems to me that high voles like i would more naturally follow alveolo-palatal consonants because the need to "spread the lips" (in the popular description of the latter) seem to more ...
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Why do Korean and Japanese share similar borrowed Chinese characters and is different from Chinese language?

In Japanese and Korean, "promise" is 約束 (yakusoku) and 약속 (yagsog). Both came from the Chinese characters 約束. However, 約束 in Chinese does not mean "promise" and actually means &...
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How to diagram control sentence in Chinese?

For Chinese control sentence, "Zhangsan de fuqin ganxie Lisi bangzhu LE ta"' "Zhangsan 's father thank Lisi help PERFECT ASPECT he " Zhangsan's father thanks ...
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What does Axel Schuessler mean by "area word"?

My son's studying Chinese. His teacher asked how 念 semantically appertains to its components 今心. I don't speak Chinese, and he had no idea. Then we resorted to Wiktionary that refers to Axel ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Are there human general communication languages without a future tendency?

In Thai language there is no past tense, at least not for negative sentences: A Thai person might say "I don't go" (ฉัน ไม่ ไป) while the listener is expected to guess from the context if ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Mechanism(s) as to how the pronunciations of「也」and its Old Chinese "homophones"/phonetically-derivative glyphs drifted to the modern range of sounds?

In my question https://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/47777/meaning-of-early-written-versions-of-%E5%9C%B0-and-etymology, I learned that the modern character for "earth, ground"「地」(dì) ...
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Is the Greek ζ related to the Chinese 子?

I wonder whether there is any connections between the two letters. After all, they are both similar to the Phoenician Sade letter, and the Phoenicians were the dominant culture of the Mediterranean ...
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How do you distinguish verbs, nouns, and adjectives in Chinese?

I am messing around with a conlang and trying to figure out how to write sentences. Man this is hard, there are so many possibilities and I don't know where to start. But basically, I am looking at ...
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Number of tones in Cantonese vs. Mandarin and final stops

The emergence of tones in Chinese languages (and actually most tonal languages) is, roughly speaking, due to the loss of final consonnants of syllables at an earlier stage of the language. In ...
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Are there any known linguistic patterns that cause the verb "have" to take on this additional function?

I'm a native English speaker that has been learning Mandarin. The Mandarin equivalent to the English verb "to have" is "有". As far as I can tell these two words are a 1 to 1 ...
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4 answers
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Generic name for Hànzì/Kanji/Hanja/Chữ nôm/Sawndip?

So I was thinking about how to talk about these characters in a culturally-neutral way. Chinese seems to be used, but it implies a particular way of writing characters (not to mention it makes it ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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About the "ᵊ" superscript in IPA

I apologize for a diletant question but does "ə" in "piᵊŋ" indicate a secondary articulation? I couldn't find it in the list of "Co-articulation diacritics" on Wikipedia'...
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1 answer
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How mutually intelligible are the different Mandarin dialects?

This is a question about dialects placed under the umbrella of "Mandarin", not languages which are considered separate from Mandarin like Cantonese or Wu. Wikipedia says that "Southwest ...
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Why do Chinese and Hindi have more terms for relatives than English does?

I was thinking about labels we assign family members (like cousin, grand mother etc.) and it struck me that in my native language of Hindi, we have different labels for maternal and paternal family ...
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Measuring lexical similarity between two arbitrary languages

Pardon me if this question is naive, but I am wondering if there is a way to quantify lexical similarity between two corpora of text, each written in different languages whose alphabets differ greatly....
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3 votes
1 answer
571 views

What exactly is Minimal Distance Principle and how is it applied here?

In my previous question, I referred to the analysis of indirect passives in Chinese from "The Syntax of Chinese". They mention "Minimal Distance Principle": In this structure, the verb dasi ‘kill’ ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Difference between PRO and OP

What's the difference between PRO and OP? For example, on p. 142, the book "The Syntax of Chinese" presents the following tree (which is an analysis of indirect passives in Chinese): In this ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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What does 'MSP' stand for in the context of Chinese parts of speech?

The Part-Of-Speech Tagging Guidelines for the PennChineseTreebank(3.0) uses several acronyms without defining them. I am a hobbyist student of Chinese linguistics as part of my study of Chinese. I ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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How does 小 get the Sino-Vietnamse as "tiểu"?

I'm trying to re-construct the Sino-Vietnamese word of 小 (tiểu) from fanqie method mentioned here. At first, I looked up fanqie of the word from this dictionary. 小 has fanqie 私兆 which is "tư triệu" ...
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3 answers
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Is there a relatively systematic way to converter from pinyin to Sino Vietnamese words (Hán Việt) or vice versa?

I'm wondering if there's a relatively systematic way to convert from pinyin to Sino Vietnamese words (Hán Việt) or vice versa or not. For example: 国(guó) --> quốc 大(dà) --> đại 小(xiǎo) --> tiểu ...
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Similarities between Proto-Austronesian and Chinese?

Proto-Austronesian was a language that was spoken about 5,000 years ago near Taiwan. I am just curious about, partly because of the geographic connection, if Chinese is related to the Austronesian ...
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What do these subscripts/superscripts mean in IPA?

Here is an example of a sentence from the Glossika course in Taiwanese Hokkien: The "Phonics" line is the IPA line. (The "Typing" line is the Tâi-lô romanization; I don't know where the "...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is there an aggregation of Oracle Bone Script glyphs?

I am looking for something that might take a raw resource like this and instead provide a list of the discovered oracle bone script glyphs, like you would find for the CJK Unicode block for example. ...
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Why hasn't English borrowed more words from China? [closed]

Why hasn't English (or Latin/Greek/others from which English arrived) borrowed more words from China? I am looking at Wikipedia and there's probably only 30 words there out of the millions of words ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Did the Portuguese influence how days of the week are named in Vietnamese and Chinese?

The Portuguese were some of the first colonizers / missionaries in the Far East. In the case of Vietnam, they created the first phonetic transcription of the language. Interestingly, nowadays the ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Chinese writing system as a universal writing system

As an extension to my question about the "phonetic languages" I'd like to open a topic about the writing systems. As far as I understand the Chinese writing system has literally no connection at all ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Why does anger has something to do with spleen in both Chinese and English?

The English word spleen has two meanings in Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, an organ near the stomach which produces and cleans the body's blood. a feeling of anger and disagreement. ...
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What language/script did Japan during the Yamato period and earlier have?

The Yamato period (300 - 710) had an organized ruler, civilozation, etc. However, only in Nara period (710 - 794), which existed along with the Tang dynasty of China, a Japanese script and language ...
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2 answers
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Subordination. Chinese vs English

Linguists claim that subordination is universal across the world languages. Subordination in English looks can be understood by looking into these examples: I know a person who has a dog I know a ...
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Chinese linguistics: Could anyone give me pointers to the Traditional-Simplified Chinese translated corpora?

I am a computational linguist and I need some datasets to evaluate my Simplified to Traditional Chinese converter. Could anyone point to datasets which have pairs of Simplified-Traditional Chinese ...
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6 votes
1 answer
419 views

Did the removal of Chinese characters have an impact on Korean and Vietnamese?

Korean and Vietnamese used to have Chinese characters but no longer do; there has been talk (e.g. here) of doing the same in Japanese. Has there been an impact on the language? for instance changed ...
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9 votes
2 answers
410 views

Are any of the Old Chinese reconstructions for「能」plausible descendants of Proto-Sino-Tibetan /*dɣwjəm/?

(Apologies if this is off-topic.) The Chinese character「能」was originally a picture of a kind of bear. The character was once used to represent a word meaning bear, but this word doesn't appear to ...
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1 answer
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Rule-based or Statistics-based approach for generating plain language grammar rules from a text

Disclaimer: I am a software developer, not a computational linguist and I am not super familiar (though I am mildly familiar) with the field. Happy to learn and be corrected though! My use-case: I ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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why does chinese have multi-symbol words and often seem to lack single-symbol word synonyms?

Character based language seems like such a wonderful concept; Instead of describing concepts in multiple symbols using an alphabet, and decode the symbol based on sounds(then throw in a bunch of ...
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13 votes
1 answer
389 views

Whispering in languages heavily dependent on pitch or phonation distinctions

When whispering in English all (segmental) phonological distinctions can – as far as I am aware – still be made, which may be due to redundancy (or simply because voicing is optional). I even ...
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3 answers
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I have some questions about deciphering an ancient language

I’m very fascinated in learning new languages. I want to know: It is possible to decipher and learn how to talk in a ancient language? How to decipher at home any ancient language? Such as Ancient ...
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How complex contour tones get in languages

So I have seen a few tonal languages, such as Thai, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese: I'm not too familiar with which other languages have tonal features. But I'm wondering if there are any ...
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1 vote
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Understanding 5-tone register systems

After reading through the Tone Wikipedia page, I get the gist of it. Basically there are register tone systems (like Bantu languages) and contour tone systems (like Mandarin Chinese). In contour tone ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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If there is a pattern to Chinese characters

Many people say that written Chinese is a difficult language to learn because the characters don't have any relation to the sound of the word, like in English and other languages, even Japanese. But I'...
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If the Romanization of Logographic (and other) Languages is Fully Accurate

Wondering if the translation of languages such as Chinese and Japanese into Romanized versions is accurate. That is, it doesn't lose information. For example, in Romanization of Chinese, they say ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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Why do some languages distinguish between "identical" and "indistinguishable", and others don't?

In some languages, there's a very prevalent distinction between different meanings of the English word "same" as in "These two items are the same". For example German: dasselbe / das gleiche Greek: ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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How do we identify "words" in Chinese?

Chinese, when written in Han characters, does not have "word boundaries". Because Han script is a morphosyllabic script where under most circumstances each character correspond to a morpheme, it is ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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How different are Chinese dialects?

How different are Chinese dialects, on average, relative to the differences between European languages? Are the dialects spoken in Western and Eastern China as different as, say, Russian and Polish, ...
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Enumerating the possible Pinyin -> Hanzi transcriptions

Pinyin Chinese text contains less information than its Hanzi equivalent, so its transcription is ambiguous: to identify the correct characters for some given Pinyin requires context. For this reason ...
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5 votes
2 answers
246 views

Abbreviations for pinyin and hepburn transliterations?

Are there 2 letter ISO codes for the pinyin or hepburn transliterations? If not, are there non-ISO abbreviations in common use? Thanks.
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Phonemic similarities between "mother" and "father" in different language families

The words for "mother" and "father" in at least a few language families have a phonetic similarity which I find interesting. Compare the Latin and Greek words (μήτηρ/πατήρ mater/pater) with the (...
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Is Mandarin understandable by Taiwanese in written context if simplified characters are mapped to traditional ones?

According to Wikipedia entry on Taiwanese Mandarin: The official Guoyu is almost identical to the official language of the People's Republic of China, called Pǔtōnghuà, with the exception of their ...
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