What does the word 'xxx' mean?

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by CanuckAmok, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. CanuckAmok New Member

    Canada, English
    I'm just starting out in Mandarin and I want to be able to ask (in Mandarin) what a particular word means. I want to be able to say, "What does the word 'xxx' mean?"

    WordReference conveniently has "'xxx' 这个词是什么意思呢?" but I can't read characters yet. How would you write that in pinyin?

    It's driving me nuts! Thanks so much in advance.

    J.
     
  2. DernierVirage

    DernierVirage Senior Member

    Beijing, Hong Kong
    English - United Kingdom
    It's "xxx zhe4 ge0 ci2 shi4 she2 me0 yi4 si0 ne0"
     
  3. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    "什么" is pronounced shen2 me0, isn't it?
    Althoug I agree, the "n" is hardly audible, especially when the speaker's pronunciation isn't very accurate.
     
  4. DernierVirage

    DernierVirage Senior Member

    Beijing, Hong Kong
    English - United Kingdom
    You are right, it was my mistake - as the words are so simple, I didn't re-read properly what I had written :(

    Thanks for spotting this and apologies to CanuckAmok !
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  5. CanuckAmok New Member

    Canada, English
    Simple for you, DernierVirage! :)

    Thanks so much to you both. I'm hoping this little sentence will speed up my Mandarin learning.

    J.
     
  6. Jbags New Member

    Shanghai
    British English
    I was going to start a new thread on this but since its just a simple question I thought I would just tag it on here.

    Why in this case do you use 呢 instead of 吗? I am trying to learn when I should use each of these interrogatives.
     
  7. DernierVirage

    DernierVirage Senior Member

    Beijing, Hong Kong
    English - United Kingdom
    Just to start an answer (as I am sure that native speakers will correct me :)), I was taught to use 呢 to make the question "softer".
     
  8. Jbags New Member

    Shanghai
    British English
    That's what I have found in my experience as well, I think I could also comfortably use 呢 in conversation; I am just wondering if there is a deeper set of rules about when to use 呢 and 吗.

    Thanks for your answer :)
     
  9. Jerry Chan Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Cantonese, Hokkien
    吗 is only for polar (yes/no) questions.
     
  10. Jbags New Member

    Shanghai
    British English
    I see! I didn't realise the usage of 吗 was so narrow, I shall certainly keep that in mind, thanks :)
     
  11. DernierVirage

    DernierVirage Senior Member

    Beijing, Hong Kong
    English - United Kingdom
    This is so obvious, I'm embarrassed that it never even entered my mind when I wrote my previous reply :(.

    Apologies to Jbags !
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  12. Jbags New Member

    Shanghai
    British English
    hehe, no problem, I appreciate the effort! Not easy this language learning thing, even though I've been doing it a little while now I'm used to swallowing my pride and asking "basic" questions.
     
  13. SangreDeGranadas

    SangreDeGranadas Junior Member

    Madison, WI
    English- American
    What if I simply want to say "What does this/that/it mean?" Would I just say the phrase without the English word?
     
  14. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    "What does the word 'xxx' mean?" is a specific question and anyone who hears it would know what it means. "What does this/that/it mean?", on the other hand, could mean all manners of things and if you say it, you'd have a hell of a job trying to explain what you mean by it. Please tell me: what do "this", "that" and "it" mean? ;)
     
  15. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    Yes.
    zhe4 ge0 ci2 shi4 shen2 me0 yi4 si0 ne0 (What does THIS WORD mean?)
    zhe4 ge0 shi4 shen2 me0 yi4 si0 ne0 (What does THIS mean?)
    zhe4 shi4 shen2 me0 yi4 si0 ne0 (Also, what does THIS mean?)
    na4 shi4 shen2 me0 yi4 si0 ne0 (What does THAT mean?)
    ta1 shi4 shen2 me0 yi4 si0 ne0 (What does IT mean?) (Note: ta4 in Chinese is more common for person/animal/object, less common for abstract matters.)
    :)) ta4 was a typo. I corrected it since xiaolijie has pointed it out.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  16. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    ta4 in the last sentence should be in first tone: ta1.

    By the way, except for the last one, all the sentences here mean that you have to point at some word(s) while asking, and the last sentence is asking for clarification/explanation. So they are used in very different contexts from the original question "What does the word 'xxx' mean?", and not alternatives to it.
     
  17. squallleonhart New Member

    Chinese
    “xxx”,是“某某某”的意思.这种说法,通常是表示一个人的名字,但是又不方便把名字说出来,所以用“xxx”来替代.这不是中文的标准用法.
     
  18. squallleonhart New Member

    Chinese
    呢,吗,是同一个意思。一般场合可以通用。
     
  19. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    仔細看貼,你會發現樓主不是問這個……
     
  20. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    不同好嗎……?
     

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