Pronunciation: 空车

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by yuechu, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. yuechu Senior Member

    Canada, English

    I was watching a Chinese TV show today and saw the words 空车 written on a taxi. Should they be pronounced kong1che1?
  2. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    Yes. 空车 = "empty" car = "This is an empty car" = "Vacant/for rent".
  3. yuechu Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Thanks, SuperXW! I wasn't sure because one of the dictionaries I use has the definition "vacant" for the pronunciation kong4. 谢谢啊!
  4. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    kong1 also has the meaning of vacent.
    Maybe it's not reasonable, but normally people say:
    kong1: 空车, 空屋, 屋里面是空的.
    kong4: 空地, 空缺, 空额, 空当, 空白.
    You can see, when there is a concrete thing with a enclosed space, we use kong1.
  5. yuechu Senior Member

    Canada, English
    In the following sentence (from Wikipedia), 空房 would be pronounced kong1fang2, right?
  6. ElGarcia Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    This is an interesting question. I hear people say both kong1fang2 and kong4fang2, and I think each has a point. For both 空kong1 and 空kong4 have the meaning of vacant/vacancy, though the former is adjective and the latter is a noun (as explained in dictionary). However, in these words I see 空kong4 can also be an adjective: 空地 空座 空场(this might be dialectic) where I would consider kong1 as incorrect, or at least unnatural. In the case of 空车, however, kong1 is definitely the natural choice. 空房 is a little in between, and either would do IMO. Actually 空房 is not a very common expression in Chinese, I think 空房间 sounds better, where 空 should be pronounced as kong1, or 空余房间,where 空 would be kong4.

    Edit: I just noticed Super XW's answer above. Actually it might have something to do with the tone of the following/ending character. 空车,空屋,空窗,etc, all end with tone 1, and 空 is only acceptable as kong1. In words that end with 3 or 4 (空地,空座,空位,空当)空 should be pronounced as kong4. As for words ending with tone 2... well like 空房 or 空床 I think both are pronounced but maybe kong4 is somewhat preferred.
    This rule doesn't apply to 空白/空缺 as here 空 is a noun (not adjective+noun but noun+noun structure), thus kong4.

    Edit again (please disregard the above)- No, I was deceived. I just thought about 空碗 空瓶 空盒 空井 etc. and had to agree with Super XW. We use kong1 when referring to the physical status of a container, and kong4 when expressing that something is not occupied/used/claimed. Therefore 空房 can be pronounced either way depending on what you want to stress- that the rooms (房间 is better here) or suites are empty (kong1) or that nobody is living or using them (kong4).
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015
  7. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    It is interesting that we picked the tone subconsciously. Although we've been following some guidelines, we never noticed that. Even being asked, after thinking, few people can tell the guideline.
  8. ElGarcia Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    Yes... It must be frustrating for language learners though..
  9. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    That's surprising.

    I think what confused or led people here to put that guideline temporarily aside is the original question of the thread: 空车 kong1, which is technically not an "empty" car for it certainly has a Taxi driver, not to mention seats and all necessary equipment. 空閨 kong1 is not an "empty" room either, for it has furniture and is occupied by a person (woman), perhaps with maids. 空巢家庭 kong1 does not mean nobody in the family. The parents actually still live there. Those examples of 空 kong1 refer to the absence of an implied, specific object (e.g., passenger in 空车, husband in 空閨, children in 空巢家庭).
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015

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