New Members - What is a word that you have learned recently?

This is a topic designed for New Members.

Just add a comment below with a Chinese word that you learned recently. 


"I just had my first class so we learned Ni Hao, hello" or "I listened to a Chinese podcast a few days where I learned Robot 机器人 jī qì rén"

You can use pinyin or characters, whichever is better for your level. If you want to look up the word to make sure you have it right you can use

So what is a word that have you learned recently?

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Oh, lucky you, and that's easy one to say since it's all 'flat' tone! Somehow the city names translated to Chinese make sense after a while, but I really have to say them out loud to figure out does it really sound like the original name of the city.

I know what you mean MD. It took me almost a full year of studying Mandarin before I even thought to look up my own name. I went on to search for how to write Philadelphia and it was a nightmare to remember. I still have to look it up when I want to use it.

Hahah, did you find any good translation or hanzis for your name? Or were they just randomnized to make no sense? While being in Shanghai I totally got the rid of my surname, since it seemed to make people frustrated (Vainikainen.. It won't bring any problems to Japanese since Finnish equals Japanese in pronounciation, but oh god to Chinese folks it was pure terror). Wáng was a fine choice back then...

I can only believe - I googled Philadelphia, and  费 fèi chéng doesn't even seem to have pronounciation similarities with the English name of the city D: That would be problematic to me too.

Hey MD,  for my name (Matt or Matthew) I found 马特 and 马太 to be the most common.  But a Taiwanese girl recently told me 马修 or 玛窦 (Matthew from the Bible) would be better.  She also said my full name would be 司马修 (Matthew Sikora) but I think that's stretching it a bit!

I've also seen Philadelphia the way you wrote above, but the whole name is 费拉德尔菲亚  Fèi lā dé'ěr fēi yà 。(Yikes!)

I didn't know that Japanese "equals" Finnish in pronunciation.  That's really interesting because, for some reason, I've always thought of Scandinavia as the Japan of the West (perhaps for similar taste in minimalist furniture?)  Is there any merit to that or am I severely misguided?  You can tell my I'm insane; I won't be offended.

Hi Sikora,
Oh yes, Chinese translations for the names from the Bible would be good choises too. No bigger head scratching for that~

Yeah, I too think the sense of aesthetics of Nordics and Japan are similar (simple, and inspired by nature),  so don't worry, you are all sane so far. There are also small elements that brings these together, like 'no touch!' culture, or having 'unusually large personal space' etc. But there is also the ultimate Western side too :)

I'm just starting out and learnt the word for here: 这里. I can remember this because it is pronounced similar to my name!

that's a good one to start with Julie - for some reason i always liked both of those words / characters, they just made sense to me (as opposed to innumerable characters that did not) and were frequently used in daily life.

Yeah Julie, the character 这 is so common in spoken Chinese.  It's a great one to know and be able to pick out easily.  I once heard someone saying,  "这个..." over and over again (I thought the person was stuttering).  Later on I realized that it is just a way to hesitate and give yourself some time to think - similar to how we might say, "Ummm..." or "Well, you know..." or "It's just that..."  I think you'll really find this character popping up all over the place now.

I often hear "这个..." and I wondered what it meant.  Thanks.  This is really helpful.

That's really interesting! Thanks.

Since we're on the topic of using conversational "fillers", here are some more:

  • If you are looking to fill a pause in a conversation, you can also use:

那么, 那么 -  well...

Nàme, nàme

嗯,嗯 - yeh...

Ń, ń

  • If you want to signal that you are following along with what a person is saying or if you want to agree with the person, say:

是,是  - yes, yes

Shì, shì.

嗯,嗯  - yeh, yeh

Ń, ń.

对,对 - right, right

Duì, duì.

Haha, I have a funny story with  那个nà ge to share. Last year I met two British tourists and since they knew I study Chinese, they asked me if i share their impression that Chinese people are some kind of racist.

I was thinking about it and said, they are not better or worse than German or American people and wanted to know why they thought in this way. The guy answered: "We don't understand Chinese, but they very often say: "Nigger!"

I needed a moment before I understood that he meant 那个nà ge, which is, as mentioned before, "Ummm..." or "Well, you know..." or "It's just that...". =) 笑死我了


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