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https://www.duolingo.com/LeviPolasak

Chinese question: (NOT a request for the course, it's about grammar)

Would you translate this: 我吃饭 as "I eat rice", "I eat food", "I eat", or "I eat a meal"? All of my Chinese friends told me they mean all 4, but I know that 饭 = rice, but then some say it's also 'meal' or 'food'. And when you say "我吃", you HAVE TO say "我吃饭". I know people on Duolingo tend to know more about languages and their grammar, so can anyone care to explain? Thank you! And is 您 ever used? I've only read that it's a formal way to say 你, but I've never actually heard anyone say it

1 year ago

20 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/krpw1204

Great question! I'll try to answer the best I can!

Actually, we Chinese people use it as informal phrase, for 'dinner', and it also means rice, but, like MaxJiang3 said, 'I eat rice' would, specifically, translate to ‘我吃米饭’

And, I eat food, would be 我吃食物 (wo chi shi wu Mandarin), or 我吃东西(wo chi dong xi Mandarin). That's in Mandarin. In Cantonese, they have this thing where 'you eat food' would be (sorry, I can't seem to type in the word on my keyboard, so jyutping'll have to do) ngo sik ye. That is used for the Cantonese equivalent of both 我吃食物 and 我吃东西. Cantonese is fun :) also very simple :)

To answer this:

...and is 您 ever used?...

It is used as formal 你 (ni Mandarin, lei Cantonese) but it's also used when the Prime Minister of China is writing letters or other political mush. China is fun!

Also, no one's going to be requesting 'Japanese' or 'Chinese' anymore! Mandarin coming out this year, Japanese already in the incubator! Cantonese coming out around 2018-2019!

I hope this is a good explanation for you! (I'm native Cantonese and native Mandarin.)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ryannichols7
ryannichols7
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I'd be surprised if they did cantonese. isn't there not really a written standard for it at all? that said, I'd totally welcome it, but think it'd be more likely to come from hellochinese first

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pok
Pok
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I have already submitted a form quite a while ago, but still no reply. I guess Duo isn't thinking of a Cantonese course after all....

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/krpw1204

It should be in the incubator by 2018. That's what Luis said.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MaxJiang3
MaxJiang3
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Really? Could you give me a link? I have never heard of this. I thought he just said that Chinese was going to come "eventually".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/krpw1204

It's in the Reddit AMA, which I can't find either. He said that most on the community's Wish List will come out this year.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/krpw1204

Standard Chinese is the standard written form, but there is also a Xantonese writing form.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Pok
Pok
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Yes; it has already been applied to the zh-cn -> en speakers course. But there are quite a few words that can't be directly translated from Mandarin to Cantonese... 'potato' is one of them

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/krpw1204

Yes...

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mandiras
Mandiras
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What are your sources for the Mandarin and Cantonese courses? I'd say the chance of seeing Mandarin in beta this year is as plausible as Japanese releasing at its current time estimate (close to none, when you look at how long other languages have spent in the incubator). I was pleasantly surprised to suddenly see it pop up in the incubator though.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/krpw1204

Like I said, native Mandarin and Cantonese here.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LeviPolasak

He meant the sources for the Mandarin and Cantonese courses (I think). Thank you for your help! I am learning Mandarin :P

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/krpw1204

You're welcome!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mandiras
Mandiras
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Correct. Updated my post to make the question clearer.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/krpw1204

In the Reddit AMA, Luis said so.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MaxJiang3
MaxJiang3
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I think the most natural translation would be "I eat a meal". If you wanted to say "I eat rice", you would specify by saying "我吃米饭". "I eat food" would be "我吃食物". "I eat" would just be "我吃". Although the translation would depend a lot on the context. I don't really understand what you mean by that other question, but if you want to say something like "I'm eating", you would say "我在吃饭", adding the "饭".

Yes, 您 is used. It's basically a formal way to say "you" like you said. I've mostly heard it at restaurants and stores from employers to customers, though I don't live in China so they may use it in other situations as well (I would imagine that they use it when talking to elders and their higher-ups).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LeviPolasak

So to say 'I'm eating" you'd say 'Wo zai chi fan"? Even though it doesn't have to be rice? And how would you say "I'm eating food" (with the zai)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MaxJiang3
MaxJiang3
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Okay, a little correction, "我在吃饭" would usually mean that you are eating a meal. For other things, you would replace "饭" with whatever you're eating. For example, "I'm eating food" would be "我在吃食物". However, you wouldn't really say "我在吃" by itself to mean that you are eating something in general. Right now, the only time I can think that one would say "我在吃" is if the thing that you are eating has already been established. For example, if someone asks "你在吃饭吗?", you could answer "我在吃", without saying "饭" (in fact, adding it would make it kind of awkward).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/krpw1204

Um, wo zai chi fan is Mandarin. Cantonese is ngo hei do sik gun fan

Just a fact.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jdou

Just my 2 cents. 我吃饭= I eat a meal. 饭could mean rice in south China since that is their staple food, but not necessary true everywhere. Don't over think it, and sorry I never learned grammar in Chinese. 您 is typically used to address someone older (of a higher generation like grand parents or uncles), or of a higher status than you, like a teacher/master or your boss etc. It's not used as frequently now, mostly in formal settings or people you really respect or want to suck up too.

1 year ago