Translation:What is your name?
'what do you call yourself' vs 'what is your name'. in my opinion, interchangeable.
i do not think i had ever asked sb '你叫什么名字？', except to ask a kid.
'您的名字是?' equals 'your name is?' 'Votre nom est?' '你的名字是?', i often choose this one to ask people their name.
or '请问您怎么称呼?','我怎么称呼你?‘i also ask for a person's name these ways.
Yes, you are right. I am a Chinese and I can tell you that normally if you want to ask someone's name in a polite way, always add 请问 at the beginning. However, according to Chinese culture, the way to ask a person's name should depend on who that person is. For instance, if that person is like ten or fifteen years old, you can just ask 你叫什么名字. If that person looks like your age and you want to be polite, you can add请问into that sentence. But, if that person is an elder people, like 60 to 80 years old. NEVER ask their names by saying 你叫什么名字, it will be considered as disrespectful. A polite way to ask an elder people's name is to say 请问您怎么称呼？您 is the formal form of 你. It shows respect to the person that you are speaking with. So the translation of that sentence can be "How may I address you". Hope this will help.
Why not? I think that "excuse me" could be used to attract attention to your question... Instead "Hey, you!" And it could be a little bit rude or too straight forward to ask someone's name without asking for excuse first, Maybe this person does not want to know you and tell his or her name...
字 (zi) is often used as a particle to make a word whole since there are many variations of "ming" that could create confusion. It kind of gives context. In this case the meaning is given by 名 (ming), so together they mean "name". 什 (shen) doesn't really have a meaning on its own and 么 (me) is a particle/sufix that frequently used to imply question. Together, 什么 (shenme) could be best translated as "what?", question mark included.
Chinese has its own ways of indicating that there is a question involved. Several, in fact. Punctuation in Chinese (at least most of it) is an adaptation of the (early) twentieth century. Foreign Christian educators brought their home languages’ influence, and Chinese writers chose to modernize their own language.
From the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th, a large component of western interest in China was focused through western (Christian) missionaries especially in the areas of medicine and education and language. As time went on, many Chinese scholars were influenced by these missionaries. For example, Sun Yat-sen was a medical doctor as well as a great and passionate national leader, and Christian educators provided significant parts of his education. Christian missionaries studied the Chinese language so they could better explain and persuade the Chinese of the truth-claims of Christianity, and wanted Chinese to have access to education, not just Christian education. At the same time, and sometimes overlapping these efforts, Chinese scholars furthered huge language reforms that yielded, for example a female character for the third person (她), as well as comprehensive development and use of simplified characters. HSN, you have apparently gained good exposure to a lot of ideas, so you will recognize that the full history involves many more details than will fit in a chat room! Keep inquiring!
Also, HSN, since most western educators in China were specifically Christian, when they encouraged western innovations like punctuation, this was an example of their influence. Going back the other way, I wish westerners would adapt (what I understand is) the Chinese innovation of the serial comma, which helps make sense of list-related strings of characters, and would be helpful in many western-language situations.
First question: they kind of so literally, but Chinese tends to favour double syllables to make sure everyone knows what they are talking about :) That's partly because there are no more than 410 syllables phonetically, so without this it would be even more 'context-dependent' to get what they are talking about. If you just hear ming2, that has about 16 different meanings, while ming2zi has only one.
Second question: see above :D (什 also means 'what', 么 indicates interrogative mood, but using the two together is what truly clarifies the meaning...)
Yes it seems more of a review for someone who has already been studying before. Its a start and so I appreciate that people are offering this for free, but it is a big disappointment after seeing how good the French course is. I'm hoping they make a lot of improvements in the future. I have still been able to learn little but it is very frustrating that no meanings are included and its up to us to get the meaning elsewhere and somehow put it together. So, just to affirm your experience. I hope you get some value.
I've been learning, and I would say the course is actually great I'm improving, you just have to take this course a lot slower rather than rushing through it. Take the time to click and remember each character and read the comment sections. Hopefully they can make it more beginner friendly in the future.
Yes, the courses do have their inconsistencies, but you should see the textbook I have from a century ago! I would never (well...) have stuck with learning that. As a more experienced learner, I chafe at the first lessons’ overly repetitive and not always quite correct, to my understanding, items; but much of learning Chinese requires memorization and more memorization. Stick with it, even when it’s confusing or abstruse.
When I started learning Japanese, I started learning in romaji (romanized Japanese) for almost a year before switching to kana and kanji. While it was easier at first, I feel like it noticeably delayed my reading and writing and I ended up spending a lot more energy un-learning many of the early associations I made with the romanized version of the language. If your goal in Chinese is literate fluency, I feel you're better off learning the 汉字 right from the start.
FWIW, it helps a lot to remember characters if you make a list of the ones you've learned and practice writing them (with proper stroke order). In addition to helping you remember what they look like, knowing how the characters are written also makes it easier to learn new characters, and helps you to better recognize stylized fonts, sloppy handwriting, small or blurry text, etc.
The meanings come up on touchscreens when the sentence in characters has dots underneath. Tap on a character, and it shows the meaning and a couple of combinations. Also, download the TinyCard app, and study the 500 Basic Characters . This gives a lot of precise study of sound, meaning, and translation. Just recently I figured out that I can use the word bank in Duolingo to figure out which characters I need to hand-write the Chinese translations; learning to recognize characters is good, but for me at least, I need to practice actually writing characters to be able to write them without copying them.
Everybody keeps saying you have the meaning when you hover over the word. This is not true. You just get the character and the sound. This is very well done in itself, but useless if no meaning is attached. The meaning is only given when you hover over the characters in the very last two items of each lesson. So you're expected to learn these meaningless sounds and characters before you finally find out what they mean.
They are not "words" as we understand this term. They are "semantic units". Our own semantic units in Western languages, are words, it's why we separate them with spaces, because trytoreadthis. But as they don't use letters producing sounds, they don't need to separate them to be able to read. In Arabics too, no space between words.
In Ancient languages, Latin and Ancient Greek, there was not spaces between letters, it was harder to read, and often caused alteration of the meaning by wrong words cutting.
No, as in other ancient languages, everything runs together and the skilled reader learns to recognize how to group the letters and decide where words and sentences end (as in Classical Greek). As modern readers we sometimes fail to appreciate the blessings derived from centuries of development—from caps and lower case to contractions to the full range of punctuation—although learning all the rules escapes many.
Very good question. In Chinese, if you look at the word 姓名, 姓 means family name and 名 means the first name. But if you ask a people's name by saying 你叫什么名字, in this sentence, 名字 means name. We rarely ask only a person's first name when we first met each other. Even on special occasions where only first names are required, you can still get a person's first name by asking his or her full name, isn't it? Hope this will help.
I would really like to see the pinyin along with the characters. Also, I would really appreciate if there was a way to slow down the speaker. I understand that I can click each character individually to hear it, but it doesn't allow me to hear the sentence smoothly. But when I simply click the button to hear the sentence, it is read way too quickly for me, a newbie.
Can someone help me understand? In the French lessons duo seems to prefer the most literal translation. Here I did that (You are called what name?) and got marked wrong. How do I know when Duo wants literals and when it wants most common casual English? (What is your name?) Thanks for any help you can offer.
I don't think that Duo likes literal translation in the French lessons, but remember, English and French are cousins, so they can be more literal to each other. With Chinese, it's another philosophy.
Try to make English sentence. Perfectly correct English sentences. Imagine a Chinese want to make you read a novel he translated from Chinese to English, but he refuses to change the order of the words to make it compliant with the English grammar rules. Or any other exotic language: Luck good to that read.
You see, that's a nonsense. You have to write in good English, whatever the order of the Chinese words. "You are called what name" is perfectly strange English. I never heard anyone use that.
In French: Je m'appelle Michel. In English, it's not "I call myself Michael". (Would you talk like this?) It's: My name is Michael....
Even your literal translation should be correct English. Duo rarely if ever considers a literal translation as incorrect in courses that I have done, but the translation must obey the grammar rules in the target language to be considered correct. It is doesn't then you need to change it (as little as possible) to come up with a grammatically correct "literal" translation. Your translation of "You are called what name" is not really good English even though it is easily understood, so I assume that is why it has not been included in the list of correct answers.
I totally agree with you and have said this many times but apparently no one from DUO reads these or pays attention. Since there is no way to report this, I guess I will just keep repeating myself. It can be so easily fixed and yet its so useless as it is with just random shape and sound and no meaning.
From this point on I've mostly focused on Japanese so i have a question about names (especially given names). In Japanese, one Kanji can have multiple pronounciacions, like (this is a bad example cause it's a comon word but let's pretend it's just a name) 火山(Kasan) could also technically be 火山 (Hiyama). In Chinese, can names be bent a bit, and/or do they have occasionally special name pronounciacions? (i.e.)
My screen says in gray at the bottom of comment how long ago it was written. Does your screen not show that? Anyway I don't think its stupid at all to make a comment or ask a question (no matter when comment was made) its still a thought that is out there and so useful to all of us reading.
On my iPad I can switch from writing English letters to writing pinyin and getting an array of possible characters and likely combinations by tapping a button. I can tap that button again and get a screen on which to write characters, which the app reads and offers correctly-written characters I select to insert.
That depends what device you are using, and the situation. In simple situations you can copy and paste. On Android and Windows you can install Chinese as a language option, which usually gives you access to a couple of options for typing, such as handwriting and Pinyin typing. If you're going to carry on with the language, that would be a useful thing to do anyway.
No, there are no spaces between words or sentences. There's punctuation, which is a recent addition to the language, and paragraphing. You learn to differentiate by experience, Chinese has what can be called "semantic units" where each "word, phrase, idiom, saying" can consist of 1 or more (e.g. 14) characters. It can be written in a vertical line, read from top to bottom, or in a horizontal line, read from left to right, like English.
1 character=字，2 characters=词，3 or more characters (can be) 短语，4 fixed characters=成语，more than four fixed characters (variable, can be) 谚语、歇后语、俗语、名句……
Fixed characters often (always?) have "origin stories" or are taken from famous works of famous writers and authors e.g. poems and each 朝代 (era, dynasty) has its own form e.g. 唐诗、宋词、散文、小说 that was developed and perfected in that period of time.
Ancient works used more monosyllabic "units" whereas modern Chinese uses disyllabic ones. Hence 名 is name but 名字, which also means name, sounds "smoother"（比较顺）.
Not sure but in paintings and writing its all in a line from top to bottom. I think you need to know the concepts and meanings so you recognize where the characters change to the next one. I'm very new to learning the language but have studied some Chinese art. Maybe someone with more knowledge could confirm this?
Karuna, maybe you already have your answer, but here’s my two cents’ worth: traditionally, Chinese was written in vertical lines. Those who own visual art like paintings used to write their own poetry and comments in suitable places on the paper or silk, and of course, this would be vertical. The ideal man has great artistic and calligraphic skills (in the traditional view) so the additions represent not only valuable thoughts inspired by the art but visually pleasing additions. Over the past century or so Chinese intellectuals have moved to be more compatible with Western conventions in areas like punctuation (and Chinese went above and beyond with a serial comma to simplify lists!) and reading horizontally, left to right.
My name is Linda. . Sometimes I see 'you are' contracted to the word 'your'. You is a possessive pronoun. 'You're' is the contraction for 'you are'. This is a tricky one for English speakers. It is one of our most common errors in writing. Otherwise, I appreciate your program.
RachCos, it’s a question of translation theory. Since a chinese first name is an English last name, (or is it the other way around) you as a translator have to translate the thought so the meaning in language A is understood by the language B reader (of indeterminate cultural Fluency) will understand with minimal ambiguity. So 性or 名字 or 叫 basically can’t be translated either way in terms of first or last names. Although modern English speakers infrequently refer to surname (or even “given name” anymore), one almos has to use them in translating from Chinese. From what little I know of Arabic, that language’s terminology is even more confusing than Russian.
As a native (American) English speaker, I cannot imagine a context when I might ask, “by what name do you call yourself.” If you are a native English speaker, I would venture that you’re in the same boat. Hence the art of translating a thought unit or cluster into a different language: literal or contextual. How would you express the one Chinese thought cluster into an English thought cluster so an English-speaker would consider it well written, while you as the technician (translator) are satisfied that it conveys the intent of the original language?
GTurner, somehow I got that selection option back. So now I am a fish in deep water really learning the characters. I discovered keyboards months ago (other languages also have their keyboards) and my iPad lets me switch back and forth. For me, recalling and writing characters is by far the toughest and slowest part of learning Chinese.
All depends on your learning style. there are tapes/CD's in the Pimsleur brand (something close to that I think) They believe one should learn by listening, which I bet works well for aural learners. If you are more visual then maybe writing the characters along with the pin yin would work better for you. You need to explore what is most fun for your brain.
Thanks for your comment. Learning styles aside, I need to practice writing characters to learn how to write them. In my experience, recognizing and writing characters are not equivalent skills. My question is whether DL still offers the opportunity to hand write characters to provide answers, as it has in the past.
Jazmine, in my experience, recognizing characters is one skill, and I can recognize many more characters than I can write spontaneously. Writing characters is a fine motor skill,mas is handwriting in any language or script. Just as knowing how to spell is a different skill in alpha-based writing, stroke order and balance are separate and important skills in Chinese, as is knowing what strokes go into each character. Duolingo used to offer a selection box where you could choose to hand-write your answers if you had a Chinese dictionary loaded on your (my) iPad. I haven’t seen it lately, but I don’t know whether that option is offered only on certain lessons.
Just like you have different screens, it's possible those who use the mobile phone may find the hover to get meaning easier, than the laptop users. It calls for screen optimization... If they could hear us!! Meanwhile, it's advised to use a book and other sources to make learning more productive.
It's easy to guess what the sentence is translated to based on the choices given. However, that is not teaching us word association. For example, if I ask you what "XBXT" means and the only possible sentence is "What is your name" then I'm not learning anything. Clearly, it's "what is your name." I don't even have to think about it.
Actually, as an educator, it may not be giving you enough of a challenge for your level, but it is the first step in associating an unknown symbol with some meaning, even when you don't know which symbol is which word, your brain will be able to recognize it if you keep seeing those two associated.
I'm pretty sick of the meaning of "jiào" who's changing without any different context, between name/last name/surname/call/called only by the willing of duolingo?! It's my most frequent mistake, makes me mad and devolved. I really like duolingo but i'm tired of spending 20mn each days trying to understand where was the difference.
Schromao, as frustrating as it is for you, the difficulties you encounter are actually common in translation. One culture develops a whole list of connotations and dénotations for a unit of thought, and expresses that unit of thought in a certain way in a certain context. Then people from a very different culture try to translate that unit of thought into their own linguistic context, in which several different words or phrases are used to express similar thought units in various contexts. Further confusion erupts because the different cultures’ understandings of what the situations are don’t even agree, necessarily. Further, you have imperfect humans (like you and me are imperfect) try to teach someone from culture B what word from culture A to use (among the many similar words and phrases culture A might use) in a context the learner views from his context as defined by culture B. Further complicating this s that the learner from culture B knows hardly any words, phrases or grammatical constructions from culture A, so his learning is further contextualized. If you have followed me this far, I hope you will take as constructive my two cents: in short, get over it. Try to understand that not everything will make sense, and sometimes you just have to push the “Oh well” or “I believe” button, and try to remember that eventually, you will gain fluency, not always agreeing nor nu derstanding. Hang in there. Most of what Duolingo teaches is spot on; when I see things differently I usually report what I see as a discrepancy, then go on and answer the Duolingo answer so I can get on to the next lesson. Often, the Duolingo referees get back to me saying that my proffered translation is now accepted. And BTW, each lesson seems to have a “hints” button with often useful inside tips on pertinent grammar or vocabulary or construction. Let me know how you’re doing!
I agree, and I've commented on it before, particularly when the tone also seems wrong to me in other words (xing), according to the pinyin markings. It's a shame as we should be training our minds to recognize the correct tones and this is confusing. It's easy enough to get the answers correct, but only by forcing ourselves to go against our learnt instincts.
Pronounciation question (mind you, I'm not asking about the tone, but rather the letters): As a single sign zi4 sounds a bit like "tzi" to me (with the z pronounced similarly to German, with a t sound in front). I might write it as "tzü" in German. However, in the full sentence the "t" sound is gone, and the vowel is different, it sounds more like "za" to me. The z is still voiced, but no t. In German I might describe it as "sä".
Any guide what is correct? Or are even both correct, and I should learn to accept both as variants of the same syllable?
Georgio, I’m not sure whether you are asking about the romanization (pronunciation), perhaps thinking that this is somewhat arbitrary. In fact, China has undergone great language reforms over the past century-plus, so the settled romanization scheme is called Pinyin. While there is variation in pronunciation, primarily based on regional variations (I think the academic linguistic term is dialects, but this term varies from everyday English). Also, some characters have more than one possible pronunciation and more than one possible tone, depending on the meaning or sentence context. (Also, I have noted a very few of what I consider errors in pronunciation made by Duolingo.) So pronunciation is official (compare to France’s formalized language enforcement!), and variations you encounter are comparable to those you will find in any language. I hope this is not too wordy!
Thanks, that was a fast answer! Yes, I noticed that the same romanised syllable, zì / the letter 字, is pronounced differently by the Duolingo voice depending on whether you do the exercises about the individual letter or whether it's read as part of a whole sentence, like in this exercise. Since it's the same voice, I would expect that it just uses one dialect. But after hearing both versions a couple more times, and finding a youtube video on the sounds si/zi/ci/shi/zhi/chi/ri, I now think maybe the whole-sentence version is just slurring a bit more. It's good to know that there are few pronounciation errors in this course! For other courses, I noticed that sometimes either the slow version or the fast version was wrong, and then you would have to ask in the forum if you thought something was mispronounced. But that would be quite difficult to do since I have no gut feeling about proper pronounciation in Chinese :)
They are pretty much the same in English. We would probably always say "What's your name" and the reply could equally well be first or second name (or surname). In Chinese as I understand it "Ni jiao shenme ming zi" means literally "you are called what first name" and "xing" would be the word for surname.
It's not normal English; sounds as if you are a non-English speaker. The answer at the top is normal English. Also I notice that Duo tends to want the simplest answer. AND usually when translating from one language to another, the literal translation word-by-word will NOT be how it is said in the other language.
The actual literal translation is "You called what name". Ni is you, jiao is to be called, shen me is what, ming is name, zi is character... I hear what you are saying and I think that depending on what one's mother tongue is, one translates "accordingly". In English, you would not say: You are called what name. You would not even use "to be called" as a verb when asking for someone's name. In German - I am a native German speaker, we also use the verb "to be called - heissen... sorry, there is a letter instead of the ss, that I can't type...)