Translation:I am happy.
Traditional form: 我很高興。
Native speaker from Taiwan here!
Chinese use two writing systems: "traditional" and "simplified." The simplified writing system was created in order to increase the literacy rate, and is now used in Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia. The traditional system preserved the most form of Chinese characters, but is more complicated and less widely used. They are generally only used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. If you just want to communicate with Chinese people for I suggest you learn simplified system, but if you want to challenge yourself or experience the traditional culture, you can have a try for traditional system!
In this context (of Andrew-Lin's post), "Traditional Chinese" and "Simplified Chinese" refer to the written characters, not to how the language is spoken. The traditional characters are generally less complicated, less "busy," that is, they require fewer strokes to write. As Andrew-Lin explained, they were developed to improve literacy, but another reason is that they are easier to read on TVs and computer monitors (especially on the standard definition displays of the previous century, before the prevalence of HD).
One disadvantage of simplified characters is that many Chinese dictionaries arrange words by stroke count (the number of strokes required to write the character) rather than alphabetically by pinyin; yet, many of these dictionaries count the number of traditional strokes required to write the character even if the character printed is in a simplified form that requires fewer strokes to write, with the result that simplified characters do not always appear in the dictionary where the reader might expect them to. (It would be as if the word "thru" were listed somewhere between "throttle" and "throw" because the traditional spelling of "thru" is "through.") With many characters there is no difference, but the stroke count of the traditional characters is more obvious.
Another disadvantage is that some of the meaning is lost along with the simplification. By "meaning," I mean, the etymology, mostly, that is, the origin of the word, but I also mean the extent to which the character is a graphic representation of its referent.
One example that illustrates both of these disadvantages is the character for "cart," whose traditional form is 車 ，but whose simplified form is 车 . The traditional character requires 7 (that's right: 7, not 8) strokes to draw; whereas the simplified form looks as if it could be drawn in 5 strokes (or maybe 4); yet, even dictionaries printed in simplified Chinese would include the simplified form among the 7 stroke characters. Moreover, notice how the traditional character for "cart" actually looks like (a schematic drawing of) a cart. There are 2 ways to see it. You can imagine the 2 long horizontal strokes at the top and the bottom as the wheels of a 2-wheeled cart (such as a rickshaw), with the "box" in the center as the passenger or payload compartment, and the long vertical stroke as the axle that runs through the center of the wheels; or, you can imagine a 4-wheeled cart, in which case the 2 horizontal strokes at the top and bottom are one axle each, the "box" in the middle is still the chassis, and the long vertical stroke is what holds the cart together (or like the drive train of a car), in which case the 4 wheels are not depicted (but are implied at each end of the top horizontal stroke and the bottom horizontal stroke). The simplified form was derived from this traditional form, but it's a mess inasmuch as you cannot tell what you're looking at.
By the way, the same goes for simplified spellings in other languages: whenever a spelling is simplified, the word's etymological history generally becomes less clear.
Also, each lesson is way too short. Duolingo has a better system developed for French, where you learn the English translation right away and learn to build sentences right away. I understand that with Chinese the difficulty is you have to know the pinyin and the hanzi AND the meaning, but so a better system would be to have lessons where you just learn vocab and have lessons where you learn the usage; or have one longer lesson that incorporates both. This is coming from my experience of learning French in high school and learning Chinese in college
I agree with you on learning English translations right away. Pairing sounds with pinyin and hanzi is important, but for a fresh Chinese learner, understanding is just as important. Having access to definitions at the start would be a step in the right direction. I enjoy the lessons for other languages duolingo has developed, pairing new words with pictures, but I could do with new vocabulary paired with definitions.
Hi! Because the sentence can mean both "I'm very happy"and "I'm happy". Remember:
- in positive sentences an adjective or the couple adverb (usually 很) + adjective form the so-called "adjectival predicate", in which the adjective replace the linking verb "to be". Precisely:
我很高兴 : here the adjective also work as "to be" and the adverb "very" can be translated or not
我高兴: here the adjective also works as "to be"
Note 1 the function of 很 is very important in the sentence because without it the adjective becomes comparative or expresses a contrast:
1) I am happier (than you)
2) I am happy (while you are not).
Note 2 In the spoken language you get to understand if 很 means "very" because its pronunciation is more emphasized, in the written one on the contrary it is difficult (but they say that usually it is not translated).
- in interrogative sentences with 马 (ma) 很 is not necessary and, when it is present, means "very":
你高兴马？Are you happy?
你很高兴吗？Are you very happy?
- in negative sentences wih 不 (bù) it is the same and often it is also used 太 (tài) to emphasize:
我不高兴 I am not happy.
我不太高兴 I am not very happy - too happy - happy at all (it depends on the context).
我不很高兴 I am not very happy.
- in conditional sentences with 也 (yě), finally, 很 can be omitted:
你高兴，我高兴 If you are happy then I am happy.
To all learners of Chinese language, please don't go for literal meaning of the characters used in Chinese sentences. For example to say "You're welcome", they use 不客氣 (bu keqi / bú kèqì) that literally means don't be so polite. And separate characters have meanings as follows: 不 - bù = Not 客 - kè = Guest 气 - qì = Air
It's hard to explain but I can try. Because "shi" is a state of being. Like "wo shi zhong Guo ren" I am a Chinese person. "Wo shi xue Sheng" I am a student. That is correct too.
But "wo shi Gao xing" is not correct because you are not Mr. Happy. You are happy but you are not Mr. Happy. At least for emotions, you don't use "shi"
Chinese has a feature that doesn't exist in English which is, some adjectives can act like verbs. These adjectives are always used to describe some traits of a person or things, for example, 高(tall), 贵(expensive), 漂亮(beautiful), etc. 高兴 here is an adjective acts like verb in the sentence. In such case, you need a "很" before the adjective only to make the sentence complete, "很" doesn't mean anything in such grammar structure, it doesn't mean "very" at all here.
"很" can be dropped when there is a compare:
Scene: I am happy today but David isn't.
Question: Who is happy today?
Yes (PALewis88), some characters have more than one tone.
Sometimes, the tone of one character will change according to the tone of an adjacent character; a common example is 不 , which is bu4 by default (i.e., just by itself), but becomes bu2 in 不是 (bu2shi4). I have heard other examples of bu4 becoming bu2 when the following character is in 4th tone, but I do not know if that is a "rule."
As for 兴 , my understanding is that 高兴 is gao1xing4. However, 时兴 (meaning "fashionable," "popular,“ "trendy," "in vogue") is shi2xing1. So, yes, I have heard 兴 as both xing1 and xing4.
I don't agree because 兴 has two tones with different meanings and Duolingo just can't show nor play them all at the same time.
- 兴 xīng (verb.) to thrive, to prosper, to get up, to prevail, to begin; (adverb.) probably
- 兴 xìng (noun.) mood
时兴 means to be in vogue while 高兴 means high in the mood, literally, which is happy.
Sometimes tones do change because of the previous characer (s), for example, 总统府 zǒngtǒngfǔ, the presidential office, is pronounced as zóngtóngfǔ. But 兴's two tones is not this case.
Can anyone help clarify? I understand the reasoning that "hen" is used as the verb "am" in this case so it becomes "I am happy." However, when I ask my Chinese relatives how they translate "我很高兴" They all say that it means "I am very happy." and 很 should be taken as very. Also from this thread i can see a few Chinese natives claim the same thing.
So first question, Is this a regional thing, does some part of china take hen in this case as very while some don't?
Second, how does one say "I am very happy" then?
(I'm a native speaker.) 很 means "very," not "to be." As many native speakers like to exaggerate things, 很 is used so frequently that its effect has faded so much that some (instead of all) native speakers simply assume people don't really mean"very" when using 很. This has led some native speakers who have learned some English grammar but haven't learned certain Chinese grammar to misunderstand 很 and think it's the counterpart of "to be" (it's not). I don't know about the regional difference, but there's definitely personal difference.
To avoid confusion, instead of saying "I am very happy," you can say
I am fairly happy. 我相当高兴。
I am unusually happy. 我非常高兴。
I am one hundred percent happy. 我十分(ten tenths)高兴。
I am considerably happy. 我颇高兴。
I am more than happy. 我甚高兴。(This is used more in writing than in speaking.)
I "am" very happy. 我很是高兴。
Updated - here are also examples of using adjectives without 很: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/25268640?comment_id=39552216
Please see my post here: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/25223593?comment_id=37287180
I like the matching exercises and audio -- but am astonished that the meanings are saved as a compete surprise for when you are suddenly asked to translate the sentence into English. This course is missing standard Duolingo teaching techniques (such as the graphics) which are so effective. Sadly, not quite ready for prime time.
I would also like to understand this better. Does gao mean anything on its own? And is the xing here with dropping tone, different from the xing for surname? I don't remember what tone it was and I don't know how to look up past lessons (when I don't want to repeat them, just view them because I forget them). Any answers to any of these appreciated.
I think 'gao' on its own means 'tall'. Chinese has a lot of occasions in which two characters with unrelated meanings meet and form a new word. Also, yes, Chinese also has a few words that sound the same but could mean different things in different contexts. An example would be 'xing' like you mentioned.
高 means "tall" or "high", and 兴 has over a dozen meanings including "prosper" and "flourish". So it's equivalent to doing well (English), ça va bien (French), es geht mir schön (German), etc.
Er, point is, though, it sorta works like a single word here, which means "feeling good".
There's a problem (as I have comment on already) with this because sometimes the same character can be pronounced with different tones, and mean different things; and sometimes even if the meaning is the same, the tone used changes depending on what tones are in front of or behind it in the sentence!