Translation:Who's behind me?
This will be the title of my first short horror story in Mandarin :-).
Is there some logical connection between noodles and behind or is it arbitrary?
面 means "face" or "side". It is also the simplified form of 麵 "flour; dough; noodles".
In traditional Chinese writing, 麵 ("noodles") and 面 ("face") are separate characters. I'm assuming the "面" part of each character is just a phonetic component (indicating that they're both pronounced "mian"). But when the writing became simplified, 麵 became 面 (looking identical to the one meaning "face", but still a separate character). Long story short, no, there's no connection (as far as I know).
as an interesting coincidence the english word mien also means face (well technically facial expression) even though the words are completely etymologically separate
I like hearing about those. One of my favorite coincidences (that I've mentioned on another conversation thread) is that the word for dog in Mbabaram (an Australian aboriginal language) is "dog"...but it's completely unrelated to the English word "dog". There are only so many sounds and sound-combinations a person can make, so coincidences are bound to happen sometimes.
Not sure if it is really "always" but I can't come up with exceptions. Basically you can always translate "behind sth." as "在...的后面"
By the way, in my opinion Chinese don't tell the parts of speech as strictly as some languages do.
I used this phrase in Cheng Du right before someone poked me in the back with a knife.
Is it okay to translate the sentence "Who's right behind me?" That was marked wrong.
This sentence technically gives no indication of how close they are behind you. That makes 'right' behind you superfluous.
Instead, you can just literally translate is character by character to be safe (:
"Who - at - my - behind?" = "Who is behind me?" I hope this helps!
I've been struggling to remember to put the subject before the place on these and it just occurred to me it can be translated in my head as: "who is located (at) their behind".