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"What animal does the Great Wall of China look like?"


December 2, 2017



It's the dragon (Chinese's dragon has the long body likes the snake's body, not likes Europe's dragon).


Is there an answer to this question? Don't tell me it's a chicken.


Why would it look like a chicken? I've only heard that about the geographic shape of the country (and of other countries too, strangely). The Great Wall looks like a dragon: Long, snake-like, and powerful.


Would it also make sense to say 长城看起来什么动物?


Yes, the Chinese sentence here means: The Great Wall of China is like which animal?


什么动物像长城。why is this not acceptable?


It reverses the order.


That means "What animals look like the Great Wall of China?"


I wrote 中国的长城像什么动物 ,should that not be correct given the way the question is being asked?


Because the proper noun does not translate literally between languages. I don't think any Chinese people say 中国的长城. The full name in English is "The Great Wall of China" with "The Great Wall" being a shortened name. The full name in Chinese is 万里长城 with 长城 being a shortened version. 万里长城 literally means "Ten Thousand Li (distance measurement) Long City". 长城 literally means "Long City", (referencing the expectation that cities are surrounded by walls).


More or less. I believe 城 meant "fort" or "fortification" first, and later "town" or "city" by extension, so I think we can say that literally "长城" means "long fortification", but maybe it's a chicken-and-egg scenario.

I'm not against "中国的", though, as, in my experience, Chinese locals explaining things to foreigners can be a little pedantic like that (and I'm sure it goes the other way too), and also when I Google "中国的长城" I get almost 1.5 million results (for whatever that's worth).

Not to mention that we would never say "China's Great Wall of China" to interpret "中国的长城", so "长城" and "Great Wall of China" aren't exactly equivalent.


长城像什么动物。why is this not acceptable?


Sometimes punctuation doesn't seem to be ignored in the Chinese course, so probably because of the period instead of a question mark.

Edit, 2 years later: Most questions in the course have been updated to ignore punctuation (but not spaces) as a matter of policy, so feel free to report any that don't.

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