User Comments - jen_not_jenny

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Posted on: Switching Seats on a Plane
February 01, 2011, 02:22 AM

Sometimes it helps to be showing....sometimes it doesn't....;)

Posted on: What's in a name?
February 01, 2011, 02:12 AM

Your Chinese name doesn't HAVE to sound like your Western name, unless you want it to, of course! A lot of foreigners I know choose a name that has similar meaning to their given names, though the sound may be completely different...

Posted on: I Changed My Mind
January 27, 2011, 06:32 AM

Could it also have to do with the fact that you can say, 那条衣服老气,烫头发老气, but a 男人留胡子 can't be 老气,as it's the 胡子 that may or may not 老气? Perhaps I'm only making sense to myself here...

Posted on: Making the Most of 最 (zui)
January 26, 2011, 02:46 AM

Great question, zhenlijiang. After considerable linguistic debate, Connie helped me to understand that when she said "倒数第一 cannot be used to talk about the order in which things happened," she was saying that it can't be used to make statements like: "First, I did this. /先做。。。Then, I.../然后做。。。Finally, I.../最后做。。。" Then I muddied the waters by bringing "last" into that picture. My apologies.

To clarify, 倒数第一is MOST COMMONLY used when ranking items. It CAN be used to talk about the last event in a series, but it isn't used in "first, then, finally" sequences.

Some examples to clarify:

1. (Reverse) Ranking/Ordering: 那个故事在这本书的倒数第二页。That story is on the second to last page.

2. The last event in a series: 你是倒数第一个到的。You are the last to arrive.

Hope that helps!

Posted on: Pumpkin Food
January 25, 2011, 04:29 AM

Hi alison11, good question!

If you look at the translated Expansion sentences, you'll notice that 喜欢/xǐhuan is usually translated "like" and 想/xiǎng is often translated "want" or "would like."

Posted on: Measure Word Fundamentals: 个,只,条,张
January 25, 2011, 04:12 AM

This post made me smile and prompted me to look up the word for dachsund, which led me to this sample sentence:

一不留神, 我家的腊肠和巴吉度生出了一个混血种

Yī bù liúshén, wǒ jiāde làcháng hé bājíduó shēngchūle yīgè hùnxuè zhǒng.

Which is fascinating, because MDBG gives 短腿猎犬 duǎntuǐlǐ4quǎn as the translation for both dachshund and basset hound.

Regardless, I'd definitely be tempted to go with 一条短腿猎犬, although I usually say 一只狗. :)

Posted on: Making the Most of 最 (zui)
January 24, 2011, 10:16 AM

It's easy to translate 倒数第一 and 最后 both as "last“ in English. However, we don't use "last" the same way in Chinese as we do in English, as evidenced by the example above in your question above, Carlos (talking about three lessons ago/last week, etc). I'd suggest that you think of 倒数第一as "in last place" rather than just plain "last."

Posted on: Making the Most of 最 (zui)
January 24, 2011, 09:39 AM

I'm not quite sure what you are trying to say...maybe "The last dish you brought out was the most delicious"?

With some vital assistance from Connie, that'd be: 你带来的最后一道菜是最好吃的。

Or did I misunderstand your meaning entirely?

Posted on: How to Address Someone
January 20, 2011, 04:08 AM

I'd add that if you are concerned about how others will address you, you could probably just provide your (Chinese) family name and let them worry about which title to use to address you. 我姓____ sounds better than 我是___博士, I'd say.

Also, in my experience training Chinese professionals working at MNCs, the most common way to address their colleagues, both foreign and local, is to use their English given names.

Posted on: Funerals and Consolation
January 20, 2011, 02:36 AM

This happened to me not long after I moved to China. A young woman I'd just met was telling me about her family, and when I asked about her father, she replied, 他已经走了。Tā jǐjīng zǒule. I took this to mean that her father had left the family when she was a little girl, and I was quite surprised as I knew the divorce rate to be much lower in China than in my country of birth, the USA. I kept asking questions about her dad, where he lived now, etc, and when had she last seen him, and couldn't understand why my new friend was growing more and more uncomfortable. Finally she clarified, 他走了,不在了... 死亡了。Tā zǒule, bùzàile...sǐwángle. Of course, I felt awful and apologized profusely for misunderstanding, which probably made the whole situation worse! She cut me some laowai slack and forgave me, of course, but I still feel awful when I think of it!

If I had it to do over, I'd probably reply with a 是吗?嗯。。。and a sympathetic expression.