Category: Some Things I’ve Learned on the Way

In Chinese, it’s never relative

One of the workhorse parts of speech in English and in most European languages is the relative pronoun. These include that, when, which, who/whom/whose, where and a few other less frequently used ones. Usually they modify or specify nouns: “the restaurant where we ate last night/that we ate at last night,” “my neighbor who is ...

Searching for the meaning of “找”

A Taiwanese acquaintance of mine recently told a third party (who shared the story with me) that he was going to Taichung to meet up with his wife, who lives with him in Taipei but was temporarily down there. In American English, the story might be rendered just as I did above, or a person ...

How to receive things in Chinese: 收(shōu)vs. 受(shòu)

In English among many other things one can “receive” a piece of mail, and one can “receive” good or bad emotional news. In each case, the verb is "to receive,” and we think of those two acts as in some way the same. But Chinese has two characters that are frequently used to mean "to ...