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How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

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How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

Postby BuddhaGeo » Mon 12.10.2007 9:45 am

For an example, 出口(de guchi) means exit.
Would I expect that in China the very same combination of those two kanji to mean "exit" too? If yes, how frequently does it take place?
Thanks in advance.
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RE: How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

Postby katafei » Mon 12.10.2007 9:59 am

rough guess:
45,876,756 times.




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RE: How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

Postby BuddhaGeo » Mon 12.10.2007 10:01 am

So basically, it's always the same?
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RE: How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

Postby Igirisu_gaz » Mon 12.10.2007 10:07 am

There are compounds that have the same combinations, compounds that have them in a different order and words with completely different Kanji. Understanding Japanese will allow you to understand a select portion of Chinese written vocabulary but it will by no means be comprehensive.
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RE: How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

Postby katafei » Mon 12.10.2007 10:31 am

BuddhaGeo wrote:
For an example, 出口(de guchi) means exit.
Would I expect that in China the very same combination of those two kanji to mean "exit" too? If yes, how frequently does it take place?
Thanks in advance.

I have no idea if 出口 means exit in Chinese. It probably does.
The Japanese kanji originate from the Chinese script, so you will probably recognise quite e few. But to ask how often this happens sounds a bit silly to me. (euphemism ^_^)
Both languages have evolved since, and as igirisu_gaz pointed out, even though you will recognise characters, this most likely won't mean you understand the meaning of a sentence.
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RE: How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 12.10.2007 10:34 am

The frequency is too low for you to be able to read Chinese if you know Japanese. In my experience, maybe 5-20% of words in an actual piece of text.
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Mon 12.10.2007 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

Postby Nibble » Mon 12.10.2007 10:43 am

There are a lot of compounds with the same general meaning, but there are also quite a few that are different. 出口, for example, can mean "exit" in Chinese; but it can also mean "export" or "speak out." 手紙 means "letter" (as in mail) in Japanese, but it's "toilet paper" in Chinese.

While someone literate in Japanese would be able to pick out a few words here and there, and be able to guess at the topic of an article written in Chinese, they would definitely not be able to understand it.
Last edited by Nibble on Mon 12.10.2007 10:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

Postby Shirasagi » Mon 12.10.2007 12:25 pm

I recall one Chinese ex-pat on a TV show talking about how the use of kanji differed in Japanese. She talked about how she would watch the news before she was very good at speaking Japanese, because she could read the kanji. But when she saw this:

女子高校生殺人事件 - High School Girl Homicide

...she interpreted it as something like "High School Girl Killing Someone Incident".
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RE: How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

Postby jenl » Mon 12.10.2007 12:37 pm

The Chinese-speaking students in my class do say that they have an advantage in terms of writing kanji, but not so much in reading Japanese. (Also, at least one of them I know is used to the traditional characters, rather than simplified).

If you're an English speaker who has ever tried to learn, for example, French, you'll understand the problem. Words that have been taken into English from French retain a similar spelling but pronunciation and meaning have usually been changed (a little or a lot). When you run across a word that looks like something you know in your mother tongue, it's difficult to break that connection and re-learn it, moreso than learning a new word from scratch.
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RE: How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

Postby ss » Mon 12.10.2007 3:58 pm

Some of these common compound words that we see very often, with some similarity and/or completely different from Chinese.

勉強 【べんきょう】 (n,vs) (1) study; (2) diligence; (3) discount; reduction;
勉強 mian (3) qiang (2)
1) 要是他不願意去,不要勉強他。 If he doesn’t want to go, don’t force him to.
2) 你的理由很勉強。 The reason you give is rather unconvincing.
3) 他勉強地對她笑了一笑。 He gives her a smile forcefully.

大丈夫 【だいじょうぶ】 (adj-na,adv,n) safe; all right; OK;
大丈夫 da(4) zhang(4) fu - true man, great man, real hero

怪我 【けが】 (n,vs) injury (to animate object); hurt;
怪我 guai (4) wo (3) - blame me/myself

真面目 【まじめ】 (adj-na,n) diligent; serious; honest;
In Chinese, we probably use 認真 ren (4) zhen (1)
真面目zhen(1) mian(4) mu(4) true features; true colours
as in --- You see someone in his/her true colours

走る 【はしる】 (v5r,vi) (1) to run; (2) to travel (movement of vehicles); (3) to hurry to; (4) to retreat (from battle); to take flight; (5) to run away from home; (6) to elope; (7) to tend heavily toward;
走 zou (3) – walk
To run in Chinese is 跑 
Probably (5) and (6) are similar to this
離家出走 li (2) jia (1) chu (1) zou (3) = (5) to run away from home; (6) to elope
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RE: How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

Postby yangbin » Thu 12.13.2007 9:33 am

Yeah roughly the same meaning but not all the time!
I speak chinese and now trying to learn a bit of japanese, and my background is quite useful for the kanji! But, I have already been surprised by some words in japanese that had a meaning completely different in chinese! :)
(the exemple of 勉強 is what i mean !)

Anyway, Someone who could master both should try to spend some times to compare them, certainly interesting! Personnally I would love to see some classical japanese, i'd curious to see the difference with classical chinese!
:D
Last edited by yangbin on Thu 12.13.2007 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: How similar are the meanings in Chinese?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 12.13.2007 10:18 am

They are completely different. Most classical Japanese uses very few Chinese loan words. You can look in my sig; that's a line from the Tale of Genji.
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