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Funny misunderstandings when you learn Chinese [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2014-5-19 17:17:27 |Display all floors
As we know, the Chinese language has four distinct tones and a neutral (toneless) tone. When learning Chinese it's important to properly distinguish the tones to avoid misunderstands and possibly sounding rude.

One of my foreign friends shared a funny story of his:

One day, he  wanted to ask for directions, asked a girl "我可以吻你吗?" (Wǒ kě yǐ wěn nǐ ma?)    meaning "can I kiss you?". Naturally, the first response of the girl was to be angry.

He didn't understand why she would be so upset so he asks again "Wǒ kě yǐ wěn nǐ zěn me zǒu ma?" The girl finally understood and laughed, and responded with directions.

Because he didn't use the right tones, she heard him say 吻 (wěn), not 问 (wèn).The correct question should be "我可以问你吗?" (Wǒ kě yǐ wèn nǐ ma?)    or "Can I ask you (a question)?" As we can see, tones are very important. To review, "to ask" is 问 (wèn)   , the fourth tone, and "to kiss" is 吻 (wěn)   , the third tone.

Have you got similar moments when you got mistaken by others?
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Post time 2014-5-21 10:09:00 |Display all floors
The same, with a different tone can represent a different tone

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Post time 2014-5-22 14:44:47 |Display all floors
Wo qin. ni or wo qing ni,  also a big difference.

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Post time 2014-5-27 21:31:05 |Display all floors
Don't blurt out in front of a Chinese girl,

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