How to change a word type? is set as a noun but it seems more appropriate to classify it as a verb, or at least add the "verb" category to the word. I've come across several of these classifications that seem weird to me, and I wonder if they can be changed. And if they're appropriate it would probably be good to add an explanation somewhere...

See also忆

Posted by guaka 5/10/12 , last update 5/20/12 (4 years ago)
  • Good spot - I have added in "verb" as a part of speech as well. To be honest I am not convinced of the value of learning parts of speech in Chinese - Chinese words just work in a different way and many (most?) words can fall into several of our part of speech categories. Please do keep noting if you see ones that look odd though and we can get them corrected.

    You are right though, an explanation of the parts of speech in Chinese would be extremely useful. We are working on a tool that will make this kind of explanation much much easier to deliver.

    Best wishes


    Posted by BenWhately Staff   5/11/12 (4 years ago)
  • In my "Grammaire active du chinois" there's a table with word classes. 9 in French, 12 in Chinese (名词, 形容词, 量词, 数词,etc.) and some don't match indeed. If these word classes are commonly used in Chinese grammar it might be better to use the Chinese ones - or no word categories at all...

    I'm looking forward to the tool! And I'll post here when coming across other confusing ones.

    Posted by guaka 5/11/12 (4 years ago)

    to feel sorry - adjt?

    Posted by guaka 5/14/12 (4 years ago)
  • I have added verb in as well - it can be used as both I think. Thanks!


    Posted by BenWhately Staff   5/14/12 (4 years ago)

    which - noun?

    Posted by guaka 5/14/12 (4 years ago)
  • I have added pronoun as well, thanks!

    Posted by BenWhately Staff   5/15/12 (4 years ago)
  • Ideally, words would be tagged with the Chinese word classes that guaka mentions (I agree that using English parts of speech is confusing). Doing this accurately by means of wiki edits might be a tall order though. I don't suppose there's a way of pulling this information from a publicly available database?

    Posted by Azimuth 5/15/12 (4 years ago)
  • - noun?

    Posted by guaka 5/17/12 (4 years ago)
  • Changed it to 'conj' (conjunction).

    Posted by Azimuth 5/17/12 (4 years ago)
  • to crawl - noun

    Posted by guaka 5/20/12 (4 years ago)
  • to compare - adjt; advb?

    Posted by guaka 5/20/12 (4 years ago)
  • indirect - noun; name?

    Posted by guaka 5/20/12 (4 years ago)
  • I modified the first two but my advice would be to ignore the parts of speech when being tested - if you're thinking "what verb could this be?" when trying to remember a word, it'll just mislead you. For example, your third example 宛 wăn could be just about any of the English parts of speech, according to which character it's paired with.

    Posted by Azimuth 5/20/12 (4 years ago)
  • Thanks for fixing the first two.

    I even think it might be better to not see the "parts of speech" when being tested. It often helps a lot (too much?) to get the right answer, unless it's not the right part of speech. If I see "noun; name" it's hard to come up with "indirect". So maybe it's better to simply remove "noun; name" in this case?

    But then I looked up 宛... no clear answer. So I looked up "宛 indirect" and memrise is the second hit, the 9 other top 10 google results were Japanese. There may be a better word or even description in English for 宛?

    Posted by guaka 5/20/12 (4 years ago)
  • I think even think it might be better to not see the "parts of speech" when being tested.

    With the system as it is, I totally agree, but maybe it's hard to arrange this for Mandarin only.

    The problem with assigning meaning is a perennial one for characters such as this that really only appear in a 'bound form', i.e. as part of a word with another character. According to my dictionary, it's 'indirect' because of 婉转 wănzhuăn 'indirect (in speaking); tactful'. This may also be related to its historical use and origin, I don't know.

    The point is, the accuracy of the meaning for this character in isolation isn't that important - what is important is that you can recognise the character and its pronunciation, and then learn its meanings in combination with others. So you could learn this as any of its meanings like i) 'indirect; winding; torturous' or ii) 'as if; seemingly; just like'. (Where i) and ii) correspond to its most common meanings as part of a complete word).

    The 'best' meaning is the one that allows you to most easily recognise it (and come up with a vivid mem), and to associate it with these common meanings. For this reason, I tend to think that the more concrete the meaning for bound forms and radicals/components, the better. In this case, all the meanings are fairly abstract.

    So, if, having read all my blather, you would prefer a different meaning - maybe one of the ones I mentioned (which I've included as alternative meanings) just post a comment on the discussion tab at

    and someone (Ben, or me if I see it) will be happy to change it!

    Posted by Azimuth 5/20/12 (4 years ago)

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