What does '才' truly mean, and could you give some example sentences? Can someone tell me what 才 (cai; Cantonese reading: choi) means? When I look it up in the dictionary, it says it means "talent" or "ability". But half the time I see this character, it seems to be in a context that couldn't have anything to do with "talent" or "ability" (I'm guessing, since I can only read like 300 Chinese characters in total). It appears like it functions as some sort of adverb/conjunction, i.e. it's some kind of grammatical word, and not "talent" or "ability". It appears to me that 才 doesn't exist in Cantonese (other than meaning "talent"), is there an equivalent expression or an approximate translation of this word into Cantonese?
May 20, 2010 7:27 AM
Answers · 3
才 can be noun. means: talent ( don't need explain here, because 你很有才。You are very talent.) can be adv. means: only ( here are some different function in the sentences) 1. (time) later than speaker expect E.g: 他10点才来。(tā shí diǎn cái lái.) He only comes at 10 o’clock. (later than I expect, I thought he comes 8 or 9…) 我们下午才开会。(wǒ mén xià wǔ cái kāi huì.) We will only have the meeting this afternoon. ( later than I expect, I thought this morning) 你怎么才来?(nǐ zěn me cái lái?) Why are you arriving now? ( I thought you should come half hour ago…) 2. (quantity) less than speaker expect E.g: 他才吃了半个面包。(tā cái chī le bàn gè miàn bāo.) He only eat half of the bread.( That’s not enough, I expect he ate more.) 他才50岁。(tā cái 50 suì.) He is only 50. ( OMG, he looks like 70 years old grandpa.) 3. (time) shorter then speaker expect E.g: 我才到家,电话就响了。(wǒ cái dài jiā, diàn huà jiù xiǎng le.) The phone ringed as soon as I got home. (I didn’t even have a break.) 她来这工作才两个月。(tā lái zhè gōng zuò cái liǎng gè yuè.) She has worked here only two months. ( I thought she came here long time ago.) 4. only (choice) (usually in phrase, means: that’s the only option. ) E.g: 只有他,才知道开会时间。(zhǐ yǒu tā, cái zhī dào kāi huì shí jiān.) Only he knows the meeting time. (no one else) 学生只有用功,才能取得好成绩。(xué shēng zhǐ yǒu yòng gōng, cái n éng qǔ de hǎo chéng jī.) Only studying hard, can let students get good marks. (don’t know whether cheating can help as well?:) 5. refute E.g: A: 你疯啦!(nǐ fēng la!) Are you mad? B:你才疯啦!(nǐ cái fēng la!) You are mad! Courtney said:5 really. This is wrong. You will hear lots of girls say this to the boyfriend: 我才不喜欢你呢!(wǒ cái bù xǐ huān nǐ ne!) I don't like you! ( In fact, means she loves the boyfriend, but too shy to say that. doesn't mean: don't like you.)
May 20, 2010
1) it's only in certain conditions or for some reason ①only…if 学生只有用功,才能取得好成绩。 Students will only be able to do well if they study hard. ② only after 他解释后,我才明白了他为什么那么难过。 It was only after he explained that I understood why he was so sad. 2)it can be a noun which means ability or talent 天才genius 3 ) just 我才到家,电话就响了。 Just as I arrived home, the phone rang. 4) not…until 路上堵车,我10点才到单位上班。 Because of the traffic jam, I did not arrive at work until ten. 5) really 他才不愿意见你呢! He really doesn't want to see you!
May 20, 2010
when 才 is a noun, it means talent, when 才 is a adverb or conjunction, it means just now. You are talented. 你很有才。 I just heard about it few minutes ago. 我几分钟前才听说。
May 20, 2010
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, German
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), German