what is the meaning of "De (or Duh)"?

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Aaron Kwok

what is the meaning of "De (or Duh)"?

Postby Aaron Kwok » Sun Feb 01, 2004 1:31 am

i urgently need help with the meaning of de (i only know the pinyin spelling)

i hear people use it instead of 'ge'(the measure word)
eg. wo ge pung you/wo de pung you (my friend)

but it cannot only be a measure word can it? is there a equivalent in cantonese?
eg. i have heard it be used as some kind of supporting word as in
eg. yao shi ni shuo de kuai, wo ting bu dong (if you speak fast, i dont understand)

please help me out, preferably a native mandarin speaker or anyone!

Dylan Sung

Re: what is the meaning of "De (or Duh)"?

Postby Dylan Sung » Sun Feb 01, 2004 8:13 am

It acts as a possessive particle sometimes

wo = I

wo de = my

In shuo de kuai, it looks as if it acts with the verb shuo (to speak) as a linking word with the adverb kuai, to mean speak quickly.

You ought to get a Mandarin grammar to find out all its multiple uses.



Re: what is the meaning of "De (or Duh)"?

Postby Guest » Sun Feb 01, 2004 7:33 pm

The second "de" as in "Yao shi ni shuo de kuai...", I believe is the OTHER "de" - that is, 得, which is a complement of degree. The complement of degree indicates how (adjective) something is done. eg. 我说得快 - I speak (with degree) fast or "I speak quickly". 你写字写得很清楚 - You write characters write (with degree) very clear or "You write characters very clearly". Therefore, your second example would look (in characters) like: 要是你说得快,我听不懂.

The "de" in "wo de peng you" is the possessive article 的, eg. 我的朋友,你的妈妈,他的书... It also has other functions, but a good grammar book could explain those ones to you.

Dylan Sung

Re: what is the meaning of "De (or Duh)"?

Postby Dylan Sung » Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:09 am

I stand corrected.


Aaron Kwok

Re: what is the meaning of "De (or Duh)"?

Postby Aaron Kwok » Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:12 am

so the both de's are pronounced the same?

what other uses has it got. and is it really the most common word used?
why do some people use "de" rather than "ge" for possesive words, is this just because it may sound better or something?

also what does this mean

wo de ai

i know it says i 'de' love, but does this mean anything like as in i am in love because i seriously don't know what it can mean thanks in advance and sorry for my apparently bad grammar and spelling.


Re: what is the meaning of "De (or Duh)"?

Postby Guest » Mon Feb 02, 2004 3:24 am

Yes, both "de" (in the usages I mentioned above) are in the neutral tone (i.e. they are toneless, but the lack of tone is called a "tone" for some reason!).

Both 的 and 得 are indeed very common. Whether or not they are the "most" commonly used words, I can't say, but they are two very fundamental words.

The use of 的 for possession IMHO is the correct way. Measure words do exactly what they say: "measure". Hence, using them as possessives is either wrong, OR dependent on region (perhaps it is a common practice to do so, say, in Taiwan, or Malaysia, etc., but the standard is to use 的 - hence it is what is taught in texts). Basically, the only place one should find a measure word is between a number and a noun, or between a demonstrative pronoun (i.e. "this" 这 and "that" 那).

In Cantonese, it is very common (and acceptable, if not correct) to use measure words as possessives, so it may be a result of a native Cantonese speaker trying to speak Mandarin that measure words are being used possessively. I'm no expert in Mandarin, but based on what I've learned, this is the best answer I can think of.

"wo de ai": I have no clue what this is! :) Here are some guesses:
1. 我的爱 which I would personally interpret as "my love", though I'm sure there is a better way of saying this;
2. 我得爱: which I would interpret as "I have found love", because when pronounced in the SECOND tone, de2, 得 can mean to attain or to reach or to catch. A common example of this use is 我得病=I have caught illness="I am sick".

Check with a native speaker to verify exactly what "wo de ai" means, as mine are nothing more than guesses.

If you want FURTHER confusion, there's also a THIRD "de", which is the structural particle 地, used to modify a verb adverbially, eg. 他块块地过马路=He quickly crosses the street.


Re: what is the meaning of "De (or Duh)"?

Postby Aurelio » Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:47 am


Could "wo ge pengyou" be a sloppy version of "wo yi ge pengyou", meaning a friend of mine?




Re: what is the meaning of "De (or Duh)"?

Postby Guest » Mon Feb 09, 2004 4:56 am

Hmmm.. that sounds plausible.


Re: what is the meaning of "De (or Duh)"?

Postby jinfeng1 » Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:41 am

"De" is really a stupid thing in Mandrin! it is still being studied by many researchers. It deserves a thesis.
There are three DE in written chinese , which can be very subtle.

"wo ge pengyou" is not good in south of china. I think , it is better to say "wo3 de yi1ge4 peng2you" or omit DE. but northern chinese may think "wo ge pengyou" is pure Mandarin. In fact , they mean the same.

lao xiensheng

Re: what is the meaning of "De (or Duh)"?

Postby lao xiensheng » Tue Sep 28, 2004 8:32 am

From what I know i would suggest that 'wo de ai' would be 'my love' altho as soeone already said i could be 'i have found love'

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Re: what is the meaning of "De (or Duh)"?

Postby couyimin » Tue Oct 05, 2004 7:43 am

De(的) in chinese like the french word "de"

Je suis venu de Chine.

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