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Questions to ask English experts from Chinese learners (Round 23)   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2014-10-13 16:06:06 |Display all floors
Thank every member who answered readers' questions last time. Chinese English learners from Wechat are very happy to recieve your replies. Here are more questions from them:

Q1: What are the differences between pile, heap, stack and mound?

Q2:  What does the phrase "ahead of the curve" mean?

Q3: To describe "an unexpected winner", we can use the phrase "a black horse", besides it, are there any other expressions? If there are, can you elaborate on their origins?

Q4: In the American TV series The Good Wife, Alicia can go on a date even when she only separated with her husband without a legal divorce, is that allowed in law?

Q5: In news reports on bilateral relations between China and other countries, the word "Sino" is more often used rather than "China", why?

Q6: Most bathroom sinks in Britain still have separate hot and cold taps today, why don’t they make hot and cold water flowing from the same faucet?

The previous rounds:

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Post time 2014-10-13 17:09:31 |Display all floors
Q2:  What does the phrase "ahead of the curve" mean?

Ahead of the curve literally refers to your position on the statistical bell curve, where the top of the curve represents the median, average result. By being ahead of the curve you represent the top percentile of results that either has the advanced skills or understanding that sets you apart.

Ahead of the curve is synonymous with ahead of the pack.

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Post time 2014-10-13 21:26:08 |Display all floors
This post was edited by Ratfink at 2014-10-13 21:27

Q5 - What does Sino Mean?

Sino is the French word for Chinese.  It's derived from the Late Latin word Sinae which is the plural meaning Chinese.  The Late Latin is derived from the Greek word Sinai, which probably originated as the Indo-Aryan which is akin to the Sanskrit Cīnā which is the plural meaning Chinese.

Per Ardua Ad Astra

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Post time 2014-10-13 21:34:02 |Display all floors
Q5: In news reports on bilateral relations between China and other countries, the word "Sino" is more often used rather than "China", why?

I think it derives from the word "Sinology", a term used to describe all kind studies on every sector of the country.

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Post time 2014-10-13 21:46:45 |Display all floors
q1) very little difference, they are synonyms most of the time.

A stack is usually a neater, more deliberate arrangement than a pile, heap or mound. A librarian might stack books, but would be angry if she found them thrown in a pile or heap. Even a haystack must be neat and symetrical. The word stack can also mean a natural pillar of rock or cliff face, such as the mountain Stack Polly (I believe the name is norse). It can also mean a factory chimney e.g smokestack. Aeroplanes circling over an airport waiting for an opportunity to land are said to be in a stack. I would hope there is order when this happens!

The word "mound" also sometimes suggests neatness, and structure. It can also imply roundness. Our ancient ancestors were buried in dome shaped burial mounds, we don't call them "burial piles" or "burial heaps". Earth piles or heaps are what workmen leave at the side of the road, but we might also say that workmen have left mounds of earth, or that mounds of rubbish have been dumped, so these three words are interchangeable most of the time.

Q2 It seems to be a reference to the statistical "bell curve" or normal distribution. Someone who is ahead of the curve is better than average

Q3 the more usual term is "dark horse". "Fool's luck" expresses a similar concept. I don't know the origin of this expression, I first heard it in the excellent "I Claudius" novels by Robert Graves, when Claudius, who is regarded as an idiot, unexpectedly and unwillingly becomes Roman Emperor. "Fool's luck" is also the name of a very early movie starring Fatty Arbuckle.

Q4 I'm no lawyer. I believe adultery is not a criminal offense, but could be legal grounds for divorce. Simply going on a date falls short of adultery.

Q5 omnia melior latina audita sunt (anything sounds better if you say it in latin :-))

Q6 Speaking from my own limited experience of plumbing, faucets seem to cost about 10 times as much as simple taps in Europe. Water from cold water taps is said to be safer to drink than water from hot water taps, perhaps due to higher traces of lead dissolved in hot water from old pipes. This is a good reason to keep the two separate in a country where tap water is generally drinkable

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Post time 2014-10-14 04:18:42 |Display all floors
I believe that people who are separated can date before they are divorced.
The car is red. I am not.

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Post time 2014-10-14 09:34:39 |Display all floors
This post was edited by Sikaote at 2014-10-14 09:47

Q1: The spelling of the words. They are synonyms.

Q3: Dark horse. Longshot. Underdog.

Q4: Dating is not against the law.

Q6: UKanians are a stubborn lot.

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