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Words I Never Thought I’d Understand the First Time I Heard Them Posted by on Dec 13, 2009 in Vocabulary

Below is a list of words that I never thought I’d end up hearing or speaking.

摩丝码 – (mo2si1ma3) – morse code.  I would not have understood this word if it were not for the context.  Understanding as “code” when it is connected to other words can be very helpful.  If someone has a 解码器 (jie2(3)ma3qi4) – decoder, they can properly view downloaded videos.  If you want to 打破密码 (da3po4mi4ma3), or “break a code” then that’s the word you would use.

信号 – (xin4hao4) – service/signal.  Whenever your cellphone has (or does not have) service, you can say 有/没有信号.  The way that people refer to the number of bars of service their cellphone is displaying is by using the word (gen1) – stick.  我有三根信号 (“I have 3 bars of service”).

提现 – (ti2xian4) – withdraw cash.  Usually 提 can be used for “withdraw”, and 现 can be used for cash.  Also along these lines, 兑现 (dui4xian4) can mean to convert something (such as checks or casino chips) into cash.

后现代主义 – hou4xian4dai4zhu3yi4 – post-modernism.  后现代主义.  This term only made sense in context, but you can break it down into its component terms.  can often be taken to mean “post” such as in 博士后 (bo2shi4hou4) – postdoc.  现代 can be used to mean “modern” (also the auto brand Hyundai).  主义 can be taken to mean “-ism” such as 资本主义 (zi1ben3zhu3yi4 – capitalism).

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