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Lesson 6 – Advanced – Difference between “协助”, “帮助”, “援助” and “赞助”

There are many words of similar meaning and appearance, which are difficult for overseas students who study in China to tell apart. This lesson will illustrate some pairs of similar words to distinguish.

The first group of words to be differentiated is “协助”, “帮助”, “援助” and “赞助”. All of them are functioned as verb and all carry the meaning of support and help. Let’s see how teachers in Mandarin learning courseshelp students to make the differences.

The word “协助” indicates to assist, especially to help from the other side, mostly in specific aspects of work and activity. So we often say “请求公安部门协助”. The word “帮助” implies to encourage people materially and mentally, to help by giving ideas or strength. It can be used widely. We can say “请帮助我拿一下” and “他帮助我分析出现错误的原因”. When students study Chinese, this word is often used and appeared in daily life.

While the word “援助” has a limited scope of application, particularly means to support greatly in politics, economy, morality and justice and military. So we say “援助灾民”, “无偿援助”. “赞助” attach much emphasis on financial aid. We often say “赞助比赛”, “赞助这次活动”. The examples are helpful for students who learn Chinese in China.

Another group of words often taught in Chinese language school are “标准”, “榜样” and “模范”. Typical examples will be illustrated to make differences between them in the following parts.

When “标准” functioned as a noun, it means a standard to measure things and objects. It emphasizes the basis to measure the same kind of things. We often say “一条标准” and “符合标准”. When used as an adjective, it means conform to standard and it functioned as the attribute. For examples, “标准的普通话” and “发音很标准”.

Both “榜样” and “模范” are nouns, which are mostly used to indicate peoples. “榜样” means things or person are worthy of learning from, emphasizing the action shown. We say “他是我们学习的榜样”. But “模范” indicates things or people can be imitated, which can also act as adverbial modifier. The examples “劳动模范” and “模范地遵守各项规章制度” are often appeared in Mandarin language courses in China.

An important group of words should be mentioned to learn Chinese language is “笼罩”, “覆盖” and “包围”, among which are all functioned as verb. “笼罩” carries the meaning of covering widely. Mostly is used to indicate the things floating and can be scattered like cloud, smoke, rain, fog and light. Besides, it emphasizes to cover from the upper to the bottom. We often say “大雾笼罩城市” and “不安的气氛笼罩了整个城市”.

“覆盖” can be used to express either covered in large area or small area preventing to be seen. And it often used for the solid things. So we can say “大雪覆盖了路面”. The word “包围” is frequently used to learn Mandarin. It implies to be blocked from all sides and can’t escape from it. It can be used widely either for things like cloud and smoke or person or solid things. For example, we can say “我们被敌人包围了”.

Another pair of similar words teachers often come across when they teach Mandarin language is “维护” and “保护”, both function as verb. “维护” carries the meaning of protecting and maintaining from damage. The objects are mostly abstract things. We say “维护团结”, “维护荣誉”, “维护妇女和儿童的合法权益”, etc. “保护” implies to take care and protect. It can be followed by specific person or things as well as abstract things. We often say “保护视力” and “保护妇女和儿童”.

To tell apart the similar words, the best learning way is to attend to school to study Mandarin because teacher will give you detail explanation and enough examples to learn.

These groups of similar words mentioned above are often seen in the daily life when students learn Chinese. So students should practice more.

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