As in English, in Chinese there are different ways to talk about understanding something. In English you might say, “I get it,” or, “Can you comprehend this?” or, “She understands that,” etc.
In Chinese, “理解(lǐjiě)” and “了解(liǎojiě)” are two verbs, both of which mean, “to know and understand”. However, there’s a difference: “了解” has a broader meaning and scope than “理解”. “了解” means “to understand” in the general, broader, and even superficial sense, but “理解” indicates a deeper comprehension.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
wǒ hěn liǎojiě tā.
I understand him well.
In this case, “understand” just means knowing his name, what he likes, maybe what his job is, etc. In other words, more surface-level information superficial things.
wǒ lǐjiě tā wèishéme zhème zuò.
I understand why he did this.
Here, the “understand” means the speaker comprehends what happened at a deeper level, beyond just the facts that everyone knows.
Let’s look at another usage of “理解(lǐjiě)”, when its meaning of, “understand” is used to suggest allowance, tolerance, etc.
zhè jiàn shì shuāngfāng dōu yǒu cuò, dàjiā xiānghù lǐjiè yíxià.
Both sides are wrong in this matter, please understand each other.
Please choose the best answer to fill in the blank.
1.wǒ xué zhōngwén shì wèile gèng hǎo de______zhōngguó wénhuà.
2.zhè jiàn shì shì wǒ zuò cuòle, xīwàng nǐ ______yíxià.
3.wǒ bù______tā de fǎnyìng wèishéme zhème dà.
4.wǒ xiǎng shìzhe qù______tā.