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A 蘇軾 poem and a quiz


Hofmann

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暮雲收盡溢清寒

銀漢無聲轉玉盤

此生此夜不長好

明月明年何處看

Quiz:

I asked this in a Facebook group about 2 weeks ago and nobody's gotten it right yet. I suspect you lot will do much better.

In the above poem, what is the tone of 看?

A. 平

B. 上

C. 去

D. 入

The correct answer is:

A. 平. There are several ways you can tell. You might recognize this as a heptasyllabic quatrain (七言絕句), where the second and fourth lines (and sometimes the first) rhyme, and the rhyming characters must be a 平 tone. If not, you can see that 寒 and 盤 are both 平 tone, so in order to rhyme, 看 also has to be 平 tone. If you didn't get any of that, then you might know that in Middle Chinese (蘇軾's language), 看 in a 平 tone means "look", while in a 去 tone means "cover eyes with hand" or "try".

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