Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Several adjectives in succession


diannao

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

As you know, 牛馬 means "oxen and horses". Now does 好牛馬 means "good oxen and good horses" or only "good oxen and (-) horses"? How would you say "good oxen and beautiful horses"? 好牛美馬? Is it absolutely necessary to use 與 in between in this case? Is it possible to say 好美馬, "the good and beautiful horse"?

Now it is more of a problem with numerals. Are 十牛馬 ten oxen and ten horses, twenty beasts in total?

Thank you very much for a reply!

Take care,

Diannao

Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Good questions. I'm not exactly sure, but here is my take. Take it for what it's worth.

好牛馬 means "good oxen and good horses" or only "good oxen and (-) horses"?

Sort of. In "好牛馬", the "牛馬" is read as a single word, meaning "beasts of burden" in general, not "horses and oxen" in particular. So it is legit, but it changes the meaning slightly, as you can use it when you have only horses or only oxen.

How would you say "good oxen and beautiful horses"? 好牛美馬?

That looks good to me.

Is it absolutely necessary to use 與 in between in this case?

No. Chinese likes putting nouns together without any linking conjunction. Drives me crazy.

Is it possible to say 好美馬, "the good and beautiful horse"?

That reads a bit funny to me, but I'm not sure why. "好馬美馬"?

Now it is more of a problem with numerals. Are 十牛馬 ten oxen and ten horses, twenty beasts in total?

Well, that's just wrong 'cause you need a measure word there....

Assuming you meant "十隻牛馬", again, that's "10 beasts of burden", no idea how divided among oxen, horses, etc. "ten oxen and ten horses" would be "十頭牛十匹馬".

Link to post
Share on other sites

jbradfor,

This is about 文言. No need for measure words. No need for any words, it seems. :)

As for the OP's question, I'll leave it to someone more well-versed in 文言.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For "good oxen and beautiful horses", perhaps you could consider 良牛駿馬. For "the good and beautiful horse", you could consider 駿馬, 良駒, 駿馬良駒, 良駒駿馬, 良驥, 千里馬/駒 etc.

For ten oxen and ten horses, consider 牛馬各十.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, I assume so, since it's in the Classical Chinese section.

Opps, you're right!

Who writes in classical Chinese, anyway? Seems like a strange class exercise to me.....

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was kind of wondering that, too, but Classics majors (for example) often have to study Latin composition in order to strengthen their understanding of the grammar. Active knowledge is stronger than passive knowledge. Now, I wouldn't wish Classical Chinese Composition courses on anyone, but I could see it being beneficial.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish my Classical Chinese was better, so the Chinese people around me would stop thinking I'm an uncultured illiterate ABC.

Also, plenty of people write in Classical Chinese. It's a legitimate (part of some people's) language.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, jbradfor, you nailed most of the questions, even without realising this was the Classical Chinese subforum. Good job ;) Some more thoughts:

How would you say "good oxen and beautiful horses"? 好牛美馬?

I'm not sure 美 would be the adjective of choice here. It feels a bit odd to describe a 馬 as 美, but then again, if you have to translate "beautiful horses" into Classical Chinese for an exercise, this is probably what I would settle for as well. The point is for you to get the grammatical structure of the Chinese, I guess, not writing florid prose.

Is it possible to say 好美馬, "the good and beautiful horse"?

My gut instinct is to say no, that's not possible. Perhaps this is because 好美 would more commonly be read as hào měi 'to appreciate beauty', and then I would expect 好美馬 to mean 好美之馬 'a horse that appreciates beauty', which is clearly nonsense. But I can't really think of any example sentences where you have two adjectives in a single noun phrase like that, so there may be more to it.

Now it is more of a problem with numerals. Are 十牛馬 ten oxen and ten horses, twenty beasts in total?

No, that would be 十牛十馬, I think. But again, I can't find any examples right now in the Chinese Text Project database of numeral + noun + numeral + noun. Incidentally, what does "ten oxen and horses" mean in English? How many oxen, how many horses? ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...