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《平凡的世界》- Highly Recommended Reading


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@imron, do you mind if I use this thread to ask specific questions about this book, or should I start another thread and keep this more general?

Anyway, my question is about 1/3 of the way through chapter 5. The text is

罐子村[the name of a town]离双水村[another town]才几里路,他也没什么事,于是就三一回五一回跑个不停

I get [roughly] "From Guanzi to Shuangshui is about a mile by road, he doesn't have any particular purpose, so something something something runs without stopping."

What does that "三一回五一回" mean? Anyone saying "three one return five one return" will get a (virtual) boot to the head. :nono

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I don't mind at all. Might as well keep everything in one place.

Regarding your question:

zdic puts the meaning of 三一回五一回 as:


That might not be much more help, so if we break it down further, we have:

犹言 - 好比说;等于说

三番五次 - 屡次


屡次 as 一次又一次

Which should probably be sufficient for understanding and so, putting the chain together, we get "三一回五一回"等于‘一次又一次’, and putting that back in context, we have:


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  • 2 weeks later...
Redfirefox  Wallenberg

Well, once you get to know the essential spirit of Chinese, i dare not say that.

you will be shocked, be fascinated, will fall in love with it, maybe.

to get to know more about the Chinese culture, i strongly suggest watch a TV play series <三国演义>。

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@jbradfor: my thoughts on the sentence you copied and pasted. (Good explanation by imron, just want to add my two cents"

I believe that this may have roots in Classical chinese, as the number 3 and I believe 5 as well were taken to mean many, rather than 3 or 5. For example, the famous :三人行,必有我师在。。。 implies that a teacher/leader will definitely be present when there are many people gathered together, not just when 3 are gathered together. In this example it is like saying 一次又一次跑个不停。。。 as imrod said.

Imrod or anyone else have any comments on my analysis please share.

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Meta-question about this book. I'm reading the HTML version mentioned in post #5..... How was that created? Was it scanned and then OCR'ed, or did people actually type it in? [i assume there was not official eBook version released.] Given that, what typo rate can I expected? Right now, it's quite difficult for me to distinguish between a sentence I can't understand because my Chinese isn't good enough, and a sentence I can't understand because a typo throws me off.

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I've often wondered about this myself, could someone please clarify what OCR'd stands for.

I think that it varies on the text and the copy of the text. For example, when I read "Chronicle of the Blood Merchant" there was a typo almost every page, so I knew that most of the ones that I came across were typos. I'd say that if you think there are a lot of typos then there probably are.

I wish I remembered the exact typo I came across in that one, I recall that it changed the meaning completely and was absolutely hilarious.

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OCR = Optical Character Recognition. The document is scanned and the OCR software converts the "picture" of the document into individual characters (which are stored behind the scenes by codes.)

Hmmmm ...hope that clarifies rather than confuses.

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thanks for you guy's answers, I am actually a bit familiar with OCR. on a related note, do any of you know of any such apps for the iphone? basically, you just place your phone in front of the character and it translates to English. I know someone that has been working on such an app, its not quite ready yet though.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm thinking about listening to the audio book version of this, but am feeling a bit commitment-phobic given that it is over 60 hours long. Imron, I think you said that it is a three book story? Is it the sort of thing where I can finish the first book with some sense of closure and come back to the second and third in a few months time?

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