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Kenny同志

Can an experience last a lifetime?

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Kenny同志

I don't find it logical in Chinese. How about it as in English?

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imron

Yes it can. Normally it refers to the experience being so great/strong that it is something you will remember clearly for your entire life.

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Silent

I don't see why an experience could not last a lifetime. Nontheless it's rare as the experience should last long or the life should be short.

An experience of great magnitude as Imron refers to would be called the experience of a lifetime, not lasting a lifetime. Though, in extreme cases, you might consider it a lifetime experience. E.g. when someone keeps struggling a significant part of their life with the effects of the experience. In such cases you might consider the aftermath part of the experience.

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Kenny同志

Thank you Silent.

By “experience”, I mean something that happens to you or something you do, especially when this has an effect on what you feel or think.

So for example, can one's homestay an experience that will last a lifetime?

Anyway, I find it extraordinarily awkward to say 某个经历伴随了某人一生 or 某个经历会伴随某人一生

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Kenny同志

I think it might be "an experience of a lifetime" that the writer intended to say.

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Daan

No, "the experience of a lifetime" is the most unique thing that will ever happen to you in your life, but "an experience that will last a lifetime" is simply something really great that's happened, which you can carry with you forever: it's a memory to cherish forever and which will never cease to make you happy when you think about it. For example, you could say that "studying abroad in China was the experience of a lifetime" (meaning it's the best thing that has ever happened to you), but also that "studying abroad in China is an experience that will last a lifetime" (meaning it's a great thing you'll never forget about). I'm not sure, but I think this may be similar to the Chinese expression 一年之经历,终身之财富?

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Kenny同志

Understood. So it's the memory that lasts. :mrgreen:

Thanks everybody.

As an aside, where did you find the the saying, Daan? I've never heard of it.

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Daan

I thought that an appropriate way to say a 經歷 lasted forever might be to say it was 終身, and then I searched a bit on Google, which turned up this expression. Are you saying it sounds wrong to your ears, or is it simply an expression you hadn't heard before? I'd like to know before I commit it to memory for my own use :wink:

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Kenny同志

It's not wrong but I don't think it's any sort of fixed expression. It doesn't sound classical to me.

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Silent
By “experience”, I mean something that happens to you or something you do, especially when this has an effect on what you feel or think.

I'm not really sure what you mean by your post. I agree with this line and would stress that for me experience implies something 'special'. Strictly taken crossing an ordinary street on an uneventful day may be an experience, to me it's not really. To me an experience is something that you do or happens to you that is 'special' in the sense that it has a 'learning' effect. Or as you state it, has an effect on the way you think and or feel. As such every experience will have a lifetime effect on you.

An experience of a lifetime is an experience with a huge impact. Something unique that you will remember all your life and influences you consciously and significantly for a long time. Essentially it's an experience that shapes as a person, your personality.

For me an experience that lasts a lifetime literally lasts (nearly) a lifetime. The experience itself may be short, but the aftermath may last a lifetime. To me the aftermath should be more than an effect on thinking/feeling, the aftermath should be 'reliving' the actual experience so that for the person involved the experience never really ends. You might think about someone who experiences a disaster and remains heavily traumatized and keeps reliving the experience.

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Kenny同志

Thank you so much for being so exhaustive. So an experience that lasts a lifetime is a 终身难忘的经历. It makes good sense. :D

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anonymoose
So an experience that lasts a lifetime is a 终身难忘的经历.

I don't think so. 终身难忘的经历 I would say is an "experience of a lifetime".

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Lu
I don't find it logical in Chinese. How about it as in English?
I don't find it logical in English either. The intended meaning is clear, which is: the memories/lessons/friends/whatever you get from this experience will last a lifetime. But that's not what it says, literally it says the experience itself takes a lifetime, by which time one would generally not call it one experience. Perhaps something like a marriage would fit the expression, as it is one thing but lasts for decades, but even then the expression is weird.

In my opinion, this is bad writing. 'The experience of a lifetime' is also rather hyperbolic, but more logical.

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anonymoose
'The experience of a lifetime' is also rather hyperbolic

This is a very normal phrase in English.

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imron

Have a look here to see the sort of experiences that people think can last a lifetime.

But that's not what it says, literally it says the experience itself takes a lifetime,

That may be so, but when is language so logical? If I said it's raining cats and dogs then it doesn't literally mean that cats and dogs are falling from the sky, even though that is what I literally said.

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Lu
This is a very normal phrase in English.
I know, I probably should have mentioned that. I do think it's hyperbolic though.

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realmayo

Kenny, as others have said, it's not an uncommon phrase and native speakers aren't ususally going to pay it any special attention. It's not bad English and is not illogical, in my opinon.

Consider also similar, common, phrases:

The experience stayed with him all his life / the eperience of fighting in WW2 stayed with him all his life.

The experience never left him / The experience of those years never left him.

The word "experience" can carry with it not just the fact of being present at or taking part in something, but also how you are affected/changed by it (including your memories of it).

Consider too: "he's got lots of experience in this field". If, say, people are discussing someone's suitablity for a job, the meaning here isn't just that he's done lots in this field, but that he will have learned lots about, derived a familiarity in, this field.

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Michaelyus

It is very likely true that the use of "experience" as part of 经历 is newer than 阅历 and 经验 (which is later than the now archaic 实验; this meaning is retained in modern French as "expérience") [The OED has the definition "What has been experienced; the events that have taken place within the knowledge of an individual, a community, mankind at large, either during a particular period or generally" as being used from 1607, whereas "The actual observation of facts or events, considered as a source of knowledge" has been found as early as 1377; however, there are lots of shades in between and lots of dates in between].

Now I think it is starting to encroach upon what can also be expressed as "impression", especially when the "impression" stems from a really large event, where the event itself is intense or life-changing and so the impression afterwards is deep enough and long-lasting enough to continue the impressions at the event, such that "the experience stays with you". Hence I think it was through this kind of phrase that "experience" shifted a little towards "印象" or "感受", resulting in "an experience that lasts a lifetime". Indeed, MDBG's CC-CEDICT defines "感受" with both "an impression" and "an experience".

I think in this case, use of "experience" does vary with personality and cultural taste. I personally find "an experience that lasts a lifetime" a slightly hyperbolic phrase too, but then I would also find "an amazing experience" quite a strong statement, something I would use fairly rarely. I would speculate that the frequency of "an experience that lasts a lifetime" positively correlates with "an amazing experience" amongst speakers. Interestingly, "impressions that last a lifetime" sounds strange, but "a long-lasting impression" sounds better than "a long-lasting experience", so there hasn't been a complete replacement of one by the other.

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