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

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
Lu

What to make of this sentence?

Recommended Posts

Lu

Another Sanmao question. After making their way through a large amount of paperwork, Sanmao and José are now finally arriving at the courthouse to get married.

秘書先生穿了黑色的西裝,打了一個絲領結。「來,來,走這邊。」他居然不給我擦一下臉上流下來的汗,就拉著我進禮堂。

The secretary was wearing a black suit and a bowtie. 'Come, come, this way,' [he said].

 

And then the part I don't quite grasp. Why would he wipe the sweat off her forehead? I can believe she's sweating (it's hot in the desert and she's nervous), but why would the secretary wipe it off for her? That's just weird. So I asked my language partner, and her interpretation was: it's the secretary who's sweating (also nervous for his first wedding ever, plus it's hot), and he should have wiped his own brow in order to look more dignified for her wedding.

Now the English translator, who is working on the same book, kindly showed me what he makes of it, and he believes there is an implied 时间 (so 他居然不給我[时间]擦一下臉上流下來的汗) and she wants to wipe off her own sweat. That makes a lot of sense, except I'm not sure if you can just leave out 时间 like that.

 

So now I wonder what the good people of the Forums think. What's going on in this scene? How do you read that sentence? Any advice is welcome.

Share this post


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.

skylee

He does not even let her wipe the sweat off her face, and pulls her into the hall.

給 - let

post-32-0-73954200-1477959364_thumb.jpg

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron

Yep. Probably the best way to understand 给 in this sentence is to read it as equivalent to 让.

From Guifan: 表示容许或致使, 相当于“叫”“让”

This usage appears a lot in金庸's work and it tripped me up too at first.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stapler

I agree with above. It means "let".

 

Also, the one part where your translator friend is right is that there is a sense of "time" in this sentence. Literally "give time to wipe..." - source: I asked a native speaker.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron

That is true in that obviously it would take some time to wipe her face, however the usage of 给 here shouldn't really be thought of as 'give' and time isn't necessarily a factor. 

 

For example, here's a quote from a 金庸 novel that has a similar usage (表示容许) but no sense of time:

 

..便是西夏国公主,只不过她的脸始终用面幕遮着,除了小和尚一人之外,谁也不给瞧

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lu

Thanks everyone! I see what confused me here, and now I understand. I changed my translation to pretty much what Skylee suggested (but in Dutch of course).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
889

If anything's implied there, I don't think it's 時間 but more like 個機會:He didn't even give me a chance . . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Athena_zZ

Considering Sanmo's origin and time, her language is a bit more classical than the mandarin used by modern Chinese. Therefore it's possible that she means "he didn't even let me wipe his sweats", note that it's her trying to wipe HIS sweat.

Let me explain the example given by Admin, the princess' face 不给人看, 给 actually means Give here, just like 不给我吃, 不给你听. 不给人看 basically means "not submitting her face for people's sights". That's why I say, he didn't let her wipe the sweat off his face.

On the other hand, in everyday talk of modern mandarin, this quote definitely means he didn't wipe her sweat for her.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lu

Thanks for the confirmation Athena! Good to know.

Share this post


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...