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Yao Zihan is watching a video of her gu zheng performance and she decides it was terrible. She says: 既不颓废,又不牛掰.


I can't make sense of either phrase.  ?already not depressed, also not broken cow?


Then: 姚子涵感觉自己委琐了.    委琐 is cast aside, trifling?


Please help.

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Sounds more like she is upset that her performance is mediocre. ***wroooooong***


委琐 petty/wretched


Might help if you gave more background.






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Yes, context is important.

I believe 頹廢 refers to saxophone's melancholic feel, or 'emo' if you like.

牛掰 is another euphemistic way (started by Wang Shuo I believe) to write 牛逼, apparently refers to piano.

既不……又不…… neither ... nor ...

She's saying guzheng is neither as cool as saxophone nor as classy as piano.

委琐 has multiple layers of meanings, but the gist here is 上不了臺面 'unpresentable'.

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ji=already, de facto; since; then

tui= ruined, decayed; disintegrated.    or  to crumble; to collapse; to decline; to decay; decadent; dejected; dispirited; balding.

fei=abrogate, terminate, discard.

you= and, also, in addition   or    (once) again; also; both....and.......; again.

niu= ox, cow, bull.

bai= (Cant.) to tear, to rip    or   to break with both hands.



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Very helpful indeed. Key to my understanding is your translation of 既不。。。又不。。。. I really appreciate your efforts. 

Could you say a bit more about the multiple layers of meaning of 自己委琐? I sense that it refers to her own sense of insignificance, irrelevance, and worthlessness. Thanks.

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既 is part of a correlative conjunction. The second part can be 且, 又, or 也.

既A且B = 既A又B = 既A也B = both A and B

So 既不A又不B = neither A nor B


《漢語大詞典》 lists 6 senses for 委瑣:

①細碎,瑣屑。This is the original meaning and refers to things: petty, trifling.


③謂拘泥於小節,注重瑣碎之事。This refers to people: fastidious, fussy.

④謂品格才智卑下。It goes more negative. People who only care about small things are considered crass, without class, even morally/intellectually inferior.

⑤謂容止鄙俗。This refers to people's look and bearing: of wretched appearance, vulgar, or just generally unpleasant. Sense 4 and 5 are the most commonly used and often written as 猥瑣.

⑥委頓,委靡不振。This sense is obsolete: dispirited.

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just to add:  颓 废 = decadent/dispirited/depressed/dejected.(compound word)

 牛= awesome (in a slang).

掰= (fig) to break off ( a relationship).


so following Publius post, It can mean as follows:

Neither disprited/depressed/dejected nor awesome break (off a relationship) .

that was a wild shot in the dark, following what has been said above.  I don't know.


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the other translation is:



姚         子           涵                   感-觉             自-己     委              琐               了

yao      zi           han                gan-jue         zi-ji         wei           suo       le/liao.

Edited by gwr71
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The layers of meaning of 委琐 are very interesting. In the context of this story, the implication of "vulgar," "low class" is significant. It shows her lack of respect for the traditional Chinese, as compared to the western/modern.

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