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Fred0

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Publius

世钧不禁望着她微微一笑

There's only one reading to me: Shijun looked at her and smiled.

If you want to say 'see somebody do something', you have to use the verb 看, probably followed by 到.

If you want to say 'see somebody's smile', then 'smile' must be the head of a noun phrase, i.e., preceded by 的.

And then there is this 不禁. As long as 不禁+verb makes sense, that verb belongs to the series of actions the subject can't help doing. And 不禁+verb+verb+verb... must end on a complete action. For example, 他不禁看了我一眼 is okay. But 他不禁看着我 is not. It's unfinished. The reader is expecting something else with finality to happen, like 说, or 点了点头, or in this case 一笑. Hope it helps.

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Fred0

This is a great help. Thank you. Just so I can be sure I understand,  "他不禁看了我一眼" means "he couldn't help but cast a glance at me," but, if I were to say "他不禁看了我的一眼“,it would mean "he couldn't help seeing my glance (at something)?" 

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Publius
13 hours ago, Fred0 said:

他不禁看了我的一眼

No, it doesn't work like that. Why it doesn't work I'm not sure I can explain. Native speakers are useless in explaining the why. But still I'll give it a try.

Firstly, 眼 in 一眼 is not a noun but a measure word. 一眼 describes the manner of 看. 看了X一眼 = cast a glance at X. If X = 我, we get 'cast a glance at me'; if X = 我的, we get 'cast a glance at mine', where 'mine' must be something appeared previously therefore understandable from context otherwise it's ungrammatical.

Secondly, 不禁 is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike 'can't help but'. In English, the subject in the active voice is not always the initiator of an action, for example, 'he fell', 'she died', 'it collapsed'. What happened is beyond the subject's control. To a Chinese mind, 'can't help but notice' is like belaboring the obvious. You couldn't control what enters into your consciousness even if you tried. So it's kind of incompatible with 不禁. 不禁 basically means 忍不住. Only when it's possible to 忍住 does it make sense to say 忍不住. In other words, 不禁注意到 is utter nonsense, in my opinion.

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Fred0

Very good explanation. Thank you. 

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Fred0

Another question about a sentence with 别:

 

Shijun and Cuizhi have retired to their bedroom on their wedding night and Cuizhi is moving in slow motion to delay having to get in bed with Shijun. There are two red honeymoon candles burning and Shijun sees that one of them has burned out, which is a bad omen. Shijun has already seen Cuizhi about to start crying at the wedding reception. He says:

 

“呦,蜡烛倒已经点完了。你还不睡?”翠芝隔了一会方才答道:“我就要睡了。”  世钧听她的声音有点喑哑,就想着她别是又哭了,因为他冷淡了她了?总不会是因为有一支蜡烛先点完?

 

How to read "就想着她别是又哭了?"  He was thinking she 别是 again had been crying. It seems to mean "other than that, what could be the case."

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mkmyers45
3 hours ago, Fred0 said:

How to read "就想着她别是又哭了?"  He was thinking she 别是 again had been crying. It seems to mean "other than that, what could be the case."

 

I think it's just a conjecture hinting at some sort of reluctance/being unsure on shijun's part if she will or will not start crying again....In the next sentence he starts thinking of the possible reasons and his thought process shows he's not exactly sure what's wrong 

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Publius
4 hours ago, Fred0 said:

It seems to mean "other than that, what could be the case."

No. 别 = 不要, so 别是 means 'don't let it be the case' > ''let's hope it's not the case'.

 

别是

ADVERB

COLLOQUIAL

[expressing anxiety that sth. undesirable may happen]

他这时还没来,别是不肯来吧?

He's still not here yet. I hope it doesn't mean he is unwilling to come.

(Source: Pleco)

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Fred0

“曼桢因为难产的缘故进了医院。祝家本来请了一个产科医生到家里来接生,是他们熟识的一个女医生,常常和曼璐一桌打牌的,那女医生也是一个清客一流的人物,对于阔人家里有许多怪现状也见得多了,丝毫不以为奇,所以曼璐认为她是可以信托的。她的医道可并不高明,偏又碰到难产。她主张送医院,可是祝家一直延挨着,不放心让曼桢走出那个大门,直到最后关头方才仓皇地用汽车把她送到一个医院里。”

 

 

1. What is a  "清客?"

 

2. What does 偏 mean in the phrase "偏又碰到难产?"  It seems to mean "Woe bitide if she encounters a complicated delivery."

 

3. How does "仓皇" come to mean "in a panic?"

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Jim

1. 清客 is someone who hangs around the houses of the wealthy as a semi-guest.semi-hanger on or as a patronised young scholar; in ancient times think a big estate was sort of like a manorial court in the West and a wealthy patron would support a few 清客 for their conversation and company etc like a Welsh baron might a bard, or that was how it was explained in notes to one classical work i read.

 

2. it's that 'contrary' sort of 偏 - her medical skills weren't all that, but here she was again dealing with a difficult birth. Contrary to expectations is the usual definition but also contrary to what might be best suited.

 

3. There's a few variant characters used to write that so wonder if it was a post hoc choice to write down a long-current oral term, so characters chosen for sound rather than meaning. Just a guess. ETA, e.g. https://baike.baidu.com/item/苍惶/4901538

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Publius

Very good explanations by Jim.

Small additions:

2. Chinese Grammar Wiki has this entry for 偏偏: https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Expressing_"contrary_to_expectations"_with_"pianpian"

3. Yeah, the origin of this word seems long lost. The 2nd-century Chinese dictionary 《說文解字》 merely stated: 「倉:榖藏也。倉黃取而藏之,故謂之倉。……」 Which suggests that the 'in haste' sense predates the 'granary' sense, probably by centuries, and quite possibly of imitative origin (倉、蒼 /tsʰɑŋ/ and 黃、皇、惶、遑、徨 /ɣwɑŋ/ share the same final, a phenomenon called 疊韻).

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Fred0

Manzhen has been a prisoner in her sister's house for the nine months of her pregnancy. She is now being driven in a car out of the house to the hospital to deliver her baby. She is thinking:

 

她终于出来了。死也要死在外面。她恨透了那所房子,这次出去是再也不会回去了,除非是在噩梦中。

 

Does 死也要死在外面 mean if now she dies, it will be outside (of that house)?

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陳德聰

Verb也要Verb...

Usually means something between "if you're going to Verb, then you'd might as well Verb ..." and "if you're going to Verb, then it should/will be in ... way"

 

死也要死在外面

If she is to die, it will be outside that she dies (and not back in that cursed house)

I.e. She won't go back even if it kills her.

 

Haven't read the book but sounds like some foreshadowing lol.

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Fred0

我真恨伤了。I can't find a definition of 恨伤 in any of my references.

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Publius
4 hours ago, Fred0 said:

我真恨伤了。I can't find a definition of 恨伤 in any of my references.

It's a verb-complement construction, similar to 我要饿死了 or 我想死你了, where 死 is a result/degree complement describing the extent to which I'm hungry or I miss you (in a hyperbolic sort of way). Compare English "I'm worried sick."

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Fred0

Thank you. That's very helpful. But, in this case, it's hard for me to intuit how it works. I can understand  that a hunger or a desire could hyperbolically be described as to the point of death. In English, as aweful as the useage is, you can say, "I love you to death," or I'm dying of hunger. It's not so easy for me to get the sense of hating something to the point of being injured or wounded, which is what made me think it must be a two-character verb. Is there another sense of 伤 that I am missing?

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Publius

The usage is unusual, but still understandable. I suspect something dialectal. Try to think of it this way: 死 and 伤 are often mentioned together, e.g. in accident/disaster report, so perhaps 伤 can be construed as less severe a degree than 死?

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Fred0

Yes, that makes sense. Thank you. 

 

It may indeed be dialectical. It is spoken by a poor store clerk.

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abcdefg

 

-- posted by mistake in the wrong place -- removed by author -- 

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Fred0

Manzhen has delivered her baby and is planning to abandon it to Manlu and Hongcai (the baby's father as the result of raping Manzhen). Manlu is hoping to persuade Manzhen to marry Hongcai.

 

曼璐看了看曼桢的脸色,见她并没有嫌恶的神情,便又低声说道:“二妹,你难道因为一个人酒后无德做错了事情,就恨他一辈子。”  说着,又把孩子送到她身边,道:“二妹,现在你看在这孩子份上,你就原谅了他吧。”

 

1.  What does 份上 mean?  Is it something like "for God's sake!" ?

 

Manzhen saw the baby the previous day and had no intention of seeing it again but Manlu has brought it out from the nursery to use it to influence Manzhen.

 

曼桢因为她马上就要丢下孩子走了,心里正觉得酸楚,没想到在最后一面之后倒又要见上这样一面。她也不朝孩子看,只是默然地搂住了他,把她的面颊在他的头上揉擦着。

 

2. Does 一面 here mean something like "to confront" or "to face?"

 

曼璐不知道她的心理。在旁边看着,却高兴起来,以为曼桢终于回心转意了,不过一时还下不下这个面子,转不过口来;在这要紧关头,自己说话倒要格外小心才是,不要又触犯了她。因此曼璐也沉默下来了。

 

3.  What does 不过一时还下不下这个面子 mean?  Does 面子 refer to "face" as in saving or losing face?  Does 还下不下 mean that there was a look of indecision on Manzhen's face?

 

4.  What does 转不过口来 mean?  Does it mean that Manlu thinks that Manzhen has changed her mind but not said so yet?

 

5.  What does 才是 mean at the end of the sentence 自己说话倒要格外小心才是?

 

 

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Publius

1. Yes, 看在……(的)份上 means 'for ...'s sake'.

 

2. The best way, I think, is to treat this 面 as a verbal classifier/动量词, i.e., as a way to count the number of times people meet or see each other. So 见面 can be analyzed as formed by a verb plus a measure word, and 一面 simply means 'a time (of seeing each other)'.

(It's not uncommon for nouns to be borrowed and used as measurement like this, e.g., 看一眼 'take a look', 踢一脚 'give a kick', 尝一口 'have a taste'.)

 

3. The usual phrase is 放不下面子 'unable to swallow one's pride'.

 

4. 转口 here means 'to change one's tune'.

 

5. This 是 is an adjective that means 'correct, right'.

Examples from Pleco:

    你说得是。

    What you said is right. / You are quite right.

    应当早做准备才是。

    Preparing early is the right thing to do. / It's right to prepare early.

才 emphasizes a prerequisite condition: 'then and only then'.

So Manlu is telling herself, "It's best I be extra careful what I say."

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