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Fred0

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Jim

I'm not sure either, I think it means he has one side-wing where it's all connected inside (as opposed to having the doors open onto the yard or corridor as is common), so might be partitioned into, e.g., three inside. Stuck with Bing for searches here so could only find it appearing here, also in Shanghai, maybe it's a local turn of phrase?

在一座鸽子笼似的弄堂房里,住着六户人家:楼上统厢房住的是已被停职的某丝厂职员袁瑞三(王献斋饰)和他的会做人的太太(舒绣文饰)...



..使他异常焦急;楼下统厢房住的是范思全夫妇,男的在一家木器店当跑街,但拉不到生意,女的多产又多病,整天守着一群孩子;后客堂住的则是二房东吕老太婆和她的喜欢赌博的儿子。.

https://maoyan.com/films/207068

That at least suggests 统厢房 is a concept.

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Fred0

Your theory that 统厢房 is a concept sounds right. Here's a quote I found on Google books that seems to suggest that a 统厢房 is a type of apartment. Maybe 统 has the implication of a unit, so a 统厢房 would be a side-wing of a bigger house separated off as a rental unit. What do you think? Likely a Shanghainese expression?

 

"施存统住在楼下统厢房,中间客堂间作餐厅。楼上正房住的是瞿云白,统厢房放着秋白的几架书,秋白和剑虹住在统厢房后面的一间小房里,我住在过街楼上的小房里。"

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Jim

Wouldn't be surprised to learn it's Shanghainese, every city had its own turns of phrase and the linguistic differences only exacerbated that. I more and more suspect it's a larger mansion sub-let into multiple occupancy and now each wing in rented out as a unit, sort of like the way Georgian mansions in Dublin became tenements. Interested to know the correct answer, which is why I enjoy your questions here!

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Fred0

Mrs. Gu, running from the war, has arrived back to Shanghai and has found her son's home, where he lives with his

wife and mother-in-law in one room where a partition has been built to create a separate space for the mother-in-law,

Mrs. Tao, who feels somewhat embarrassed (in the presence of her son-in-law's mother) to be living in a space that is being provided by her son-in-law. 

She is very eager, moreso than her daughter, to be hospitable to her son-in-law's mother, but she is being careful not to be too solicitous.

Her behavior is fluctuating between that of the guest who is playing host (to Mrs. Gu), to acting, to the contrary, as though

she were being made to feel unhappy by her counterpart (the other mother-in-law). As a result, it's a rather difficult to situation to manage.

Mrs. Gu only feels that her manner is unnatural, she goes from being hospitable to being cooly indifferent.

她找到伟民家里,伟民他们只住着一间房,另用板壁隔出一小间,作为他丈母娘陶太太下榻的地方。

那陶太太见了顾太太,心中便有些惭恧,觉得她这是雀巢鸠占了。

她很热心地招待亲家母,比她的女儿还要热心些,但是又得小心不能太殷勤了,

变了反客为主,或者反而叫对方感到不快,因此倒弄得左右为难。

顾太太只觉得她的态度很不自然,一会儿亲热,一会儿又淡淡的。

 

My question is about 或者反而叫对方感到不快. ( I am reading 叫 as indicating passive voice.)  Is Mrs. Tao being made to feel unhappy by her counterpart Mrs. Gu,  or is Mrs. Gu being made unhappy by Mrs. Tao?  Is the following clause, 因此倒弄得左右为难, saying that the situation is difficult to manage for Mrs. Tao, or Mrs. Gu?  The preceeding clause would suggest that it is Mrs. Tao who is having a difficult time. I also don't see how to read 变了 followed by 或者. She was transformed into the guest playing the host, or she was being made to feel unhappy by the her counterpart, Mrs. Gu.  Finally, what does 左右 mean in this context?

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Fred0

顾太太总觉得她们只多着她一个人。

 

The translation says that Mrs. Gu could see that the two women were afraid that she would move in with them. How does this sentence say that?

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Jim

I think you need all of this: 但是又得小心不能太殷勤了,变了反客为主,或者反而叫对方感到不快,因此倒弄得左右为难。

It's Mrs Gu who might be made unhappy - Mrs Tao "is careful not to be too solicitous, because if she acted like the host while really a guest she might end up making her unhappy instead...". I think the confusion arises because there's no explicit "if", it is there in the syntax rather than the vocabulary.

 

顾太太总觉得她们只多着她一个人。

Certainly doesn't say what your translation has, it's something like "Mrs Gu had the feeling that she was the only spare wheel/extraneous person in the situation." i.e. she was the only one there wasn't naturally room for. In context the translation might be a gloss that works I suppose.

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Fred0

So  叫 in that sentence means "to make," or "to cause?"  

 

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Fred0

That all makes sense. Thanks very much.  How would you translate 左右 in the next sentence: 因此倒弄得左右为难?  Rather? Somewhat?

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Jim

左右为难 is a set phrase: https://www.zdic.net/hans/左右为难 though if you break down the Classical there it's more literally "either choice brought difficulties", not knowing which way to turn for the best etc.

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Fred0

Gu taitai is telling Manzhen that Mujin did not come to see her even when the war was at her doorstep in her house outside the city. She says that even then Mujin did not come to check on how she was faring.

 

等到打仗了,风声越来越紧,我一个人住在城外,他问也不来问一声。

 

I don't understand why the sentence has 问 twice. Should I read this as "With regard to him coming to see me (他问。。。)also (then even) he didn't come to see me (也不来问一声)?" Is this a topic- comment sentence structure with 他问 as the topic and 也不来问 as the comment?

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