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Fred0

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Fred0

“他家里开着一爿皮货店,自己就住在店堂楼上。。。。店堂里面阴暗而宽敞,地下铺着石青的方砖。。。。抬头一看,头上开着天窗,屋顶非常高,是两层房子打通了的。四面围着一个走马楼,楼窗一扇扇都是宝蓝彩花玻璃的。”

This this is a description of Shijun’s family home and business. I can understand that at street level it’s a fur or leather goods(?) store with a tile floor.  Looking up from store level there is a two story high skylight(?) a hatch(?). The access (打通)to the second floor is ?through the hatch (?). Around all sides is a 走马楼?Is that a gallery overlooking the store level? Is the upstairs living quarters ringing the building at the second level with an opening in the middle that allows light from the skylight to illuminate the store level? The sliding hinged windows all are of blue flowered glass? I would like to be able to understand this description, as much to understand what I am not seeing in the language as to be able to picture the architecture, but both are definitely interesting.

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陳德聰

I am having trouble visualizing where the person giving this description is standing. Did you elide a bunch of text or are those ellipses there to begin with?

 

天窗 is a skylight, but if this is from long enough ago it wouldn't be made of glass, but probably just be a hatch-like thing that can be opened.

打通 means here to remove a mediating wall, in this case a ceiling. The reason the roof looks so high is that both storeys have been connected vertically into one high-ceiling room.

The instant image that comes to mind for a 走馬樓 is this. It's this type of building.

宝蓝彩花玻璃 is sapphire stained glass.

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Fred0

Thanks very much. This is very helpful. I left out some sections which were not related to the description of the structure of the building, but this whole description is being given all together in the same paragraph. When she says "looking up" she means standing on the first floor looking up at the skylight.  In your picture the open space appears to be a courtyard. The building Chang is describing has an interior balcony looking down on the first floor store. The private quarters of the store owner are located behind the overlooking second floor balcony.  

 

Looking at the phrase  "四面围着一个走马楼, " 走马楼 seems to be describing this second-story section of the building with the balcony overlooking the first floor rather than to the building as a whole. Can you clarify that for me? Am I reading it correctly?

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Fred0

Shijun, as a young boy was the ring-bearer at his brother's wedding. Cuizhi was a little girl who held up the train of the bride during the procession. 

世钧的母亲看见翠芝,却把她当宝贝,赶着她儿呀肉的叫着,想要认她做干女儿。

 

I have no idea what 赶着她儿呀肉的叫着 means. The best I can do is "(she) used her son to act as bait (meat) to call (attract) (her)."  Please help.

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Jim

Not really sure on this but my first reaction is that 儿呀肉的叫 describes the mother cooing and clucking at the girl who she follows 赶着 - mother sees her, thinks she's precious/sweet and follows along/goes up to her clucking and fussing as she finds her so appealing and would like to establish that closer relationship. Asked a Chinese friend who agreed it was something along those lines but wasn't sure either.

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Fred0

That makes sense in the context, but I can't put your meaning together with those words. The dictionary gives this for 肉:  (coll.) (of a fruit) squashy / (of a person) flabby / irresolute. I can't find any meaning for 呀 other than as a final particle. 

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Publius

(母親)(追)趕着她、「兒」呀「肉」的叫着(她)

呀 is a variant of 啊 when the preceding syllable ends in a vowel (in fact, 啊 is seldom pronounced /a/ in real speech). And one function of 啊 is enumerating items, e.g. 魚啊肉啊擺了一桌子.

兒 and 肉 are just placeholders for terms of endearment, like "sweet heart", "pumpkin", 心肝兒, 寶貝兒, etc.

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Jim

Was typing a response but see Publius has put it better!

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Fred0

Cuizhi has come home with Shijun whom the family is trying to set her up with to become a couple, although neither of them is interested in the other. When they arrive home a family gathering around the mahjong table is in progress, and they make jokes about the supposedly budding relationship. Cuizhi is not amused and says,

 

“你们今天怎么了,净找上我!”

 

What does 净找上我 mean?

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Jim

净 will be meaning 8 here, 8.方言,取总是、老是之意。~说点儿没用的话。https://baike.baidu.com/item/净/1418679

 

So it's something along the lines of "What's up with you lot today, always making fun of/having a go at me"

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Fred0

Cuizhi has come home with Shuhui after being out on an improptu date which her mother, Shi taitai, fiercely disapproves of because she knows Shuhui is poor. After a cold reception at the door by Shi taitai Cuizhi boldly walks into the living room, leaving Shuhui no choice but to follow behind.

 

她气烘烘地走进客厅...  what does 气烘烘 mean- perhaps something like "with a boisterous air," or maybe something like "with an air contrasting (to her mother's cold disapproval)?"

 

Then her mother follows the two of them in.

 

石太太不放心,也夹脚跟了进来,和他们品字式坐下,密切注意着他们两人之间的神情。 What does 品子式 mean- perhaps something like "in her characteristic manner?"

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陳德聰

The 氣 in 氣烘烘 is “angry,” and 品字式 is in a shape/form resembling the character 品 visually. So Shuhui and Cuizhi are sitting probably in the position of the lower two squares and the mom is sitting in the position of the top on staring at them.

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Fred0

Who would have guessed about 品子式, but of course that's what it is. Thanks so much.

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陳德聰

品「字」式

Other similar things are:

田字格

米字格

十字架

etc.

 

Shapes/forms that match the shape/form of a character.

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Jim

One I hear pretty often is 丁字路口 and English does something similar with T junction

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Fred0

Manzhen and Shijun are taking a walk after dinner. Manzhen is thinking back to when she, as a young teen would follow her older sister and her boy friend, Yujin, in a gang with her friends on the street, raising a ruckus, when the two of them would go for a walk after supper.

走到衖堂里,曼桢又想起她姊姊从前有时候和豫瑾出去散步,也是在晚饭后。曼桢和衖堂里的小朋友们常常跟在他们后面鼓噪着,钉他们的梢。

Then the author writes:

她姊姊和豫瑾虽然不睬他们,也不好意思现出不悦的神气,脸上总带着一丝微笑。

The translator renders this as: “Manlu and Yujin would hide their displeasure in small pretended smiles, trying to ignore the fuss.”

 

My reading of this sentence is: “ Her sister and Yujin, although they paid no attention to them,  were embarrassed, and while they put on a displeased manner, there was always, on their faces, the hint of a smile.”

 

The two reading are opposite in terms of which is the real, and which is the pretended feeling.  To me 现出 and 神气 imply appearance. They were covering up their embarrassment with an appearance of displeasure at the commotion behind them, but they were actually amused.

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陳德聰

不好意思現出不悅的神氣

The translator is closer for this bit than you because you parsed it into separate clauses.

 

不好意思+Verb Phrase = 不好意思 to Verb Phrase

 

They were not pleased with the little annoying stalker children but they didn’t want to show it, so they always smiled their way through it. Probably looked more like a grimace I’m sure.

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