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Taken from Chinese Serial (遐邇貫珍), 1855-08. I think I know what the topic is, and I can understand about half of what's written. I'm having extreme difficulty understanding the entire article. There are five sentences in particular that I'm having trouble with, but I have attempted to translate them. Can someone confirm if my translation of these five sentences is correct?


Title: 禁止販賣女兒,並在本港載客往上海擾亂事






(1)What does 殊屬喪良已甚 mean? Here's my guess: The loss is very extreme. 殊屬,非常。喪,失去。良已甚,already very extreme.


(2)共推民胞物與之懷: To reject the policy of compassion for fellow people? 


嗣後如有再犯者,定必嚴辦無赦,並知會外國官憲,共推民胞物與之懷,嚴止忍心害理之事。。。:Afterward, if there are repeat offenders, they will definitely be dealt with without mercy/forgiveness. They have also informed other government officials that the criminals will compassion as fellow people will not be spared for these criminals to stop these activities.


(3)上海官憲,詳文本港制軍,言本港船隻:Shanghainese government officials have informed the Hong Kong troops in a detailed letter that there was a boat...?


(4)而所運之客,悉無事之人,不過為逃命而來,希圖逞狡耳:There were no issues/problems with the passengers in the boat; however, they (the government) want to deal with criminals masquerading as refugees?


(5)然後可搭,不可如前渾載也:I have no idea what this means.

After reading the title, I just realised that these are two separate stories. But I'm still having trouble understanding these sentences. Thanks

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Daniel ZHPY

(My keyboard input doesn't support traditional characters very well so I just change everything into simplified characters in the reply. Sorry for any trouble caused.)


殊: 特别 very; especially  属: 属于 belong to; be regarded as  丧: 失去 lose  良: 良知 conscience  甚: 厉害,此处指严重 in a high degree, here referring to an extreme state

Direct and rough translation: (这种行为)尤其属于丧失良知很严重的现象了。(Such behaviours) especially belongs to those involving an extremely serious lack of conscience.

Regarding to the context which is about buying people's daughters and selling them as goods, here's a relatively literary translation: 

这种行为真的是丧尽天良啊!Such behaviours could be done only by those who were utterly devoid of conscience!


共: 一起 together; collaboratively  推: 推行,宣传 propagate  民胞物与: 爱的人和一切事物 (Chengyu) generally refers to those you love and everything around you  怀: 心 heart

Direct and rough translation: 一起宣传对身边的人与事物的心 to propagate a heart towards people and everything around them.

An understandable translation: 共同提倡对家人和身边事物的关怀爱护之心 to promote the belief of being protective and caring of families and everything around an individual.


言: 谈论,这里指提及 converse, here seen as "mention"  文: 写,指记载 to write, here referring to documenting 只: 孤单,形容少而不够 lonely, describing the scarcity of the military ships


Shanghainese government documented in detail the official military force of our port, in which it was mentioned that the ships we had in the port is not enough.


而: 表顺承 to indicate a subsequent event in relation to the previous incidence  悉: 都 all  无事: 不务正业 having no proper or stable job  不过: 只不过,仅仅是 only; just  希图: 他们所运的乘客, 都是不务正业的人,这些人仅仅是为了逃命才跑过来,希望凭阴谋诡计得利罢了 

And the passengers carried by them are all those who had no proper job to do. They came here just to run for their lives, meanwhile being in hopes that they could make use of their cunning to gain something only.


然: 这样 this  后: 之后 after  搭: 搭载 give a lift  如: 像 like  前: 之前 before  浑: 全部 all  载: 搭载 give a lift  也: 语气词 an interjection


Only after this these people could be allowed to get on the boat. We could not be like before when they had been given a lift without their identities checked.


From the questions you brought up, here're some suggestions for your study of Classical Chinese:

1. Don't relate Classical Chinese with modern Chinese when you try to understand it.

2. Remember in Classical Chinese, people try really hard to avoid using two-syllable words to express a concept. Hence usually every single character has a corresponding equivalent word in modern Chinese, unless for Chengyu.

3. Some words and characters may refer to totally different and irrelevant things in Classical and modern Chinese, study these especially with care and caution.

4. Any component that is necessary to make a complete sentence in modern Chinese can be omitted in Classical Chinese, so referring to the context is the key to avoid confusion.

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On 7/5/2018 at 1:11 AM, louiejac said:



For point (3), it makes more sense that this sentence is written from the point of view of 本港制軍 (or at least the government), and that the OP's interpretation is correct, that Shanghainese officials wrote to "us" that 本港船隻 (Boats of Hong Kong) has been transporting many people to Shanghai lately, [...something about those people...], so "we" recommend owner of every boat to [...do the following...]

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Daniel ZHPY

If you analyse 本港船只 as the subject of 近日多运唐人, it's odd in the context. By further observation of the passage, we can see that there's a comma between 本港船只 and 近日多运, which separates the sentence into two parts, indicating that 本港船只 and 近日多运 should belong to different word groups or imagery. If it's 本港船只 has been transporting people, the sentence should be written as 言本港船只近日多运唐人经到上海, without the addition of the comma to show the direct connection of the word groups to ensure the natural flow of the sentence. But since here the sentence is divided, we should not look at it that way. Instead, the division serves as a hint to us that in 近日多运唐人经到上海, the subject is actually omitted, which is extremely common to see in Classical Chinese. So the sentence should be (我们)近日多运唐人经到上海. And just like what I've mentioned, in a classical text a two-syllable word is very rarely seen. Given that 船只 is actually a modern Chinese word and “隻”(in ancient times, 隻 and 只 were two different characters) means either the measure word for boats or "lonely", 船隻 here actually means there's a scarcity of boats since it doesn't make sense to put the measure word after the noun.

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Okay, I don't think I can convince Daniel, so let's just say we have a difference in opinion, and here is what I believe, and people can judge for themselves.


I do not think the comma is as strict as was argued, the above text already have 邇來閩浙總督,出一告示言寧波近有匪徒,購買良民女兒,用船運至外邦販賣 , for which 閩浙總督 is the subject of 出一告示.


There is nothing odd in context about Shanghainese Officials told us something about the boats, and so we ask the boat owners to do something.  On the other hand, if what Daniel say is true, that there are few boats, there is nothing else in the text that is related to it.


And the word for Boats is 船隻 for which 船只 is the simplified Chinese version, it is not about 隻 and 只 having different meaning.


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Agree with dwq, was also my initial feeling. Also putting commas after subjects is a relatively common convention, is it not? It is even done in the immediately following segment 本港制軍,故傳勸各船船主...


Also the interpretation of 本港船隻 as “本港船少” doesn’t make sense in the story. Why would Shanghai officials say that after just having said they’re transporting lots of passengers. Edit: blurp misread. What dwq said.

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