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死神永生 Grammar Help


ablindwatchmaker
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Hello! I recently decided to get back into Chinese after a very long lay off and have managed to make some real progress, finishing three books in the past six weeks (I had previously only managed to read one over the course of many years due to half-assing it and not being serious). That said, I seem to have stumbled and feel like this third book is much harder to understand than the previous two, mostly due to the grammar and lengthy sentence structure. I have the English translation which has been helpful, though several of the more difficult passages are still giving me trouble. Here is an example: 
 

“在人类历史上所有沦陷区的抵抗组织中,地 球抵抗组织付出的牺牲是最大的,因为治安军有水滴和智子的协助,抵抗 组织每一次作战行动都近乎于自杀,同时也使得他们不可能进行任何大 规模的集结,这就为治安军对他们各个击破创造了条件。”

This is the official English translation: 

 

“Compared to all other resistance movements in human history, the Earth Resistance Movement doubtless made the greatest sacrifice. Because Sophon and the droplets assisted the ESF, every mission by the Earth Resistance Movement was akin to suicide. The conditions under which they fought also prevented them from pooling their forces, which made it possible for the ESF to eliminate them one cell at a time.”

 

The third sentence is where I am stumbling. How, precisely, is that final part being constructed? Specifically, “这就为治安军对他们各个击破创造了条件.”

 

Starting with “同时” I loosely translate it as “At the same time, this [having help from the sophons and droplet] made the concentration of forces on a large scale impossible, ….Thisnos where I am lost. I think the way 为 is being used is what is tripping me up, but I’m not sure. Any help would be appreciated. 

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I think I am getting stumped on the lack of a “的” to indicate that the “conditions” are the subject of the sentence. I have “At the same time/simultaneously, this made the concentration of forces on a large scale impossible, then/immediately/and(?) establishing/established the conditions for the security forces to eliminate the resistance fighters one by one.”

 

I know I need to move on from the .1% of text I don’t understand and just get more input, but sometimes I feel like I need to actively study some of this grammar and build a stronger foundation for input. Any thoughts on the text or altering my study strategy? 

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I know I need to move on from the .1% of text I don’t understand and just get more input, but sometimes I feel like I need to actively study some of this grammar

 

Don't necessarily assume that it's grammar tripping you up.  Once in a while you just have to accept that writers do certain things that don't match strict rules of grammar - eg words omitted, sentences piled up carelessly on top of each other, etc.

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I read that book last Spring! I can understand how that sentence can feel a little bit awkward (这就为治安军对他们各个击破创造了条件).

 

I'm going to remove the 治安军对他们各个击破 phrase and replace it with "X." So the sentence is 这就为X创造了条件. I would interpret that as, "This created the conditions (or brought about the circumstances, or whatever) for X. This is the main part of the sentence, and I think native English speakers (I am one myself) feel a bit awkward about X being placed in the middle of the sentence. That's not generally how we think.

 

What is X? I would translate it as "(for) the ESF to destroy (击破) them (对他们) one by one (各个). 对他们 is also a little awkward, but isn't unlike the way we see 对 normally being used. At them, to them, with respect to them, concerning them, etc.

 

So my rough translation is, "This created the conditions for the ESF to destroy them one by one."

 

My instinct is basically the same as yours. When I'm wrestling with a sentence I can't figure out, I give it a few seconds and then just move on. I figure that just getting more input might solve that problem over time. I think what often throws me for a loop (and I encountered this issue while reading today) is that Chinese doesn't repeat pronouns as often as English does, and it has a lot of subject-less, pronoun-less clauses. So sometimes, I get confused about who's doing what. Even in the case of the neuter "it" pronoun, Chinese doesn't use it quite the same way (or as frequently) as English. Anyway, that's my own side note!

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Conditions is not the subject.

为 indicates the party who benefits from the subject's action.

请为我倒一杯水 literally "please for me pour a glass water".

为……创造了条件 = "created the condition for..." => made it possible for...

The subject is 这 ('which' in the translation), i.e. the inability to concentrate their forces.

 

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@Publius 

Thanks for the tips.

I’m not sure why I am having so much trouble. In any case, I appreciate your help. 

 

@Woodford I must just be tired or something lol. I have managed to fully understand 99.9% of this book, and then I will get these random sentences that just completely throw me off. I think the sheer amount of expository text, with tons of run on sentences that have almost no dialogue, is fatiguing my working memory and causing me to lose track of subjects and objects. I’ve been reading and listening to these books, in addition to engaging with other material, for the last 6 weeks, 9 hours per day. It’s possible I need to take a day off or something.
 

Man, I am so ready to be done with this trilogy lol. It’s good, but damn is it hard at times. I browsed through some of the other books in my queue, and they are WAY easier than 三体。I’d like to have a chat with the person who recommended these to me years ago as “starter books” lol.
 

It will be such a relief to start the 余华 books. 

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@alantin

 

I am so glad you brought this up! I scoured the internet years ago trying to find it and never did but, lo and behold, I just found the entire series in digital format! It’s so weird, but I finished this series about 6 weeks ago before I started back on Chinese. Here you go: https://www.99csw.com/book/search.php?type=author&keyword=罗伯特·乔丹

 

It’s a shame there aren’t audiobooks for it, but it’s still worth a reread someday. 

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@ablindwatchmaker, Wow! Thank you! 🙏

 

I began my Chinese reading with WoT in last December. I couldn't find e-book versions either so I bought a bunch of books online, picked up 混沌之王, and scanned and OCR'd the whole thing. Then I half-assed with it until now. I also read the first quarter of 三体 during the summer and I'm coming back to 混沌之王, but I now only have 50 pages left and I was treading having to do the same scanning and ORC circus again. That site is truly awesome! 🤩

 

I read half a chapter of 混沌之王 today and I can really see tremendous improvement over the last year. When I began, I had to check three words in the first sentence alone. Now, even though its still slow, I could just read the paper book directly and not bothering to check the odd words an characters I didn't know, didn't really affect my understanding at all.

 

By the way, someone has read the books on Ximalaya. I don't know how to share links from there but searching under 小说 with the book titles should return them.

It's not as engaging as a professional reader, but it is a person reading it.

 


IMG_3876.thumb.PNG.e0250339de628d9d69685a6df7748bd7.PNG
 

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@alantin

 

Awesome! I swear I checked 喜马拉雅 in the past and didn’t see it. Thanks a ton for the info! When I go back to the series in a few years it will be awesome to have the audio and the text. Did you read WOT from the beginning or start with Lord of Chaos? Also, how is the Chinese? Do you have anything you’d compare it to in terms of difficulty? 
 

Have you finished the series, in English? I was blown away by the ending, but my favorite book ended up being The Gathering Storm. It might be my favorite book of all time. 

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@ablindwatchmaker, I began reading WoT from the beginning around 1998 and I loved it. But at the time only the first two books were translated into my native language so I continued it in English and after I ran out of the originals, I always read the next book right away when it got published. After a couple of those tomes I didn't need the dictionary anymore, so in a way I owe my English fluency to WoT since it's what got me into reading in English.

 

Afterwards I have always used WoT to ease into reading when learning another language. I listened to most of it in Swedish at some point and I've also read parts of it in Japanese, German, and Spanish.

 

So I can't really say anything about it's difficulty since I know the story so well that I can pick up any of the books at any page and I'll start recognizing what's going on even if I only understand half of the words.

 

The Chinese in the books is pretty much as difficult or easy to understand as the English is. Because it's a translation from English it feels very straightforward to understand for me and it doesn't really have any weird Chinese grammar as far as I can tell. I also asked a tutor about it at some point and she said that it does have the feel of a translation. On one hand the Chinese translation has the same problem or benefit (depending on how you feel about it) as the English version of extremely descriptive style, so there is a lot of vocabulary related to describing scenery, embroidery details, tastes, smells etc. that may not be very useful and can feel overwhelming. Personally I've always just glazed over those since I'm not that interested in exactly what kind of a pattern the random Cairhienan noble woman passing by was wearing on the back side of her left sleeve. But I just check the words that keep coming up that I don't understand.

 

I think Brandon Sanderson did a very good job with the ending, though there were a few things or inconsistencies that bugged me in the last few books and I liked Jordan's style more. That said, I think A Memory of Light may very well be my favorite book in the series.


I picked the Lord of Chaos because I feel the latter half of the series is a lot more interesting than the first and I didn't feel like starting from the beginning. Now that the first season of the television series should finally come out in December, I think re-reading The Eye of the World before that in Chinese should be a lot of fun. :)

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I remember reading Eye of the World & the Great Hunt as in the kid in the 90s too. 

 

I dropped the series after that because it just went on too long, although I read the last one by Sanderson.  I remember looking up summaries online to figure what happened in between end of book 2 and that last book.

 

The Eye of the World still has the distinction in my mind as being the "Longest Book I ever Read" (although it probably wasn't).  Maybe when my Chinese reading speed gets up to par, I'll make it also the "Longest Chinese book I ever read."  Although again, it probably won't be, but it'll be a nice echo.  Especially now that you mention the series is coming out on TV soon...

 

One of the fun things I find about reading in a second language is retracing your childhood steps.  It's a tradeoff between that and reading new stuff, but I find it useful as a benchmark.  Along the lines of... I'm now equivalent to what I was when I was 12, but in a new language!  Humbling, but neat.

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Ya I hadn't realized it was coming out soon until I saw your post.  Looks awesome! 

 

The only jarring thing is I imagined Moraine as like half the height of Lan, from the picture on the front cover of EotW.  But I like the casting of Rosamund Pike, playing her usual formidable woman role, so I'm sure I'll get used to her as Moraine.  She certainly makes a good Aes Sedai. 

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Actually I didn't notice this before but there has been something bugging me about those too. Your comment just revealed it for me.

I've had more of a problem with Lan as he is supposed to be quite a big guy towering over the diminutive Moiraine, but to me Daniel Henney looks way too.... Delicate.
Now I noticed that Rosamund Pike is also quite tall for the role. If I remember correctly Moiraine is supposed to be short even for a Cairhienan.

 

Other than that, I think most of the actors look pretty much how I imagined the characters and I think Rosamund Pike fits Moiraine really well too. I'll see if I get used to the delicate Lan. :D And Moiraine wasn't wearing the iconic blue gem on her forehead!


Also the ageless features of the Aes Sedai seems to be something they didn't even try to create. That makes some plot twists impossible as an Aes Sedai trying to hide her identity can't be recognized by her face by someone who knows what to look for.

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@alantin 

 

It’s pretty awesome that you have used WOT to acclimate to multiple languages. I’m thinking about doing that with The Witcher or Dune when I finally reach an acceptable level in Mandarin and start Spanish, but I am not sure when I will get around to those given the size of my queue. 
 

I was really impressed with how Brando Sando finished the series, and he deserves a ton of credit, imperfections notwithstanding. Veins of Gold was so powerful I geared up reading it, not to mention Egwene’s badassery. 

 

I’m really hoping the show pulls it off, but just as you’ve mentioned, there are a few significant changes from the book that may or may not work out. I think it can be done, but fantasy is really hard to pull off, so I’m trying to keep my expectations tempered. 
 

@phills 


I completely understand where you are coming from with respect to reading speed. I’m currently sitting at about 800,000 cumulative characters read, and my speed is absolutely abysmal at 60 CPM. Luckily, I’m unemployed and can spend all day reading for the next few months. My goal is to read a million characters per month, at least for the next three months and report back here to share my results, as @pinion did a while back. That post really inspired me to try harder and dedicate myself fully to one task at a time, at this stage in my learning. 

 

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