Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Question about 天花板


Moshen
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm reading a story in which someone seems to be spying on someone else.  The detective is inspecting the spied-upon person's house and goes into the bedroom, where he looks up and says, "I see you have a 天花板."  This is translated as "ceiling."  But this must be a special kind of ceiling.  Doesn't every room in every house have a ceiling???

  • Good question! 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Thanks, but I don't quite understand.  There's what you call a suspended ceiling and then what would a non-suspended ceiling be like?  In the US or Canada that might be rafters but this story takes place in China and I never saw anything like that there.  The story is clearly calling out a non-ordinary type of ceiling.  I'm still not clear on the difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In China's cities, people usually live in blocks of flats. Many of them like to make the living room gorgeous by using a suspended ceiling. But a suspended ceiling will lower the spatial height of the room. I think it may make the room oppressive, so I just brushed the ceiling of my living room with white paint.

The following pictures are some suspended ceilings:

image.thumb.png.01c525968e7ff3ebf185c51adcac192b.pngimage.thumb.png.db86d5fb37b5aeb73b02e2ac556dafb1.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@EnergyReaper, you are answering by telling me about suspended ceilings!  I am wondering what a NON-suspended ceiling - an ordinary ceiling, perhaps, as those photos clearly are not - is like.

 

I think in the story I'm reading someone physically crawled into the 天花板 to spy, and from my reading so far, the story implies that other kinds of ceilings have no such space to crawl into.  It also seems that one might tell at a glance which type of ceiling a room has.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wouldn't you be able to tell straight away whether it's a suspended ceiling just because it's lower than what you would have expected? So if the detective walks in from the hallway and notices straight away the ceiling in the bedroom is lower and thus not an ordinary ceiling, he'd be able to call out that it's a 天花板.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quote

Wouldn't you be able to tell straight away whether it's a suspended ceiling just because it's lower than what you would have expected? So if the detective walks in from the hallway and notices straight away the ceiling in the bedroom is lower and thus not an ordinary ceiling, he'd be able to call out that it's a 天花板.

 

Actually in the story it says that all the ceilings in this house were that way.  My question is, what was he seeing that told him this?  And what, in comparison, were ordinary, non-天花板 ceilings like in China?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If there are built-in lights for instance. That could be a sign for a suspended ceiling. Or elaborate designs (as shown in the photos shared by EnergyReaper).

Can't comment on "ordinary" Chinese ceilings. Maybe the detective was aware of the difference in height or the layout simply gave it away.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/1/2022 at 6:48 PM, Moshen said:

"I see you have a 天花板."  This is translated as "ceiling."

 

I'm fairly sure 天花板 means exactly what you think it means (i.e., ceiling), in which case, the problem is not your understanding of the word 天花板.  Perhaps it would help to include the full sentence in Chinese and a reference to the story.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quote

Perhaps it would help to include the full sentence in Chinese and a reference to the story.

 

Here is how it comes up.  I couldn't cut and paste, so here's an image of the passage (click on it to see it larger):

 

image.thumb.png.bd62d059aad41d27274d6dd3c069b163.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When using 天花板, it looks like the author is including the empty space above e.g. the plasterboards; I guess we do that in English too ("there's a squirrel in the ceiling").  Here's my translation:

 

李河没有说话,他难过地抬头,然后就看到了天花板。

Li He didn't speak, feeling unwell, he raised his head, then saw the ceiling.

 

和他猜想的一样,房间里也有天花板。

As he suspected, this room also has a ceiling.

 

“一楼的每个房间都有天花板吗?”他问。

"Does every room on the first floor has a ceiling?" he asked.

 

高静吃惊地回答:“是的,都有,有什么问题吗?”

Surprised, Gao Jing replied "yes, they all do.  Is there a problem?"

 

李河没有说话,高静突然也明白了,她的脸一下子就白了:“你的意思是……他在天花板上?就像《天花板上的客人》里写的一样?”

Li He didn't reply, and Gao Jing suddenly understood; her face suddenly turned pale: "you mean... he is in the ceiling?  Just like in 'The Visitor In the Ceiling'?"

 

李河没有回答,只是问她:“我可以上去看一下吗?”

Li He didn't reply, and only asked her: "Could I go take a look?"

 

高静又要哭了,她点了点头。

Gao Jing started crying again, and nodded her head.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know it may seem like I'm beating this to death, but in English the sentence "Does every room on the first floor has a ceiling?" makes no sense whatsoever for a house.  Only for ruins.

 

And speaking for someone who's had bats living in the roof eaves, mice in the walls and a raccoon that crawled into our radon exhaust pipe from the roof, I would never understand or say "There's a squirrel in the ceiling."  It would have to be "There's a squirrel in the attic" or "A squirrel got into the space between the ceiling and the floor above."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

image.thumb.png.4c2c7884ff2fd8c2ab754047b120f70a.png
 

I wonder if this would be a 天花板? If there's no space between the inside of the roof and the outside of the roof.

In fact in English, I think I'd feel a bit weird calling this a ceiling and would prefer roof.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like @Moshen, I've always found this somewhat confusing in Chinese. Once in Kunming, the people in the apartment above mine left some water running in a  low sink (frugally collecting those slow drips in a bucket the way Chinese often do.) It overflowed and seeped through my ceiling. My landlord understood what I meant when I called her, using 天花板 in the sentence. The repairman used some other wording the next day, but I thought at the time it might just have been dialect. 

 

When I told my girlfriend about it the next day, she corrected me and called it a roof, using the term 房顶。Came to find out later that the rural home where she grew up had exposed rafters, kind of like those in @realmayo's picture, above, only not as refined. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ceiling ultimately comes from panelling in English so it's more us who've changed, as it would mean a suspended/panelled covering with some sort of gap however small behind, though now in common parlance it could also be the floor of the storey above with a lick of paint I suppose. Not that you do get that much in residential buildings, I don't think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...