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Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by Skatinginbc, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    我们本是师兄妹,谁叫我们一条根?一条根上两条藤,情投意合是知音。 连理枝来比翼鸟,一对蝴蝶和鸳鸯。蔡锷偶遇小凤仙,赵一荻偶遇少帅。(http://tieba.baidu.com/p/1447597633?pn=7).
    How many butterflies and how many mandarin ducks are referred in "一对蝴蝶和鸳鸯"?

    "能够以这么优惠的价格买到这个, 实在是太划算了. 以前买过一对熊猫和小猪的, 可惜后面不小心弄丢了. 这次刚好发现有活动就买了个小鸡和小狗, 也非常的可爱呢. (http://www.pwbzcl.com/51/850/216304.html). How many pandas and how many piglets?

    来自北京市平谷区的一对老先生要结婚了. How many old men? Obviously two (both male). 周末的下午四、五点,小区公园出现了一对老先生和老太太. How many old men and old ladies?

    Is there any grammatical rule that governs the number of the object(s) referred by 一对?
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  2. Lucia_zwl

    Lucia_zwl Senior Member

  3. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    I beg to differ on the first one, Lucia. "我们本是师兄妹..一条根上两条藤" indicates only two persons in question. Two persons cannot equate to 两只蝴蝶和两只鸳鸯, four living beings in total. I think 蝴蝶鸳鸯 (or 蝴蝶鸳鸯 with an epenthesis to fulfill the seven-word constraint) as a unit is a metaphor, meaning loving couples. So 一对蝴蝶和鸳鸯 = 一对情侣. Two persons in total, no butterfly, no duck, no wild animals that fly.

    This is my proposed rule (and ready to be challenged): 一对 always refers to two in total (e.g., 一对双胞胎 'two twins', 一对新人 'two newly-weds'). When it is linked by (i.e., 一对 X 和 Y), either explicitly (e.g., 一对公鸡和母鸡) or implicitly (e.g., 一对夫妻 = 一对夫和妻; 一对母子 = 一对母和子), it means "one X plus one Y". Thus 一对夫妇和女儿 = 一对(夫妇)和女儿. Because 一对 always refers to two and (夫妇) already meets the number, the power of 一对 ends with that noun phrase and doesn't extend to 女儿.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  4. tarlou Senior Member


    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  5. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    Hm, how do I explain it? Let me try:
    如鸳鸯蝴蝶 (like ducks and butterflies in pairs)develops into a relatively fixed term for a loving, good couple as in "鸳鸯蝴蝶命" and "好一对蝴蝶鸳鸯". 蝴蝶鸳鸯 or more idiomatically 鸳鸯蝴蝶 means "two persons in love, constantly in pair". Thus grammatically, I didn't treat 一对蝴蝶和鸳鸯 as 一对蝴蝶和一对鸳鸯, but instead as 一对蝴蝶鸳鸯 (蝴蝶鸳鸯 as one unit).

    一对鸳鸯两张床 :tick:

    The coordinator in "连理枝来比翼鸟,一对蝴蝶和鸳鸯" is treated as an epenthesis (an extra that otherwise will not be needed, were it not to fulfill the seven-word requirement).

    That said, I think your argument is plausible as well. It will be more convincing if we can find examples of 一对 X 和 Y that actually means 一对 X 和 一对 Y. Can anyone here think of such examples?
  6. tarlou Senior Member

    Oh, I understand your point now. That's reasonable.


    Edit: 又想了一下,三千童男童女似乎还是有些歧义的。。
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  7. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    Good example. I, however, tend to interpret 一对耳环和手镯 as "a pair of earrings plus a single bracelet". When something intrinsically comes in pairs (e.g., a pair of eyes, shoes, earrings), the governing power of 一对 usually ends with it.
  8. placebonk

    placebonk New Member

    Just remember:
    一对 not only means a pair, of a couple. in Chinese, some times even two different objects that are taken/put together can be referred by 一对. Usually these two objects are in similar sizes.

    you can say 一对儿女 “他们家有一对儿女”= a son + a daughter
    you can say 一对兔子 “他养了一对兔子”= two rabbits (can be a male+ a female, or can be not)
    you can say 一对鸡鸭 “我去超市买了一对鸡鸭”= a chicken + a duck
    you can say 一对男女 “坐在我后排的是一对青年男女”= a man + a woman (usually means a couple of lovers,but not necessarily)
    you cannot say 一对桌椅。而可以说 一套桌椅 a set of table and chairs

    一对,in some aspects is like 一双
    but 一双 means one matches the other. are more strictly than 一对。

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