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坐言起行 / 坐而起行

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by SuperXW, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. SuperXW Senior Member

  2. Jerry Chan Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Cantonese, Hokkien
    言和行是相對的, 缺一不可。
  3. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    I'm also inclined to think there's a mistake in「坐而起行」, as I couldn't work out what it possibly means. This 「坐而言不如起而行」 is, however, understandable.
  4. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Cantonese (Hong Kong)
    But are you really surprised, SuperX, to hear 坐而起行, considering that how close 言jin4 and 而ji4 are in Cantonese, and that 坐言 doesn't really make much sense in modern Chinese? A native speaker learns, after all, an idiom as a whole, and it doesn't really matter whether the whole thing makes sense at all when broken down morpheme by morpheme.

    And in our case I don't think 坐言起行 makes more sense than 坐而起行, although the former is the correct one etymology-wise. Having said that, I think 坐言起行 is still the more common version in Cantonese speech.
  5. SuperXW Senior Member

    其实我本来是连「坐言起行」也不懂的……:p 查了字典之后才知道意思。
  6. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Cantonese (Hong Kong)
    ^Oh no, I don't support it or reject it ... was just trying to figure out how the variant came into being.:p

    Of course you're right that it probably won't be accepted in Mandarin due to the pronunciation discrepancy (kind of reminds me of another thread where you ask about 完滿 used in HK press).

    And of course 坐言起行 can make sense as you say, but then there are many idioms that have the structure X而XX (言而無信/總而言之 etc). Thus a Cantonese speaker, who first learned the idiom as a whole (zo6ji[n]4hei2hang4) in speech (yes, we do use this kind of idioms in everyday speech, although the usage may sound funny to a Mandarin speaker:eek:), may try to represent it in writing as 坐而起行 with the paradigm X而XX in mind.

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