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大红灯笼高高挂

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by seitt, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. seitt Senior Member

    Turkey
    English/Welsh
    Greetings,

    Re the film “Raise the Red Lantern”, apparently the Chinese equivalent is 大红灯笼高高挂.

    Please could you give me a word-for-word breakdown and a detailed explanation of this sentence? I'm in particular confused because I thought 高 meant ‘high’, and not ‘raise’.

    Best wishes, and many thanks,

    Simon
     
  2. Ghabi

    Ghabi Moderator

    Cantonese (Hong Kong)
    Hello! A word-for-word translation would be 大(big)红(red)灯笼(lantern)高高(high)挂(hang/hung), "a/the big red lantern, hung high", with 高高 being an adverb. As is often the case of a book/film title, it's not something that one can hear in real life.

    There's a proverb that goes: 事不关己,高高挂起 "Things that don't concern me? Have them hung high! (i.e. why do I care?)"
     
  3. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    大红灯笼高高挂 =>

    1. 大=big, 红=red, 灯笼=lantern. So here we have 大红灯笼 = "big red lanterns"

    2 高高=(very)high, 挂=hang, hanging. Here we have: 高高挂= hanging high

    When you put these two together, you'd have something like: "Big red lanterns hanging high". Now you can use this as the English title for the film, if you like. Note that “Raise the Red Lantern” is not a literal translation of the Chinese title and there is no need for titles of artworks to be translated literally.

    Hope this helps :)
    -----------
    Edit: I'm too slow, Ghabi! :)
     
  4. SuperXW Senior Member



    As xiaolijie says, there is no need for titles of artworks to be translated literally. It often can't be translated literally. Many translations, or names using in foreign markets, are not related to the original one.
     
  5. seitt Senior Member

    Turkey
    English/Welsh
    Thank you so much, Ghabi and xiaolijie, exactly what I needed.
     
  6. seitt Senior Member

    Turkey
    English/Welsh
    Hello again,

    Coming back after a little break, and regarding the literal translation of 高高挂, please could you tell me if it is actually wrong to translate it as an imperative (form for giving orders) as the English title has done.

    Of course, I am only talking about the literal translation here – I fully respect the artistic freedom of the filmmaker to change such things as he wishes.

    Best wishes, and many thanks,

    Simon
     
  7. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    UK
    English (UK)
    高高挂 in 大红灯笼高高挂 is descriptive, not imperative. It describes the state that 大红灯笼 are in.
    (大红灯笼高高挂 sounds like a line from a poem to me.)
     
  8. seitt Senior Member

    Turkey
    English/Welsh
    Many thanks again for the excellent help.
    So how might one turn this sentence into an imperative? I.e. how might one order somebody to bring about this state of affairs, of 大红灯笼高高挂.
     
  9. SuperXW Senior Member

    Usually we use 把+object+verb structure. I.e. 把大红灯笼高高地挂起来!
    Or verb+object format. 高高地挂起大红灯笼来!

    As an adverb, in Chinese, 高高 or 高高地 should always go somewhere before the verb.
    The 起来 part can be tricky. It's necessary but the usage is as tricky as many prepositions(i.e. "over") in English.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013

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