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说远也不远

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by Skatinginbc, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    I was taught that in Archaic Chinese 也 as a modal particle[FONT=&amp] in the middle [/FONT][FONT=&amp]of a sentence [/FONT][FONT=&amp]([/FONT][FONT=&amp]句中语气助词[/FONT][FONT=&amp])[/FONT] is attached to the preceding element. For instance, [FONT=&amp]
    形之龐也,類有德; 聲之宏也,類有能
    .[/FONT]
    地之相去也,千有餘里; 世之相後也,夭有餘歲.
    师道之不传也, 久矣; 欲人之无惑也, 难矣.
    Although 也 gradually adopted the meanings of [FONT=&amp]亦[/FONT] during Late Middle Chinese, its modal particle usage remained. For instance,
    南宋袁文:[FONT=&amp]其欲人君之聽也難矣.[/FONT]
    宋,洪邁《容齋續筆》: 成也蕭何[FONT=&amp]; [/FONT]敗也蕭何.
    明,[FONT=&amp]唐[/FONT][FONT=&amp]寅[/FONT]《一剪梅》: 行也|思君,坐也|思君 (in parallelism with 花下|销魂,月下|销魂).
    In Modern Chinese, 也 seems also to be used as a modal particle in sentences where it can be replaced with a vernacular particle 嘛 (which carries no meaning). For instance,
    说远也不远; 说近也不近 = 说远嘛不远; 说近嘛不近
    吃也吃不饱; 睡也睡不好 = 吃嘛吃不饱; 睡嘛睡不好.

    My questions:
    (1) Do you say 说远|也不远; 说近|也不近 and 吃|也吃不饱; 睡|也睡不好? If so, can you provide any linguistic justification for your attaching 也 to the subsequent rather than the preceding element?
    (2) How should we read those modern sentences deliberately written with archaism, for instance,
    A: [FONT=&amp]浮石之[/FONT]贵也|贵在不浮, or [FONT=&amp]浮石之[/FONT]贵|也贵在不浮
    B: [FONT=&amp]其[/FONT]贱也|在粗,其贵也|在[FONT=&amp]粗[/FONT] or [FONT=&amp]其[/FONT]贱|也在粗,其贵|也在[FONT=&amp]粗[/FONT].
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
     
    : syntax
  2. meiko_L New Member

    America
    Mandarin Chinese
    (2)
    [FONT=&amp]I think it should be 浮石之[/FONT]贵也|贵在不浮. Here I would say 也 has no meaning but for a pause.
    [FONT=&amp]
    其[/FONT]贱|也在粗,其贵|也在[FONT=&amp]粗[/FONT]. 也 means 'also'. Same as 成也蕭何[FONT=&amp]; [/FONT]敗也蕭何.

    Just my personal thoughts.
     
  3. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    That's a hard nut to crack. In English, we say "A is true. B is also true." Note that the first statement does not have "also". Classical Chinese, not counting modern creations that imitate the ancient forms, uses a similar construction, for instance,
    汉书: 天不变,道
    晚唐,李商隐
    : 见时难,别.
    I think 明,[FONT=&amp]唐[/FONT][FONT=&amp]寅[/FONT] used 也 instead of in 行也思君,坐也思君 for a reason: 行|思君,坐|思君 would not go with 花下|销魂,月下|销魂.
    成也蕭何[FONT=&amp], [/FONT]敗也蕭何 is probably the same construction as 行也|思君,坐也|思君 "Walking, I'm missing you. Sitting, I'm missing you." No "also" is involved.
     
  4. Lucia_zwl

    Lucia_zwl Senior Member

    I'm not sure of the use of 也 in Archaic Chinese, but I think the most typical structure is "。。。者,。。。也" or "。。。者也", which means "be". e.g. 师者,传道授业解惑也。Another function of 也 is the indicator for a pause. Is 也 "attached" to the preceding element? I think it's only placed at the end of a sentence or where there should be a pause.

    Not always...I don't think it has anything to do with 嘛...

    For your first question, yes, we do say 说远|也不远; 说近|也不近 and 吃|也吃不饱; 睡|也睡不好. I'm afraid I don't know how to "provide any linguistic justification", but I'll try to explain.
    I would say 也 in "说远也不远" can be replaced with "但...", say, 说远(但)(其实)(也)(并)不远. You can omit "但其实也并" and 说远不远 also makes sense. "说近也不近" means the same to "说远也不远", and you don't have to say both sentences together. If you put it in a context, you can say, 你说那个地方远吧,它其实也不远,离这里就3公里,但是路上总堵车,开车要半个小时,所以说近也不近。
    As for the 也 in "吃也吃不饱,睡也睡不好", I think it indicates a coordination. So only when you say both 吃也吃不饱 and 睡也睡不好, is this sentence complete. Another example, 如果某人腰疼,可以说,“站着也疼,坐着也疼,只能躺着。”

    For your second question, I would read as the former ones in both sentences, and I think 也 indicates a pause here.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  5. tarlou Senior Member

    Chinese
    说远也不远; 说近也不近 = 说远嘛,也不远; 说近嘛,也不近
    吃也吃不饱; 睡也睡不好 = 吃嘛,也吃不饱; 睡嘛,也睡不好
    You can omit either 也 or 嘛, but they are different words.

    吃|也吃不饱; 睡|也睡不好 is the only right way for me. For reasons, think about the sentence "说远嘛,其实也不远". Why do native speakers need a reason to speak in a particular way?

    I'm not against your conclusion (if there is), and I have no idea whether it is a hard nut to crack. But I want to say something about this reasoning. First, English is very different from Chinese, it does not make sense to compare to English. Second, 也...也... is a quite informal even in modern Chinese, so it is really natural that you can't find such structures in formal ancient articles. But in informal, or even mixtures of 文言文/白话文, you can find 女无所思,女亦无所忆.
    For me, 也 is always a particle in classic-like Chinese, and always means "also/still/..." in modern Chinese.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  6. SuperXW Senior Member

    1. 说远,其实也不远。中间可以加语气副词(但,其实……)。前面“说远”两字可以省略。In any way,远都是加在后面,不是加在前面的。
    如其他人所说:“说远也不远”包含“说近也不近”的隐含意义,所以“也”有缓和语气的作用,一定要有两个含义做排比时才使用,
    相当于“说远又不远”,可以用“又/亦”替换。所以显然,语义基础仍是also
    2. 说过无数次了,linguistic concept不光包括语法,还包括用语习惯。如果一个用法,99%的人都那样用,那这个用法就成为约定俗成的习惯,甚至成语,写进字典里。如果只用语法逻辑,语言也是错的,何况语法往往也只是一种习惯。难道将古文语法强加在现代口语上是你所要的justification?从今后我们都说“说远也,不远”?更何况古文“也”的语法逻辑根本无法套用到这里

    浮石之贵也|贵在不浮。
    这和“说远也不远”的“也”字作用不同。再重复一遍:后者包含“说进也不近”的隐含意义,表示一种缓和的语气,一定包含“远近都是”的含义,且可以用“又/亦”替换。前者统统做不包括这些作用或限制。
    什么叫read modern sentences with deliberate archaism...哪有modern sentences……
    跟在前面也可以,放在后面也可以吧(我不知人们什么时候开始用“也”表示also的)。这句有两者排比,这句才可能和现代文用法类似。
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  7. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    Do you notice they have an identical subject/topic (i.e., 女) in that example? It is different from "A is true; B is also true" structure I was talking about and sentences like 成也蕭何敗也蕭何,行也思君坐也思君,[FONT=&amp]柴也愚參也魯 ([/FONT][FONT=&amp]論語[/FONT]), [FONT=&amp]形之龐也類有德聲之宏也類有能[/FONT], etc.---All those "也..." structures in Classical Chinese are used to contrast different TOPICS. In other words, functions as a topic marker that makes a brief "pause" to separate Topic from Comment.

    [FONT=&amp]白居易[/FONT] [FONT=&amp]唐[/FONT][FONT=&amp]诗[/FONT][FONT=&amp]: [/FONT][FONT=&amp]小庭亦[/FONT][FONT=&amp](also)有月,小院亦(also) 有花。可怜好[/FONT]风景,不解嫌贫家[FONT=&amp]。[/FONT]Note that both[FONT=&amp] 小庭[/FONT] and [FONT=&amp]小院 [/FONT]denote the same thing, namely, a humble household. "A is true" (that is, 大戶人家), though not stated, is implied. This type of structure is different from "也...".
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  8. tarlou Senior Member

    Chinese
    It's hard for me to believe that "also...also..." does not exist in ancient Chinese. That is a reasonable structure, I don't think 唐寅 would consider 思君,坐思君 as ungrammatical Chinese (though it is possibly not as good for various reasons). Consider this sentence in 庄子: 是一无穷,非一无穷也. Anyway, this is off topic.
    I actually agree with 贱也|在粗,其贵也|在粗 --- both ways are possible but I'm inclined to having 也 as particle to keep the taste of classic Chinese.
     
  9. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Canada
    Mandarin 國語
    [FONT=&amp]
    Your example is very convincing although I'm not sure if it is indeed different from the following:
    [/FONT]韓愈原毀[FONT=&amp]: [/FONT]能有是,是足矣[FONT=&amp], [/FONT]能善是,是足矣[FONT=&amp] (“[/FONT]能有这些,这够了。能擅长这些,这够了[FONT=&amp]").
    [/FONT]庄子[FONT=&amp]: [/FONT]是亦彼也,彼亦是也[FONT=&amp] ("[/FONT][FONT=&amp],[/FONT][FONT=&amp]"). [/FONT]
    论语: 学而时习之,不亦说乎?有朋自远方来,不亦乐乎? (若能時時溫習學問,不很高興嗎?有朋從遠方來,不很令人欣喜嗎?)
    亦 in all of the above examples serves as a linking verb like "be". Deleting it might cause serious grammatical confusion [FONT=&amp]([/FONT][FONT=&amp]e.g., 是一无穷,非一无穷也[/FONT][FONT=&amp]). [/FONT]
    [FONT=&amp]Two positions are proposed: [/FONT]
    [FONT=&amp](1) It is a Topic-Comment structure: [/FONT]
    说远也不远[FONT=&amp] = [/FONT]说远嘛[FONT=&amp] (Topic), [/FONT]其实也不远[FONT=&amp] (Comment) “Speaking of being far, it is actually not far.” The needed contrast[/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp] ([/FONT]排比), either implied or specified, is associated with Topic-Comment structures (e.g., [/FONT][FONT=&amp], [/FONT]我吃了[FONT=&amp], [/FONT][FONT=&amp],[/FONT]还没.)
    [FONT=&amp](2) It serves as a conjunction (= but [/FONT][FONT=&amp], [/FONT][FONT=&amp]then again[/FONT]又/亦[FONT=&amp]):[/FONT]
    说远也不远[FONT=&amp] = [/FONT]说远不远[FONT=&amp] “Some would say it is far, but then again, it is not that far.” [/FONT]

    [FONT=&amp]My position:
    [/FONT][FONT=&amp]The Topic-Comment [/FONT][FONT=&amp] is a heirloom of the Archaic Chinese [/FONT][FONT=&amp]. Were it from [/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]“[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]..[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][/FONT][FONT=&amp]”[/FONT], it could have meant [/FONT][FONT=&amp]说远[/FONT][FONT=&amp], [/FONT][FONT=&amp][/FONT][FONT=&amp] "If I say it is far, then it is not far. If I say it is near, then it is not near". In Modern Chinese,[/FONT][FONT=&amp] in [/FONT][FONT=&amp]说远也不远 is reanalyzed as [/FONT]亦(= 又, e.g., 左傳[FONT=&amp]˙: “[/FONT]先君何罪?其嗣亦何罪?[FONT=&amp]”) and hence is losing its function as a topic marker.

    Regarding [/FONT][FONT=&amp]嘛: [/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]"说远不远, 说近不近", [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]"说远嘛, 不远; 说近嘛, 不近", [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp][FONT=&amp]"说远, 也不远; 说近, 也不近[/FONT][/FONT]", "[/FONT][FONT=&amp]说远嘛,也不远; 说近嘛,也不近"--All those expressions mean the same to me. If there is a difference in meaning, can someone give me an example? [/FONT]
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  10. Maximus_8923 New Member

    Chinese - People's Republic of China
    In ancient Chinese, “也” is amongst those words we call “虚词”. They typically appear at the end of a certain phrase, and indicate (as you've said yourself) an emphasis being put on the said phrase. They carry no meaning (hence the term we give them as being "void words"). If you take them out of the sentence, the meaning of the sentence will stay the same. I guess that is one way you can use to distinguish them from connectives that cannot be removed from a sentence without altering the meaning of the sentence in any way...

    Hope this helps! :eek:
     
  11. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    For a literal translation, but without losing meaning, I would say: "it's not far either".
     

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