Keep my ears open

panzerfaust0

Senior Member
mandarin
Hello. I encountered this idiom and I wish to translate it into Chinese.

Context: I was talking to a woman about a particular grocery store. She indicated that she really liked the store and the products they carried but they were all quite pricey. Then she said, "I have to keep my ears open for a sale".

Questions:

1. What does "keep my ears open" mean in Chinese?
2. Is "keep one's ears open" the same as "keep my ear to the ground"?

Thanks.
 
  • Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    我得拉長耳朵隨時收聽廉售的風聲。
    Is "keep one's ears open" the same as "keep my ear to the ground"?
    No. "To keep one's ears open" is generally used if one is to listen for a specific piece of information, whereas "to keep one's ear to the ground" usually concerns the development of a situation (搞清楚狀況 pay attention to everything that is happening or will happen).
     

    lesautres

    New Member
    Mandarin - Taiwan
    I would simply say "我得隨時留意(有沒有)特價的消息" in this context.

    我得拉長耳朵隨時收聽廉售的風聲 does not sound natural to me, although it is grammatically correct and understandable.

    1. I always hear 特價 instead of 廉售 in the context of "on sale". 廉售 sounds too literary to me. (But I still found some examples of 廉售 on the Internet.)
    2. To me, 收聽 specifically means to listen to a podcast. (But I found on the Internet that there's a specific function on Weibo called 收聽, which has the similar function with "follow" on Facebook. If that's the case, using 收聽 here would be more reasonable to me.)
    3. 風聲 rhetorically means news, but I have always read/heard it being used for describing something that is not publicly announced but you somehow get the information. Therefore I won't use it in this context (sale).

    That being said, this might be regional, or just a style thing varying from person to person. (I'm from Taiwan FYI)
     
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    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    我得拉長耳朵隨時收聽廉售的風聲 does not sound natural to me
    Actually, when I wrote it, I didn't think it was natural, either :D. But I would rather point out in so many words (耳朵...收聽...風聲) a critical restriction concerning the use of that idiom: The information is obtained through listening. It should be about something one can hear (聽聞, 如: rumor of a sale, the word on the street, 口述的傳聞, 電臺的播音, 等等). It is different from "to keep my eyes open" or "to keep an eye out for a sale" when reading the newspaper, looking at the signs, browsing through the flyers, and so forth.

    《國語辭典》 風聲: 消息、聽聞。《文明小史》第五一回:「這個風聲傳了出去,便有許多人來鑽謀這個差使。」Because 風聲 (which is something one can hear) is somewhat literary, I chose 廉售 to go with it.

    Perhaps 我得拉長耳朵留意特價的消息 might work in this context.
     
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    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    半文不白的语句
    喔, 不過我的目的是釋義 (以中文解釋文義, i.e., Question #1: What does "keep my ears open" mean in Chinese?). 並不是翻譯 (e.g., 中文怎麼說, 怎麼翻成中文).
    風聲 rhetorically means news, but I have always read/heard it being used for describing something that is not publicly announced but you somehow get the information.
    Idoms4you: "To keep your ears open" describes the process of remaining vigilant in the acquisition of information in order to discover hidden, secret or extra information.
     

    lesautres

    New Member
    Mandarin - Taiwan
    Idoms4you: "To keep your ears open" describes the process of remaining vigilant in the acquisition of information in order to discover hidden, secret or extra information.
    謝謝。不過我仍認為「風聲」在此處不適合表示「特價消息」,因「特價消息」應該可以算做 extra information,但既不 secret 亦不 hidden。「風聲」較為適合用來表示具有後兩種性質的消息,但特價消息通常徹頭至尾就是想要讓別人知道。如果要留意的是某間公司可能將改制、裁員的消息,那麼用「風聲」就非常適切(不過僅限於正式公布之前)。我並不認為「風聲」絕對不能跟 keep ears open for 搭配使用,重點應是其搭配的消息性質,因此這部分跟你補充的解釋並沒有衝突。

    此外,Google 精確搜尋「廉售的風聲」找不到結果,而「特價的風聲」只找得到三筆資料,且來源是同一篇文章。其他像是「裁員的風聲」、「倒閉的風聲」等等都至少有萬餘筆資料。中文創新用法很常見,並非要以此否定其他不同的用法。只是語言的規則本就是由眾人真實使用情境積累而成,故這些應該足以說明為何某些用法對我而言不自然。不過我也非文字專業工作者,仍不排除是個人用語風格差異。僅供參考。
     
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    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    對我而言不自然。
    對我而言, 也不自然 (see #5). 我犧牲自然, 為的是釋義 (see #7). 「風聲」可能是輾轉相傳、街談巷語(e.g., 「別去 Walmart, 現在 Superstore 在打折」). 也可能是 insider information (e.g., 「別現在買, 老闆說下星期先打八折, 三天後半價, 直到賣完」). 可能是主動探聽來的 (e.g., 問人), 也可能是偵查到的, 得花心思過濾分析. Macmillan Dictionary: to pay attention to what is happening, especially in order to find out something. 我選「風聲」來凸顯以上狀況的可能性, 同時, 我想用「風聲」來承接該英文成語的原先用法: 留心風吹草動的聲音, 以防野獸襲擊 (to keep listening in order to notice anything that is dangerous).
     
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    Skatinginbc

    Senior Member
    Mandarin 國語
    我的目的是釋義, 並不是翻譯
    翻譯: 會不照原文 (犧牲與原文的相應度), 以求譯文的自然順暢。For example:
    1. The marriage wasn't working: My translation: "婚姻失調" ==> 與原文有些差別。
    2. act your age, not your shoe size: My translation: "別像個長不大的孩子" ==> 與原文的用詞, 風馬牛不相及。

    釋義: 會犧牲釋文的自然順暢, 以闡明原文的結構、用法、 或涵義。For example:
    1. 穿城而過: My explanation: "to traverse the town by cutting or meandering through it." ==> 我犧牲釋文 (對, 我給的那句英文是個爛句), 以解釋中文原文結構.
    2. 突陋: My explanation: "剛強難馭之好馬" ==> 釋文囉哩囉嗦, 不如「烈馬」來得精簡。

    「我得拉長耳朵隨時收聽廉售的風聲」==> 沒錯, 囉哩囉嗦, 不自然, 是個爛句, 但我壓根兒就没想寫出模範句子供人模效. 我的目的是想強調:
    (1) 是「聽」到的.
    (2) 可能是間接得來 (e.g., rumor), 或埋藏 (hidden) 在資訊堆裡 (e.g., 眾多廣告中), 得用心過濾.
    (3) 「探」(to discover, to find out) 聽.
    (4) 留心風吹草動 (留心動靜變化).
     
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