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The fish is dead (was: cases)

From:DOUGLAS KOLLER <laokou@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 12, 2000, 0:17
From: "H. S. Teoh"

> On Mon, Sep 11, 2000 at 11:54:01AM -0400, John Cowan wrote:
> > Lojban has the construction NP zo'u S, which creates a Mandarin-style > > topic-comment sentence. For example, "le finpe zo'u citka" = "yu2
> > which doesn't say if the fish eats or is eaten.
> Hmm, "yu2 chi1" would almost always be understood as "the fish eats" in > Mandarin. The passive particle "bei4" would be required to indicate > otherwise: "yu2 bei4 chi1".
Unadorned of context, it's a tough one to translate. I think what John's aiming for, though, is a context like this: A: Dian4bing1xiang1 hai2 you3 shen2mo chi1de? A: What's left in the fridge to eat? B: Yu2 chi1guang1 le, dan4 hai2 you3 jia1xiang1 dou4fu3. B: The fish has been finished off, but there's still some homestyle tofu. or A: Ni3 chi1 su4 ma? A: Are you a vegetarian? B: Yu2 chi1, ji1dan4 chi1, dan4 niu2rou4 bu4 chi1. B: I eat fish and eggs, but not beef. Later, John said:
> Well, you're the sinophone and I'm not, but I understand "bei4" to mean > something negative/unpleasant, e.g. if the fish were alive at the time
(!). Or it was eaten and there wasn't any left for us. I agree with John here. "Bei4" is normally a deleterious passive, though translationese is making this a more common way of dealing with Western passives. Kou