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" = "yu2chi1",
> > 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.
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.