Azhong's Writing Practice.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby linguoboy » 2019-05-30, 13:15

azhong wrote:How to say in English "十幾 (棟 建築物)", a rough estimate in quantity?

Is " ten something of buildings" correct?

Nope.

azhong wrote:How about "teens of buildings"? Does it mean strictly the quantity is between 13 and eighteen, or does it mean loosely, between 11 and 19?

I don't know that anyone would understand this. "Teens" most often means "teenagers".

azhong wrote:"More than handful of buildings", how about this one?

Or do you have some other expressions?

"a dozen or so"
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2019-05-31, 12:35

(Below is the same translation practice, followed by the original text. Thank you in advance for your any comments.)

Harry tried to retort, but Darley, Mr. and Mrs. Dursleys' son, happened to have a long, loud burp, which completely covered Harry's voice.

Harry tried to argue back but his words were drowned by a long, loud belch from the Dursleys’ son, Dudley.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2019-06-03, 14:58

In the passage below,
Q1: the mail arriving by owl, I suppose it should be the mails delivered by owls?
Q2: what does in the grounds mean? What does ground mean here?
Thank you.

He missed Hogwarts so much it was like having a constant stomachache. He missed the castle, with its secret passageways and ghosts, his classes (though perhaps not Snape, the Potions master), the mail arriving by owl, eating banquets in the Great Hall, sleeping in his four-poster bed in the tower dormitory, visiting the gamekeeper, Hagrid, in his cabin next to the Forbidden Forest in the grounds, and, especially, Quidditch, the most popular sport in the wizarding world ...

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby Ciarán12 » 2019-06-03, 15:06

azhong wrote:In the passage below,
Q1: the mail arriving by owl, I suppose it should be the mails delivered by owls?


mail is a non-countable noun, so *mails is incorrect.
by owl means that the owl is the means of transport, so it's in the singular (much like by bus, by car, by rail etc...)


azhong wrote:Q2: what does in the grounds mean? What does ground mean here?


The grounds of a school is the area of land owned by the school. e.g. "Students are not permitted to smoke on school grounds".

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby linguoboy » 2019-06-03, 15:38

Ciarán12 wrote:mail is a non-countable noun, so *mails is incorrect.

Confusingly, mails is used in North America as a plurale tantum, e.g.:
The LA Times wrote:Since 1872, when postal officials determined that the mails should not be used by "thieves, forgers and rapscallions generally" to carry on their work, the federal mail fraud statute has become one of the most important and commonly used tools available to prosecutors for attacking a wide range of devilry not necessarily spelled out in state law.

"The mails" here refers to all means by which letters and packages are sent (not just the national postal system but also other delivery services such as DHL). It's a slightly different meaning from "the mail" in the sense of "all letters and packages delivered by such services".

Ciarán12 wrote:
azhong wrote:Q2: what does in the grounds mean? What does ground mean here?

The grounds of a school is the area of land owned by the school. e.g. "Students are not permitted to smoke on school grounds".

"Grounds" here is another plurale tantum. That is, although formally it looks like the plural of ground, it's really a separate word with a different meaning. It takes plural agreement but is collective in meaning and can also be plural in meaning if more than one institution is referred to:

"Not only is smoking not permitted on school grounds, but on hospital and university grounds as well."

This sentence could cover the grounds (respective properties) of any number of schools, hospitals, and universities. "Ground" in the sense of "the surface of the earth" is a mass noun like "sky" and has no plural.
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2019-06-04, 2:36

(has been combined into another post under)
Last edited by azhong on 2019-06-05, 4:51, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2019-06-04, 14:57

(Again, another translation passage from some other Chinese essay. Thank you for your comments.)

The aged surveyor, after having got his work off, had bought half a kilogram of clams before the market was over, and was now ready to return home, where he lived alone, to cook himself. And then he couldn't but scurry because it started drizzling, and accordingly the clams tied on his waist clinked.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2019-06-05, 4:48

(Below is my practice by translating a passage from some Chinese essay. Thank you for your comments.)

For a lot of times, when I faced a bathroom mirror in an unfamiliar guest house on my journey, my image would unexpectedly be overlapped by a Fascist head -- bald, and with mustache short and purely silver. That was my father's portrait at his residual years. In spite I looked not much like my father (more like my mother, instead), when I was alone that portrait emerged more than often as if it was another face inside me and, were it not well restrained, would quietly replace my look then.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2019-06-05, 13:17

Q1: Why is it is but not was, since it is narrated in a novel?
Q2: Is as … as it is possible to be the same like as … as possible?

...As a matter of fact, he [Harry Potter] was as not normal as it is possible to be.

Q3: shouldn't it be four-post bed instead of four-poster bed? Can "poster" also mean "post, stick"?

...sleeping in his four-poster bed in the tower dormitory, …

Thank you for your reply.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby linguoboy » 2019-06-05, 15:33

azhong wrote:Q1: Why is it is but not was, since it is narrated in a novel?
Q2: Is as … as it is possible to be the same like as … as possible?

...As a matter of fact, he [Harry Potter] was as not normal as it is possible to be.

Using "was" would imply that he wasn't as normal as it was possible to be back then, but he might be as normal as it is possible to be now (at the time of reading). Using "is" makes this a stronger statement--he wasn't as normal as it is possible to be under any circumstances, past or present.

azhong wrote:Q3: shouldn't it be four-post bed instead of four-poster bed? Can "poster" also mean "post, stick"?

...sleeping in his four-poster bed in the tower dormitory, …

"four-poster" = "four-posted", i.e. outfitted with four posts. Cf. "three-legged stool" [not *three-leg stool]. Nowadays it's more common to use a bare noun (e.g. "four-wheel drive", "three-man game"), but this wasn't always the case.

If you want to know what "should" be, look in the dictionary. You'll find "four-poster bed" there but not *"four-post bed".
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby linguoboy » 2019-06-05, 15:59

azhong wrote:The aged surveyor, after having gothis work offten off work, had bought half a kilogram of clams before the market was over,[1] and was now ready to return home, where he lived alone, to cook for himself[2]. And then he couldn't but scurry because it started drizzling, and accordingly the clams tied on his waist clinked.

1. Using a comma before the coordinating conjunction and when it links two clauses is generally considered an error. There may occasionally be effective stylistic reasons to do this, but in general it is to be avoided.
2. "to cook himself" means that he will put himself into a boiling pot or a hot oven. That's not what I think you mean here.

azhong wrote:For a lot ofSeveral times, when I faced a bathroom mirror in an unfamiliar guest house on my journey, my image would unexpectedly be overlapped bysuperimposed with a Fascist head -- bald, and with mustachea short and purely silver mustache. That was my father's portrait at his residual years. In spite of the fact that I looked not much like my father (more like my mother, instead), when I was alone that portrait emerged more than oftenfrequently, as if it was another face inside me and, were it not well restrained, would quietly replace my look thenown.

I don't know what you mean by "at his residual years". Do you mean in the last years of his life? Or in the years after he'd retired from work? Or something else entirely? 相應的中文詞組是什麼?
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2019-06-06, 2:32

linguoboy wrote:I don't know what you mean by "at his residual years". Do you mean in the last years of his life? Or in the years after he'd retired from work? Or something else entirely? 相應的中文詞組是什麼?

I guess the author meaned in the last years of his life. And I suppose in the late years of his life also works?
The author used the term 殘年, a synonym that is more literary and feels more miserable compared to 晚年, another more commonly-used one.

I'll study your correction later and inquire you more if I have any questions. Thanks you for your help, your time.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby linguoboy » 2019-06-06, 13:52

azhong wrote:
linguoboy wrote:I don't know what you mean by "at his residual years". Do you mean in the last years of his life? Or in the years after he'd retired from work? Or something else entirely? 相應的中文詞組是什麼?

I guess the author meanedt in the last years of his life. And I suppose in the late years of his life also works?

"Later years" would be idiomatic.

azhong wrote:The author used the term 殘年, a synonym that is more literary and feels more miserable compared to 晚年, another more commonly-used one.

I would translate that as "(in his) declining years". This has the same connotations of being more negative as well as more literary.

azhong wrote:I'll study your corrections later and inquire you more if I have any questions. Thanks you for your help, your time.

Inquire is intransitive. You inquire of someone, but this a very formal usage and doesn't really work with "more".
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2019-06-06, 15:05

linguoboy wrote:Inquire is intransitive. You inquire of someone, but this a very formal usage and doesn't really work with "more".

I see. I just trying to find a synonym to replace ask. Is it too formal to be polite, or just so formal that it sounds too polite?

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2019-06-06, 15:09

My first question: I suppose the expression below is grammatically correct?

…a Fascist head -- bald, and with a mustache [which was] short and purely silver.

Doesn't it work even if I prefer this word order for some emphasis? Does it sound weird? When can I not use -- how to name it -- modifiers as post modification? Will it work well if I don't omit which was?

Thank you.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby linguoboy » 2019-06-06, 15:41

azhong wrote:
linguoboy wrote:Inquire is intransitive. You inquire of someone, but this a very formal usage and doesn't really work with "more".

I see. I just trying to find a synonym to replace ask. Is it too formal to be polite, or just so formal that it sounds too polite?

It's so formal it sounds awkward. It belongs to a written register and is basically never used in informal contexts like this.

azhong wrote:My first question: I suppose the expression below is grammatically correct?

…a Fascist head -- bald, and with a mustache [which was] short and purely silver.

Doesn't it work even if I prefer this word order for some emphasis? Does it sound weird? When can I not use -- how to name it -- modifiers as post modification? Will it work well if I don't omit which was?

It does sound oddly emphatic. Again, it depends what effect you're going for.
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2019-06-06, 23:37

linguoboy wrote:It does sound oddly emphatic. Again, it depends what effect you're going for.

Is it oddly emphatic because post modification is applied here but there is no modifiers before the noun mustache? That is, is it a thumb rule that post modification would be natural only when there is at least one modifier ahead? How are the two examples below? The second one omits which was.

…a Fascist head -- bald, and with a short mustache which was purely silver.

…a Fascist head -- bald, and with a short mustache purely silver.

Thank you.

Hours later, I've found my previous assumption might go wrong for I've read the sentence below, inside which there is not a single modifier before bomb.

Ever since Harry had come home…, Uncle Vernon had been treating him like a bomb that might go off at any moment, because Harry Potter wasn’t a normal boy.


Then it comes my second assumption: post modification is a "less-preferred expression" compared to pre modification; it works well only when the modifier phrase or clause is long enough, too long to be well placed ahead. It would be odd if a post modifier is a bit short.
But if so, it comes at once a question: how long should it be at least?

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby linguoboy » 2019-06-07, 14:55

azhong wrote:
linguoboy wrote:It does sound oddly emphatic. Again, it depends what effect you're going for.

Is it oddly emphatic because post modification is applied here but there is no modifiers before the noun mustache? That is, is it a thumb rule of thumb that postmodification would be natural only when there is at least one modifier ahead? How are the two examples below? The second one omits which was.

…a Fascist head -- bald, and with a short mustache which was purely silver.

…a Fascist head -- bald, and with a short mustache purely silver.

Postmodification without relativisation is almost always very literary. Only the first of your two examples above sounds like something one might hear in colloquial speech.

azhong wrote:Hours later, I've found my previous assumption might gobe wrong for I've read the sentence below, inside which there is not a single modifier before bomb.

Ever since Harry had come home…, Uncle Vernon had been treating him like a bomb that might go off at any moment, because Harry Potter wasn’t a normal boy.


Then it comes my second assumption: postmodification is a "less-preferred expression" compared to premodification; it works well only when the modifier phrase or clause is long enough, too long to be well placed ahead. It would be odd if a post modifier is a bit short.
But if so, it comes at once a question: how long should it be at least?

I can't give you a definitive answer there. Preposed modifiers can be quite long, even in colloquial English:

"It was an oafish, I-don't-give-a-shit grin, and it sent a blast of irritation through the doctor."
"The system uses a high peak power single frequency low divergent light beam produced by pulsed lasers."

As I say above, it's more a question of how literary you want to sound. You seem to aim for a very formal literary register in many of your translations. Perhaps this accurately reflects the source material, but it can sound jarring when one is much more accustomed to hearing the language spoken colloquially.
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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby azhong » 2019-06-07, 15:17

linguoboy wrote:
azhong wrote:...when I was alone that portrait emerged more than oftenfrequently, as if it was another face inside me and, were it not well restrained, would quietly replace my look thenown.



My own is indeed a better, more concise expression. Here I just make sure if I've used words appropriately.
⑴ After looking it up in the dictionary, I guess what I need is not *look but looks or aspect?

⑵ I used then to mean the moment the narrator was staring at the mirror. Is it appropriate?

⑶ *more than often: I've found what I wanted is more often than not. But I think often or frequently mght works better.

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Re: Azhong's Writing Practice.

Postby linguoboy » 2019-06-07, 15:31

azhong wrote:My own is indeed a better, more concise expression. Here I just make sure if I've used words appropriately.
⑴ After looking it up in the dictionary, I guess what I need is not *look but looks or aspect?

I don't really see a reason to use a different word than "face" here. It's needlessly confusing in this context.

"Look" can refer to the reflected image of a person's face in a mirror. "Looks" is more general, meaning one's overall appearance or attractiveness (e.g. "Chaundo retired from modeling decades ago, but not because he lost his looks."). "Aspect" is, again, very literary and rather abstract.

azhong wrote:⑵ I used then to mean the moment the narrator was staring at the mirror. Is it appropriate?

It's awkward, as it's quite clear from context what moment is being referred to.

azhong wrote:⑶ *more than often: I've found what I wanted is more often than not. But I think often or frequently might works better.

"More often than not" hadn't occurred to me, but it sounds fine here.
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