还是 / 或者

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Psi-Lord
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还是 / 或者

Postby Psi-Lord » 2005-05-24, 12:17

What exactly is the difference in meaning between using 还是 or 或者 in sentences such as the following?

-- 你想学中文还是日文?
-- 你想学中文或者日文吗?
português do Brasil (pt-BR)British English (en-GB) galego (gl) português (pt) •• العربية (ar) български (bg) Cymraeg (cy) Deutsch (de)  r n km.t (egy) español rioplatense (es-AR) 日本語 (ja) 한국어 (ko) lingua Latina (la) ••• Esperanto (eo) (grc) français (fr) (hi) magyar (hu) italiano (it) polski (pl) Türkçe (tr) 普通話 (zh-CN)

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Postby alois » 2005-05-24, 16:03

-- 你想学中文还是日文?

Do you want to study Chinese or Japanese?

-- 你想学中文或者日文吗?

Do you want to study either Chinese or Japanese?

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Postby 勺园之鬼 » 2005-05-28, 12:10

Hefestos wrote:-- 你想学中文还是日文?

Do you want to study Chinese or Japanese?

-- 你想学中文或者日文吗?

Do you want to study either Chinese or Japanese?


Yes, that's right.
The first sentence means "which one do you want to study?" and the second sentence means "do you want to study one of these?".

I'll just add that "或者" is the only translation of "or" used in affirmative.

Rather off topic: Well, in a way, "还是" can be used in affirmative sentences, but there it doesn't mean "or". This happens in sentences like:
A: 你真的不陪我去吗?
B: 不好意思,我还是不去。

(A: You're really not going with me?
B: Sorry, I'd rather not go.)

Marcel, I just checked in Wenlin (;)) and it gives the following examples:

还是家好。 Home is best after all. (On n'est jamais mieux que chez soi. ;))
天冷了,你还是多穿点儿吧。It's getting cold. You'd better put on more clothes.
Here you can also say: 天冷了,你还是多穿件衣服。(你还是多穿一件衣服)
四海为家

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Postby Psi-Lord » 2005-05-28, 12:26

谢谢你们帮助我。 :)
português do Brasil (pt-BR)British English (en-GB) galego (gl) português (pt) •• العربية (ar) български (bg) Cymraeg (cy) Deutsch (de)  r n km.t (egy) español rioplatense (es-AR) 日本語 (ja) 한국어 (ko) lingua Latina (la) ••• Esperanto (eo) (grc) français (fr) (hi) magyar (hu) italiano (it) polski (pl) Türkçe (tr) 普通話 (zh-CN)

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Postby alois » 2005-05-28, 16:07

Ops, I also forgot to add that 或者 should be used with the interrogation mark 吗 in the end.

你想学日语或者中文

This is, is it either Japanese or Chinese that you want to study? Isn't it either Japanese or Korean, for example? :wink:

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Postby shingrila » 2005-06-01, 22:37

Hefestos wrote:-- 你想学中文还是日文?

Do you want to study Chinese or Japanese?

-- 你想学中文或者日文吗?

Do you want to study either Chinese or Japanese?


I think "你想学中文还是日文?" is best translated as "is it Chinese or Japanese that you want to learn?"

Est-ce que c'est le chinois ou le japonais que tu veux apprendre?

By the way, I don't think the question 你想学中文或者日文吗? urges or requires the hearer to choose only one of them, so either "do you want to study Chinese or Japanese" or "do you want to study either Chinese or Japanese" is a valid translation of 你想学中文或者日文吗?


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