No way for WB to write this way
Here's a sentence I found in the Washing Dishes lesson (in the expansion sentences).
English translation: Who cares if the car is totaled? As long as no one was injured, it's OK!
Before you look at the EB sentence below, see if you could even come close to it. .......................................
Here's how it is written:
che1zi zhuang4 huai4 le jiu4suan4 le, mei2 shang1 dao4 ren2 jiu4 hao3. Lit: car collide broken le, even if le, have not injured people then good.
The second part of the second is quite OK. It's the first part that is culturally linguistic. Just gotta remember this phrase as a ‘chunk’ ( chunks...Cpod loves them！）
... there is no way that a WB would know how to write this sentence
yangmei122August 31, 2009, 11:27 AM
Well, saying "The car's broken, well, never mind, no one's hurt, so it's not that bad." would come close to the Chinese sentence structure, besides, it approximated the "fragmented" way one might actually speak in such a situation.
paulinurusSeptember 01, 2009, 11:39 AM
I checked the word in Collins Cobuild English Dictionary For Advanced Learners. This dictionary combines English and Amercian usage i.e. 哈哈 a Canadian dictionary。This dictionary lists out all the various meanings of a word and gives examples of their various usage.
In Canada, when someone says " the car was totalled" it does imply that there was an accident and the car is wrecked beyond fixing i.e. written off.
However, the Collins dictionary did not explicitly list "totalled" to mean a car wrecked beyond repair. Instead it describes one variation meaning of total as used to describe 'the great extent' of something eg. total failure, total stranger, total lack of control, totally unreliable. So, totalled could be a North American slang to mean totally wrecked.
To give more emphasis to the car being totalled, maybe 都 could be included in the sentence:
paulinurusAugust 31, 2009, 04:36 PM
I agree that the chinese sentence could mean "The car's broken, well, never mind, no one's hurt, so it's not that bad", however the Chinese characters contain 就算 jiu4suan4 = even if, which is a 'future conditional' statement.
eg. Even if he won't go, I will still attend the function.
In this case, the event has already happened "The car has crashed and is broken, but no one is hurt, so that's fine."
So I don't understand why 就算 jiu4suan4 (even if) is used here unless the phrase as a chuck is an idiom or cultural linguistically correct.
oranginaAugust 31, 2009, 09:58 PM
Sebire, the insurance company "totals" your car when the cost of repair exceeds the value of the car. In my (embarssingly extensive) experience, this doesn't actually require that much damage... But colloquially "totalled" conjures an image of a steaming crumpled mass of twisted metal. Unless someone is specifically refering to insurance settlements, ususally totalled just means "damaged beyond repair."
My take on the sentance:
Car totalled just forget it, noone was hurt so everything is fine.
车子/ 撞坏了/ 就/ 算了，没伤到人/ 就好。
oranginaAugust 31, 2009, 10:20 PM
I suppose I would understand if someone said "written off" in those curcumstances. I think of a "write off" as more of a procedure for a person or company to give something away that it wouldn't ususally do, like a charity. Or to get a debt owed off the books that the company no longer expects to be paid. Since it is the insurance company's job to reimburse its clients' for financial loss I wouldn't use that term myself. Colloquially I would use "written off" to describe something I had 算了ed though, so I definitely understand why you translated it that way. To an American "totalled" has a more visceral feel while "written off" may mean something similar without the emotion involved. When you are talking about a car accident that just happened, "totalled" hits the emotional tone you are looking for.
bababardwanAugust 31, 2009, 10:54 PM
"To an American "totalled" has a more visceral feel while "written off" may mean something similar without the emotion involved."
..yet another example of how down under it seems to me we are poised between British [historical link] and American cultures[current influences].I think we are more likely to say "written off",and yet I have often heard "totalled" used in precisely the way orangina describes it.Yeah,my brain registers that word with an American accent [and the emotion as referred to above]...obviously seen too many movies.
RJAugust 31, 2009, 11:19 PM
I had no idea "totalled" was an uniquely american expression. I totalled my car. What do you say then? I wrote off my car? Doesnt make sense. Maybe I wrecked my car so badly that it was a total write off? This also could be shortened to "totalled". No? Give me some examples.
pearltowerpeteSeptember 01, 2009, 01:25 AM
Orangina is right about the insurance roots of the word "to total." In modern usage, people will say "I just totaled my car" to refer to suffering significant damage in a car crash, even before insurance claims are filed.
I chose it as a translation for 撞坏 because it is exclusively for car crashes. A different verb such as "wrecked' or "ruined" could include everything from water damage to having a piano fall on your car from a tenth story window.
Incidentally, for talking about fender benders (minor car accidents) you can use 擦撞. This nicely captures the wiping or scraping action.
And sebire is correct about 就算-- here it is not the hypothetical "even if" but rather "就-roughly then" plus “算了- forget it!"
RJSeptember 01, 2009, 02:56 AM
Even the American Heritage Dictionary gives one definition for "total" as "to destroy" and they give "totalled the car" as an example. The Merriam Webster online dictionary lists "demolish, as in cost to repair exceeds value" as a definition of total. I am just very surprised this use is limited to the US.
xiaophilSeptember 01, 2009, 04:34 AM
My favorite American/British English difference that I stumbled on is flashlight/torch. One time I was with my British friend when it was dark out. She couldn't find the key to her door, so she said, "Let me find my torch." I instantly thought of Conan wandering through a castle carrying a thick piece of wood with flames coming out of the top. I didn't even guess her meaning at first.
Okay, I'm far off topic. Sorry.
oranginaSeptember 01, 2009, 06:01 AM
Pete, et al, I think "totalled" has detached itself from car crash use exclusively, and can be used for anything that has been demolished, especially inadvertently. "That wave totalled my sandcastle!" I also noticed the 2 L version is the British spelling, so it must not be completely unheard-of in the old country.
xiaophil, I also love the image of a torch being used in a flashlight setting. I always picture a completely modern setting, maybe a woman in a nice skirtsuit and heels, carrying a piece of wood wrapped in oilsoaked linen with black smoke pouring out from the flame. And then she storms Dr. Frankenstien's castle.
pearltowerpeteSeptember 01, 2009, 06:05 AM
Hi rj and orangina,
Good remarks about totaling. The discussion just goes to show that a whole lot of learning and culture is just beneath the surface of a few letters and words.
paulinurusSeptember 01, 2009, 11:21 AM
Orangina, your splitting of the words has made the sentence understandable
车子/ 撞坏了/ 就/ 算了，没伤到人/ 就好。Lit: car/totally wrecked/then(just)/forget it, did not injure people/just good.
The confusion for me was erroneously linking 就 and 算 to form 'even if' instead of leaving 就 by itself and linking 算了to mean 'forget it'. Looks like it can be quite tricky in a chinese sentence to know which chinese characters should be compounded and which should be left alone. I've seen it happen on MDGB too .... wrongly compounding characters to form words which then causes the sentence to be vague.
oranginaAugust 31, 2009, 10:55 PM
:-D We Americans do tend to be dramatic!
Hey! I should write a UK/American/Australian/Canadian Dictionary! I'm sure 4 or 5 people would buy it... (I'll be sure and share writing credit with everyone here.) Maybe there should also be a supplimentary volume on what fruits and vegetables are called in different parts of the world...