Elementary dear Watson

May 31, 2010, 04:32 AM posted in General Discussion

Here's a couple of dialogue lines:

A:  我的眼镜找不到了。wǒ de yǎnjìng zhǎobudào le.

B: You were just wearing them!

Put on your East Brain hat now and see if you could figure out how to say "You were just wearing them" in Chinese.


Not easy for me..hopefully easier for you, even though this sentence is in an Elementary Cpod lesson.





gāngcái nǐ hái dài zhe ne.

literally: just a moment ago, you still wearing.

刚才gāngcái  - just a moment ago

戴 dài - to put on

着呢 zhe ne - continuous tense (emphasized)

着呢 added at the end of a sentence could be puzzling for West Brainers. Why is it necessary to add 呢 at the end of a sentence for emphasis?

Other examples on the use of 着呢 :

(There is heavy wind.)


(The door is open.)

(It is raining.)


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May 31, 2010, 05:11 AM

This sentence contains two problems for speakers of English.

One, we wouldn't put "still/还" in a sentence like this. But actually, why wouldn't we? It seems perfectly logical to place "still" in this sentence. The only reason we don't, is because its meaning is built into the sentence pattern, or so I theorize.

Two, there is no object after "wearing". In English we need that object, in this case "them", but again, why? It really doesn't have a function. If you are "wearing", the object is implied.

I don't see a big problem with 着呢. It just means "be verb+ing". Although, what can seem strange at first is that 着 and 呢 have the same meaning here, and one or the other could be left out.

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June 01, 2010, 04:19 AM

Seems to me, Chinese dialogues often contain 'emphasis' or 'reaffirmation' adverbs . For example, in English when we make a request such as "hold it", it is understood that we want the person to hold it well, i.e. without dropping it. In Chinese, such a request would be normally accompanied with 好,and at times even an extra 好  “拿好好!” 

An English request "to wash and cut" the vegetables in Chinese context would be "to wash the vegetables clean and cut it properly" :把菜洗干净,再切好 bǎ cài xǐ gānjìng, zài qiē hǎo.

Perhaps the cultural propensity for emphatic statements explains the 还 and 着呢 in B's response 刚才你还戴着呢。

Interesting to note that when using  着呢, the adjective follows the noun. So, instead of saying 大风!we need to say 风大着呢!in order to emphasize how the strong the wind is. That's what I think how the East Brain thinks, anyway.