Sunday, January 15, 2017

What does 下學而上達 mean?

In his book "Confucius Analects," Edward Slingerland translates Passage 14.35 as follows:
()()()()()(). ()()()()(). ()()()()()().
“I am not bitter toward Heaven, nor do I blame others. I study what is below to comprehend what is above. If there is anyone who could understand me, perhaps it is Heaven?”
The only problem I have with Mr. Slingerland's translation is his translation of 下學而上達 (하학이상달), which he translated as follows: "I study what is below to comprehend what is above." As mentioned in my post HERE, 上達 (상달) means "to report to a superior," not "to comprehend what is above." Therefore, I would like to suggest the following translation:
“[I] do not () resent () Heaven () [and] do not () blame () others (). To inferiors () [I] teach (), and (而) to superiors () [I] advise (). [As for] someone who understands me (知我者), perhaps () it is Heaven (天乎)?”
Notice that I translated 下學而上達 (하학이상달) as follows: "To inferiors (下) [I] teach (學), and (而) to superiors (上) [I] advise (達)."

As I explained in my previous post, when you "report to a superior" (上達- 상달), you convey information or give them advice, both in a respectful manner. The opposite of 上達 is 下達 (하달), which means "to convey information to or to command an inferior," probably without showing much respect. Therefore, both 上達 and 下達 essentially mean "to convey information" or "to teach," but one is done in a polite way and the other is done in a less polite way. The same thing can be said of 下學 (하학) and 上達 (상달).

下學 (하학) means "to teach inferiors," and 上達 (상달) means "to advise or to inform superiors," so both phrases are similar in that they mean "to convey information," but the difference is a matter of etiquette. In other words, you teach inferiors, but you advise superiors. One would not presume "to teach a superior," especially a king, so the more proper expression for teaching a king is "to advise a king." A king has advisers, not teachers. Therefore, 下學而上達 (하학이상달) could be translated more simply as "I teach (下學) and (而) I advise (上達)."

Confucius may have been somewhat frustrated by the fact that people that a hard time understanding his "teachings" and "advice," but he seemed to have been comforted by the thought that, at least, "Heaven" probably understood.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

What does 君子上達, 小人下達 mean?

In his book "Confucius Analects," Edward Slingerland translates Passage 23 in Book 14 (14.23) as follows:
()()()(), ()()()().
“The gentleman understands higher things, whereas the petty person understands only the low.”
My Korean dictionary defines 上達 (상달) as "to report (to a superior)," and defines 下達 (하달) as "to command" or "to order." 達 (달) means "to communicate" or "to convey," so 上達 literally means "to a superior (上) communicate (達)," and 下達 (하달) literally means "to an inferior (下) communicate (達)." When you communicate with a superior, you are either reporting to him or giving him advice or opinion, but in both cases you are being very polite. When you communicate with an inferior, you are usually giving an order, without worrying about being polite. Therefore, trying to be a gentlemen, I would like to suggest the following translation:
()()()(), ()()()().
“The gentleman (君子) gives advice (上達); the petty man (小人) gives orders (下達).
The suggestion is that a gentleman should speak to people with respect, as if giving advice or opinion to a superior. The petty man speaks rudely, as if giving orders to an inferior.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

What does 勿恃富而欺窮 (물시부이기궁) mean?

I am rewriting an old textbook on Literary Chinese so that it can be used by English-speaking Koreans or by English-speaking Korean language learners. The project is taking longer than I expected because I am having to retranslate a lot of the original translations. Today, for example, I came across the following Chinese sentence and translation:
“Do not rely on wealth and ill-treat the poor.”
The translation makes sense, but one should suspect it is missing something because the ancient Chinese philosophers and scholars were some of the most clever men in history. A lot of thought went into their sentences. They could squeeze a whole paragraph into a cleverly constructed, 4-character sentence, therefore, when I see a translation that does not have, at least, a double meaning, I get suspicious and start looking for the hidden meanings or clever wording.
Therefore, I would also like to suggest the following translation:
"Do not (勿) trust (恃) the rich (富) if (而) [you] cheat (欺) the poor (窮)."
In other words, if you are willing to cheat the poor, you should assume the rich are willing to cheat you since they may see you as poor. The character 而 (이) can also mean "and," "but," or "while," so here are a couple more possible translations.
"Do not (勿) trust (恃) the rich (富) and (而) cheat (欺) the poor (窮)."
"Do not (勿) trust (恃) the rich (富) while (而) cheating (欺) the poor (窮)." 
The character 恃 (시) can mean "to rely on" or "to depend on," but it can also mean "to believe" or "to trust."

Monday, January 02, 2017

Who was Edwin George "Ted" Pulleyblank?

Edward G. Pulleyblank (Aug. 7, 1922 - Apr. 13, 2013) was the author of a rather famous book entitled "Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar," which is the only book of his that I have read. I bought his book in 2009 and have read through it and have continued to reference it ever since. Soon after buying the book, I became curious to know more about Mr. Pulleyblank's history and how he came to study Chinese, but did not find much information. Today, you can read a Wikipedia article on Mr. Pulleyblank HERE, but back in 2009/2010 there was no such article, which did not seem right. Sometime after Mr. Pulleyblank's death in 2013, someone did remember Mr. Pulleyblank with a Wikipedia article. Also, today, I came across the following videos, in which Mr. Pulleyblank is remembered by family, friends, former students, and colleagues. I am glad people remember him.

What does 夫子之謂也 mean?

In Edwin G. Pulleyblank's book "Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar," the following Chinese sentence and translation appears:
“It (the poem) refers to you, sir.”
Mr. Pulleyblank explains the Chinese sentence was derived from 謂夫子 (위부자) "by moving the object fū zĭ 夫子 in front and repeating with zhī 之 more literally: 'Your honour, him it refers to.'"

I am surprised by Mr. Pulleyblank's explanation because he not only misinterprets the 之 (지), but also ignores the noun predicate marker 也 (야). The 之 (지) in the sentence is the possessive marker, not the pronoun "him." Also, the 謂 (위) should be translated as a noun, not as a verb. Here is my translation of the sentence.
“It is a reference to you, sir.”
The sentence literally translates as "It is your (夫子之) reference (謂也)." 夫子 (부자) was used by disciples to address their master, but it can also be used as a polite "you," which is how it was used here. 謂 (위) can mean "to indicate" or "to denote," which translates in Korean as 가리키다. That means the sentence could translate in Korean as "선생님의 (夫子之) 가리킴이다 (謂也)."

Here is another example from Mr. Pulleyblank's book that uses the same faulty explanation:
“I do not mean this.”
Mr. Pulleyblank believed the sentence came from 不謂此 (불위차) and explained its construction as follows:
The use of fēi 非 as a negative particle in the above example is a carry-over from the earlier construction, in which the exposed element was often introduced by wéi 唯 (惟, 維), its negative fēi 非, or adnominal particles such as jiāng 將 or  必.
 Again, Mr. Pulleyblank seems to be way overthinking the sentence. The 之 (지) in the above sentence is simply the possessive marker, not a pronoun representing an exposed element. Also, the 非 (비) is simply the special negative particle used with noun predicates, not a "carry-over" or anything. Here is my translation:
“It is not () an indication of this (此之謂也).”
The special negative marker 非 (비) and the noun predicate ending 也 (야) are indications that 謂 (위) should be translated as a noun, not as a verb. 此之謂 (차지위) literally translates as "this' (此之) indication (謂)," which would translate in Korea as "이것의 (此之) 가리킴이다 (謂也)." That means the full sentence would translate in Korean as follows: "이것의 가리킴이 아니다."

The above two sentences seem to be rare examples of Mr. Pulleyblank's analysis of Classical Chinese grammar slipping into the Twilight Zone.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What does "所以" mean?

My Korean dictionary says that 所以 (소이) means "the reason" or "(the reason) why," which can be translated as "because" when needed. Wow! That was simple. So then why does the book "Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar" translate it as "that by which"?

Maybe because the author of the book was trying to translate the individual characters "所 (소)" and "以 (이)," but if that were the case, where is the "by which" part? In "Du's Handbook of Classical Grammar," it also says 所以 (소이) can be translated as "that by which," adding that the 以 means "by." It also says that "that by which" can translate as "the reason why." In "A New Practical Primer of Literary Chinese," 所以 (소이) is translated as "the means by which" and "the reason why." It seems all three books want to translate the "以" in 所以 (소이) as "by," but I have a different opinion.

My Korean dictionary says 所 (소) can mean "a place," "a thing," or "what." The character that follows 所 seems to usually be a verb in the passive voice, so 所得 (소득) translates as "what (所) was earned (得)," which can translate simply as "income"; 所望 (소망) translates as "what (所) was desired (望)," which can translate simply as "desire"; and 所聞 (소문) translates as "what (所) was heard (聞)," which can translate simply as "a rumor" or "hearsay." These examples suggest that the 以 in 所以 (소이) should also be translated as a verb in the passive voice.

As a verb, 以 (이) can mean "to use," "to take," or "to consider," but I think it can also mean "to reason," which is very close in meaning to the verb "to consider." My Korean dictionary says 以 (이), as a noun, can mean "reason," which translates in Korean as "이유 (理由)" or "까닭." Based on the way Chinese characters often work, if there is a noun meaning, then there is also a similar verb meaning, and vice versa. For example, 問 (문) can mean "a question," but it can also mean "to question" or "to ask." Therefore, since 以 (이) can mean "a reason," we can assume it can also mean "to reason." That would mean that 所以 (소이) has, at least, four possible translations:
  1. "what (所) is used (以)"
  2. "what (所) is taken (以),"
  3. "what (所) is considered (以)"
  4. "what (所) is reasoned (以)," which can translate as the noun "reason."
One of the example sentences in "Du's Handbook" is as follows:
“This is why I am sad.”
The above sentence can literally translate as "This is (此) my (吾) reason (所以) [for] being sad (悲也)."

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Who married Miss Nevada 1962?

ANSWER: Bruce K. Grant, author of the following three books:

Here is the engagement announcement for Bruce Kent Grant and Audrey Nelle Chambers from the November 17, 1964 edition of the "Reno-Gazzette Journal":
"Former Miss Nevada Will Marry"
Mr. and Mrs. Frank M. Chambers of Las Vegas have announced the engagement of their daughter, Audrey Nelle Chambers, to Bruce Kent Grant, son of Mr.- and Mrs. Kent Grant, also of Las Vegas. The bride elect was Miss Nevada 1962 and a former student of the University of Nevada. She is completing her senior year hat the Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. The future bridegroom served as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Korea from 1960 to 1963. He attended the BYU and is now serving in the Army Intelligence Corps. A December 18 wedding in the St. George LDS Temple is planned.
According to the engagement announcement, Bruce Grant (born in April 1940) began serving in the Army Intelligence Corps after serving as a missionary in South Korea from 1960 to 1963. It does not say if he was drafted or not. According to an online profile of 1962 Miss Nevada HERE, in 1978 Mrs. Grant lived in Korea for tens with her husband, who was working as an advisor to the Commander in Chief for all forces and was a leading expert in the Korean language.

Besides writing the three books shown above, Bruce Grant also translated, I think, "Han Joon Nok: Reminiscences in Retirement," which were the memoirs of Queen Heongyeong (헌경왕후), who was born on August 6, 1735 and died on January 13, 1816.
What I find interesting is that Bruce K. Grant seemed to publish only from 1979 until 1982. I wonder why. I assume his government job and family kept him too busy after that, which is unfortunate. As far as I know, Mr. Grant and his wife are still living today, which would mean he is now 76 years old.
  • "Guide to Korean Characters, Reading and Writing Hangul and Hanja" 1979
  • "Han Joon Nok: Reminiscences in Retirement," 1980
  • "White Field Korean," 1982
  • "Korean Proverbs, Dragon Head, Snake Tail, and a Frog in a Well," 1982

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What happened to Timothy J. Warnberg (1954 - 1993)?

In September 1982, I started Level 3 classes at the Yonsei Korean Language Institute in Seoul, Korea. In a Level 6 class, there was a young man about my age who I was told was quite fluent in Korean. The person who told me gave me an example of how fluent he was, but I cannot remember what the example was. Anyway, I got to hear the guy speak Korean at his graduation ceremony, and he seemed pretty fluent to me, especially since I had just finished the Level 3 courses. The guy's name was Tim Warnberg, an ex-Peace Corps volunteer who was an eyewitness to atrocities committed during the Kwangju Uprising.

I got to talk to Tim before he left to study at the University of Hawaii, but we did not talk about Kwangju because I was more curious to know how he learned to speak the Korean language so well. I was hoping he could give me some tips on studying the language. I do not remember what he told me, but I do remember being impressed by him, and I remember him being a nice guy. At the time, he was my idol in the sense that I wanted to learn to speak Korean as well as he did.

After Tim left Korea, I never heard anymore about him, which surprised me because he seemed like someone who would become well-known in the field of Asian Studies. I kind of expected him to get a professorship at some university, maybe even the University of Hawaii, but he just seemed to disappear until a 1987 article entitled "The Kwangju Uprising: An Inside View," by Tim Warnberg.

After that article, Tim Warnberg really did seem to just disappear. I do not know of anything else that he wrote. I assumed that he got a job with some US government agency and just disappeared into the system.

A few years back I did a computer search on Tim Warnberg and found something to make me think he had died, but nothing else. Tonight I did another search and found that he did, indeed, die on February 7, 1993 at the age of 38. The only thing I was able to find was part of an obituary from the February 8, 1993 edition of the "St. Cloud Times" of Saint Cloud, Minnesota.
1954, in Brainerd to Chuck and Lorraine Warnberg. He was a 1973 graduate of Brainerd High School, a graduate of the University of Morris, University of Hawaii and was working on his PHD under a fellowhip at University of Hawaii. He was in the Peace Corps in South Korea for three years with one year at a leprosy village and taught at the University of Yonsei-Seoul. Survivors include his parents; sisters and brothers, Roxanne Wilson, Sartell; Susan Silvernale, Lakeville; Lisa Tuomi, Brainerd; Todd, Antwerp, Belgium; Tom, Barron, Wis.; and Dave, Sacramento, Calif. He was preceded in death by a brother, Jeffrey. The family requests no flowers. Burial will be Oakhill Cemetery, Sartell.
It is sad to think that the only thing left to remember Tim Warnberg are the memories of his friends and family and an article he wrote in 1987, even though it was a very good article.

P.S. I found additional information on Tim Warnberg:
Tim Warnberg
Class of 1973
Passed Feb 07, 1993
Tim died of Aids. He used his illness as an education tool for others. He spoke at workshops about Aids & how it has affected him."
The following is an apparent scan from what I have read was a Peace Corps yearbook or something

Monday, November 28, 2016

What does 遠水難濟近火 (원수난제근화) mean?

In Naver's Chinese Character Dictionary (한자사전), the following Chinese expression appears:
Instead of translating the expression, Naver, for some reason, paraphrases and explains it as follows:
"먼 데 있는 물은 가까운 데의 불을 끄는 데는 쓸모가 없다는 뜻으로, 무슨 일이든 멀리 있는 것은 급할 때에 소용()이 없음을 이르는 말"
Why paraphrase instead of translate? The translation is easy:
“Distant () water () is no () help () [for] a nearby () fire ().”
"먼 물은 가까운 불에 도움이 없다." 
What was so hard about that? Why put a Chinese expression in a Chinese dictionary if you do not translate it?

Anyway, believe it or not, this is not what I wanted to post about. What I wanted to post about was the original expression, the one from the "Records of the Three Kingdoms," which was as follows:
Distant () water () is reluctant () to help () [with] a nearby () fire ().
Instead of "不救 (불구)," the original had "難濟 (난제)," so I wondered why it was changed. Maybe because 難濟 was too difficult to translate? I have not seen any accurate translations of the original; they all seem to be paraphrased, sometimes in Yoda-like language.

If people were confused by the original, I do not think they were confused by 濟 (제) since both  救 (구) and 濟 (제) can mean "to help" and together form the word 구제(救濟)하다, which means "to help," "to save," or "to give relief to." Koreans and Chinese may have switched from 濟 (제) to 救 (구) to avoid confusion since 濟 can also mean "to cross a river." In other words, maybe they worried people would think 濟 meant "cross a river," especially since "water" was mentioned in the expression.

But why not use the 難 (난) from the original expression? Maybe because they could not figure out how to translate it. 難 (난) is normally associated with the meaning "to be difficult," but it is hard to use that meaning to translate this sentence, even though many people try. However, besides meaning "difficult," 難 (난) can also mean "to shun," "to avoid," or "to be reluctant," which translates in Korean as "꺼리다."

In the original, I think "distant water" (遠水) was personified with the human ability to choose to help or not. Whether I am right or not, my translation flows much more smoothly than some of the translations I have seen on the Web. Plus, I can justify my translation. That's important.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

How do you translate 讀書 (독서)?

讀書 (독서) can be translated as "reading (讀書) ," "reading (讀) books (書)," "books to read (讀書), or "books that are read (讀書)." With that said, here is an interesting sentence I recently translated for a book I am writing. It reminds me that the ancient Chinese were not very different from people today:
()()()()(), ()()()(), ()()()(), ()()()()()().  
[If] a person () loves himself (自愛其身), [he] only () has () books to read (讀書). [If] a person () loves () [his] children (子弟), [he] only () has () books to teach them to read (敎之讀書).

As a pronominal adverb, () means “self” or “personally,” and since it is an adverb, it always immediately precedes the verb, so 自愛 (자애) literally means “self () love ()” or “personally () love (). That means 自愛其身 (자애기신) literally means “personally () loves () his () body (),” which can be translated simply as “loves himself.” 讀書 (독서) can mean “read () books (),” so 惟讀書 (유독서) would mean “only () read () books (),” but here there is the verb (), which means “to have,” suggesting there should be an object that follows it. That means 讀書 (독서) should be translated here as a noun phrase or clause. As a noun phrase, () would be treated as an adjective, in which case 讀書 would be translated as “reading () books (),” “books for reading,” or “books to read.” As a relative clause, 讀書 (독서) would translate as “books that are read” or “books that [one] reads.” Likewise, 敎之讀書 (교지독서) can mean “teach  () them () to read () books (),” but here it should be translated as “books to teach them to read” or “books that [one] teaches them to read.”

In Korean, the
讀書 (독서) here would be translated as “읽는 () (),” and 敎之讀書 (교지독서) would be translated as “그들에게 읽기를 가르치는 (敎之讀) ().” 子弟 (자제) can mean “children,” “sons,” or “young people.”