Sunday, August 21, 2016

What does 子以秦爲將救韓乎 mean?

In "Du's Handbook of Classical Chinese Grammar," the following Chinese sentence and English translation appear, but without the Korean pronunciations:
()()()()()()()()? ()()()?
“Do you think that Qín will save Hán or not?”
The above sentence appeared in a section describing the use of 其 (기) as a disjunctive "or," which means the "or not?" phrase would be a separate sentence from the first option. I wonder, however, how the possessive pronoun "其 (기)" came to mean or imply "or."

In the "Du's Handbook" translation, 以 (이) and 爲 (위) seem to have been translated together as "to think," but by paraphrasing it like that, I think a fairly important detail of the sentence is lost. Here is my more literal translation:
()()()()()()()()? ()()()?
[Do] you () see () Qín () as () going to () to save () Han (韓乎)? [Or as] their () not () [going to] (不乎)?
In my translation, the "see" really means "to think," but I used "see" so that I could translate 爲 (위) as "as." I could have translated 爲 as "is," but I used "as" so that I could later translate 其 (기) as the possessive pronoun it is. A possessive noun or pronoun is followed by a noun or noun phrase. The 其 here does not necessarily mean "or," but by its being a possessive pronoun, it implies that an "or as" should precede it when translating it in English.

I have written this post only to try to explain how the possessive pronoun 其 (기) came to mean "or" when it is used in the way it was used here. In reality, I will also be translating 其不乎 (기불호) as "or not?"

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