Saturday, August 27, 2016

What does 同於己爲是之 (동어기위시지) mean?

In "Du's Handbook of Classical Chinese Grammar," the following Chinese sentence and English translation appear, minus the Korean pronunciations:
()()()()()(), ()()()()()()
“Those [views] which agree with their own they hold to be right, and those which do not so agree they hold to be wrong.”
The above sentence appears in "Du's Handbook" as an example sentence in a section that says 爲 (위) can sometimes be translated as "then," similar to how 就 (취) is translated in modern Chinese. However, the character immediately before 爲 is 己 (기), which means "one's own" or 자기 (自己) in Korean, so that makes me wonder "one's own WHAT?" Nothing was mentioned previously, so that suggests a noun should follow 己, not the adverb "then."

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that my Korean dictionary says that 爲 (위) can sometimes be translated as "생각하다," which means "to think"; therefore, I think the 己爲 (기위) in this sentence means "자기 생각," which means "one's own (己) thinking (爲)." With that said, here is how I would translate the sentence:
()()()()()(), ()()()()()()
“[If it] agrees () with () their own () thinking (), [they] acknowledge () it (); [if it] is different () from () their own () thinking (), [they] criticize () it ().”
Since the object pronoun 之 (지) follows both 是 (시) and 非 (비), one can assume 是 and 非 should be translated in their transitive verb forms, so I translated 是 as "시인(是認)하다," which means "to approve" or "to acknowledge," and 非 as "비난(非難)하다," which means "to criticize." In Korean the sentence would translate as follows:
자기들의  생각과 같으면 (同於己爲), 그 것을 시인하고 (是之), 자기들의 생각과 다르면 (異於其爲), 그 것을 비난하는다 (非之).
The more I go through "Du's Handbook," the more disappointed I am. The fact that the writers used the above sentence as an example of 爲 (위) being used to mean "then" makes me wonder about other misinformation in the book. I would still recommend the book, but I wouldn't give it "Five Stars." With that said, remember that my opinion is not worth much since I am still just a student trying to teach myself Classical Chinese.

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