Wednesday, September 07, 2016

What does 妾唯以一太子一女 mean?

In "Du's Handbook of Classical Chinese Grammar," the following Chinese sentence and English translation appear, minus the Korean pronunciation:
“I only have this one crown prince and this one daughter, how could I possibly abandon them to the Xiongnú?”
The above sentence was supposedly an example of 以 (이) being used to mean "this" or "like this," but if 以 was being used in that way, what character represented the "have" in the translation? No, this sentence is not an example of 以 being used to mean "this"; this sentence is an example of 以 being used to mean "have." Here is my translation:
“I () only () have () one () crown prince (太子) [and] one () daughter (); how (奈何) [do I] abandon () them () [to] the Huns (匈奴)?”
妾 (첩) means "concubine," but it was also a self-deprecating way for a woman to refer to herself. My Korean dictionary says that one of the meanings of 以 (이) is 가지다, which means "to have" or "to possess." The writers of "Du's Handbook" do not seem to know of this meaning of 以.

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