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Say It Right Series

Reverse logic syntax

Posted by paulinurus August 1, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

Here's a sentence that has bewildered me. From an English language viewpoint, it is a reverse logic syntax - meaning just the opposite of what the Chinese sentence means. The sentence is found in the Simple Electrical Stuff lesson:

English translation: Huh? Doesn't that mean I wasted my money buying an American computer?

Chinese sentence : 啊?我的美国电脑不是白买了?a3? wo3 de Mai3guo2 dian4nao3 bu4shi4 bai2mai3 le? Lit: My American computer is not in-vain bought?

白 bai2 = in vain

白买 bai2mai3 = to buy in vain

therefore 不是白买 bu4shi4 bai2mai3 should be = 'not bought in vain' or not wasted money. Instead, in the sentence it meant 'did buy in vain'

So the sentence 我的美国电脑不是白买了?from a WB perspective should mean 'I did not waste my money buyinging my American computer in vain?' but instead the correct meaning from EB perspective is 'I wasted my money buying my American computer.'

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