2 Lesson 1- 梟將東徙

梟將東徙 (說苑)

xiāo jiāng dōng xǐ  (shuō yuàn)


梟逢鳩, 鳩曰:“子將安之?”  梟曰:“我將東徙。”  鳩曰:“何故?”  梟曰:“鄉人皆惡我鳴,以故東徙。”  鳩曰:“子能更鳴,可矣。不能更鳴,東徙, 猶惡子之聲。”


枭逢鸠, 鸠曰:“子将安之?”  枭曰:“我将东徙。”  鸠曰:“何故?”  枭曰:“乡人皆恶我鸣,以故东徙。”  鸠曰:“子能更鸣,可矣。不能更鸣,东徙, 犹恶子之声。”


lesson 1  vocabulary

梟  (枭) xiāo owl
逢 (辵 ) féng come upon, meet
鳩  (鸠) jiū pigeon, dove
yuē to say (direct speech)
You (respectful)
將 ( 将) jiāng to be about to …  將 often appears as a prefix before a verb; it indicates future tense or an intention
ān where?
zhī to go
東 (东) dōng east
to move (one’s abode)
鄉 (乡) xiāng village, place
rén person
jiē completely, all
惡 (恶) to hate, to dislike
鳴 (鸣) míng to cry, to screech
on account of  (以 has many uses in CC, many will be clarified later)
以故 yǐ gù for this reason
néng to be able
gēng to change
alright, feasible
[a final particle] used to express declaration /

exclamation.  矣 emphasizes completion of an action.

not [ a negative adverb] [bú before 4th tone]
猶 (犹) yóu still
zhī [a particle]
聲 (声) shēng sound

《說苑》     shuō yuàn

Garden of Discourses is a compilation of anecdotes taken from various Han Dynasty texts.  Parables were often used by philosophers and political advisors during the Warring States period n order to persuade others (in particular, rulers) to take a certain course of action.  Many of these parables have since become folk stories / fables.



Commentary to lesson 1:

1.1       Pronouns in Classical Chinese may be possessive; hence, 我鳴 means “my cry”

Classical often drops connectives and conjunctions that are necessary in English.  Here, “if…then” must be supplied.  Note also that unstated subjects of the sentence can change in mid-sentence.  Read the last part of this section as follows: “If子能更鳴, then可矣.  If you不能更鳴, and you東徙, then people猶惡子之聲.”

之 is an important particle that indicates possession (often playing the role that s’ or ‘s does in English or 的 does in Mandarin.)  子之聲 thus means “your voice.”  Note that this particle will often be omitted if the context makes the meaning clear – as in我鳴. 之 also connects words or phrases in order to clarify attributions of qualities; for example:

東之人 people of the East
徙之人 people who are moving
不能更鳴之人 people who cannot change their voices


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Introduction to Classical Chinese by Patrick Hanan; David Lattimore; Judith Zeitlin; Margaret Baptist Wan; Anthony George; Xiaofei Tian; Regina Llamas; Hu Hsiao-chen; Liu Lening; Paul Rouzer; Shang Wei; Andrew Schonebaum; and Kong Mei is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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