The many translations of "indeed"

Discussion in 'Chinese Language' started by daal, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. daal

    daal 举人

    Recently, I came across the word 的确 in DuChinese, so I looked it up and found that it meant "indeed." I remembered that I had learned another word for indeed, 确实 so I decided look them up in pleco and compare. Since the definitions didn't tell me much about the usage, I entered "indeed" in English, which pulled up an entry in the ABE English-Chinese dictionary. I clicked on it, and was surprised to find that there were also a number of entries in the NWP English-Chinese dictionary as well. Both dictionaries are enabled, and my first question is why did only the ABE definition show up initially - does NWP perhaps not have "indeed" as a keyword? In any case, both of these dictionaries offered all in all 8 Chinese words to represent "indeed," and some nice example sentences, and I was starting to think that I was getting a handle on how the concept "indeed" is represented in Chinese, when the idea occurred to me to search Chinese dictionaries for "indeed" as well, so I clicked the white E button turning it to a blue E button, and was then shown Chinese words that Chinese dictionaries had translated as "indeed" and indeed there were quite a few, in fact, almost 50! Why is it that Chinese dictionaries think that there are about six times more ways to translate "indeed" than English dictionaries do?
  2. Shun

    Shun 状元

    Hi daal,

    one reason for this must be that the English-Chinese dictionaries only give the most commonly used Chinese translations for the word "indeed", and they only include words that can stand alone to mean one shade of "indeed". Among the full-text matches in the Chinese-English dictionaries, some have other words next to them, like "if indeed", or are dated, literary, informal, only used in certain regions, or are part of an example sentence for another word. So all the words in an English-Chinese dictionary should be possible to understand correctly by the average listener, while the matches in the Chinese-English dictionaries are more dependent on background knowledge to be used properly. But of course, it's always useful to check the full-text matches because sometimes, one has this background knowledge, and will find the most fitting word this way.

    I think there will also be a Boolean searching feature, which would allow one to do full-text searches with more than one keyword, and make the results list even more relevant.

    As to the first question: On my device, both the ABE and NWP dicts appeared from the start. Maybe the ABE was first selected as the only dictionary?
    daal and alex_hk90 like this.
  3. feng

    feng 榜眼

    I just checked indeed in a couple of online English thesauruses. One I think had 27 words, the other even more. A lot of them looked like odd choices. It would be interesting to see the almost 50 words you found.

    Also, as Shun suggested, background knowledge is important. For example, Pleco has 21st Century English-Chinese Dictionary (or whatever the name is). I have the paper edition. It is wonderful for an advanced learner or native speaker because of the level of nuance. That same level of nuance, in the form of plenty of choices for many words, would make it problematic for a beginning or intermediate student who just wants the 'right' or 'common' word -- for which I suggest Langenscheidt's little pocket dictionary which has almost no nuance whatsoever.

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