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告訴 vs 說

English translation: tell vs say

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Chinese term or phrase:告訴 vs 說
English translation:tell vs say
Entered by: R. A. Stegemann
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

12:25 Aug 2, 2006
Chinese to English translations [Non-PRO]
Social Sciences - Education / Pedagogy / Grammatische Analyse (Grammatical Analysis)
Chinese term or phrase: 告訴 vs 說
Sentence: 醫生告訴我要多吃些青菜,少吃些肉,身體就會好些。

1st Attempt: The doctor told me that were I to eat more green vegetables and less meat, my health would improve.

Question: What is the difference in meaning between 說 and 告訴? At times they appear to be interchangeable, at other times they do not. Are they interchangeable here? What change in meaning would occur, if 告訴 were replaced with 說.

You are, of course, welcome to comment on my translation, and even offer your own. Please do not forget to answer the question, though.

Reference: http://homepage.mac.com/moogoonghwa/tsongkit/contents.html#p...

Warning: In order to provide ProZ.com users with the best glossary entries possible, more than one question for the same entry will be asked from time to time. Please keep in mind when responding that you will be graded on your responses to ALL questions asked.
R. A. Stegemann
Saudi Arabia
Local time: 14:41
tell vs say
Explanation:
Are they interchangeable here? What change in meaning would occur, if 告訴 were replaced with 說.

My take:
tell: to specific persons
say: to a general audience
Selected response from:

xxxanastasia t
Local time: 13:41
Grading comment
Final Rendering: The doctor told me that were I to eat more green vegetables and less meat, my health would improve.

Acknowledgement: I would like to thank everyone for their useful comments, but in particular Anastasia and Scott. Unfortunately, Zhuoqi confused the matter, as much as she helped to clarify it.

Discussion: Please see http://homepage.mac.com/moogoonghwa/tsongkit/part3/III-1-g.html#s9 for what appears to be a clear parallel between Chinese and English with regard to the verb pair in question. My explanation builds on that of Anastasia and Scott.

My very best from the land of no mountains surrounded by sea on many sides.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +1tell vs sayxxxanastasia t
4 +1Been told vs say/saidZhuoqi Mills
3inform + indir. obj. (+ dir. obj.); say (+ dir. obj.)Scott Webber


  

Answers


10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Been told vs say/said


Explanation:
告诉 = been told
说 = say to / said to

In your example 说 can replace 告诉,just as "Bob told me.." and "Bob said to me..." would be the same.

Zhuoqi Mills
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:41
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in ChineseChinese
Notes to answerer
Asker: Although I appreciate your having responded, I am confused by your response. Are you saying that 告訴 is the passive voice of 說?. If this were true then would it make sense to write 醫生告訴我要 ... (The doctor told me that I should ...)?


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Chinoise
2 hrs
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1 day18 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
tell vs say


Explanation:
Are they interchangeable here? What change in meaning would occur, if 告訴 were replaced with 說.

My take:
tell: to specific persons
say: to a general audience

xxxanastasia t
Local time: 13:41
Native speaker of: Native in ChineseChinese, Native in EnglishEnglish
Grading comment
Final Rendering: The doctor told me that were I to eat more green vegetables and less meat, my health would improve.

Acknowledgement: I would like to thank everyone for their useful comments, but in particular Anastasia and Scott. Unfortunately, Zhuoqi confused the matter, as much as she helped to clarify it.

Discussion: Please see http://homepage.mac.com/moogoonghwa/tsongkit/part3/III-1-g.html#s9 for what appears to be a clear parallel between Chinese and English with regard to the verb pair in question. My explanation builds on that of Anastasia and Scott.

My very best from the land of no mountains surrounded by sea on many sides.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Scott Webber
3 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 day22 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
inform + indir. obj. (+ dir. obj.); say (+ dir. obj.)


Explanation:
I think Anastasia is right. Here is my clarification, as a non-native speaker. (Please give any points to her; I wanted to put this in an agree bubble but it wouldn't fit.)

So far as I know, 告訴 (tell, inform) requires an indirect object, and 說 (say) does not. Here, the Chinese terms function just like their English equivalents.

If you were to parse the sentence, the difference between the two structures would be more appparent. Let me do this for you by adding commas.

1. 醫生告訴我,要多吃些青菜,少吃些肉,身體就會好些。

2. 醫生說,我要多吃些青菜,少吃些肉,身體就會好些。

In each case, what occurs immediately after the first comma is the object of the verb in question. In the first construction, 我 is the indirect object of 告訴, and 要... is the direct object. In the second construction, there is no indirect object, and 我要... is the direct object.

This difference is reflected in the following English translations. Notice that only the first has an indirect object. Notice also that English requires that the subject occur in the direct object where Chinese does not in sentence 1.

1'. The doctor informed me that my health would improve were I to eat more vegetables and meat.

2'. The doctor said that my health would improve were I to each more vegetables and meat.

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Note added at 1 day22 hrs (2006-08-04 11:12:53 GMT)
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Just to further complicate things, note that you can use a preopositional object with "say" and 說, as in:

The doctor said to me that ...
醫生向我說...

Scott Webber
Canada
Local time: 22:41
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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