Proper Translation Question

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Re: Proper Translation Question

Postby tastybrain » 25 May 2012, 00:49

Teddoman wrote:
tastybrain wrote:I hold that this is the translation of "Let us" not "Let's." In modern English we use "Let's" to make a suggestion (cohortative modal) whereas we use "Let us" to ask for permission (suprahortative modal).

What would be an English example of "let us" used as a request for permission (rather than a suggestion)? My aging mental faculties are failing me. Several examples would be helpful.



For example: "Come on, Dad! Let us have a sleep-over! We promise we will be good."

"If you will let us show you how it's done, then you will see that what we say is true."

"We would like to make excellent love under the shade of the willows in Central Park, but current government regulations won't let us."


Does that help? :)
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Re: Proper Translation Question

Postby Teddoman » 25 May 2012, 01:47

I guess your way of teeing up the question somehow primed me to only see the suggestive meaning of let, so I was just dumbfounded and couldn't imagine a situation using the more literal meaning of "let"...haha

tastybrain wrote:For example: "Come on, Dad! Let us have a sleep-over! We promise we will be good."

Here's something close: "My friends like our dog. Dad, will you let us invite them over?"

我的朋友喜歡我們的狗狗. 爸爸會讓我們請他們過來玩嗎?

No idea if this is Chinglish or proper Mandarin, but this seems ok to me, if a bit forced.

Generally, I think the meaning (suggestion vs permission) is determined by context and tone of voice.
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Re: Proper Translation Question

Postby Teddoman » 25 May 2012, 01:52

Or generally,
讓我們...嗎 = permission
讓我們...吧 = suggestion

However, I agree with the person who said usually the 讓 is omitted because 吧 is already suggestive.
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Re: Proper Translation Question

Postby drvelocity » 25 May 2012, 02:06

The way I usually hear people express the "let's ..." idea is to say "我們來...吧". "我們來看電影吧", "我們來一起吃個飯吧","我們來運動一下吧"。
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Re: Proper Translation Question

Postby E04teacherlin » 25 May 2012, 10:59

The register is important. Let's eat would be expressed differently from, Let's allow our customers to registers online.
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Re: Proper Translation Question

Postby msleft » 25 May 2012, 19:04

IMO, "我們去看電影吧!" is more colloquial.
C'est la vie?!
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Re: Proper Translation Question

Postby fh2000 » 27 May 2012, 08:44

tastybrain wrote:Hello,
"讓我們看電影."

I hold that this is the translation of "Let us" not "Let's." In modern English we use "Let's" to make a suggestion (cohortative modal) whereas we use "Let us" to ask for permission (suprahortative modal). Since my boss has been in Taiwan longer and because the public schools teach it the way he argues, he refuses to even listen to what I have to say. I contend that they are merely mistaking the two.

I would like to hear from fluent and literate speakers of Chinese on this issue. Can "讓" be used to make a suggestion ever in any possible context? If so, how frequently? I've asked native speakers here the same question and they say it can't. Is it true that 讓 is only used to ask for permission? Also, does anyone have a link or source they could share that would prove/settle the issue definitively? Thanks a bunch.


Your understanding of the word, 讓, appears to be better than your boss, though he may lived in Taiwan longer than you. I am a native speaker of Chinese.
I use this word only in the situation when asking for permission, a plea, or as some posters mentioned, in a formal statement, like a presidential address to the nation:

So, some examples of the usage of 讓 that I would use and their English translation:

"讓我們 jie hun ba"
"Let us get married, John!" ----- I can imagine an urgent situation that a marriage would resolve.
"讓我們 yi qi..... "
"Let us join hands and fight the drunk driving!"

But if I hear:
"Let's get married, John", ---- This would sound to be more cheerful and pleasant suggestion, or a simple flirt. So, I would not use "讓" here.


But YMMV.

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