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傢伙 (an example of a Chinese lexeme that does not map bijectively between simplified and traditional characters, the simplified word being 家伙) is translated, in the only translation Wang Xiaobo's work has received to date, as 'tool.' Which would indicate that the word is a euphemism (委婉语) for penis in the following.


2015 by 王小波.

But how euphemistic?

Because the English word 'tool', while euphemistic, is also a bit cheeky. It's even an insult. It's not detached, scientific-sounding, or fantastical, like other euphemisms for things.

Does 傢伙 carry those nuances? (I have to admit, it sounds just a bit scientific-sounding and detached to me. But obviously I'm not a native speaker.)

In other words, has the pair of translators captured something of a nuance here? Or has meaning been added, or lost?

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At first I thought your question was all in Chinese, considering the preview... :D – Alenanno Jan 21 '12 at 0:31
You might want to move your first paragraph above the quote to make the preview more informative, even for Chinese speakers. – Don Kirkby Jan 21 '12 at 6:32
Or add an extra introducing sentence like "Consider this paragraph/excerpt/etc...", something like that. – Alenanno Jan 21 '12 at 11:00
@DonKirkby & Alenanno, if you think this makes it a better question, you can always edit it! I've done so for this post. – brc Jan 22 '12 at 2:53
I like to be a gentle moderator, @brc. – Don Kirkby Jan 22 '12 at 5:51
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I don't know the nuance carried the English word "tool". But according to your description, I don't think there's such nuance in Wang's article. It is just a normal euphemism, with no added meaning to the original word (penis).

Basically, 傢伙 would carry a similar connotation as "manhood" or "member" (maybe without the informality associated with "member").

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