1

夫非盡人之子與

I only understand this sentence from classical Chinese to a very low degree.

  • 夫 could be some kind of sentence particle or simply mean "man".
  • 非 and 與 often belong together, 非 negates a phrase in a sentence with a copula.

  • 盡 , at least per how I know it, means "to fill" or "utmost"

So, I cannot make any semantical sense out of it, but if I tried, I would render it as:

a man is not the child of an utmost man (god?), or is he?

Please tell me my misunderstandings and explain the real meaning.

4

夫 is a particle that you can ignore in this sentence.

Here, 非 is a negation, in this case as part of a rhetorical question with 與: Is it not? (or, in this case: Are we not?)

盡 in this text means all.

Now, 人之子 belong together: sons of men.

Finally, 與 is a final particle marking a question, like 吗 in modern Chinese.

The translation of the sentence is: “Are we not all sons of men?”

This is a translation without context, of course. I’d have to read the rest of this Mengzi passage to give you a better one.

1

夫(that (guy))非(is not)盡(only/just)人(man)之('s)子(son)與(?)

So the sentence can translate to "Isn't that (guy) also just a man's son?".

  • 1
    To be honest, I think 夫 shouldn’t be translated as a pronoun in this case, but rather than a deictic initial particle (as described by Unger in his grammar (in German)) or as an introductory particle announcing a topic (as seen in the Pulleyblank (in English)). Even if we want to put the king of Qi’s son as the subject (instead of “we”, as I did), I’d still translate 夫 as a deictic particle and assume the subject was omitted. I’d do that because 夫 is used like this way more often than as a pronoun. – Philipp Oct 3 '15 at 7:36

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