1

In the following sentence:

西藏人之所以能适应这样的环境,是因为他们从小父母就要用牛油(据说,这种东西可以有一千零一种用处)给他们擦身,并想方设法让他们接受烈日和狂风的锻炼。

The verb on the sentence should be 有, but I don't understand what it means after that.

I first thought that 零 here has a function of the following (according to Pleco):

[in expressions of time, age, money, weight, etc..., used between two different denomination]

  • 一年零三天

  • one year and three days

So it concatenates 一千 and 一, and turn to 1001.

But then the meaning would result in something like:

It is said that these things can be used in 1001 different ways.

Or

It is said that you can use these things in 1001 ways.

But then I don't understand why it is 1001. It this kind of expressions frequently used in Chinese? Does 1001 have any special meaning in Chinese? Is it used to emphasize the degree of amount is very large?

Or does my grammatical understanding of 零 here correct in the first place?

  • Your understanding is correct. And the only thing I can think about 1001 is the tale book One Thousand and One Nights. – songyuanyao May 27 '18 at 12:44
  • I think 1001 Uses might be an English thing. – user3306356 May 27 '18 at 12:51
  • 一千零一 occurs in name of TV-drama 一千零一夜 (see web), and 一千零一夜故事集 more commonly 舍赫拉查达 Scheherazade or 天方夜谭 tales of 1001 nights – user6065 May 27 '18 at 16:19
  • If you know the expression of numbers in Chinese, you will know that 一千零一 just means 1001. Of course, we do not care whether 1001 here represents the exact number 1001 or not. – 賈可 Jacky May 28 '18 at 2:21
  • We have the same expression in Portuguese. – Enrico Brasil May 30 '18 at 2:35
2

It does indeed mean 1001.

The key word here is 據說, which means according to legends/wisdom/tradition, and thus 1001 is probably a local expression (whether Tibetan or their local variety of Chinese) for a large amount or a wide variety.

2

It just means "many", obviously it is from One Thousand and One Nights.

These numbers can be used as "many" in a literary context.

三, 一生二, 二生三 by 老子

九, biggest single number, special in Chinese culture

十八: 2 * 9 = 18, a special number

三十六: 4 * 9 = 36

四十九, 7 * 7 = 49, a special number for Taoism

七十二: a special number for Taoism

八十一, 9 * 9, a special number for Taoism

  • If you're listing the words for 'vaguely many', you should bring up 万. – lly May 30 '18 at 7:42
0

As Jacob mentioned, it means “many”. Also, a thousand means a lot, one thousand and one implies there are even more ways ones may not have yet thought of (there is always another way that someone hasn’t thought of).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.