In a 1933 silent movie, a guy is rejected by a girl who instead marries a rich guy. His friends tell him the marriage won't last long because rich guys have "easy come, easy go" lifestyles. Months later, when they learn that the marriage indeed broke up, they simply declare "如何.".

What is the meaning of 如何 in this context, and how does it relate to the dictionary definitions of 如何 as "how", "what", "why", "怎樣", "怎麼辦"? Is this an outdated usage, or still in use?

Thanks in advance for any help.

EDITS: 1. The original post stated: 'they simply declare "如何"'. The post was edited by zyy to 'they simply declare "如何?"' (appended question mark). It's not clear to me why this was changed to a question, given that the post's title states "a single-word declarative sentence". I just checked the video again and the actual intertitle is "如何.". (with period at end). See it at the 78:39 mark of https://www.bilibili.com/video/av30814356/

  1. Added clarification: this is a silent movie, so the "如何." is written, not spoken.
  • 1
    It means 怎麼樣?我們說的對吧!See? What we said is correct, right? – young99 Nov 11 at 19:58
  • @young99 You can make is an answer. – zyy Nov 11 at 20:50
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I would interpret "如何" here as short hand for "現在你想法如何" (How do you think now?)

Using a single phrase to express a mutually understood idea between two persons is a effective way to emphasize the like-mindedness of two characters (something similar to inside joke that only a close circle of friends would get).

They both knew the back story, and this one phrase '如何' basically sum up the situation here. There's no need to say: "Are you going to get the woman back? are you going to comfort her or laugh at her?"

Here is another example:

A man wanted to see the Yellow River. He spent all his saving, travel for two months . He finally saw the Yellow River, and immediately turned back home because there's really nothing for him to do afterward.

A friend who knew what he was doing, greeted him when he got back with a simple phrase: "心死沒?"(happy now?) - both of them knew he was referring to the phrase: "不到黄河心不死", there's no need to say the entire phrase

  • "..as short hand" - this turned on the lights for me. I would imagine it's similar to how in English one might simply say "See?" when the intended meaning is "See? Just like I told you". And in the movie scene, it is indeed taken as a joke. Since everyone here agrees that this is not a contemporary usage, finding out exactly what it is shorthand for will likely remain an unsolved mystery. – user19535 Nov 13 at 17:30

You haven't provided much context for it. I'm guessing 如何 probably is used to mean "How was it". Usually, in this scenario, we say 你看怎么样,我说的对吧, and etc indicating that one should have taken their advice for doing something, given the negative consequence shown up.

  • That's all the context there is. This is merely a subplot, adding comic relief to a tragic story. The only thing I could think of to add is that this is taken from a silent movie, so the sentence is not complicated by speech inflection. – user19535 Nov 13 at 15:10

I don't think the word 如何 is suitable in the movie scene. The word 怎樣 is much more suitable in the situation.

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