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然后让更多的德国人或者是欧洲人认识这个琵琶。

So I listened to a speech from a high performance 琵琶 player in Germany. I think I pinned down this sentence completely except this 或者是. In these three words, I am pretty sure about 或是. But 者 is the one that I could not hear clearly.

What could that word be?

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    The question is a bit unclear, so sorry if I point out something really obvious, but you do know that 或者是 is a commonly used word/phrase, meaning "or"? It seems to me as if you're saying that you've pinned it down, except for X, but what you have written for X makes perfect sense, so it seems you already know the answer? Do you just want clarification that it's right or that it works in this sentence? To verify what the person actually said, you would need to also link to the speech. – Olle Linge Oct 25 at 10:18
  • @OlleLinge, In that sentence if I only used 或 alone, will that still be correct? – EmilyJ Oct 25 at 10:47
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yes, it is 或者是.

From the meaning, 或 alone is alright here. 或者 and 或 means the same in Chinese.

Sometimes the choice between 或者 and 或 is related to the rhythm of sentence.

然後讓更多的德國人[pause here]或者是歐洲人[pause here]認識這個琵琶。

Both 更多的德國人 and 或者是歐洲人 are with six characters/syllables.

Another reason is a historical one. 或者 is commonly used in Classical Chinese as the start of a short sentence (complete or incomplete in English sense). 「或者是歐洲人」is treated as a short sentence.

If you want to dig a little bit deeper about 者, here is my explanation.

者 can accept anything before it, any word, any phrase. It is a marker referring to anything prepended to it. You might perceive it as "one that". 或者 is "one that is alternative" or "alternative one" and it simply means "or".

| improve this answer | |
  • Very thorough explanation. Especially the short sentence format. – EmilyJ Oct 25 at 16:38

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