1

围城 第一章(6)

苏小姐笑道:“方先生,你想得真周到!一天的事全计划好了。”她不知道方鸿渐只在出国时船过香港一次,现在方向都记不得了。

Does that mean Fang had only passed through Hong Kong once on his way abroad?

Is 船过香港 coherent?

1

船过香港 in this context is short for (他乘的)船经过香港. It is not a common way to speak, (more literary than colloquial) but native speakers would have no problem understanding what it means

If you say 路过香港, we would not know you're on a boat and would presume you personally visited Hong Kong briefly

Similarly, we can understand 枪指众人 = 用枪指吓(向)众人; 车弃路旁 = 把汽车弃置在路旁

1
  1. From a grammatical point of view, 船過 comprises the verb (to pass), and unusually as an adverb which specifies the means of travel. This is slightly archaic; very commonly found in classical Chinese. To illustrate, see the following excerpt from 蒲松齡《狼三則》:

    少時,一狼徑去,其一坐於(屠人)前。

    Not long afterwards, one wolf went straight away, but the other sat before (the butcher) like a canine.

    is not a grammatical subject (i.e. there were no dogs in the story), but merely an adverb describing the manner the other wolf sits. Similarly, is NOT a noun making two subjects (Fang and the boat) in the sentence 方鴻漸只在出國時船過香港一次, but an adverb describing the way Fang (the only subject) passed through Hong Kong.

  2. As reference, please find Jeanne Kelly and Nathan K Mao (1979)'s translation. Very elegant way of settling the adverbial with an idiomatic phrase.

    “With a smile she answered, “Mr. Fang, you’ve really thought of everything! You’ve planned for the whole day.” She didn’t know Fang had only passed through Hong Kong once on his way abroad and couldn’t even remember the directions.”

1

方鸿渐只在出国时船过香港一次,

is easy enough to understand, I think, but actually incoherent. Chinese friends immediately say, "No no no!"

Also very easy to put right:

苏小姐笑道:
Miss Su smiled and said:
“方先生,你想得真周到! "Mr Fang, you are very thorough!
一天的事全计划好了。”
the whole day planned (already)."
她不知道方鸿渐只在出国时乘船经过了一次香港,
她不知道方鸿渐只在出国时乘船路过了一次香港,
She did not know (that) the only time Fang Hongjian went abroad, the ship passed through Hongkong,
现在方向都记不得了。
now, he couldn't even remember directions (to anywhere).

方鸿渐路过了一次香港。
Fang Hongjian passed through HK once.

方鸿渐乘船路过了一次香港。
Fang Hongjian passed through HK on a ship once.

2
  • 这篇小说描写的时代背景是上世纪二三十年代(1920s or 1930s),小说写作于1940s,现在人很难判断那时候是不是会有"船过"这种说法,毕竟他们不是在陆上走,所以不好说"路过",才用了个"船过"。 – Zhang Apr 11 at 8:44
  • Personally, I wouldn't consider Qian Zhongshu's phrasing as incoherent... – L Parker Apr 11 at 9:44

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.