1

According to PLC, 俄 can be an adverb and it means "very soon, presently, suddenly". Does this meaning still occur in modern Chinese?

3
  • 2
    To my knowledge, no. It’s just found in Classical Chinese expressions like 俄而 – L Parker Jun 14 at 16:42
  • No, it's seldom used for that meaning in modern Chinese. – Alpha Huang Jun 14 at 17:50
  • @LParker, thanks. – Andriy Makukha Jun 15 at 5:19
3

As of all the information I can find on the web, 俄 is used as an adverb only in classical Chinese.

In modern Chinese, this character almost always behave as an abbreviation of 俄罗斯 (Russia), as you can see in the title of some Chinese news saying something like 中俄 (China and Russia) or 俄军 (Russian army).

Some example in classical Chinese:

《口技》:俄而百千人大呼

Very soon, hundreds of people are yelling (for help).

《世说新语·咏雪》:俄而雪骤

Suddenly, the snow falls heavily.


Some reference:

《口技》English translation

百度百科:《世说新语·咏雪》

1

I have a different answer: yes, we still use it sometimes.

In my 《新华字典》, a dictionary that is only for modern Chinese learners, the explanation of 俄 still includes "短时间".

é 短时间。[俄而][俄顷]一会儿,不久。

In some literature works, the writer still like to use "俄而" or "俄顷" because they sound more beautiful. Yes, beautiful. It is not popular in daily conversation between common people, it is a 书面语. The use of uncommon 书面语 in literary works can sometimes make the article more elegant and graceful. Also, the readers may think the writer better.

伊利亚·安德烈伊奇伯爵又从人群中挤过去,步出客厅,俄而,他又和另一名理事走来,手里托着一只大银盘,端到巴格拉季翁公爵面前。

——《战争与和平》

2
  • 1
    Yeah, I figured this from L Parker's comment. So the answer is kind of "yes and no". No, because readers recognize that this is an old, classical Chinese expression. Yes, because classical Chinese expression is used in modern Chinese. – Andriy Makukha Jun 27 at 19:22
  • Agree with you. Classical Chinese is the root of modern Chinese. – T-Pioneer Jul 9 at 5:10

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.