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I can't seem to wrap my head around this little phrase: 一大景色

自行车差不多成了城市的一大景色

景色: 风景: scenery, landscape, 景致: scenery, view, scene

Does “一大景色” have some special kind of meaning?

I want to translate the above as:

Bicycles have almost become a symbol of our cities.

Although, I think the English bears scant relation to the Chinese.

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  • maybe: [riding] bicycles have almost become “a feature of city life” 😺 Nov 7, 2021 at 1:32
  • Part of "the City scape?" Nov 7, 2021 at 4:20
  • I like "a feature of city life", and that was probably the intended meaning, but a scene, a landscape (景色) may have many features. ‘feature’ is 特点。
    – Pedroski
    Nov 9, 2021 at 1:23

2 Answers 2

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  • 一大 - one major/ big

  • 景色 is more like "spectacle" (奇观/) in this context

spectacle (n): a visually striking performance or display.

自行车差不多成了城市的一大景色 - Bicycles have almost become a commonplace (major) scene (spectacle) of the city

(You see people on many kinds of bicycles at any time, anywhere in the city)

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The other's (@TangHo's) answer seems to make sense. I'd like to add a few more comments/explanation.

Within this context, 景色 seems more like a "scene", i.e., "(many people riding) Bicycles have/has almost become a major scene of the city." It's in the same way like something relatively common (such as wild flowers), but when on a large scale (满山遍野的野花,wild flowers all over the mountains/hills), becomes something worth taking a look (i.e., a scene, or if more striking, spectacle).

In this sense, 景色/景致/景观 are probably similar with subtle differences/emphasis; I would prefer using 景观 here, i.e., 自行车差不多成了城市的一大景观。

My feeling is that 景色 does not have to be as striking as what a spectacle means, and in that sense I'd rather translate it to "scene" (or any english native speaker can suggest a better word for something worth a look but less striking than "spectacle"?

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  • Thanks to you and Tang Ho, but, to be honest, I would never write in this context "major scene" or "major spectacle". Such prose doesn't make sense to me. That's why I am struggling with the translation. Maybe the Chinese is not so good?? "(or any english native speaker can suggest a better word for something worth a look but less striking than "spectacle"?" You could use "eye-catcher", but also not in this context!
    – Pedroski
    Nov 9, 2021 at 1:24
  • 自行车差不多成了城市的一大景色seems ok to me, although I would say "...景观". As for english translation, assuming you've known the meaning of the chinese sentence, what would you say it in english? Put it another way, how would you say in english "every spring the xxx flowers all over the places in the city have become a yyy" for "yyy"?
    – ALife
    Nov 9, 2021 at 8:50
  • (major) -->commonplace (spectacle) -->scene. How about commonplace scene?
    – Tang Ho
    Nov 9, 2021 at 19:22
  • I am not too sure. My sense is that original text wants to say that something ordinary (commonplace in your word) is NOT ordinary, to the extent of becoming a scene. In other words, the "bicycles" are ordinary by default if we do not say anything about them; however for this city/this scale of bicycles, they become a scene. The "commonplace" and "scene" are somehow opposite to each other and putting them together may make unclear what we want to say. If we do want to use "commonplace", maybe something like "commonplace bicycles have become a major scene of the city". Or did I misinterpret?
    – ALife
    Nov 14, 2021 at 21:05

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