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I'm attempting a retranslation of Journey to the West that adheres more closely to the Chinese than translations I've found so far.

In the Jenner translation, this is left out.

In Anthony Yu's translation, it's translated as "We heard that", but this doesn't explain to me what the 蓋 means.

I'm guessing that the sense of the phrase is something like "Low key the news is", or "On the down low, hear that...".

The original text is here: https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/23962/pg23962.html

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  • 盖's pronouciation in ancient chinese is actually the sound that you open your mouth and start speaking, so very natural, as you say “well...” in english Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 13:56
  • Does it have any relation to the notion of a top or a lid in this context? Like "from the top" or it being the "lid" of the proceeding text?
    – Step Start
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 15:24
  • @Step Start it has this functionality but not here. See the comments below by @r13. Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 21:36

1 Answer 1

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“蓋” is a starting particle, void meaning (發語詞,提起下文,無義)

蓋聞天地之數

maybe, “[everyone] known that, the fate of universe”, . . .

have fun :)

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  • Correct. 文言虛詞(①發語詞,如“~聞”;②表大概如此,如“~近之矣”;③連詞,表示原因,如“有所不知,~未學也”)
    – r13
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 20:12

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