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萝卜饼要趁热吃,喜欢口味重的,还可以加少许酱油和醋。

This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 19. I need your help to literally translate this:

喜欢口味重的,还可以加少许酱油和醋

喜欢(like)口味(taste)重的(heavy or deep),还(?)可以(can)加(add or put in)少许(a little)酱油(soy sauce)和(and)醋(vinegar)

I have three specific questions:

  1. Where is the if in the begin that baidu translate and google translate show? Something like: liking taste heavy = if you like heavy taste? Or what? Why this equality : 如果喜欢口味重的 = 喜欢口味重的??

  2. What is the meaning of 还 and how is it pronounced? huan2 or hai2? Does it mean "to do"?

  3. Does the 少许 have a northern version 少许儿, as 一点 = 一点儿? If I pronounce it as 少许儿, what would the response of native speakers be?

5 Answers 5

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  1. Out of context, 如果喜欢口味重的 ≠ 喜欢口味重的. In this sentence, it is possible to analyze it as a conditional clause, which is short for 喜欢口味重的话. To emphasize on the condition, we can add 如果, as in 如果喜欢口味重的话.

However, it's also possible to analyze it as the subject, 喜欢口味重(used attributively)的(食物的)(人) or 喜欢口味重(used substantially)的(人). I prefer this reading.

  1. It's pronounced hai2 and means "also".

  2. Not in Standard Mandarin. I'm not 100% sure but think it also doesn't exist in northern varieties of dialects. Depending on the context, it is either incomprehensible to me or comprehensible but very weird in speaking, but probably unnoticeable in writing.

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喜欢口味重的,还可以加少许酱油和醋? = like a strong taste, can also add a little soy sauce and vinegar

Two ways to interpret it

  1. 喜欢口味重的(食物),还可以加少许酱油和醋 = like (food) with a strong taste, you can also add a little soy sauce and vinegar

  2. 喜欢口味重的(人),还可以加少许酱油和醋 = (For people who) like a strong taste, they can also add a little soy sauce and vinegar

#1 口味重的 is the adjective for the omitted object 食物

#2 喜欢口味重的 is the adjective phrase for the omitted object 人

Basically, 喜欢口味重的,还可以加少许酱油和醋 can be short for

(如果你是)喜欢口味重的(人),还可以加少许酱油和醋

or

(如果你)喜欢口味重的(食物),还可以加少许酱油和醋

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Let's start with Q2, 还 = still/yet/also. "If" is unnecessary if the full sentence is something as below: (note 口味重 is revised to 重口味)

  • 喜欢重口味的,还可以加少许酱油和醋 - Who like the heavy taste, can also add a little soy sauce and vinegar.

"If" is required only if 假如/如果 is added, and and "的" are dropped,

  • 假如/如果喜欢重口味, 还可以加少许酱油和醋 - If (who) likes the heavy taste, ...

IMO, the original sentence was not well composed. It should be revised to say:

  • 喜欢重口味的(人),还可以加少许酱油和醋, or simply

  • 口味重的(人),还可以加少许酱油和醋

Q3: Yes, you can, if you don't find trouble with the way to pronounce it.

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萝卜饼要趁热吃,喜欢口味重的,还可以加少许酱油和醋。

  1. Google Translate shows "if" because the source sentence is a colloquial sentence that has omitted some part. So when we translate such sentences into English, we need to refill the omitted parts to make the sentence clear. Here is the refilled complete sentence in this context:

萝卜饼要趁热吃,(如果你/某个人)喜欢口味重的(食物), 还可以加少许酱油和醋 (If you/someone) likes (foods) that have a heavy taste, (you/he/she/they) can also add a little soy sauce and vinegar.

This article is introducing the turnip cake and the process of making it in a general context, not talking to a specific person, so the person refilled here could generally be anyone. And that is why, in turn, this part can be omitted in the colloquial Chinese sentence.

Another thing I'd like to share is, I find that people have mixed up these two phrases in this context: 喜欢口味重的 and 喜欢重口味的。The sentence will be refilled differently if the source uses these two different phrases. If anyone interested, I'll further explain this.

  1. The 还 here pronounces as "hai2", it means "also", "as well", "additionally".

  2. 少许 does NOT have a northern version 少许儿, NOT as 一点 = 一点儿. If you pronounce it as 少许儿, it just sounds incorrect. Native speakers will recognize that you know that some Chinese words can have 儿 pronounced at the end but you are not familiar with which words can add 儿 and which not.

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口味重 = full of flavor, strong in flavor, intense flavor

少许 = 一点 in semantics: just little, but no "少许儿” in common northern dialect and in some region, "稍些" is the same, but be careful here about character difference, although it is nearly with "少些” in pronounce.

And "少些" is a little different: just a little, even no, which could be used as verb. "稍歇" is another word in semantics, just a little in time in tradition, and could be take a break, but the last is not used as usual and may not the correct usage.

hai2 here must understand in context, "however, if someone like full of flavor in tasting, he could also (have a choice to)...".

Usually, Hai2 could be think as here:(whether,if,still)(determined by context) have a choice to do(to have) something, except the basic situation is already mentioned in earlier.(and sometimes, the basic situation is convert or implication, not straightly mentioned)。

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