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小人书,是一种以书的形式出版的连环画。

This is the initial sentence of the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 20. Please help me make the literal translation of it.

小人书(comic),是(is)一种(a kind of)以(?)书(book)的形式(form)出版(to publish)的连环画(lianhuanhua)。

What kind of book is the 以书? I know that 以 means by or with but how does it make sense here?

小人书 means comics or any "young people book"? What is the difference between the 小人书 and 连环画? Maybe the former is the western comic and the latter the Chinese comic?

How to make the sentence make sense?

4 Answers 4

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小人书 = 连环画, as the audience mainly consists of children under teens.

是一种书的形式... - is a kind/way of using book form....

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  • Comic is a kind of using book form published lianhuanhua. What means "using book form"? Are there different book forms? Is there no-using book form? Or do I miss something? Dec 16, 2022 at 18:30
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    以 = 應/利/運用. 以书的形式 = with/to use/according to/so as to/by the form of a book. Make sense?
    – r13
    Dec 16, 2022 at 19:11
  • It makes more sense now but again, is there no-book forms of lianhuanhua? For example video or game lianhuanhua? Dec 16, 2022 at 19:16
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    Yes, lian連huan環hua畫 is a printed storytelling pictorial book or a short comic stripe on the daily newspapers. The pictures with hand-drawn figures on TV or video games are called 卡通片, or simply 卡通 (cartoon).
    – r13
    Dec 16, 2022 at 19:48
  • Books in China are often known as printed works of words, not of pictures. 画 is often presented on its own, like a poster or a scroll or a photo. I believe that is the point of difference. Dec 19, 2022 at 8:59
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小人 (little people) refers to the little drawn figures of characters in the comics, not children,

小人书 (little people book) is a nickname for 连环画 (Lian Huan Hua = chained drawings), The early Chinese 连环画 artists were mostly fine artists who drew pictures in sequence to tell stories. Martial art novels, historical stories, dramas, and fairy tales were all included in this art form

A sample page of early Lian Huan Hua (连环画)

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Some Lian Huan Hua titles (Chinese Scientist Stories 12 volumes)

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You can see it is an independent picture on its own, unlike the modern comics and manga that are made up of multiple panels on every page

小人书,是一种以书的形式出版的连环画

"little people book (小人书)", is a kind of "chained drawings (连环画)" published in book form

When I was a child in H.K, people called it 連環圖 (chained pictures) or 公仔書 (drawn figures book)

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小人书,是一种以书的形式出版的连环画。
(A) Children's book is a picture story, published in book form.

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It's only meaningful in the Chinese context. In word by word translation: 小人书 (little man's book),是一种以书的形式出版的连环画 (is comic serial published in form of books)。

Book in Chinese ref. to book of text only traditionally, or at least text be the majority in the content. That way, 书 sounds serious in Chinese context (I think it is true in any context).

Another factor might be, the comic used to be published as serial on newspapers where it starts, but that's not the case in China. Only irony caricature, normally single frame, ever published on newspaper in China at that time.

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