1

远处有些小山,也是灰色的,比天空更深一些;因为不是没有阳光,小山上是灰里带着些淡红,好像野鸽脖子上的彩闪。
猫城记,老舍, p.7 (photo; alt)

I'd translate this to:

In the distance there are some small mountains, which are also gray, darker than the sky; 因为不是没有阳光, the grayness on small mountains brings with it some redness, like the glistening of a wild dove's neck.

It feels like the double negative used in 因为不是没有阳光 is intended to say something like "because there's still a wee bit of sun", equivalent to something like 还略有阳光. I'm unclear on this point.

Question: Why does 老舍 in《猫城记》 use the phrase 不是没有 in 因为不是没有阳光?

3
  • Are you translating Lao She(老舍)'s Chinese version of "Cat City Chronicles"(《猫城记》) into an English edition?
    – Tom
    Jun 29, 2023 at 14:51
  • No, I'm just reading it (again). I translated this part to indicate my level of understanding.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Jun 30, 2023 at 1:08
  • Is English your native language?
    – Tom
    Jun 30, 2023 at 1:14

3 Answers 3

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Semantically, "not without sunshine" and "slightly sunny" have the same meaning. In my opinion, using double negative here, is for expressing and emphasizing the feeling of "not dark". It has a slightly different feeling from "a bit of sun".

1

I think to be better understand 因为不是没有阳光, considering the context. I found a vocabulary word that can help us better understand. In chinese is 淡红, in English is redness, "淡红" can be understood as a slightly reddish color(淡红可以理解成有一点红或者有一丝丝红). Don't forget that the sun is red in color.

So I think change 因为不是没有阳光 to 因为不是没有一点阳光 may be can easily understand.

因为不是没有一点阳光 means 还是有一点阳光(there is still a little bit of sunshine), 就是这一点阳光导致了小山上是灰里带着些淡红(result to "the grayness on small mountains brings with it some redness").

I think you already understand this sentence now.

0

I guess this was what he wanted to say with a style of his own.

天空是灰矇矇的, 遠山看來更灰暗, 但偶ㄦ破云而出的陽光照耀在小山上, 使其看來灰裡帶紅....

  • 不是沒有阳光, 是它躲在云層後, 時隱時現.

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