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It is from a book I read, but I do not remember the title of it. It looks something like 儒林外史 or 镜花园 or similar title.

Isn't 加纳 a country in Africa? I hear many local people of Nanning, the city where I am staying, went there for gold mining and earn a good fortune.

Is it likely that since ancient times or the time when the book was written or published, there were Chinese people doing the same in Ghana?

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  • If you could provide the context it will be much easier to figure it out. Aug 25 at 10:28
  • google.com/books/edition/…
    – PdotWang
    Aug 25 at 11:50
  • @PdotWang Thanks. That is the book. The place from which I mentioned people went to work in Ghana is a county named Shanglin上林, which is under the city of Nanning南宁. But about the words, I haven't got the answer even after my search online and your direction. Aug 26 at 0:56

2 Answers 2

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The sentence comes from the first chapter of 《姑妄言》, which is an erotic novel. The full sentence comes as below:

……以千金买笑,白镪缠头,可是穷人做得来的。自然都是膏梁公子,富室娇儿,或是效用的先生,或是加纳的阔老。且这几种人,不但使几个憨钱,且要假装一个名士,必定要嫖名妓,宿美娼。

Firstly, it couldn't be the country of Ghana at all. At the time of the book 姑妄言 (1730), most person in Qing Dynasty could hardly have a way to get know about Britain, France or Spain (except being a merchant selling foreign goods or related to one of the merchants), let alone an African colonial. Also at that time the name "Ghana" just don't exist. Westerns call the colonial part of Ghana "the Gold Coast", and there is a native Ashanti Empire in the territory of today's Ghana that is not colonized.

Back to the sentence. “先生” means man with high social status, and “阔佬” means rich man. There is a Chinese blog that specifically analyse the meaning of “效用” and “加纳” in the book. His/Her answer is:

【加纳】一词原始意思是追加缴纳。明清时期特指官僚仕途中,已有资格候选官者,追加缴纳粟米银两以求得越级选官。

【效用先生】。与【加纳大佬】一起指粗俗有钱人捐纳文武官职的人。

In English, “效用先生” and “加纳大佬” both means vulgar upstarts who buy a position in bureaucracy (to make himself have a higher status), “加纳” means "additional payment" in origin, and in Ming and Qing dynasties it mean the action of buying a position in bureaucracy.

My English isn't very good, so I apologize for the possible grammar or vocabulary mistake in this answer.

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  • Quote:- "My English isn't very good" You are too 谦虚 :) Aug 29 at 1:06
  • Thanks, very informative. I didn't realize the book concerned was an erotic novel, perhaps I hadn't reached that part where there are porn contents. But these two expressions are now obsolete, right? Because it is not easy to find the useful info about them online or from my usual friends here. Aug 29 at 2:41
  • Actually I just paste 效用先生加纳 into my Bing (Chinese Version) and it comes in the first place
    – Tec99
    Sep 1 at 9:36
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效用的先生,加纳的阔佬

这是从姑妄言书中来的。This image is from the book 姑妄言.

姑妄言

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