Translation:Do you like eating Chinese ramen or Japanese ramen?
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I have two theories for the problematic wording of the Chinese here.
拉面 is Chinese for lamian, pulled noodles; and Japanese for "ramen". Both the dishes and the words are surely related but are no longer at all the same, other than both being noodle dishes. In China you would only get "ramen" at a Japanese restaurant.
Some English speakers use "ramen" to mean "instant noodles" and the person who wrote this one might have intended to ask whether somebody prefers Chinese or Japanese instant noodles.
In either case it makes perfect sense to qualify the terms in Chinese as 中国拉面 and 日本拉面, but in English "Chinese ramen" is puzzling and "Japanese ramen" is redundant.
ramen is japanese, lamian is chinese. seems strange to call it chinese ramen. If we are using a generic word i think noodles would be better. Also if we are supposed to use a shared word "ramen" why would it not accept the more common english grammar "chinese or japanese ramen" removing the repeated word?
There is a 吃 in the sentence. If they weren't testing if you got all the words in the sentence, then testing for translations does even make less sense than it does anyway. Translations are a bad way to learn a language in the first place, but they are sadly the only easy way to do comprehension checks on a website like this.
You can't translate a sentence word for word, that's not how languages work! Anyway, by this point in the course, knowing that 吃=to eat should be trivially easy. What I think is important about this sentence in particular is learning that in these kinds of situations, you have to include 吃 in Chinese, even though it's completely unnatural to use the word "eating" in the English sentence. Including the word "eating" in the English translation might make it easier to remember how to solve this particular exercise, but it obscures the important language point that learners should be getting from it!
For some people it's a useful stepping stone but not for everybody and not once you need the stepping stone any more. Forcing people into one-size-fits-all is not a great idea. We don't learn without stumbling.
Having said that I think there's a middle ground that's not necessarily word-for-word but is a best fit. When there's two natural translations and one uses all the words in the original it's better than one that abbreviates or just tries to get the gist. In this sentence I would definitely translate 吃 as eat or eating because it's there and it's natural to include it.
Translating one word at a time is not a good way of learning a language. You need to learn how words are actually used, which differs from language to language. That's why more modern methods focus on "lexical chunks" rather than individual words. My point was that by this point in the course, the user should already have learned the individual words in the sentence. The important point in this exercise is learning that if you want to say "I like [food]" in Chinese, you need to say "我喜歡吃[食物]", and that "我喜歡[食物]" is wrong. The weird English sentence obscures this point.
The English sentence is weird in a couple of ways but not for including the verb "eat". As a native English speaker I would say "Do you like to eat lamian or ramen?" or "Do you prefer eating lamian or ramen?" It's like the difference between "Do you like football?" and "Do you like playing football?"
In English you can say you like food, you like cooking food, you like eating food, and they're all natural. My Chinese isn't good enough to know the subtleties of whether 吃 is mandatory or optional. I knew of constructions where the opposite is true, that in English you can say "I like eating" or "I like to eat" whereas in Chinese you have to include an object for the verb and would say 吃饭 in the equivalent sentence.
Well, hippietrail, if you're a native English speaker and that's the way you say it, then by definition it's correct:P Perhaps this is a difference between US and UK English? I'm a UK English speaker, and I know that American English can tend to state things more explicitly in some circumstances (e.g. eyeglasses vs. glasses, horseback riding vs. horseriding, etc.)
However, a google search would indicate that including "eating" or "to eat" is not nearly as common as leaving it out. When I google the phrase "I like noodles" there are 220,000 hits, whereas "I like to eat noodles" gets less than 20,000 and "I like eating noodles" about 2,000. This isn't very scientific of course, but it does give a good indication of what normal usage is...
(Edit: wow, when I first posted this, it came up as posted by someone else, but I could delete it, weird!!!)
@Sraddhapa Word for word doesn't mean you translate them separately. It will be still sone in chunks actually short texts are even better than single sentences. It's purpose is to learn the syntax and grammar while actually not having to learn individual words.
And believe it or not, there are modern langauge learning methods, which are not really known in the Aglosphere, for example the Birkenbihl Approach (if you learn German, you can look her up - Vera F. Birkenbihl).
No offense ,but native English speakers are not known to be great speakers of other languages. Most "learn" some language in school, but I have hardly encoutered some one being fluent in a language, if they do not live in that country, and even then, it most of the time comes with a hefty accent.
Btw, I did not translate above words from German to English, even though German is my mother tongue.
Setting aside the problem of what 拉面 means in Chinese vs Japanese, I typed "Do you like eating Chinese or Japanese ramen." It's a little more natural to say it that way in English especially when you set up two adjectives to describe one noun. An example might be "Are you a fan of the American or Canadian hockey team?" rather than saying "Are you a fan of the American hockey team or the Canadian hockey team?". In the first example it's implied that both countries have a hockey team.
Granted, I understand that the literal translation in this case would require me to use "ramen/lamian" for both halves.
But the English word "prefer" does not have those two meanings. It only means "like more" / "like better" (than).
You can actually use "would prefer" for choices, but not "prefer" on its own.
- Would you prefer eggs or cereal for breakfast today? - Choose one
- I prefer eggs to cereal. - Preference = "I like eggs more than cereal".
This is where language and culture collide. Ramen is not a word known to the vast number of people in the UK who don't get near 'proper' foreign food. Noodles could be anything long and flour-based that is not spaghetti. The flour could be wheat, rice or any other starchy grain.
why cant it be - Do you like eating Chinese or Japanese ramen? - it works in English there is no need to say ramen twice