"请看一下菜单。"

Translation:Please take a look at the menu.

November 21, 2017

29 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/beaudanner

Please look at the menu is wrong huh??.

(dear literally everyone: don't feel bad. Even a native speaker couldn't pass their proficiency tests.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/adonaia

That was my first thought too, but after considering it, "看一下" is idiomatic. So it's not just "to look" but "to have a look," "to take a look," "keep an eye" on something, etc. Duolingo should maybe explain better that this matches the English idiom?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jotape561345

Is there really a substantial difference between "to look at the menu" and "to take a look at menu" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

If we want to give effect to the idiom presented in Chinese, it makes sense for us to recognize the construction "看一下" with an English idiom that's similar in tone and effect. Sure, "take/have a look at the menu" essentially means "look at the menu", but the latter is a bare imperative, and the former is modulated in tone and effect similarly to the Chinese expression.

It's not an exact science, and each sentence needs to be evaluated on its own terms, but since, in this case, the Chinese doesn't say "请看菜单", and English has a structure that can give effect to what it does say, it's logical that the English shouldn't say merely "please look at the menu".

It's wonderful that all of these native speakers of English are weighing in on whether "please look at the menu" is a correct English sentence (as if there were any doubt), and whether the meaning is basically the same, but again, some consideration of the entirety of the words in the Chinese sentence, and of the fuller exercise of learning and translation here on Duolingo, is part of the process as well.


[deactivated user]

    "Look at the menu" is rude. It is, like, "How can you order that? Can't you see for yourself we don't have it?" Whereas: "Take a look at the menu" suggests: "Take your time. Read the whole menu if you wish; then decide."


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisLons

    I'm a native English speaker (Canadian) and I say there is not a substantial difference.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cazort

    It's subtle, but I do think there is a difference. "Take a look at the menu." seems to imply looking at the menu for a certain duration of time, whereas "Look at the menu" could be briefer, like, just glancing at it. From explanations I've read of Chinese, I think "take a look" is a good idiomatic translation of "看一下", in this context, because both imply a certain (possibly brief) duration.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jonoboyle

    no way, 一下 has no direct translation. it would be more accurate to add the polite; could you, not an auxiliary verb which turns the verb 看 into the english noun 'a look'


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/leowtyx

    Correct,

    "一下" implies the waiter is polite, just like you wouldn't say "read the menu!" or "look at the menu!".

    But you would say "here's the menu~" or "just let me know when you're ready~"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChrisLons

    I believe the word "please" takes care of the politeness, not "take a look" vs "look" which are largely synonymous in English. At the very least, there is not a different level of politeness between the two.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GMQM7

    You are right, my answer is also look at, and I'm a native speaker...


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rahdi.marz

    Already correct sir


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JuhaSaarnio

    But when has the word menu shifted from its original meaning of a collection of foods constituting a meal into the listing of food on offer and why?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

    It means both, but in either case it primarily means the list of foods, and only by association does it come to mean the food itself. Etymologically it's related to the concept of "details".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dorklord1

    Please look at the menu should be accepted.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/leowtyx

    That would be literal translation, and in English that is rude for a waiter to say.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Melarish

    Is it still rude if he says "please"?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/roman2095

    Yes it still sounds rude because it sounds like you have to look at the menu to please the waiter, whereas "take a look at" still leaves you in control of things and so it is polite if said with the right tone.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wbeeman

    一 下 means "a bit, a little, some" but when this sentence was translated: Please look at the menu a bit, it was marked wrong.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/papayaj

    "Please look at the menu" is wrong? "Please take a look at the menu" is right?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kuyaC

    Is 看一下 like a verb here or is 一下 something by itself, and if yes, can it also be placed somewhere else, like at the end of the sentence?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

    "一下" is an adverbial, and it can be appended to a variety of verbs to indicate that the action is brief or casual. It's often shown in examples as coming directly after the verb, but it's technically independent and there are times when it sounds okay (and maybe even better) later in the sentence, e.g. in the phrase "帮我一下" .

    I defer of course to native Chinese speakers, but to my mind "一下" is at least somewhat mobile.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/19rgiles

    "Please take a look over the menu" good or bad?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

    It's okay, but probably not all that usual, and Duo might not capture all the possible alternatives.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Axolotler

    In English, it is acceptable, but not customary.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/choccymiIk

    I omitted the "please" and it was incorrect.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/camilomezu

    Please take a look to the menu should be accepted right?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

    No, "look to" isn't correct in this context.

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