Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    ian2 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    431
    Post Thanks / Like

    Fortune and misfortune

    China'a fortune is the world's fortune and so is China's misfortune.

    The word "fortune" can mean just fate or chance (with a neutral nature, an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another). But in this case, "fortune" is followed by "misfortune", which is clearly negative. So I think "fortune" in this case could be interpreted as "an unknown and unpredictable phenomenon that leads to a favorable outcome", which is positive.

    Any insight?

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    19,448
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fortune and misfortune

    I would interpret this as China's success is benefiting other countries (through low cost goods), but that its success is also a disadvantage as it put pressure on China to continue to perform at a high level. I don't agree with your interpretation of "fortune" in this context.

  3. #3
    ian2 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    431
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fortune and misfortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    I would interpret this as China's success is benefiting other countries (through low cost goods), but that its success is also a disadvantage as it put pressure on China to continue to perform at a high level. I don't agree with your interpretation of "fortune" in this context.
    Thanks for your reply. I need native speakers like you to assist. But here is a larger context from which the sentence is from:

    Most Chinese we encountered felt their country was hurtling toward a future that will be very different, and probably better, than the present. The Chinese are engaged in an experiment of unprecedented scale in human history that will not only shape their lives and those of their children, but will be a major factor in determining what the 21st century looks like for the rest of us. “China’s fortune is the world’s fortune,” one scholar told us, “and so is China’s misfortune.”

    From the paragraph, I don't see the pressure put upon China because of its advantage. My original thought was if China succeeds, the world succeeds, but if China fails, the world fails. In other words, the sentence is trying to tie China's fate to the world's fate. What do you think? Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    19,448
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fortune and misfortune

    China’s fortune is the world’s fortune,” one scholar told us, “and so is China’s misfortune.”

    This is obscure. It could either be saying that China's fortune is the world's fortune and that is China's misfortune, OR China's fortune is the world's fortune and China's misfortune is the world's misfortune as well.

    However, the rest of the paragraph implies that events in China will have major effects on other nations, though it is difficult from the paragraph to say whether this is economically or politically, or both.
    If China catches cold (metaphorically), the rest of the world will catch cold too.



  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    44,191
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fortune and misfortune

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    My original thought was if China succeeds, the world succeeds, but if China fails, the world fails. In other words, the sentence is trying to tie China's fate to the world's fate. What do you think? Thanks again.
    China is tied to the world, but I don't think it is a simple matter of either succeeding or failing, but a combination of both. For instance, the economic boom has been beneficial to China and the world, but it has come at a terrible cost to the environment, which will affect us all.

    Also, an economic downturn in China, which will occur one day, would have a negative impact on the economy of the world, but I don't think that this would mean that the economic experiement in China would be then regarded as a total failure. I think that the good and bad, which could be simultaneous or at different times will affect us all.

  6. #6
    ian2 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    431
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fortune and misfortune

    I think I didn't express myself cearly, as what you said (the good and bad, which could be simultaneous or at different times will affect us all.
    ) basically express what I wanted to say.

    Thank you both.

  7. #7
    ian2 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    431
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fortune and misfortune

    I am sorry I didn't read clearly, as I was in a hurry. So let me say this again:

    The original sentence is "China's fortune is the world's fortune and so is China's misfortune."

    My original question was specifically about FORTUNE. So I am not sure Tdol's "good or bad combined" is only for the word FORTUNE or for FORTUNE and MISFORTINE. The whole original sentence of course means good or bad combined as a factor to affect the world. But Do you mean the word FORTUNE here refers to the combination of good and bad (fate)? If that is the case, then the following misfortune seems irrelevant here, as it is included in the FORTUNE already. In other words, if the combination of good and bad for fortune stands, then the fortune and misfortune used side by side only presents contrast in language form, not in meaning. I hope I expressed myself clearly enough. If not, let me know and I will do it again. Thanks.

    Ian

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    44,191
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fortune and misfortune

    'Fortune' here is positive because it contrast with the negative. Without the contrast, it could be either.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    58
    Post Thanks / Like

    Arrow Re: Fortune and misfortune

    From what I read of the passage and from what I understand of Chinese scholars and their ways of expressing ideas, it simply means that 'if China prospers, so will the rest of the world; and should misfortune fall upon China, then the world will also be dragged into a spiral downfall.' This clearly shows the major power's close linkage with all nations.

  10. #10
    ian2 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    431
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fortune and misfortune

    Quote Originally Posted by sploke View Post
    From what I read of the passage and from what I understand of Chinese scholars and their ways of expressing ideas, it simply means that 'if China prospers, so will the rest of the world; and should misfortune fall upon China, then the world will also be dragged into a spiral downfall.' This clearly shows the major power's close linkage with all nations.
    Thank you all. Yes, that is a quote from a Chinese scholar and the positive/negative contrast is their way of saying things.

    The forum is great.

    The case can be closed now. Thank again.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •