How is English “and” translated into Mandarin when it is equivalent to the “&” of propositional logic?

[In propositional logic, “&” is a two-place propositional function. Its arguments are two propositions, P, Q that may be true (T) or false (F), and its effect can be defined as follows: If P and Q are both true, then P&Q is also true; if P, Q, or both are false, then P&Q is false.“&” has NO other meaning. In particular, it has no temporal implications (by definition P&Q = Q&P), so P&Q does NOT mean “P and then Q”, nor contrastive implications, so P&Q does NOT mean “P and YET/BUT Q”, etc. Simply, P&Q = Q&P. Full stop.]

English “and” may, in context, express temporal sequence (= “and then”) or contrast (= “and yet”), among other possibilities, but, of course, in many cases it also means just “and”, i.e., it may be strictly equivalent to the logician’s “&”. Those are the cases I want to examine here.

Consider now the following English sentences and their possible interpretations:

(1)    (1) John and Mary died. [It has ONE interpretation: 2 death events with one participant each (= John died and Mary died = Mary died and John died). No particular time sequence between the two deaths can be deduced from (1)].

(2)    (2) John and Mary played the flute. [Again, it has just ONE interpretation: 2 flute-playing events with one participant each (= John played the flute and Mary played the flute = Mary played the flute and John played the flute). No time sequence can be deduced from (2)].

(3)    (3) John and Mary played the piano. [It has TWO interpretations. Interpretation (3a) = TWO piano-playing events with one participant each (= John played the piano and Mary played the piano = Mary played the piano and John played the piano). Nothing follows from (3) as to the order in which each piano playing event occurred. Interpretation (3b) = ONE piano-playing event with two participants, John and Mary playing together (four hands)].

(4)    (4) John and Mary married. [It has TWO interpretations. Interpretation (4a) = TWO separate wedding events (with four participants = John plus somebody else different from Mary, and Mary plus somebody else different from John), and, again, nothing can be inferred as to the order in which the two weddings occurred. Interpretation (4b) = ONE wedding with John and Mary as participants (= John married Mary = Mary married John)].

(5)    (5) John and Mary argued. [It has only ONE interpretation = there has been ONE discussion with John and Mary as participants (= John argued with Mary = Mary argued with John)].

As far as I know, Mandarin “hé”, “yu3” or “gen1” can translate English “and” in sentence (5) and in sentences (3) and (4) when they have the interpretations (3b) and (4b) [please correct me if this is wrong], but (again, to my knowledge) Mandarin does not have anything that can accurately translate “and” in sentences (1), (2) or (3) when the latter has the interpretation (3a), that is, whenever TWO separate events are involved.

Note that Mandarin “ránhòu” (= “and then”) will not do, because it entails a certain order between the two events that English “and” above does not entail; “háishi” (= “nevertheless”, “still”, “or”) is no good either, because it entails a negative expectation that English “and” above does not; “suo3yi3” (= “so”, “as a consequence”) has causal implications that “and” entirely lacks in the examples above; “yòu….yòu” (= “both … and…/not only… but also…”) simply does not qualify because it does not conjoin sentences, but other types of phrases. There remains “ye3” (= “also”, “too”), which is just about right meaning-wise, but it is syntactically considered an adverb, not a conjunction. [In my view, it could just as well be considered an ‘intra-sentential’ conjunction, but I do not know whether that analysis would face difficulties elsewhere that I am not yet aware of].

Be that as it may, here is my question: are there other Mandarin ‘coordinative conjunctions’ that may merely add two sentences without further implying time, cause, unexpectedness, or contrast relations that “&” and the “and’s” above do NOT imply? If not, what Mandarin sentences would yield the interpretations of sentences (1), (2), (3a) and (4a) above?

Thank you all in advance.

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Coordinative conjunctions of Mandarin are "和 he2,与 yu3,跟 gen1,同 tong2,及 ji2,并(且) bing4 qie3", as far as I knew.

In ancient Chinese, just "与" and "及" as coordinative conjunctions exist in those words.

"与" is add with imply, "及" is ass without imply.

In modern Chinese, "跟、同" be given same effect (as coordinative conjunctions) with "与" for more choices with pronunciation habits, "并" same as "及".

"和" has both effects with them.

Thank you very much for your detailed and informative answer!

I was not aware of "ji4" at all, nor of "tong2" as a possible coordinator. The only snag I see is that, contrary to English "and", neither of them seems to occur between two full sentences, do they? In this respect, they raise the same problem "he2", "yu3" and "gen1" pose: none of them conjoins full sentences. Besides, "tong2" (according to my dictionaries) seems to add a 'togetherness' implication that "&" does not have. So far, the best overall candidate as an equivalent of "and" = "&" (without further implications) seems to be "bing4qie3" (Thank you!), which IS used to conjoin full sentences and apparently means just "and/in addition". Is that right? I am not sure to understand your "yu3" is add with impli(cations?), "ji2" is added? without impli(cations?)", but, anyway, the real puzzle is that "he2" should have "both effects". As you added a second post with further detail, I will myself explain this further in my reply to your second post. Thanks :-)!

Modern Chinese use "并且,而且,以及" as coordinative conjunctions between two full sentences. "和,与,跟,及,且,并" are use between two subjects or adv. I am sorry, "同" more like "with" not "and".

1. John and Mary died.

约翰和玛丽死了。 (they all died)

约翰与(跟、同)玛丽死了。(all died)

约翰及玛丽死了。(all died)

"并、并且、且" are fit for verb or adv.


2. John and Mary played the flute.

约翰和玛丽吹奏了长笛。(2 played, same place (the tendency of native understanding), uncertain time sequence)

约翰与玛丽吹奏了长笛。(2 played, same place, same time(the tendency of native understanding))

约翰及玛丽吹奏了长笛。(same with "和")


3.John and Mary played the piano.

约翰和玛丽弹奏了钢琴。(3a + 3b)

约翰与玛丽弹奏了钢琴。(3b be trend)

约翰及玛丽弹奏了钢琴。(3a be trend)

Thank you again, for taking the trouble to also offer detailed translations. If I do not misunderstand you, in sentence (3) the use of "yu3" induces a 'togetherness' implication that "ji2" does not have, and so does it  in sentence (2) ("same place, same time"), although, obviously, whereas (3) MAY refer to a unique event (two people playing four hands on the same piano at the same time), (2) is hard to understand except as a description of two flute-playing events, because it is very unlikely that two people should have simultaneously played the same flute, unless one blew and the other did the fingering, a far-fetched possibility that your own translation disallows: your use of "chui1le" implies that both 'blew' into their respective flutes. That is an interesting difference between "ji2" and "yu3".

The real puzzle, however, is that "he2" should as easily support the DOUBLE event reading as the single-event one, as it does in your translations of sentences (1), (2) and (3). That is puzzling because under the a) interpretations sentences (1), (2) and (3) are just reduced (elliptical) versions of (redundant, and therefore not used) full sentential coordinations, i.e., "John died and Mary died", "John played the flute and Mary played the flute", and "John played the piano and Mary played the piano", respectively, and yet it is NOT possible to build sentences like "*A si3le he2 B si3le", "*A chui1le chang2di2 he2 B chui1le chang2di2" or "*A tan2le gang1qin2 he2 B tan2le gang1qin2". Of course, such sentences would be redundant, as they are in English, and so unlikely to be used anyway, but the problem is more general, it affects non-redundant coordination, too.

Since "he2" (and "ji2") CAN support the two-event readings of (1), (2) and (3) (and presumably that of my sentence (4) as well), they MUST be able to function as 'pure' propositional coordinators (= "&"), but, in that case, WHY can´t "he2" conjoin two full sentences even when they are NOT redundant, as in "wo3 zai4 bei3jing1 *he2 wo3 nü3peng2you zai4 shang4hai3" or "wo3 yao4 xue2xi zhong1wen2 *he2 wo3 peng2you shi4 zhong1guo2ren2" (excuse the primitiveness of the examples I can improvise).

The reason cannot be 'semantic', as we have seen; it cannot be phonological, either (all are monosyllabic, and none is a suffix, it seems); hence, it must be 'syntactic' (for example: could "he2", as well as "gen1", "yu3", "ji2" be/resemble 'prepositions' like English "with" or even verbs meaning "is with" or "accompany", or something similar, rather than coordinative conjunctions?). Only "bing4qie3", it seems, would be functioning as a proper sentential conjunction.

In sum, at bottom, presupposing familiarity with the properties of logical "&" and English "and", and the ambiguities "and" may cause, I could have phrased my basic question much more simply: if "he2" MUST support the double-event (= logical "&") reading in sentences like (1) or, say, "wo3 peng2you he2 wo3 (dou1) shuo1 wai4yu3", why can´t it act as a full-sentence coordinator in cases like "wo3 peng1you shuo1 de2yu3 *he2 wo3 shuo1 ying1yu3"? [leaving aside possible mistakes of mine in these improvised examples]. What prevents "he2" from functioning as a full-sentence coordinator?

Thank you for your attention!

wo3 zai4 bei3jing1 *he2 wo3 nü3peng2you zai4 shang4hai3


This "和" will make native confuse. Have 2 way to = logical "&".




wo3 peng1you shuo1 de2yu3 *he2 wo3 shuo1 ying1yu3


I will understanding this as your friend can speak German but speak English with me.


我朋友说德语,我说英语。 "," at here is same with "&".

我朋友说德语并且我说英语。 right but not fit habit.


So, "和" as a full-sentence coordinator will confusing relationships with its further implication "with".

(3) John and Mary played the piano.

If it interpretation as (3a), translate as:

约翰和玛丽都弹奏了钢琴。 2 playing are happaned both.

约翰和玛丽各自弹奏了钢琴。Same with above.

约翰及玛丽弹奏了钢琴。 Same with above.

约翰弹奏了钢琴并且玛丽弹奏了钢琴。 This sentence is correct with grammar. But it will be omitted as above with Chinese writing habit.

约翰弹奏了钢琴并且玛丽也弹奏了钢琴。 This will not be omitted, there have different grammatical mood between two sentences.


If it interpretation as (3b), translate as:



"和,与,跟" are more like "with" at here.

约翰以及玛丽进行了钢琴双人演奏。 "以及" at here more like "and".

(4) John and Mary married.

约翰和玛丽结婚了。(但不是和对方。) If not has the next sentence, almost native speaker will think they are marry with each other.

约翰与(or 跟)玛丽结婚了。 John married with Mary.

约翰及(以及)玛丽结婚了。 They married with the other person.


(5) John and Mary argued.

约翰和玛丽争论过。  They argued with each other.

约翰与玛丽争论过。 Same with above.

约翰及玛丽争论过。 They argued with the other person.

Thank you very, very much for all that wonderful data, dear friend! The facts are crystal-clear to me now! Of course, there HAD to be ways to express the different interpretations of elliptical sentences with coordinated subjects. I'll definitely add "ji2" to my essential vocabulary for beginners like me, :-)! What is not yet clear to me is the fact that the 'togetherness' nuance of "he2" seems to be automatically deactivated whenever the interpretation of 'A he2 B + Predicate' must be 'A + Predicate & B + Predicate' (two events or situations), whereas that aspect of "he2"'s meaning remains active and makes it impossible to use "he2" in syntactic contexts of the form '*Sentence he2 Sentence' with EXACTLY the same interpretation. I suppose I should check the technical linguistic literature to search for a proper explanation. Anyway, you have been most helpful and I think I will from now on make no more mistakes when using "he2", "yu3", "ji2", "gen1", "tong2", "bing4qie3", "er2qie3", etc. A very informative discussion! Kindest regards!


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