City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Nov 12, 2020 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Mickey (7,400 points) | 50 views

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biérén别人 and rénjiā人家 can both means ‘others’ but the latter has a broader use.

First, the people that rénjiā人家 refers to are normally known by both speaker and listener, so is usually translated as ‘them’, for example,

1) 张和王在睡觉,别打扰人家

Zhāng  hé   Wáng    zài   shuìjiào, bié    dǎrǎo   rénjiā

Zhang  and  Wang    are   sleep     don’t  bother   them

‘Zhang and Wang are sleeping, don’t bother them.’

Second, rénjiā人家 can also refer to one person rather than a group of people, for example,

2)张在睡觉,别打扰人家

Zhāng    zài   shuìjiào, bié    dǎrǎo   rénjiā

Zhang    is     sleep     don’t  bother   them

‘Zhang is sleeping, don’t bother them.’

Third, rénjiā人家 can also refer to the speaker himself/herself, for example,

快回家,人家害怕

Kuài                 huíjiā, rénjiā   hàipà

Immediately  go home   I        afraid

‘Go home as soon as possible, I am afraid.’
answered Nov 12, 2020 by Mickey (7,400 points)

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