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另當別論 : 另, 別 superfluous? What does 當 add?

Chinese Language Asked by Elaine Nai on September 9, 2020

ABC Chinese–English Comprehensive Dictionary (2003), p 561. I can’t access the "slightly revised through July 2005" ed. I also quote Wiktionary.

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  1. Why both 另 and 別? Aren’t they redundant? They both mean "other". If you had to pick one, which you pick?

  2. What does 當 contribute? What changes semantically, if we omit it?

2 Answers

In my opinion, it means "另外需要别的看法" in modern Chinese. The exactly meaning is "原来看法等不成立,另加以有评论". "另" means "另外(other)", "当" means "应当(should)". "别论" is ”其他看法(other matters)". So, its English translation is "The original matter of sth. is wrong, it should have another matter".

Answered by T-Pioneer on September 9, 2020

另 (adv) 當 (v) 別 (adj) 論 (n)

另當別論 = treat separately as a different issue = (it is an exception)

Example:

雖然只有工作人員可以進入後台,但有VIP通行證的客人另當別論 - Although only staff can enter the backstage, people with a VIP pass is an exception

Answered by Tang Ho on September 9, 2020

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