Li You's Secret Admirer

by Mrs. Pollard


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A generic romance using basic Mandarin Chinese vocabulary, January 26, 2017
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: sanguine

This is a deliberately simple romance story between a Chinese and an American student, intended for learners. The branching in this story branches and bottlenecks very quickly - it's a largely linear story. Is it good for learners? Hard to say.

The good: parallel sentence structures might allow readers to infer the meaning of similar sentences. Sentences are kept short and straightforward.

The bad: I saw the brevity and blandness of the writing as a missed opportunity to expand a reader's vocabulary, as well as showing a reader what lively Chinese prose can look like. For example, in the beginning, the reader can choose what impression one character has of the other. If the reader decides that they have a poor impression of each other, the resulting text simply repeats that, without explaining why.

The... questionable, maybe: I spotted at least one grammatical error. There was another which may be regionally idiomatic, translating "asking for his telephone number" as "asking how much his telephone number is" (the original: "她问王朋的妹妹, 王红, 王朋的电话号码是多少"). It's a minor point, but raises an interesting thought as to the extent to which teaching Chinese (presumably non-native) learners strongly idiomatic expressions would be helpful, if those same idioms would be considered grammatically wrong in other regional variants of the language.

There is scant intercommunication between the Chinese IF community and the English, and even putting in on IFDB is already a form of outreach. The intent of this project certainly fills up a void - few IF projects appear to be created for Chinese learners, one of which includes Wordswing ( - but the execution is distinctly lacking. With a stronger story and more natural, vivid prose, this could be a notable work indeed.

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IFforL2, January 25, 2017 - Reply
That's actually a common expression in Taiwan Mandarin idiom. I don't know if it's from Japanese or Minanese influence. Your works have impressed me; would you consider publishing something in Chinese?
verityvirtue, January 25, 2017 - Reply
Oh! I'll edit the review to suggest as much.

Thank you for the comment, that is very kind! Unfortunately I have not read a lot of Chinese fiction so my writing style is unfortunately terribly inelegant...
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