While you’re taking a break from launching artillery setting off new year’s fireworks:
I just finished watching the documentary “Please Vote For Me” by Chen Weijun as aired on the CBC. It is 45 minutes of the drama involved in an election at a public school in Wuhan where three students get to run for the position of class monitor and have the other students vote. One of the three students almost ruined it for me by being such a brat, and I fear for anyone among the 老百姓 who someday fall under his domain.
One part of the film caught me a little by surprise. Near the end, as they were finally counting the votes, they employed a tallying system that I’d heard of once before, but it was so long ago and poorly explained that I mostly shut it out of my memory.
I’m sure we’ve all read the article and engaged in lots of discussion over the supposed superiority of Chinese mothers. Amy Chua says she’s Chinese, but “Chua” is certainly not pinyin. Of course there are lots of different kinds of ways to romanize Chinese but “chua” doesn’t seem to want to map onto any mandarin syllable. Continue reading
I’ve been trying to learn some Korean lately. Hangŭl 한글/韓글 is easy enough. It can be learned in a couple hours. Actually I went through that before a visit to Seoul in October. While there with friends I stopped in to a small eatery with a handritten menu. The friends, students of Korean, had some trouble making out the letters. I, oddly enough, did not. I just figured maybe it was because the same strokes in handwritten hanzi 汉字/漢字 get messy in the same ways when used to write Korean.
The other day we were talking about how Chinese puns work, playing on tones vs other phonemes or both. Here’s one from my daughter’s math book that tickled my nine-yr-old funny bone. It depends on a tone change and a phoneme change, but since in this case it’s a phonemic distinction that exists only for some versions of Mandarin, it works that much better as a pun.
(As with the last joke, translation after the break in case you’re practicing character recognition)
And now some translation: Continue reading
I had lunch with a couple friends the other day. Theyre both Taiwanese and are also both kind enough to humour me by speaking Mandarin during all of our meetings. During our most recent get-together, I asked them what language they grew up speaking on Taiwan. One, whose family moved from Hubei a couple generations back, spoke Mandarin, while the other, his wife, grew up speaking “台灣話”, later clarified as Min-Nan. Curious, and used to things in the PRC where one’s ethnicity is imprinted on an i.d. card for all to see, i asked if they were both 汉族 Han Chinese. To my surprise, they both answered with “what’s that?”.
Han, Hui, Zhuang etc, i said.
The ABC English-Chinese, Chinese-English Dictionary finally appears to be available at Amazon and other booksellers. Announced on pinyin.info in October last year (here), it was pretty hard to get copies of this dictionary until a few days ago, when Amazon finally started stocking it. I’m not sure why this took so long, but I’ve just received a copy, and it looks like it was definitely worth the wait. Let’s take a look at this new dictionary. Continue reading
Here’s a word-order-changes-grammar-and-semantics riddle to spice up your January, courtesy of some schoolbook of my daughter’s I’ve now lost track of. If you know Chinese, it’s only amusing, not difficult. But in case you’re in the process of learning, I’ll not translate till after the break so you can have fun with the original:
OK, and now for translation and discussion: Continue reading
A tea marketer is in need of some translation help at Far Outliers:
YUNNAN JING MAI HILL OLD TREES TEA
This article chooses to use Yunnan Jingmai hill old trees tea is raw material, was steam, rumple, nhibitted by traditional craftbut become, that tea Fa-Etty strengthen to show the milli-, green and yellow bright aroma pure and unadulterated of the teaEsoup, the tase joss-stick and return sweet hold out for long time. Often drimking can help the dig-Eest, go to greasy, the pure spirit of adsolute deing is great. Come to wine etc. This,article more Ch-Een is more fragrant can be collect in dry, well ventilated, avoid the light to have no strange Esmell of environment.
Bruce Humes asks why we need English as an intermediary in the translation of Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk’s work, Other Colors… Continue reading