Fine wine for the month of May:
- Before you click thru to Pinyin.info, guess what English word is being borrowed with: 欧菲香 ōufēixiāng
- A modern humanities prof could take a semester to deconstruct iamxiaoli’s “learning Chinese” videos. See John Pasden’s intro here. At least they’re better than the video that came in #1 on this Beijing Sounds post
- Autonomous region points to Google & Wikipedia in Uighur
- Green pea tofu (wāndòu dòufu 豌豆豆腐) and other delectable food terms from Beijing Haochi
- ‘ngè’ — is it about eating, or pooping? Depends on the dialect… — at Bezdomny Ex Patria
- How do you dry your clothes in Mandarin? Carl Gene says it depends on whether you’re from the north or south
- In case you need to brush up on your evil cult publicity poster vocabulary and need a long list of vocabulary — China Hope Live
- I’ll be the first to give the National Palace Museum a break for pinyin-typoing a “捍” instead of a “撼”. Maybe we should just eliminate one: there’s no shortage of hàn in China anyway… — China Hush
- Homeboy in Chinese? Sinologistical Violincellist retranslates Kevin Garnett’s Chinese blog
and from Sinoglot’s own writers:
It’s been a month or so, but rumors of the demise of the Links post are still just rumors, dammit:
- In a piece on terms for “missing” in Japanese, some interesting discussion of Japanese vagaries of what we would call 多音字 (duōyīnzì = characters with multiple pronunciations) in Chinese. If you thought it was tough in Mandarin…
- What promises to be (when I get to read it online) an interesting article on ethnic groups — and presumably their languages — in Taiwan from Bruce Humes.
- Also from Humes: how much difference a 才 can make in a Dylan lyric translation
- Nuanced semantic discussion as always, from Carl Gene, this time about speech sounds that are not quite words
- Longest fourth tone sentence contest from Lingomi, which pairs nicely with some stats on which tone pairs are most common
- Maybe Frog in a Well should offer a “longest string of -isms / 主义 in a Chinese sentence” contest. First entry: “共和主义，革命主义，流血主义，暗杀主义，非有游侠主义 不能担负之“
- Since you were wondering how to translate “扑街少女”, Roll, Roll, Run explains why “drop dead maiden” might work
- Pleasantly not dubbed, snapshots of “ordinary” Chinese in M. Scott Brauer’s “We Chinese” / “我们中国人” on The China Beat
- Weibo iPhone app interface offered in English (slightly against the usual linguistic/technology currents)
- Finally, a possible venue in case you’re having trouble getting that new interpretation of 道德经 published.
I was looking for some obscure vocab in Mandarin a couple hours ago, doing my best to manipulate Baidu searches to produce the desired results. What I eventually found was a nice little dictionary site, cibo.cn (词博网). It’s just one more site to add to the arsenal when it comes to quick-and-dirty translations. I put in 酿酒 (brewing, winemaking) as a test. Here’s the beginning of the output:
扩 Saccharomyces cerevisiae rasse sake 清酒酿酒酵母 【主科技词汇 】
扩 brewing machinery 酿酒机 【航海航天词汇 】
I‘m was betting that this is just gibberish, but the fact that they didn’t use roman letters, or even a script that I recognize is quite remarkable.
- You’ve already read the English version. Now, check out: 为什么中文这么TM难？ [Thanks, pinyin.info]
- Bilding, cubbard, and more. A call for looser attitudes towards English spelling from famous phoneticist John Wells. What does this have to do with Chinese? I’ve long thought the primary obstacle to any script reform in English and in Chinese is primarily one of attitude: whether entrenched powers are willing to allow some diversity of form. Diversity of form, in the long-term, is what obviates the need for abrupt and wrenching change. I’m glad to see a linguist of Wells’ stature taking up the issue for English.
- Mandarin learners: estimate how many words you know, from zhtoolkit
- The meaning of 味儿大, “big taste”, from Shanghai’s big* language blogger, John Pasden
- 装修, or “renovation with Chinese characteristics” — and other post-Chinese-New-Year traditions
- An interesting historical perspective from The China Beat for any who have pondered the underdeveloped state of Chinese civil society (公民社会)
*Seriously, I measure in right at six feet, but next to John I feel like I lost my lifts.
The first two entries today illustrate the constant tug of language preservation and dominance in China. On the one hand, there’s a proposal that Mandarin should be renamed 中国语, Zhōngguó yǔ (a Danwei translation by Joel Martinsen) and given more “strategic” prominence than the “equal footing” it has with other languages these days. On the other, the People’s Daily publicizes a proposal by the State Ethnic Affairs Commission (SEAC) “to promote the use of [Zhuang language / Vahcuengh], which, unlike many languages belonging to ethnic groups, is still in wide currency.” H/T to Liuzhou Laowai, who acerbically notes that “almost no Zhuang speakers know the written form” and that Zhuang language includes “mutually unintelligible groups known as Northern and Southern Zhuang”.
- A well-written account of the relative value of “dialect” (read: essentially a different language) vs. The Standard Language. Although the setting here is Morocco and the language is Arabic, the themes will be quite familiar to anyone familiar with China’s linguistic situation. (h/t Jabal al-Lughat)
- Another review of Wenlin 4.0, the software for learning Chinese, this from Sinosplice. The first one we linked to was from Pinyin.info
- Try having a non-Cantonese speaker read “至勁係你” and see how far they get — from Victor Mair on Language Log.
- To be “high-speed railroaded” — creative use of the 被 passive construction, also from Mair
- 胖人服侍 as “Fat people apparel” — a nice example of the great divide between superficial meaning and cultural expectations
- Blended Mandarin / Uyghur rap
Is it really time for Monday link roundup? Only the calendar says so. Otherwise, here in China, it’s unequivocally “The fifth day of New Year” (初五 chūwǔ), a time when the obsessive day-tracking of modern life fades into a blur of sloth and grog and dysfunctional family dinners. Even my parents, visiting from the States, have started using the X-day-of-new-year terminology since the days of the week have become meaningless.
Every time I light up a cigarette at this time
Thinking about home town and mother, as if they are in front my eyes
While you’re taking a break from launching artillery setting off new year’s fireworks: