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Shir Shishi shells shea shells on the shea shore

A discussion of the peculiarities of languages and the differences between them.

Shir Shishi shells shea shells on the shea shore

Postby Garzo » Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:00 am

I know all you sinologists were probably reciting this at primary school, but I still think it's fun.

Take a look at 'The lion-eating poet in the stone den' for a very good reason not to romanise Chinese or eat lions!

-- Garzo.
"Poetry is that which gets lost in translation" — Robert Frost
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Postby Flaminius » Thu Apr 21, 2005 10:43 pm

Funny, Garzo.

I give you a Japanese brain-twister. How does the following read?
子子子子子子子
子子子子子子子
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Postby Brazilian dude » Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:15 pm

Kokokokokokokokokokokokokoko? I'm sure there's some catch in this, maybe there's a mixture of kunyomi and onyomi which only the initiated have access to?

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Postby Flaminius » Fri Apr 22, 2005 3:47 am

Exactly, Dude.
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Postby anders » Fri Apr 22, 2005 6:25 am

If you want to read the lion story in characters, try http://www.pinyin.info/readings/zyg/wha ... _simp.html
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Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Apr 22, 2005 9:48 am

Exactly, Dude.

Man! I never knew I was so good. I was just guessing.

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Postby Flaminius » Sat Apr 23, 2005 3:15 am

N, I was telling it is exactly as you guessed that there is a catch in it. Hint; this is a game of cats and lions.
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Postby Apoclima » Sat Apr 23, 2005 4:17 am

I don't know, BD! Can you get the goose out of this bottle?

新年快樂... ^^

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Postby anders » Sat Apr 23, 2005 6:08 am

Somewhat late in April, though.
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Postby Flaminius » Sat Apr 23, 2005 11:09 pm

and it's 3 years late.
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Postby Apoclima » Sat Apr 23, 2005 11:34 pm

Is this sort of symbol-syllable-word-picture play very common in Japan?

Isn't the one symbol "ko?" What does this one mean, 電?

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Postby anders » Sun Apr 24, 2005 3:14 am

is the traditional ("full") form. It means lightning or electricity. The upper part illustrates a rain cloud. Youy can see the rain drops falling. The lower part is more obscure. Interpretations include stretch, repeat, again and again, spread, awe-inspiring. Aren't lightnings awe-inspiring when they spread on a night heaven?

The mainland ("simplified") version is 电.

A similar simplification in the meteorology department is "cloud". The full cloud is , the simplified one 云.
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Postby Flaminius » Sun Apr 24, 2005 7:16 am

電子 (denshi): electron in Japanese. I don't have to leave it to the Scandinavian Sinologists to announce it means the same in Chinese.

The lower part of 電 is a variant form of 申, which, as I explained in relation to 神, means lightning.

Apo, I suspect the picture of which you have prodived the link to is made by a Tiwanese if a more traditional form of kanji used there is to give a clue. But this art is very common in Japan as well.

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Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Apr 24, 2005 8:52 am

I would be very much interested in any book that explained the origins of kanji, not unlike Anders' explanations of their etymology. Can anybody help me here?

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Postby Flaminius » Sun Apr 24, 2005 9:23 am

Grre, I deleted my draught with a mis-type on the keyboard. I will be terse this time.

Dude, read Kanji dictionaries. Morohashi, Hadamitzky et alius and Shirakawa are my recommendation. Anders and Henri may know good ones by Chinese researchers.

As opposed to their real works of scholarship, the kanji world is abound with folk etymologies often created with homelic intent. The oldest one as I remember now is that of 「公」 by 韓非子 (somewhere in 『五蠹』 or 『孤憤』). He argued that the upper part of the character (八) means individual or private (私) and the lower part against. According to his strict political science of strictures, private interests are always harmful to the public interests and thus should be suppressed at any cost. This suggests, in my view, his notion of public interest as belonging to nobody (or perhaps to the monarch only) in opposition to private interests belonging to you and me.

This 公/私 pair is a good contrast to the Occidental private/public, which is the interests of you and me versus those of everybody's.
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