One day early in 2015, we stopped to look in the window of a streetside 小儿推拿 (pediatric massage) streetside clinic in our new neighbourhood. The clinic was a typical streetside one: a little 3 room place, massage tables, and a desk at the front. The doctor was lively, very good with his young patients, and demonstrated this incredible traction technique, … Continue reading Lessons on the street
To learn a language is to lose all the color of our idioms, descriptions and talk only in basic, boring, baby sentences.... It just rains, a lot. It's just very hot. Goodbye to cats and dogs and hell!
So, Chinese writing ("characters") is a pictographic-based writing, where you can often still see glimpses of the original pictures reflected in the modern characters. This rich history seems to also particularly lend itself to graphic design, where often you can see advertisements and place signs where the characters have been written to explicitly incorporate these origin pictures, … Continue reading Hanzi 汉字 and Pictures
Written Chinese has thousands of characters (not fun when you're trying to learn them). Each character has a meaning, is a morpheme, attached to a limited number of sounds, phonemes. Speaking Chinese gets tricky when you realize there are just SO MANY words that sound alike, as differentiated by their tones (4 in standard Mandarin). … Continue reading Homonyms, Humonyms in Chinese
Here's an example of language difference affecting thought. Latin gave 2 words to make English's peninsula: paene + insula Paene means "almost", and insula is "island, so our peninsulas are almost islands, almost cut off from the rest of the world on its eogcentric "main"lands. But in Chinese, the sense of the word has been cut down to: … Continue reading Peninsulas