Tag Archives: language

“Zhou Youguang, known as the father of Pinyin for creating the…

“Zhou Youguang, known as the father of Pinyin for creating the system of Romanized Chinese writing that has become the international standard since its introduction some 60 years ago, died on Saturday in Beijing, Chinese state media reported. He was 111. In recent decades, with the comparative invincibility that he felt great age bestowed on him, Mr. Zhou was also an outspoken critic of the Chinese government.”

For more on Zhou Youguang’s life and work, see Margalit Fox, “Zhou Youguang, Who Made Writing Chinese as Simple as ABC, Dies at 111,” The New York Times (14 Jan 2017)

Image: Shiho Fukada / The New York Times

“Ironically, thanks perhaps to a centuries-old separation from its origins in northeast Asia, the…”

“Ironically, thanks perhaps to a centuries-old separation from its origins in northeast Asia, the Xibe language (锡伯语)—closely related to Manchu, the language of the Qing Dynasty rulers—remains a living language in modern-day northwest Xinjiang. Most Xibe are concentrated in Qapqal Xibe Autonomous County, descendants of Manchu soldiers first dispatched in 1764 from Shenyang, Liaoning to garrison the frontier…”

- For more on “The Language of Exile” that, as the author notes, “has outlived Manchu,” see “Xinjiang’s Xibe Authors…” at Atlaic Storytelling: Tales from Istanbul to Heilongjiang (12 Jan 2014)

Grant: Inter-University Program for Japanese Language Studies

The Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies is pleased to announce a 10-month fellowship program for Ph.D. students in all fields of Japanese studies, generously sponsored by The Nippon Foundation. The Nippon Foundation Fellows Program at the IUC aims to provide the most promising young scholars with the deep linguistic and cultural knowledge needed to become leaders in their fields, and to foster strong collegial bonds and intellectual exchange among them and with their IUC senpai. 

In addition to their regular classes The Nippon Foundation Fellows will: 

• Meet regularly with each other and the IUC Resident Director to discuss their research interests and experiences in Japan 

• Invite an IUC alumni scholar to give a lecture at the IUC

• Conduct research during the second half of the program and present their results in Japanese at The Nippon Foundation Fellows Symposium at the end of the academic year 

Tuition: The Nippon Foundation fellows will receive a full tuition scholarship and a modest living stipend to attend the 10-Month Fellowship Program of the IUC in Yokohama. 

Eligibility: All applicants must be currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program, have a research focus on Japan, and an intention to pursue a career in academia upon completion of their doctoral degree. 

Applications:  http://www.stanford.edu/dept/IUC/documents.html (select “Nippon Foundation Fellows Program Application”)

Deadline: Postmarked by December 13, 2013 

via @artsofchina

theworldofchinese: English-Chinese Dictionary Gets Internet…


English-Chinese Dictionary Gets Internet Slangs

About 300 internet terms will appear in the 4th Edition of A New English-Chinese Dictionary, the foreign language dictionary that has a circulation of 1.3 million. It is the first time that such a large amount of internet slang terms are appearing in a comprehensive English dictionary, Shanghai-based newspaper Wen Hui Bao reports.

Want China Times says that the internet phrases will be found in the appendices, and that:

“…for the first time 297 phrases used regularly by internet users such as the term ‘ZZZ,’ meaning ‘to feel tired,’ ’2D4,’ an abbreviation meaning ‘to die for,’ and ‘BFF’ — ‘best friend forever.’”

The latest edition is including internet slang and abbreviations to meet the increasingly active social thoughts today, Wen Hui Bao adds: ”The selection adds trendy characteristics to the dictionary, with vocabulary such as ‘aak’ (asleep at keyboard), ‘kiss’ (keep it simple, stupid), and ‘yyssw’ (yeah, yeah, sure-whatever),” similar to the Chinese internet expressions “表” (biǎo, character for “table” that sounds similar to 不要 búyào “not want”), and “酱紫” (jiàngzǐ, literally “purple paste”, sounds similar to 这样子 zhèyàng zi “like this”).”

- See more at: http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2013/06/english-chinese-dictionary-gets-internet-slangs/#sthash.JD2KSI99.dpuf

h/t mkinchina

“The weakness in Zhang’s reasoning lies mainly in his confusion over the multiple meanings of…”

The weakness in Zhang’s reasoning lies mainly in his confusion over the multiple meanings of the word mínzú 民族. As pointed out on Language Log just a few days ago in “Racist Park”, mínzú 民族 can mean “ethnic group; race; nationality; people; nation”. Coming from the English side, we must keep in mind that “nation” can be translated into Chinese as guó 国 (“country”), guójiā 国家 (“country”), guódù 国度 (“country; state”), bāng 邦 (“state”), and, yes, mínzú 民族 (“ethnic group; race; nationality; people; nation”).

It is clear that, when Biden said “China is a great nation”, he was respectfully referring to the country as a whole. Yet the sensitivity to questions of ethnicity in China, especially with regard to the shǎoshù mínzú 少数民族 (“ethnic / national minorities”), e.g., Uyghurs, Tibetans, and scores of others, caused Zhang to take umbrage over something that the Vice President never intended.

- Victor Mair, in “Biden at Penn: Did the Vice President Insult the Chinese Nation?” at Language Log (20 May 2013)

[The expression New China Newspeak] covers a wide range of prose and spoken forms of modern Chinese that have evolved and been consciously developed as the result of profound linguistic changes and experiments that date back to the late-Qing period, all of which are intimately connected with politics, ideas and the projection of power.

For more, see Geremie Barme’s essay “New China Newspeak” / Xinhua Wenti at the China Heritage Quarterly, no. 29 (March 2013). Link

h/t @LetaHong