User Comments - sclim
Posted on: Women's Day SpecialMarch 12, 2016, 03:32 PM
Wonderful, Wonderful Wonderful! Very informative and instructive. I love the format.
When pronouncing 慈禧太后, the xi in Cixi in your dialogue came out consistently as xī, first tone, whereas in xǐ (not in the name, the word for "happy") it is 3rd tone. My dictionary does not specify a change of tone for xǐ in Cixi to Cíxī, but is this how we should pronounce the name? (Or am I merely mis-hearing a rather drawn out xi in a neurtral tone?)
Secondly, a minor point, I know, but confusing to me when I am visualizing 武则天 constructing and writing the hanzi 〇; isn't 〇 the modern variant, coming perhaps from Western influence, but certainly based upon the zero in what we today call the Hindo-Arabic numbering system? She lived from 624 to 705 and the earliest recorded use of the circle symbol as used as "zero" was in India in the late 800s. Therefore the character she allegedly devised would be 零, not 〇. I suspect its meaning was not exactly zero in the modern numerical use, but that is a more difficult point to parse out.
Posted on: Classical Chinese WeaponsJuly 14, 2012, 02:33 PM
I should mention that the thickness of the end of the 劍 blade tapers to become thin and highly flexible, more so than I expected; but then when you watch 臥虎藏龍 (sorry guys, I can't bring myself to use the modern version of 龍!) when Chow Yun-Fat does his moves you can see the tip of the blade tremble as he comes to an end of a slash!) Way Cool!
Posted on: Classical Chinese WeaponsJuly 14, 2012, 02:20 PM
I have been studying Yang style Tàijíiquán 楊式太極拳 for a couple years, and we have completed learning the long form, which most people (i.e. in the West) are familiar with, i.e. weaponless. What I didn't expect, I guess I wasn't paying attention lol, and I don't always completely understand 老師, was that the sessions then morphed into楊式太極劍. First thing I knew (I had missed a couple classses going on holiday) we were using a jiàn劍 and incorporating them into the moves. It was quite different, a little difficult to get the moves, but way cool. From what I have seen demonstrated in the moves so far (and, admittedly, the太極劍 moves are slow and stylized -- but I expect these moves are an accurate depiction of the sword moves in actual combat), the太極劍 is used in a stabbing thrust or a slashing movement, but the latter is usually used with an oblique slicing component, so the blade is moving at a 45 degree angle to the direction of travel. Like I said, it's way cool. And the names are highly evocative, like 燕子抄水 yànzi chāoshuǐ Swallow Skims Water.
Posted on: Annoying PopupsJune 24, 2012, 05:00 AM
One wonders why 感冒 gǎnmào to catch a cold wasn't called into use, or some other variant of 感 to indicate catching a (computer) virus. But who really knows why one idiom "works" and another word combination doesn't, and so doesn't ever get to be an idiom. My guess is that 感冒, literally meaning "feeling" a "risk", was coined before the full understanding that the common cold was an infectious process, so the (old) literal meaning doesn't fit the computer infection process.
Posted on: Annoying PopupsJune 24, 2012, 04:37 AM
If 毒 in the original meaning was "poison", then 病毒 in the biological sense is true to the original English/Latin derivation of "Virus", meaning toxin or poison. Originally, in the early days of virology 1890's) there was only speculation that the first agent studied (tobacco mosaic virus) was a biological i.e. infectious agent, but there was puzzlement at the finding that the agent still caused ill effects on the tobacco plant after being passed through a filter that was way smaller than any bacterium (the smallest organism known then) could pass through. So the initial designation was "filterable virus", i.e. designating it a toxin, without committing to the idea that it was a potentially living, infectious organism, which is our present biologic understanding of "virus".
If 中毒 was a (pre-computer) idiom for getting poisoned, and 病毒 had become the standard word for biological virus, it would seem a natural step to use 中毒 in a new sense of "poisoning" the computer with an agent 病毒 that is named exactly the same as biological viruses, but retains the old "toxin" or "poison" connotation.
Posted on: Controversial Wartime MartyrsApril 30, 2012, 02:28 AM
I never noticed before, but when Connie pronounces Feng (as in Lei Feng) she actually says "FONG" rather than "FENG". I notice Cantonese speakers often do this when they are trying to speak Mandarin as "FONG" is the natural Cantonese pronunciation of Mandarin "FENG", and the effort of concentrating on speaking Mandarin is apparently too much, and it is apparently too difficult to resist the tendancy to slip back into the usual Cantonese pronuciation of "FENG" as "FONG". (It often happens for other words, too, that are similar to the Cantonese, but with a vowel shift to the Mandarin pronuciation, which, I guess is too easy to slip back into the Cantonese pronunciation.) It's a similar phenomenon to native German speakers speaking English; they will often say "MITT" instead of "WITH" in an English sentence, or "AUF" instead of "OFF". Is "FENG" generally pronounced "FONG" by Shanghainese speaking Mandarin?
Posted on: Meeting in Real LifeJuly 26, 2011, 07:04 AM
I don't get it -- why should a SCALDED cat fear COLD water -- ?I infer that it has not experienced cold water (yet); so why should the cat fear it. Is this something like the Chinese Proverb quoted by Jenny ?:
一朝被蛇咬，十年怕井绳./Yīzhāo bèi shé yǎo, shínián pà jǐngshéng。/Once bitten by a snake, ten years fear a rope.
But it isn't quite the same -- if you have the vivid memory of having been bitten by a snake, you would be so jumpy that the rope would frighten you because it looks so much like a snake. Cold water doesn't seem to have the impact to the listener of being able to frighten this cat, just because it has been scalded before. Please explain -- I'm missing something here, I'm sure.