A list of seven names for the Chinese language in Mandarin, and decoding them all! I thought this would be a nice way to ease back into thinking (and writing) about Chinese language and linguistics.
In my last post I introduced THIRTY common words all pronounced “shi”. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that with so many homophones, Mandarin has some fantastic tongue-twisters. And by “fantastic” I mean “utterly impossible to recite”.
Today I’m going to introduce you to words pronounced “shi” – a great example of the wonderful confusion that is homophones in Mandarin. There are TWO HUNDRED characters for the sound “shi”and I use at least 30 of them. They are split up between different tones, but still that’s a whole lot of shi.
The phrase “I love you” is used very differently in Chinese than in English. For many people the phrase 我爱你 just feels/sounds wrong. Last year a video of Chinese young adults saying “I love you” to their parents – and the parents’ shocked reactions – went viral.
In Chinese certain numbers “mean” certain things. This makes phone numbers a bit of fun in China. Companies often try to play on numbers to make something memorable. Sichuan Airlines famously spent $300,000 on a phone number. The number string 5201314 means “I will love you forever”.
You might assume that as a language of pictograms, Chinese would have no acronyms. I always did. Turns out I was wrong. Chinese has a cleverly simple way to create standard abbreviations even with no phonetic alphabet.
I enjoy having an outlet for my thoughts and I am constantly surprised that many other people are interested in those thoughts. As this year comes to a close I’ve been looking back over this year’s overlap between what I find interesting and what you find interesting – the posts that received the most traffic in 2014.