- Website: https://www.sas.upenn.edu/ealc/mair
Posts by Victor Mair:
Cameron Majidi sent in this photograph taken on East Broadway in Manhattan:
Japanese is full of loanwords from English, a phenomenon we have often discussed on Language Log, e.g.:
"Too many English loanwords in Japanese?" (7/12/13)
Not only does Japanese like to borrow words from English, it is fond of borrowing parts of words and combining them with Japanese morphemes to make hybrid coinages. It's not always easy — even for a native speaker of Japanese — to figure out some of these inventions, because you only have part of a katakanized English word fused with part of a Japanese word.
English translation of the title of a Japanese book for sale on Amazon:
From the Japanese version the book seems to be a collection of excerpts from mostly right-wing / ultra-nationalistc writers (but why is the Japanese Communist Party there?).
From an anonymous colleague:
Michael Meng, China curator at the Yale University Library, discovered several rare books in Yale's Medical Historical Library that provide important evidence for the development of phoneticization of Chinese characters in the transcription of country names and personal names of foreigners.
Flying back from Vienna on Austrian Airlines yesterday, I saw the following notices printed on the back of the seat in front of me:
Gurte während des sitzens geschlossen halten*
Fasten seat belt while seated
*some airlines begin this sentence with a "bitte", which would make the German even longer
Die schwimmweste befindet sich unter ihrem sitz
Life vest under your seat
Nathan Hopson spotted these signs in Pittsburgh:
Blake Shedd sent along a series of forty pictures of plant identification signs from the botanical garden in the small southern Austrian city of Klagenfurt am Wörthersee. He was rather impressed that the botanical garden staff went to the trouble of including non-Latin / non-German names for the plants. And I was impressed at the remarkable documentation Blake provided by carefully and clearly photographing so many signs with essentially the same lighting and size. There's no need for him to apologize ("leaning over roped-off areas to get shots resulted in a few blurry or less than ideal shots"). The green leaves appearing at the edges of some of the photographs, which are otherwise black and white, only serve to enhance the arboreal, herbaceous atmosphere evoked by reading the signs.
From Mark Seidenberg (though I think that I may originally have sent it to him years ago):
We started teaching Cantonese at Penn more than a quarter of a century ago, and it has been a very successful program. Yale was teaching Cantonese long before us, and the title of this post is the same as that of a famous Yale textbook for the teaching of Cantonese by Parker Po-fei Huang and Gerard P. Kok.
I'm very pleased that more and more schools are offering Cantonese, and I'm hoping that the same will hold true for Taiwanese, Shanghainese, and other Sinitic languages. Penn offers a dozen modern South Asian languages, which shows that linguistic diversity is possible in universities when there's a will to make it happen.
Cantonese language instruction is booming in Hong Kong as well, and that is entirely appropriate, since — although Cantonese is the Mother Tongue of the overwhelming majority of the population — in recent years, it has increasingly been threatened by the rise of Mandarin as the language of the central government, which has been exerting ever greater control in the SAR (Special Administrative Region), particularly after the British returned the former colony to Chinese suzerainty in 1997. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Emily Rauhala has an entertaining, enlightening article about a startlingly improbable new kind of PRC officialese:
The article is so well written that I wouldn't want to try to steal Rauhala's thunder, so I will just quote the first part, and encourage you to read the rest, including clicking on the embedded links, some of which are hilarious (bear in mind that the funniest links go directly to official Chinese government posts).
From an anonymous correspondent:
Here’s an article about how Ann Coulter described the audience at a Trump rally as "a melting pot full of 'Hispanics' and 'Mandarins.’” (Her actual words seem to be, “They have Mandarins in the audience. They have Hispanics in the audience.”)
"Ann Coulter brags about the large number of 'Mandarins' at California pro-Trump rally" (shanghaiist, 6/1/16)
This is interesting (and weird) in itself—I’ve not heard this usage before—but I’m mainly sending this along because (not that I mean to defend Ann Coulter), after she justified herself by saying, "They are Mandarins. It is written in Mandarin”, one of the statements the article uses to criticize her is the very silly "Written Mandarin Chinese doesn't exist.”