- Website: https://www.sas.upenn.edu/ealc/mair
Posts by Victor Mair:
This signpost is from a building near the subway station closest to Nathan Hopson's apartment in Nagoya:
Everybody is in a tizzy over the hacking of Sony Pictures. Most people assume that North Korea was behind the hacking, which caused Sony Pictures to withdraw "The Interview" shortly before it was supposed to open in theaters.
Some of the coverage: "U.S. Intelligence Connects North Korea to Sony Hack: Reports", Newsweek 12/17/14; "A Look At North Korea's Cyberwar Capabilities", Huffington Post 12/18/14; "Obama May Have Forced Sony To Release 'The Interview'", Business Insider, 12/20/14.
As chosen by ballots to the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Public Interest Foundation (Nihon Kanji Nōryoku Kentei Kyōkai 日本漢字能力検定協会, more commonly known as Kanken 漢検), the annual "Kanji of the Year" (kotoshi no kanji 今年の漢字) for 2014 is zei 税 ("tax"), with 8,679 (5.18% of the total) votes.
Three years ago, Language Log covered what we referred to as the "Morpheme(s) of the Year" (12/17/11).
Two years ago, we advanced to "Chinese character of the year: mèng 梦 ('dream')" (12/25/12).
And last year, we looked at "'Words / Characters of the Year' for 2013 in Taiwan and in China" (12/26/13).
Toward the end of last month, the tension began to build in the selection process for this year: "APEC Blue, Tigers and Flies: What Chinese Phrase Best Describes 2014?" (11/28/14).
I was going to write "Xinhua brakes ban on puns". Upon reconsideration, I thought that would only lead to confusion, but it might at least have given an idea of how bad their pun is.
Carl Minzner tweeted:
Open violation of ban on wordplay! Name of new Chinese state website dedicated to Xi Jinping? 学习进行时
A current cause célèbre in China concerns a letter that was supposedly written by a little boy to the President of China, Xi Jinping:
The biggest news in South Korea these days is the macadamia nut tantrum that occurred on Korean Airlines last week. Heather Cho, the eldest daughter of Korean Air Lines chairman Cho Yang-ho and herself a high-ranking executive at the airline (though since resigned), threw a monumental hissy fit when she was served macadamia nuts in a manner that she thought was not suitably elegant. Amongst the usual media accounts of the incident, there was this statement from the UK Guardian:
Bloggers and the Korean press lambasted Cho for her arrogance, and took to social media to mock her for going “nuts”.
and reports of this tweet in Korean from an online shopping mall/auction site that makes a sort of punning reference to “that nut.”
Jeff Weinberg asks whether “nut” or “nuts” in Korean is used for “crazy person” or “crazy” as it’s used in English (and maybe primarily American English). Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
I spotted this colossal translation fail at the top of the Chinalawtranslate home page.
The idea of a "Mother Tongue" has long preoccupied me, and I once wrote a lengthy paper about the relationship between Taiwanese and Mandarin entitled "How to Forget Your Mother Tongue and Remember Your National Language".
The topic has now come back to me from a different angle, one that I might title "How to Remember your Mother Tongue and (Temporarily) Forget Your Global Language".
Google Translate just keeps getting bigger and bigger and better and better. As of today, it now includes Kazakh. And here's the first word that I typed in Google Translate + Kazakh:
Nathan Hopson bought this "rain suit" the other day:
For the last few weeks, we have been pondering the ban on puns in the People's Republic of China: "When puns are outlawed …" (12/9/2014); "It's not just puns that are being banned in China" (12/7/14); "Punning banned in China"(11/29/14).
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Cantonese speakers are coming up with new words, most of them involving puns, practically every day: "New Cantonese word" (12/8/14).
The following is a guest post by Bob Bauer, who introduces us to yet another clever Hong Kong Cantonese punning expression.
Neil Dolinger sent in the following banner ad that popped up on his computer screen one day: