During the last few days, there has been a flurry of excitement over the circulation of photographs and information concerning an old Chinese textbook for learning English. Here are a couple of pages from the book (click to embiggen):
Now Ben Hemmens draws our attention to A L Kennedy's recent BBC 4 manifesto, "The power of language", which introduces the topic this way:
My work has been translated into more than twenty languages, I've won national and international awards, even, and yet I have no idea what a fronted adverbial is. Modal verb? Not a clue. In three high-functioning decades, I've never needed that language to describe my language, my personal voice rendered in writing; and I am lost for words when I learn that primary school children are now forced to scramble over unwieldy syntactical terms in order to communicate.
In "Character amnesia in 1793-1794" (4/24/14), I described the so-called Flint Affair, which refers to James Flint (?1720-?), one of the first English persons to learn Chinese. For his audacity, Flint was imprisoned for three years by the imperial government, and two Chinese merchants who helped him write a petition to the emperor were executed.
A Tibetan entrepreneur who is a vocal but moderate advocate for bilingual education in schools across Chinese-ruled Tibetan regions has been illegally detained by the police for one and a half months, his family said.
The man, Tashi Wangchuk, 30, who lives with his parents in the western town of Yushu, has written about language policy on his microblog. He has highlighted the dearth of meaningful Tibetan language education and expressed concern that many Tibetan children are unable to become fluent in their native language, a widespread worry in the ethnic group.
From December 13-17, 2015, I participated in an international workshop at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS) on the Edmond J. Safra campus of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The title of the workshop was "A Lasting Vision: Dandin’s Mirror in the World of Asian Letters". Here's the workshop website.
The workshop was about Sanskrit poetics, especially as detailed in the Kāvyādarśa (simplified transliteration: Kavyadarsha; Mirror of Poetry) ofDaṇḍin (circa AD 7th c.), the earliest surviving systematic treatment of poetics in Sanskrit.
This is a photograph of a sign above a urinal at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies taken by Joseph Williams who was there for a Japanese test. Besides the Japanglish, it's interesting that spaces are added between the words. And there are no kanji.
Never mind that some people say the character has 57 strokes, while others say that it has 62 strokes, this zany monstrosity is a bear to write. Having to copy it a thousand times would indeed be a kind of mindless, mind-numbing torture. Furthermore, the sound that has been assigned to it — biang — is not part of the phonological inventory of Modern Standard Mandarin (MSM) and the ostensible phonetic component of this symbol did not develop naturally as part of the sound system of traditional Chinese characters.
Hakka (Kèjiā 客家 ["guest families"]) is the name of a Chinese ethnic group and their language. Their name refers to the fact that, although they came from the north centuries ago, they are now scattered in various locations throughout South China and, indeed, the world.
Although the Hakka amount to approximately only 4% of the total population of China, their influence on politics, the military, culture, and other spheres of life in the past two centuries has been disproportionately large
In "Should Africa speak Mandarin?" (ZimDaily [8/31/15]), the phrase "political gat kruiping" occurs twice. Upon first occurrence, "gat kruiping" is defined as "brown nosing". Since this is in the context of "introducing Mandarin in schools next year to pupils between the grades 4 and 12", I was curious about the nuances and form of "gat kruiping".