Archive for Writing

LipsyncHK

Near the Star Ferry terminal on the Hong Kong Island side, Bea Lam noticed a number of fantastic, huge, colorful posters plastered on the walls as part of a “LipsyncHK” project that showcases Cantonese phrases and encourages visitors to try them out.  Bea was (very happily) surprised to see this large and open demonstration of Cantonese pride in a government-sponsored project, given the political environment.

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Character amnesia redux

This is a topic that we have frequently broached on Language Log:

In several recent messages to me, Guy Almog has raised the issue once again.  This is not unexpected for someone whose ongoing research focuses on the changing writing and reading habits of native Chinese and Japanese speakers, and mainly with issues of memory and forgetfulness of hanzi / kanji.

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Pinyin for Singlish

A correspondent from Singapore saw the following photograph in his Facebook feed:

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Love transformed

With the title "Yeah… that totally translates to 'love'", imgur presents the following image:

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Pressing the House of Commons swiftly

There is a designated staff member whose job at The Economist is to make the magazine (my favorite magazine) look ridiculous by moving adverbs to unacceptably silly positions in the sentence. She is still at work. This is from the December 12 issue, p. 58, in an article about preparations for a referendum next year on whether Britain should abandon its membership in the European Union:

Most pollsters reckon a later vote is likely to boost the leave campaign. Avoidance of delay was a big reason why the government this week pressed the House of Commons swiftly to overturn a House of Lords plan to extend the referendum franchise to 16- and 17-year-olds.

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Some difficulties of painting Chinese characters on streets

Ryan Kilpatrick has an interesting article in Hong Kong Free Press:

"Taiwan city promises to ‘correct’ simplified road sign after public outcry" (12/7/15)

It includes this photograph, which illustrates some of the problems:

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Bad sex writing: really really bad

I'm pleased to be able to announce on Language Log the winner of the Literary Review's 2015 Bad Sex in Fiction Award. The award went to the singer Morrissey for his debut novel List of the Lost. And it seems to have been honestly earned. The judges cited this sentence:

Eliza and Ezra rolled together into the one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation, screaming and shouting as they playfully bit and pulled at each other in a dangerous and clamorous rollercoaster coil of sexually violent rotation with Eliza's breasts barrel-rolled across Ezra's howling mouth and the pained frenzy of his bulbous salutation extenuating his excitement as it whacked and smacked its way into every muscle of Eliza's body except for the otherwise central zone.

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Difficult Taiwanese characters

[This is a guest post by Michael Cannings]

This brief news segment features a poster with a lot of interesting points packed into three short lines of text. The billboard is a traffic safety announcement by police in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan.


[Screengrab with most of the text visible]

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Handwriting legibility

Calvin Ho sent in the following photograph:

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Chinese character inputting

During my "Language, Script, and Society in China" class on this past Thursday (10/15/15), I asked the students the following questions:

1. What is your primary method for inputting Chinese characters?

2. What percentage of the time do you use your primary method for inputting Chinese characters?

3. What is your secondary method for inputting Chinese characters?

4. What percentage of the time do you use your secondary method for inputting Chinese characters?

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Mauritian Creole

Brian Jongseong Park was recently in Berlin and got to see an art show featuring works from Berlin-based Mauritian artist Djuneid Dulloo, who is a friend of Brian's from school. One work that caught Brian's eye was "Ras Lavi", which is covered in examples of Mauritian Creole:

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Cantonese and Mandarin are two different languages

From Mengnan Zhang:

I found this very interesting image on Facebook. The three columns stand for how to write various terms in Cantonese, their pronunciation, and the meaning of the words listed. As a native speaker of Mandarin, I have no idea what these words are talking about even after reading the meaning of each. Linked back to what our professor had talked about in class, Cantonese is a language, which both script and speech have no correspondence with Mandarin at all.

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Handwriting recognition

The phys.org website has a new article that piqued my interest:

"96.7% recognition rate for handwritten Chinese characters using AI that mimics the human brain" (9/17/15)

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