Winnie the Pooh in a bottle

Netizens in Taiwan are having fun sharing a photo of a beverage promotion that comes with a Winnie doll in a bottle.


(source of photo and article in Chinese)

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Tea map

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RUN = wrong

Last spring, when Shanghai was in the midst-of a harsh, months-long lockdown, so many people were thinking of running away from the city that they even developed a "RUN-ology" (rùnxué 潤學, i.e., how to escape and go abroad), where "RUN" is a Chinese pun for English "run".

Original meanings of Mandarin rùn 潤:

  1. wet; moist
  2. sleek
  3. to moisten; to wet
  4. to polish (a piece of writing, etc.); to touch up
  5. profit (excess of revenue over cost)

(source)

"RUNning away from Shanghai" (5/13/22)

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Calligraphy as a "first level discipline" in the PRC

I am making this post because I think it is something that we should be aware of and try to understand in terms of the motivations of the Chinese government in enacting and carrying out these policies.

"First-level discipline a new starting line of calligraphy", China Daily (9/28/22)

The Chinese term for "first level discipline" is "yī jí xuékē 一级学科".  Here's a recent list of the first level disciplines in the Chinese educational system.  You will note that the disciplines are arranged from sciences at the top (with math at the very top), then moving down through history, engineering, agriculture, medicine, military science, management, philosophy, economics, law, educational science, literature, and art.  Calligraphy (shūfǎ 書法) was not included on this list of first level disciplines, which accords with the great commotion its addition to the list is currently causing.

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What 'IPA' means now…

I have mixed feelings about the International Phonetic Alphabet. It's good to have standard symbols for representing phonological categories across languages and varieties. You need to know the IPA in order to understand books and papers on many speech-related subjects, as well as for practical things like learning to sing the words of songs in languages you don't know. And the IPA is certainly better than the various clunky alternatives for (symbolic) dictionary pronunciation fields. So I teach it in intro courses.

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Look-see-watch

As native speakers of English, we have a direct, non-analytical understanding of the differences among "look", "see", and "watch", the three main verbs for expressing visual perception.  The first indicates that we have a purposive gaze at / toward / for something; the second that our sight focuses on what we were looking for; and the third adds a durative aspect of observing what we were looking for and saw.

A few days ago, I came across a mention of the term "look-see", and it brought back the memory of when I first learned the Mandarin word kànjiàn 看見 ("see") half a century ago, which struck me powerfully as having the same construction as "look-see".  Moreover, I knew enough about pidgin English to realize that "look-see" had a strong pidgin Gefühl to it.

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Jichang Lulu

That's the name of a treasured Language Log reader and contributor (see under "Selected Readings").  When I asked him how to write that in Sinoglyphs, he told me that it is this:

飢腸轆轆 / simpl. 饥肠辘辘

Wanting to get the tones, I typed "jichanglulu" into Google Translate (GT), but forgot to click the space bar to make the conversion to characters with Hanyu Pinyin transcription complete with tones.  When I pressed the speaker button to hear how that sounded, what came out was something like Mandarin with an English accent, but still perfectly intelligible:  "jichanglulu".  It resembled the Mandarin produced by the strangers on the street who read off the Pinyin texts handed to them by my wife, Li-ching Chang.  She was always delighted when she heard them pronouncing Mandarin without ever having studied it.  "Jichanglulu" — see, you can say it too!

Adding the tones, we get jīcháng lùlù.  What does this somewhat odd assortment of sounds signify?

GT says "hungry", more literally, "hungry intestines are rumbling".

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New Russian Newspeak

The author of this article is Michele A. Berdy, who writes under the byline The Word's Worth.  Berdy, born in the US but a resident of Moscow for over 40 years, has been doing this language column for a couple of decades.  It is usually light-hearted, even whimsical.  Not this one.  She departed Moscow after the invasion of Ukraine, and may now be in the U.S.  As per this March article in Politico.

"Newspeak in the New Russia:
George Orwell must be spinning in his grave."

The Moscow Times (9/23/22)

Новояз: Newspeak

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Triplex negatio ferblondiat

Julian Hook sent in this quote and link, from "Chris Christie mocks ‘disaster’ Donald Trump at upstate biz conference", NY Post 9/23/2022:

“There is a sector of our party, which cannot find themselves genetically unable to not defend Donald Trump,” Christie said at another point in his hour-long address while criticizing fellow Republicans for backing the ex-president’s evidence-free claims of mass voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

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Toilet culture in Xi’an

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How to say "We don't have any pickled pigs' feet"

I have a terrible hankering for pickled pigs' feet and have been to about a dozen stores in the Philadelphia area looking for a bottle of them.  So far no luck.

But I'm learning a lot about how store personnel tell me they don't have any.

Mostly, of course, they just say, "No(, we don't have any)".

If they're not sure, they usually say (regretfully), "I don't think we have any."

Today, however, I received the same answer four times in one store, "(It's possible) we may / might not have any" — as they walked me around to different parts of the store looking for the pickled pigs' feet.

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Fusion phonology and morphology in Sinitic

Over the years, we have encountered on Language Log many instances of the fusion of Sinitic syllables into more compact units than the original expressions they derived from.  A typical example is the contraction béng 甭 ("never mind; don't; needn't; do not have to") from bùyòng 不用.

Cf. zán 咱 ("we")

Fusion of 自家 (MC d͡ziɪH kˠa, “self”) [Song] > Modern Mandarin (Lü, 1984). Fusion with (men) produces the form with a nasal coda [Yuan], e.g. Modern Mandarin zán (Norman, 1988).

(source)

Often such contractions and fusions in speech do not get reflected in the writing system as in the above two examples.  For instance the Beijing street name Dà Zhàlán 大柵欄 = Pekingese "Dashlar" and bùlājí 不拉及, the transcription of Russian платье ("dress") is pronounced in Northeastern Mandarin as "blaji" (note the "bl-" consonant cluster, which is "illegal" in Mandarin).

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"Mirrors" composer rejects Richard Feelgood and Donald Trump

Jon Jackson, "Writer Behind Trump's Rally Music Wants to Distance Himself From QAnon", Newsweek 9/20/2022:

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday appeared at an Ohio rally for J.D. Vance, a Republican nominee for Senate. Afterward, Trump received much attention for what many people have claimed was a QAnon element to his appearance.

When Trump took to the stage, people in attendance felt they recognized his entrance music. Many in the crowd raised a one-finger salute as a reference to the QAnon conspiracy theory. They did so because the song they heard sounded nearly identical to QAnon's unofficial theme song, "Wwg1wga," which stands for the QAnon slogan, "Where we go one, we go all." (Although the index finger salute is used by QAnon, some people have claimed its use is also a reference to the "America First" slogan.)

Aides for Trump have denied to multiple media outlets that the song played last weekend was "Wwg1wga." Instead, they identified the tune that the former president used at the rally as a royalty-free track called "Mirrors," written by composer Will Van De Crommert.

However, Van De Crommert wrote to Newsweek that he did not authorize the use of "Mirrors" for Trump. He also emphasized he wasn't happy about his music being associated with QAnon.

"I do not support Donald Trump, and I do not support or espouse the beliefs of QAnon," Van De Crommert said.

That "Mirrors" was mistaken for "Wwg1wga" is understandable. When De Crommert's song is played to the music-identifying service Shazam, the result given back is "Wwg1wga," which is credited to an artist who goes by Richard Feelgood.

"Richard Feelgood's claim on the song 'Mirrors' (retitled 'Wwg1wga') is patently false. The recordings of 'Wwg1wga' and 'Mirrors' are identical, and the master was unlawfully retitled, repackaged, and redistributed to streaming platforms by Richard Feelgood," Van De Crommert said.

He added, "I am not Richard Feelgood, I do not represent Richard Feelgood, and Richard Feelgood is not a pseudonym that I have ever or will ever employ."

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