Archive for Multilingualism

Ta Mother Noodle

Sign on a noodle shop in Xindan, Taiwan:

(Via Google Street View)

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Oil separator / cooker

When I entered the Airbnb where I'm now staying, one of the first things that caught my attention was the following utensil:

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Sinitic exclamations in English speech

Listen to Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng (aka "Uncle Roger"), who has had his Weibo and bilibili social media accounts banned due to "violation of relevant regulations":

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Multilingual TV series

Coby Lubliner called my attention to the Belgian Netflix series "Rough Diamonds." It takes place in Antwerp, so the default language is Dutch (Flemish), but the characters move into Yiddish, English and French with the greatest of ease. The subtitles don't indicate the language spoken in any one scene, except that when [Yiddish] appears what is actually heard is Ashkenazi Hebrew. (To someone who doesn't know either Dutch or Yiddish it will not be clear which one is spoken.)

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Some recent news and posts from

OMG, it’s nougat (4/15/23) — "OMG" borrowed into Mandarin

A long post on puns, multiscriptal writing, and the difficulties of Hanzi.

Puns piled upon puns.

Microsoft Translator and Pinyin (4/15/23)

Microsoft's not very good character-to-Pinyin conversion.

They have the resources and could surely do better.

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Thailish, part 2

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Mixed Thai, English, and Chinese sign

Photograph taken at a park in Chiang Mai, Thailand:

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Polyglot Manchu emperor

From the British Museum:

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Taiwan Navy recruitment ad language puzzle

Photo of a Taiwan Naval Academy recruitment ad in the Taipei MRT which references the One Piece ワンピース manga series from Japan:

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Please do not anything

Enigmatic East Asian sign:

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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)


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

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English French Toast

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Super color Doppler, part 2

[This is a guest post by Greg Pringle, in response to questions I posed regarding the photograph at the top of this post from yesterday, mainly: 

What does the Mongolian script say?  Does it match the Chinese*?  Are there any mistakes in it?

*The Chinese is short for "in color with Doppler ultrasound".]

The Mongolian says önggöt – het dolgion – zurag (ᠥᠩᠭᠡᠲᠦ ᠬᠡᠲᠦ ᠳᠣᠯᠭᠢᠶᠠᠨ ᠵᠢᠷᠤᠭ). It literally means "coloured ultra-wave picture" or, as Google Translate has it, "colour ultrasound imaging”. My Inner Mongolian dictionaries confirm that önggöt het dolgion zurag means literally “彩色超声波图” in Chinese and it is found on the Internet with that meaning.

You quote Diana Shuheng Zhang as saying the Chinese means "Color Doppler Ultrasound". I did find önggöt doppler zuraglal (Өнгөт Допплер зураглал) "coloured Doppler sketch” in Mongolian-language pages on the Russian Internet, and Jichang Lulu found a couple of sources from Mongolia.

Rather than continue confirming what you already know, I think it fair to bring up the issue of terminology.

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