Archive for Errors

Xiist music

Allusions to Language Log posts abound:

 

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"Crisis = danger + opportunity" redux

From IAS: Institute for Advanced Study; Report for the Academic Year 2018-2019, p. 8:

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Brain Brian

Alan Kennedy, a dealer of Oriental art based in Paris, New York, and Los Angeles, who was a student of the polymath Schuyler Van Rensselaer Cammann (1912-1991; "Ki" to his friends and acquaintances) at Penn half a century ago, and who is a regular reader of Language Log, sent me this message:

I see a comment from Brian Spooner, and had no idea that he was still at Penn.  Decades ago, one of his students told me that he was sometimes called Brain in Afghanistan.  Apparently someone there had transposed the 'a' and the 'i' in writing his name.

My reply to Alan:

Hah, that's an appropriate transposition!

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"Will life be better in the coming year?"

So asks the Chinese colleague who sent me this photograph:

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An odd error

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Graffiti correction

Writing on a concrete planter in Hong Kong:

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Pinyin vs. Sinographs

This came across Jeff DeMarco's Facebook yesterday:

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Ping-pong bing-bang

Xi Jinping commits another pronunciation gaffe.  Even if you don't know Mandarin, you can hear it clearly here because it is repeated over and over again.  Instead of saying "pīngpāng wàijiāo 乒乓外交" ("ping-pong diplomacy"), he says "bīngbāng wàijiāo 冰邦外交" ("ice states diplomacy"), which some wits are further distorting as "bīngbàng wàijiāo 冰棒外交" ("popsicle diplomacy"):

https://twitter.com/RealEmperorPooh/status/1144817965008744448

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More misreadings by Xi Jinping

From a colleague (with Romanizations and translations added by VHM):

Two of Xi's recent báizì 白字 ("miswritten / mispronounced character") that the CCP propaganda machine tries awkwardly to cover up:

Reading “jīngzhàn xìnì 精湛细腻” ("consummately exquisite") as “jīng shén xìnì 精甚细腻" ("very refined and exquisite”).

Reading“shànyǎng 赡养” ("support; provide for") as “zhānyǎng 瞻仰” ("pay respect").

Xi has after all only xiǎoxué shuǐpíng wénhuà chéngdù 小学水平文化程度 ("primary school level of education"), as the late Li Rui 李锐 (1917-2019; Chinese historian and politician) had famously commented. Xi therefore shows traits of some deep inferiority complex.

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A permier university

Headline in the Washington Post (a few minutes ago):

A professor at China’s permier university questioned Xi Jinping. Then he was suspended.

Obligatory screenshot:

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Corpora and the Second Amendment: Changing my mind about a change of mind

After initially declaring that I wouldn’t be posting about the phrase keep arms because I had nothing interesting to say about it, and then declaring that upon further reflection I did have something interesting to say, I’ve realized after drafting a post discussing the phrase that I was right the first time.

So when “Corpora and the Second Amendment: ‘keep arms’” doesn’t appear, that’s why.

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The unpredictability of Chinese character formation and pronunciation, pt. 2

Emma Knightley asks:

My background is that I grew up in Taiwan learning Traditional Chinese and now most of what I use in my professional life is in Simplified Chinese. How exactly should the character of hē, "to drink," be written?

I grew up learning that the character inside the bottom-right enclosure is 人. Now I see that it is mostly written as 匕. I don't know when this changed, and I don't think it's a matter of Traditional vs Simplified, either, as I see both versions in Traditional writing as well. This Wiktionary entry illustrates the confusion nicely. No one I know has noticed this change, which leads me to think that I'm either losing my mind or experiencing the Mandela Effect.

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Penn motto

Is there a mistake here?

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