la laxma'i spaji spaji

a bilingual blog in Lojban and English · una bitácora bilingüe en lojban e inglés
un blog bilingue en lojban et anglais · ein zweisprachiger Blog auf Lojban und Englisch
relbau prekarni bau lo lojbo e lo glico

2006-09-30

jungo panra be zo senci : Chinese "sneeze"

ni'o ba'a nai mi pu za lo jeftu be li so'o cu co'a darlu fapro pa bi'u nanmu goi ko'a lo ni loi jungo cu kakne lo nu tcidu jo'u ciska i mi ki'u lo nu mi'a ti'u li 03 cu zvati lo barja cu na mulno morji lo se darlu a lo te darlu i sa'e nai lo ci'arci'e co jungo jo'u ponjo cu se gunta mi gi'e te badgau ko'a

i ko'a pu ze'a lo nanca be li so'o cu xabju lo pongu'e i je bo lo re bi'u nai bangu cu milxe do'a slabu mi e'e nai i e'e cu'i je ku'i lo juglerfu ca lo nu verba cu co'a slabu mi i to'e se ji'u nai bo nandu fa lo nu mi snada darlu da i lu'a ri cu se cmima le du'u lo ni loi jungo cu kakne lo nu tcidu jo'u ciska cu ba ro roi rinju lo du'u lo selci'a valsi cu toltce mapti lo selbacru valsi

i mi ca lo bi'u nai nu darlu cu na kakne lo nu facki lo krinu be lo du'u lo bi'u nai ka toltce mapti cu na se rinju lo ni loi ba'e ponjo cu kakne lo nu tcidu jo'u ciska i je ku'i ba za bo mi co'a jimpe lo du'u lo ponbau cu pa moi bangu pi so'a loi ponjo kei e ku'i lo du'u lo bangu tcini pe loi jungo cu mutce drata i to'u nai lo jugbau cu banlanzu da'i nai ji'i 8 bangu i lo trugunma cu xusra lo du'u la'e zoi jy 普通話 putunghua jy lu'u noi krasi la beidjin gi'e se jutsi la'e zoi jy 官話 guanhua jy no'u va'i la'o gy Mandarin gy cu te ckule fu vo'a i se ni'i bo so'o xecto megdo be lo prenu cu tadni lo nu bau lo 2 moi cu tcidu jo'u ciska gi'e nai pu cilre fi lo nu bau lo 1 moi cu tcidu jo'u ciska li'o sa'a

ni'o so'o selci'a be se pa'u la'e zoi gy pinyin.info gy cu srana lo bi'u nai cuntu i mi sitna la'e lo glico panra be lu lo jugbau ki'u ma kau cu mabla tcenandu li'u ku pe fi'e la'o gy David Moser gy zi'e pe se cu'u lo panra be
lu lo jungo cu na ka'e morji lo cunso barna i da'i nai lo fange tadni be lo jugbau cu mutce se pluka lo nu zgana lo nu da poi jbena se bangu cu na kakne lo nu ciska lo lerfu po de poi cafne valsi i li'o sa'a za'a lo ciska jo'u tcidu stati jungo cu tolmorji fi lo lerfu po lo panra be lo cafne valsi no'u fu'e mu'a lu lante be fi lo tinci li'u e zo cidni e zo luptci e zo bircidni e zo zingibero e zo kicne e lo drata fu'o i sa'e bo lo bi'u nai jungo na kakne lo nu ciska lo ba'e pa moi barna po lo bi'u nai lerfu i pau nai xu cumki fa lo nu do xarpei lo nu lo'e pa mutce xamgu se ctuca glico be lo ka selbau cu mulno tolmorji fi lo nu ciska lo panra be lo cafne valsi ku no'u fu'e mu'a zo cidni a lu lante be fi lo tinci li'u fu'o ge'u a lo tolcafne valsi no'u fu'e mu'a zo sludemcro a zo ginfu'izmase fu'o i mi cu pa roi dormijysai penmi 3 ve balcu'e be fo la beidjin be'o poi tadni lo jugbau gi'e jungo lo ka jbena ku'o zi'e poi pa lu'a ke'a cu se krasi la xongon i je bo mi ca lo nu go'i cu bilma gi'e troci lo nu te notci lo nu na ba kakne lo nu penmi pa pendo ku pa cmalu py i za'a mi na kakne lo nu morji zoi jy 嚏 ti jy noi lerfu gi'e pagbu zoi jy 打喷嚔 da penti jy noi valsi zo senci i mi cpedu lo nu lo bi'u nai lerfu ta'i ma kau cu se ciska kei lo bi'u nai 3 se penmi i je bo ue lo te go'i cu burna lafmuvgau lo janco i no lo go'i cu kakne lo nu drani ciska lo bi'u nai lerfu i ju'a lu jungo me la xarvrd li'u so'e roi tcita lo balcu'e po la beidjin i pau nai xu cumki fa lo nu do xarpei lo nu da'i 3 lo ve balcu'e be lo glibau bei fo la xarvrd cu tolmorji fi lo nu ciska lo glico panra be zo senci i je ku'i lo bi'u nai tcini cu na'e tolcafne bu'u lo jugygu'e li'u
A few weeks back I got into an argument with a dude over literacy in China. The circumstances (3 a.m., local tavern) were such that I don't remember quite what our respective positions were. But broadly speaking, I was running down the Chinese and Japanese writing systems & he was defending them.

The problem was that he had spent some years in Japan, whereas my understanding of the languages is almost nil, although I have had some familiarity with hanzi since childhood. Still, it was difficult to back up my points, one of which was that literacy in China will always be hampered by the tenuous connection between the written and spoken word.

At the time I couldn't quite come up with any reason why that wouldn't hamper literacy in Japan as well, although since then it has occurred to me that while the vast majority of Japanese have Japanese as their first language, in China a vastly different situation holds. Chinese is really a language family rather than a language, comprising eight languages or language groups. The government insists that only Mandarin (specifically 普通话 putonghua, which is a Beijing dialect) be taught in schools. Therefore, millions of people are learning a second language and literacy at the same time, without ever learning literacy in their first language. On top of that, there is not much tradition of writing the non-Mandarin Chinese languages, so the writing system, which is less than ideal for Mandarin, is even less suited for the others.

Over at pinyin.info there are several essays addressing these issues. I include below a bit from David Moser's "Why Chinese is so damn hard".
Chinese people are not born with the ability to memorize arbitrary squiggles. In fact, one of the most gratifying experiences a foreign student of Chinese can have is to see a native speaker come up a complete blank when called upon to write the characters for some relatively common word. ...I have seen highly literate Chinese people forget how to write certain characters in common words like "tin can", "knee", "screwdriver", "snap" (as in "to snap one's fingers"), "elbow", "ginger", "cushion", "firecracker", and so on. And when I say "forget", I mean that they often cannot even put the first stroke down on the paper. Can you imagine a well-educated native English speaker totally forgetting how to write a word like "knee" or "tin can"? Or even a rarely-seen word like "scabbard" or "ragamuffin"? I was once at a luncheon with three Ph.D. students in the Chinese Department at Peking University, all native Chinese (one from Hong Kong). I happened to have a cold that day, and was trying to write a brief note to a friend canceling an appointment that day. I found that I couldn't remember how to write the character 嚔, as in da penti 打喷嚔 "to sneeze". I asked my three friends how to write the character, and to my surprise, all three of them simply shrugged in sheepish embarrassment. Not one of them could correctly produce the character. Now, Peking University is usually considered the "Harvard of China". Can you imagine three Ph.D. students in English at Harvard forgetting how to write the English word "sneeze"?? Yet this state of affairs is by no means uncommon in China.

ni'o lo cnino datni zo'u ti'e lo du'u 99 ce'i loi ponjo cu kakne lo nu tcidu jo'u ciska kei kei noi so'i roi se xusra cu ju'o cu'i jitfaUpdate: Apparently the oft-cited figure of 99% for Japanese literacy may be inaccurate.

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2 Comments:

Blogger k.c. said...

i love this. not only is it fascinating, but you correctly use "comprise" and you know where "only" goes in a sentence. then there's the random appearance of "scabbard" and "ragamuffin." and the charming fact that this is the shit you fight about with a pal when you're drunk.

05 November, 2006 19:53  
Blogger komfo,amonan said...

Well, "scabbard" and "ragamuffin" were Moser's. Nice words, though. Obscure, but not too obscure. Those words don't exist in Lojban yet, so I had to come up with, er, analogous words in Lojban. So "sludemcro" -- "muscle cramp" -- and "ginfu'izmase" -- "DNA polymerase". No one knows these words. Dug 'em out of the dictionary.

As far as odd Chinese words go, there's "籲", which apparently means "invoke". Dug that out of the dictionary too.

05 November, 2006 23:50  

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