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Entries in this blog

roddy

Nine Beijing Snacks

One for gluttons today - an opportunity to drool over some (admittedly small) images of delicious Beijing 小吃. The street-side menu lists nine scrumptious snacks, all you have to do is match them up with the thumbnail images I robbed off the Internet. Assume the menu is numbered 1 to 9 left to right, so if you think the first one is Snack B, you have 1. B. etc.

A bit of a hint:

Google Images is your friend - it was certainly mine

and a lot of a hint for those who can't be bothered looking up the characters the hard way:

麻豆腐, 羊蝎子, 顿板筋, 菜团子, 糊塌子, 炒窝头, 炒疙瘩, 窝头片, 褡裢火烧

I had to cheat slightly on one of the images - I'm sure you'll forgive me. The letters for each image are in the filename, mouseover to see it.

skylee

Two (Not So) Old Ones

I have posted these two on the original signese.com website. But because roddy lets me post here I am posting them (being quite recent, really) here again.

One was taken at the border crossing point at Huanggang, the other at a metro station in Hong Kong.

roddy

Bus Stop Scam

It's quite common to see adverts offering various illegal services and opportunities to be scammed plastered on bus stops and elsewhere around the city. They get taken down fairly regularly, but put back up just as soon.

Common examples are offers to provide various types of certification (ID cards, degree certificates, whatever) or high paying work in hotels and karaoke joints. The end result no doubt varies, but you can probably expect to end up poorer, and quite possibly a sex worker.

This particular version is new to me, so obviously I took a photo and scampered home to phone Li Xiang's lawyers put up a blog post about it.

1) Who is Li Xiang married to, and where does she reside?

2) What situation does she wish to avoid?

3) And to this end she is looking to find a man to do what with? Will this take place in Hong Kong, or elsewhere?

4) What do you think will end up happening to the unwitting victim, who to be honest probably deserves everything he gets.

roddy
Just a quickie for this one kindly sent in by Gato, of a supermarket on Nanjing Road, Shanghai. We can only assume that they have no trouble making change.
roddy
A couple of uncommon characters for you today, although you never know when you might need them - and if you happen to have the chance to casually show off your knowledge to amazed friends sometime, all the better.
This one could be a little tricky to track down, but can anyone figure out what they might find if they were to lift up this manhole cover from inside the Forbidden City?

And while we're at it, which character in the second photo might your teacher instruct you to correct?

You can use the spoiler tags
[spoiler] text here [/spoiler] to hide your answers if you want.
roddy
This is a poster advertising a range of 家政 or 'home management' services - cleaners, cooks, carers and so on. I've attached a couple of extra larger images of it as I think the chunky text and somewhat blurry photo could present problems for anyone needing to look anything up by stroke order.
It's interesting to see which services are offered and how much they cost. Bear in mind that this is not what the actual worker gets paid, the agency will be taking a cut.
Today's questions, in more or less what I think is order of difficulty.
1) Who costs more to look after, the elderly or the ill?
2) You have 1000Y. Can you afford to have your cat looked after for a week and employ a cook for a month?
3) For a non-leap year February you want to have your kids taken to and from school, your chihuahua washed weekly, and someone to come in for two hours a day Monday to Friday to help around the house. How much will it cost?
4) Which, if any, of these services are for pregnant women?
5) How much would you want paid to offer the 挤肛门线 service?
You can use spoiler tags

[spoiler] text here [/spoiler]
to hide your answers, and if you don't want to read the discussion before answering, close your eyes and scroll down . . .
roddy
Lets present this one as a quiz (although if it's too easy for you let someone else have a go first):
1) Which two popular activities are referred to?
2) Which character is wrong, and what should it be? (at least I hope it is. Going to look a bit daft otherwise)
roddy
Holder of the Guinness World Record for highest number of times the word chestnut has ever been written on a shop. In case you were in any doubt about what the place actually sells, they also hang out a megaphone (not pictures) to keep you up to date.
Gulou Dongdajie, at the Gulou end.
skylee
I asked the shop assistant to let me take a photo, explaining to her that people who don't speak Cantonese might not understand what the words mean at all.
So, do you know what the words mean?
skylee
I just want to show a butchered Chinese word on a window in Valencia. To be fair, the same word on the next window had its both limbs intact.
同場加映 (though it is not related to Chinese) :I went to see a free photo exhibtion celebrating the 10th anniversary of the renowned City of Arts and Sciences when I was there. And when I read the English caption (photo attached) of a photo with a dophin in it, I laughed out. Who do you think is/are to be X-rayed?
skylee
I took the first picture last saturday in Tsimshatsui. It was a locked-up newspaper stall, I guess. Obviously those were promotion material for a film, but they looked interesting. If you like you can try to identify the two mistakes among the handwritten words.
The second picture was taken at Hysan Place in Causeway Bay. I am not sure what it was. I guess it was a stage for some performance.
roddy
Don't have anything ideal for the quiz format handy, so I'm just putting up a few random signs I've snapped over the last week or two. Feel free to come up with your own questions, or just do your best do decipher them with your dictionaries, wits and elite Chinese skills. Or translate them. Or have them tattooed on your upper arm.
roddy
This is a hand-writing chalked advert for a more or less medical service - how many different ailments and diseases can you identify, and which part of the body are they associated with. Good luck though, there are parts of this one I've given up on figuring out . . .
roddy
Moving away from the photographic today, we have a mere fifteen seconds or so of audio for you, recorded for you in the entirely authentic setting of Beijing's 107 bus.
Some questions to keep you interested . . .
1) What should all passengers do as the bus starts off?
2) Where should recently boarded passengers go?
3) What two forms of payment are mentioned, and what are the associated verbs?
4) Given that this is the east-bound 107 bus, we're in Beijing, and you have access to the Internet - what stop did you get on at?
roddy
Proud to add this to my collection of photos of manhole covers. It's quite rare now that I see a new type of cover, but this is the first one I've seen marked excrement. The character is 糞, the full form of 粪 (fèn), although the proportions make it look as much like 米田共, a euphemism based on the componenents of the full form character. I assume it leads to a septic tank rather than a pipe carrying turds around the city.
Manhole-enthusiasts can find this gem at the corner of Wangfujing and Meishuguan Dongjie.

roddy
A mere six characters here, and you shouldn't even need to look them all up.
First, which service does the sign refer to, and what has the business recently done.
Second, what gets delivered into the blue box?
skylee
I went to Singapore for a weekend break and spent most of my time in museums (instead of Little India, the waterfront and malls, etc), which was probably why I liked the country a bit better. I have some observations on the Chinese shown on some exhibits in the museums.
First, 肅清. Actually what struck me was the title "The Sook Ching". It is based on the Cantonese pronunciation I suppose. When I showed my friend this photo she was quite surprised that the title was not the "massacre".
Second, an old notice for Chinese hawkers. Note the different directions in which the words are printed on the same notice - vertically from right to left, horizintally from left to right, and horizontally from right to left. Traditional Chinese characters are used on this notice, and the name of the country on this notice is 新嘉坡. But this is a decades-old notice.
Third, the name of the dish Char Kway Teow. 炒粿條 is used in the photo. If I am not mistaken it is the same thing as what we call 炒貴刁 over here in HK. The Chinese terms are very different
Fourth, Chinese by a Vietnamese artist. It is all right. Although some characters used are odd / wrong (like the 垂 and 淂) but it is not difficult to get the general idea of the meaning.
I hope you find them interesting. Please share your views.
skylee
I went to the Xu Bing Retrospective in Taipei today, and am very glad that I did. I am sure there is a lot of information on the internet about his works, but I was fascinated all the same.
Many of his works are related to languages. Like his ABC series which is about representing English letters using Chinese characters. (Photos 1 to 2)
Then there is the square word calligraphy series, which is about writing each English word in a square. I think the idea is similar to the Korean script, but the Xu Bing version is not as tidy, mainly because English is not Korean, IMHO. And some square words look quite messy, as there are just too many components (long words). I don't think it is a very inventive series and the idea is not very different from the Chinese letters that tattooists use to con the uninformed. But it is fun, and is not difficult to learn and decipher. And, hey, it is Xu Bing. (Photos 3 to 6) You can see in Photo 3 "square word" and "Xu Bing". And in Photo 6 the first words (from left) are "four poems of W B Yeats, calligraphy by Xu Bing".
And then there is of course the 天書 series (Photo 7), which needs no introduction. I am not a big fan of his more recent 地書 series, though.
The exhibition will end on 20 April 2014.







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