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confucius

Confucius says: Swallow the swallow!

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confucius

:twisted:

(This is my first post, pardon the emoticons)

For all you English speaking lovers of the Chinese language, Confucius presents the ultimate linguistic coincidence for your academic stimulation:

The Chinese word "yan" (that bird that visits the factory every spring) is a homonym with "yan" (how wolves and tigers gulp their prey after chewing)

"So what?" I can hear you all asking; there are thousands of homonyms in the Chinese language for crying out loud. Is Confucius out of his mind?

Ah! Yet this one is unique, grasshoppers! For if you translate both "yan" and "yan" into English you'll discover a little known secret known only to a few brilliant scholars that the Master has chosen: The result is "swallow" and "swallow", a linguistic coincidence unmatched in any other pair of totally unrelated languages :!: :o

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roddy
that bird that visits the factory every spring

Sorry? Is this some idiom I don't know about yet?

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Josh69
The result is "swallow" and "swallow", a linguistic coincidence unmatched in any other pair of totally unrelated languages

:arrow: :shock: I am sure there must be more examples of this in other languages... there are a lot of languages :roll:

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skylee

Swallow the swallow = 嚥燕

Which reminds me of a dialogue in Mengzi (孟子) (it doesn't has the same coincidence in English), which goes -

-獨樂樂, 與人樂樂, 孰樂?

-不若與人.

-與少樂樂, 與眾樂樂, 孰樂?

-不若與眾.

This dialogue covers the three meanings of the word 樂, i.e. enjoy, music, happy.

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confucius

No, Josh. This does not occur in any other two unrelated languages.

I have shared my discovery with linguistic scholars in US, Japan, and Denmark and all say the odds of finding this coincidence in any other two unrelated languages are astronomical. The meanings have to match exactly, that's what makes it so significant. I'm serious! This thing is going on my tombstone, among other accomplishments.

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horas

-

For if you translate both "yan" and "yan" into English you'll discover a little known secret known only to a few brilliant scholars that the Master has chosen: The result is "swallow" and "swallow", a linguistic coincidence unmatched in any other pair of totally unrelated languages :!: :o

*

Sorry to ruin your little theory.

But imo 燕 (yan4) doesn't mean swallow.

See:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/showthread.php?p=43090#post43090

-

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geraldc

I've got another linguistic curiousity, that amuses me, but has so far failed to interest anyone else...

When my parents were growing up in Hong Kong in the '60s, everyone referred to the film star Cary Grant as 咖喱 芥蘭, galei gaailaan which was a kind of "comedy" transliteration, as the name featured 2 food stuffs. However If you translate the transliteration you get Curry Broccoli.

The producer of the James Bond movies was called Cubby Broccoli, and the first person he wanted to play the role of James Bond was Cary Grant.

Could this be the closest case of a translation of a transliteration of a name, almost being the name of someone else?

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skylee

Really, broccoli is not 芥蘭. In Hong Kong broccoli is called 西蘭花. I believe it is also called 花椰菜.

I think 芥蘭 is chinese kale.

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geraldc

I've seen 芥蘭 translated as Chinese Broccoli. Which leads me on to my next favourite joke: In Brazil, Brazil nuts are just called nuts...

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eddiewouldgo
-獨樂樂, 與人樂樂, 孰樂?

-不若與人.

-與少樂樂, 與眾樂樂, 孰樂?

-不若與眾.

here's a 对联:

横联: 长长长长

上联: 长长长长长长长

下联: 长长长长长长长

:mrgreen:

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shibo77

燕yan4 swallow the bird

咽(嚥)yan4 to swallow the verb

Both the Chinese words existed in the 汉书, and the English words from Middle English (swalowe and swalowen)

You are right! That is very interesting, but I think if we think hard enough there should be others...

-Shìbó :mrgreen:

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LeafAndSunshine

Some Chinese scholar wrote the following story using characters of the sound "shi",

see if can read the whole story without bursting out laughing.

施氏食獅史 Lion-Eating Poet

石室詩士施氏, A poet named Shi lived in a stone room,

嗜獅,誓食十獅. fond of lions, he swore that he would eat ten lions.

氏時時適市視獅. He constantly went to the market to look for ten lions.

十時,適十獅適市. At ten o'clock, ten lions came to the market

是時,適施氏適是市. and Shi went to the market.

氏視是十獅,恃矢勢, Looking at the ten lions, he relied on his arrows

使是十獅逝世. to cause the ten lions to pass away.

氏拾是十獅屍, 適石室. Shi picked up the corpses of the ten lions and took them to his stone room.

石室濕, 氏使侍拭石室. The stone room was damp. Shi ordered a servant to wipe the stone room.

石室拭,氏始試食十獅屍. As the stone den was being wiped, Shi began to try to eat the meat of the ten lions.

食時, 始識十獅屍, At the time of the meal, he began to realize that the ten lion corpses

實十石獅屍. were in fact were ten stone lions.

試釋是事. Try to explain this matter.

I don't think the story itself makes that much sense. For more information, go to

this website

Imagine what it would be like if some Southern Chinese, who would always pronounce "Si" instead of "Shi", tried to read this story ...

LNS

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xiaocai
Sorry? Is this some idiom I don't know about yet?

小燕子,穿花衣,年年春天来这里……

You can search this with Google to find the answer if you're really curious about that...

:mrgreen:

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studentyoung
here's a 对联:

横联: 长长长长

上联: 长长长长长长长

下联: 长长长长长长长

呵呵,我也贡献一个:

横批:调调调调

上联:调调调调调调调

下联:调调调调调调调

谢谢! :mrgreen:

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Taibei

Oh, no. Not another misinterpretation of the stone lions story.

The page linked to above says that Y.R. Chao wrote the story "to prove just how inadequate it would be to replace Chinese characters by a purely phonetic script as others were advocating at the time."

This is completely wrong. Y.R. Chao was making a point about Classical Chinese, not modern Mandarin. Chao knew perfectly well that modern Mandarin is capable of being written with a "purely phonetic script."

For a little more on this story, see The Three “NOTs” of Hanyu Pinyin.

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TSkillet

My uncle told me this joke.

In San Francisco, there's a long street named Polk Street. In the 80s, it was really known for being the gay hangout - before the recent rise of the Castro in the public consciousness (Castro's always been a gay hangout - but it wasn't as "popular" until the early 90s.

Of course, San Francisco is also a big Cantonese city - so a lot of the streets are transliterated into Chinese.

So my uncle always used to say that the street was "pok gui"

Which of course means "asshole" in Cantonese.

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skylee

LOL, TSkillet. :lol::lol: Thank you.

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nipponman

This is completely wrong. Y.R. Chao was making a point about Classical Chinese, not modern Mandarin. Chao knew perfectly well that modern Mandarin is capable of being written with a "purely phonetic script."

Hmm, sounds like a troll to me, but, there is no way chinese could even possibly be written in a purely phonetic script! Impossible.

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geraldc

I can no longer tell if people are joking anymore... :conf

Of course you can write modern Chinese just using phonetic characters, it's how pinyin works, but I do agree that with classical chinese you really do need to see the characters (and then you need your teacher to explain what the damn thing means, how the character means something completely different to what it means now, and how its a verb not a noun etc etc)

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Quest

I think English and Chinese have a lot in common in addition to the similar word ordering and the relatively few inflections.

For example, to express the future tense, the tense marker (or auxiliary verb whatever it's called) "will" is used before the verb in English.

To express the perfect tense "have+verb+ed" is used.

Same thing in Chinese, 会 is used before the main verb. 会 is "wui" in Cantonese, remotely close sounding to "will". The aux verb 有+verb+过 is also used to indicate completed action.

For other tenses, the particles are postfixed to the main verb. That is true to both languages. In Cantonese, there's even a present progressive ending 紧 that's remotely close sounding to "ing" in English.

For basic vocabulary, ear is "yee" in Cantonese, eye is "agn", fire is "foh", mold is "mo".

There are many more similarities I am sure. In fact they are rather similar that some people have proposed that there is a historical link between these two languages. (I can't find that article now but I will try.)

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