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querido

China vs. USSR era political edit, maybe. example.

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querido

Was the following a "joke" sufficient to save this book which might otherwise have been banned for its friendly treatment of Russians, at that time?

I'm studying a famous old book, "Modern Chinese: A Basic Course", Dover edition 1971 . It was formerly titled "Modern Chinese Reader", first edition 1958, second edition 1963. The original audio was recorded onto discs sometime before 1971 (1963, I think).

Here is the historical background according to Wikipedia:

"The deterioration of Sino-Soviet relations in the late 1950s and early 1960s resulted in tensions along the 4,380 km (2,738 mi) border between China and the Soviet Union. A particularly serious incident occurred in May 1962, when 60,000 ethnic Uyghurs in China's Xinjiang crossed the frontier into the Soviet Union, fleeing desperate economic conditions. Beijing immediately accused the Soviets of subverting the Uighur population, a charge later supported by some Chinese historiography, though never properly substantiated."

So, there was some official anger boiling in 1963.

This book was originally prepared for mainly Russian students in China (I can't remember my authority for that). One of the characters is Russian, and wherever the Russian language is mentioned, it is as 俄文, which should be éwén (Wenlin and nciku). This is the pronunciation on the audio too. Yet, wherever this word appears in the text, the pinyin has apparently been altered (the font is different) to èwén, which corresponds to one word in Wenlin: 饿纹 = 饿 (v. starve; adj. hungry) + 纹 (lines, patterns) = "lines on corners of mouth, foretelling death by starvation" (Wenlin, nciku).

That was ugly, for that time, or for any time.

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yersi

In Taiwanese Mandarin 俄 is pronounced as è when used in the sense of "Russia" or "Russian". You might want to check out this thread.

Considering the time when the book was published I believe it's highly likely that the native speakers involved in making the book were Taiwanese, so it's not a pun or a joke, just a deviation from standard pronunciation which is common to the Taiwanese flavor of Putonghua.

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querido

Thanks.

You're probably right, but my story is pretty good too. :wink:

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Luoman

It`s just an example of old pronunciation which was commom in mainland China. It seemes that after 1950s many characters changed their tone or pronunciation in the mainland, while Taiwan kept it unchanged. The same is true about vocabulary, for example, spoken chinese language is called 汉语 in the mainland since 1950s, while Taiwan keeps more traditional words like 中文 and 华语。

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ximeng8

No! That book was made in Mainland China, not in Taiwan. I have it too (somewhere)! It mentions that it was made at Peking University and uses lots of "communist" language, as in "I'm going with Comrade --- to the communal store later," etc. Kind of interesting to read.

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chrix

Just for the record: in Taiwan Mandarin, it is no longer pronounced as èguó, but now also as éguó. The MOE dictionary has èguó as 舊音. (but this doesn't invalidate yersi's explanation, in the 1950s, this 舊音 must still have been in use on the mainland as well).

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eatfastnoodle

I remember back in the 90s when Boris Yeltsin was still Russian president, every time I watch news anchored by people with Taiwan accent, I always feel kinda funny cuz in Taiwan Mandarin, he was refereed as e4 luo2 si1 zong3 tong4 ye4 er3 xin1 as opposed to what's standard in Chinese news: e1 luo2 si1 zong3 tong4 ye1 li1 qing1

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Daan
Just for the record: in Taiwan Mandarin, it is no longer pronounced as èguó, but now also as éguó.

I've heard (and made bad jokes about) èguó here on Taiwan, so it looks like the MOE dictionary might be ahead of its time in calling èguó a 舊音. As far as I've been told, they were slightly overzealous a few years ago in amending a lot of pronunciations and definitions, bowing to political pressure to modernise the dictionary.

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chrix

Sorry, to be precise, I meant the "Taiwan Mandarin standard". Of course not everyone follows the standard.

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