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Tom Zhou 1985

When inserting English word and arabic numbers into Chinese sentences

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Tom Zhou 1985

Hi there,

 

I just found this forum today as I was looking for a forum which could express my thought on a matter in Chinese writing.

 

First of all, a short introduction of myself. My name is Cong, and I was born in Beijing. I lived in London for almost 6 years and learnt my second tongue, which is English during that period. Also, I have obtained a new habit in writing, which is to add spaces before and after the English word and arabic numbers when inserting them in the Chinese writing.

 

I don't know what to say next. I guess I just want to wait to see if there are any responses on this writing habit.

 

Right, I will write an example,

 

我在伦敦呆了将近 6 年。
我在 London 呆了将近 6 年。
I stayed in London for almost 6 years.

 

I guess I want to ask if you have spotted any difference between my writing habit and the one from all other Chinese people ? The answer is all other Chinese people don't add spaces before and after the English word and arabic numbers when inserting them in the Chinese writing. So they looks like.

 

中国有15亿人。
China has 1.5 billion people.

 

Peking是Beijing的旧称。
Peking is the old name for Beijing.

 

I don't know what writing habit you prefer, in terms of visual quality. Just wondering.

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Lu

I think if it were up to me, I'd use spaces (and I sometimes do), but it looks slightly less authentic Chinese to me, so perhaps one shouldn't. After all, Chinese doesn't use (or need) such spaces.

 

I know that many Chinese use spaces wrong when they write English, and more sensitive English readers notice this and don't like it. I wonder what sensitive Chinese readers think of adding spaces.

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陳德聰

I think it looks kind of bizarre to add spaces when there aren’t any anywhere else...

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Tom Zhou 1985

Thank you all for replying.

 

So, I think there is a reason for me to add spaces when inserting English word and Arabic numbers in Chinese writing.

 

The reason is I think adding spaces between words could always make more sense. I have a friend who actually add spaces between Chinese words. So it is more like English.

 

I know in European languages, German people combines lots of words together to make a longer word, in some sense, they removed the spaces between those words.

 

Anyway, for a man like me who prefer English punctuation style than Chinese punctuation style, would always think spaces should be added when inserting western characters and numbers in Chinese writing. I think this is the basic mannerism and a way of showing understanding in foreign language and culture.

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Shelley

I think it looks bizarre to insert English words when there are Chinese characters for them.

If it was someone's name, a brand name, or company or similar then I would use English without the spaces.

As for using Arabic numerals I would not have spaces.

 

 

15 hours ago, Tom Zhou 1985 said:

Peking是Beijing的旧称。

This is odd because it isn't really English, it is pinyin or at least Beijing is and Peking is just how they badly pronounced it when the first westerners heard it said. The Chinese B and P are equally explosive and easily confused as were a K and J similar to the ear of a foreigner.

 

 

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Publius
13 hours ago, Shelley said:

Peking is just how they badly pronounced it when the first westerners heard it said.

Not so simple. See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_Beijing

 

We know that Mandarin j, q, x come from palatalization of g, k, h. (Remnant of the old pronunciation is still detectable in numerous 张各庄、李各庄 throughout North China, in which 各 is but a reduced 家, pronounced gaa1 in Cantonese.)

 

The old spelling Peking follows the Wade-Giles romanization system. Pinyin b, d, g (IPA [p], [t], [k]) are spelled p, t, k in Wade-Giles. Pinyin p, t, k (IPA [pʰ], [tʰ], [kʰ]) are spelled pʻ, tʻ, kʻ in Wade-Giles.

 

So when converted to Pinyin spelling, Peking really is Beging, not too far from the proposed Middle Chinese pronunciation /pək kiɐŋ/, and quite possibly how it was pronounced in Nanjing Mandarin, the then de facto standard when Westerners first made contact with China.

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Bibu

does not matter at all. In most cases,  nobody care about it all all. Have  a tour around the social media, weibo, douyin, wechat....see the real world.

 

Unless some one care and mentioned it to you.... , or writing your paper, report to your boss

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Tom Zhou 1985

It is very disappointing to see all you humans think not necessary to add spaces as an excuse of laziness.

 

When it comes to subtle matters, laziness conquers human mind and makes them to ignore the subtle difference between appropriateness and imappropriatness.

 

This is the problem of China. When subtle matter things don't make big deal, people ingore them. Forgotting what Confusious once said something like, just because the matter is subtle, doesn't mean you should ignore them.

 

Secondly, people think adding spaces in Chinese writing is kind of humiliating Chinese people. People think it is an invasion of culture, but would not say it out directly. Chinese people could just ingore the real beauty of this punctuation of adding spaces between different language.

 

Humans are stubborn, most people would say even not adding space is ugly. We will insist doing it because there just should be no space in Chinese.

 

Humans hardly change. That's why things on our planet also hardly change. Not a surprise.

 

So as a few human being on this planet who speaks the truth.

 

I think this English forum is just another case of nationalism 民族主义 but not humanism 人类主义.

 

So I will leave. No surprise, registered yesterday 13th August 2018, and all the voices I heard are just very old and not inspiring.

 

Disappointed.

 

Bizzare as someone said, that's because not a single human had spotted the beauty of adding spaces.

 

Maybe because they are lazy, maybe because they are blind.

 

But the truth is, adding the spaces and you will see a brand new world.

 

The short experience on this form  makes me feel that I was talking to people on CCTV 4, a channel I used to watch but not watching anymore because it is just not inspiring.

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陳德聰

I’ve merged all your posts into one.

 

Frankly, other than trying to be contrary and “speak the truth,” I don’t see what you’ve added to the discussion. You haven’t bothered to engage with any of the ideas that are referenced in other answers to this question, which to use your words, seems to me a bit lazy. So, sorry to see you go, but I suspect we weren’t your target audience in the first place if you think a bunch of English-speaking Chinese-learning/knowing folks (some of which agree with you and some of which don’t) are a reproduction of Chinese nationalism.

 

P.S. I don’t think anyone even mentioned anything about “humiliating” Chinese people with spaces. It just doesn’t make sense to add something where it isn’t needed.

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Tom Zhou 1985

Finally back to the topic - English word between Chinese writing.

 

Let me ask the people here. Do you think it is all right to write English sentence without any space ? I don't know what you would say.

 

What I think is, any English word should have spaces added, as it is an ENGLISH WORD.

 

When inserting English word into Chinese writing. You are not just writing Chinese sentence, but a sentence that is partly Chinese and partly English.

 

So for the English part, adding spaces for the word.

 

A guy mentioned about word processing in computing, saying spaces are added automatically. Well, depend on how much space do you call it a space. Maybe Chinese writing are like Chinese spaces to be a bit squeezy. The more squeezy the better ?

 

I say, this is an excuse for laziness. Just how rediculous it could be when you say there are spaces between English word and Chinese characters in word processor when you are not adding ?

 

Well, laziness is a habit of human. Just like sloths, you can't change it. Animal nature, disappointing.

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DavyJonesLocker

How did adding in a space in a text lead to the humiliation of the Chinese race, nationalism and a degradation of the human behaviour? ("So as a few human being on this planet who speaks the truth.")

 

Did I miss something? 🤔 

 

If adding a space makes you happy I'd say fire away Tom! Personally I don't care either way. 

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Tom Zhou 1985

Well, this is just an Internet forum right ? A few people making argument for something, I don't know, for fun or killing time maybe.

 

It doesn't mean much after all.

 

It doesn't mean one day in the future more and more people might be aware that adding spaces for English word in Chinese writing makes the writing more beautiful.

 

I don't know why other humans are that stubburn or blind. Maybe it is a genetic thing.

 

Also, I am done with this forum.

 

 

Oh, hello upstairs.

 

I see you replied something just before I finished this.

 

I am not sure what you have said. Probably not important to me.

 

Bye ! If you think adding spaces makes sense. Then follow this habit. Thank you.

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mungouk

Well that escalated quickly...

 

To return to the actual question: doesn’t written chinese have any style guides specifying punctuation, for example used by publishers and newspapers?

 

 

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陳德聰

soundslikesomebodyneedstogetoverthemselves.

 

I’ve removed the several off topic posts. Bye for now.

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mungouk
10 hours ago, Tom Zhou 1985 said:

German people combines lots of words together to make a longer word

 

Actually, they don't. Those are actual words, not a stylistic choice made by the writer.

 

 

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Publius

簡直莫名其炒

 

Look at me!

I've mastered SPACE!

How smart and civilized!

 

Frankly, who tm bloody cares.

 

Good riddance and 不送.

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Shelley
9 hours ago, Publius said:

Not so simple

 

Thank you for this more in depth explanation, mine was I suppose what a rushed Chinese teacher thought would suffice for an answer to a bunch of first years and I never explored it further.

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Dawei3

"This is odd because it isn't really English, it is pinyin or at least Beijing is and Peking is just how they badly pronounced it when the first westerners heard it said. The Chinese B and P are equally explosive and easily confused as were a K and J similar to the ear of a foreigner."  

 

Peking/Beijing isn't just an issue of Western hearing.  In Japanese, 北京  is still pronounced as Pekin.  And Japan has obviously had much longer & more extensive contact with China than "Westerners."   

 

(An aside - but one I find of interest - Tokyo in Chinese is 东京, i.e., "Eastern Capital."  Considering that Japan was never part of China, I think this is interesting).  

 

On the issue of spacing, while Chinese doesn't "need" spaces, spaces would certainly make it easier to read, particularly for the learner.  

 

 

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