忙着快乐 - Why I can't write chararcters and neither can you.


Writing them even sounds a bit dirty
The english translations come across as dirty in a completely different way. But it may all be some ancient celestial joke no one want to let us in on.

The heavenly branches and the celestial stems.

There was a brief time when I made a concerted effort to learn these. And then I stoppped and realized. That learning the 天干 was plenty sufficient. And after I could write for a while, I realized recognizing them was just fine, and that's about where I am now.

But, every once in a while I'll fuck with some people and be, what is that thing under the wu3 in tiao4wu3, anyway? And they look down at their feet, and mumble something, or yknow. So today, I was like, what the hell is that thing in 欢迎 anyway? And why do I still feel it is weird?

And then, if you‘re lucky someone will start lecturing you about ancient schemes that involved a whole series of characters and words which you learned about at one point or another, but don't really remember. Yknow, like the zodiac, or the 周 or the number of 更’s in a day, which is not pronounced 羹, but rather 精, but only if you aren't from the mainland, which is a whole other issue as mandarin can't support a 'ging' sound anymore sadly, though it is often imported.

Anyway, so that thing is 欢迎 indeed is the 卯时 的卯。 Though it certainly isn't a good replacement in this font, but then again, what is ever good enough for you anyway.

So, in the esprit of the season (or the corps), I give you 三更半夜, I mean, 地址, I mean 地支。

You know something is bad when even the chinese wikipedia page for something has pinyin.

Enough delay, I present to you, the 'Hours', 时辰, but they're really two hours each, and not in use anymore, and well, yknow.

from baidu, your friendly neighborhood Wikipedia killer

子时 23:00--00:59 zi3
丑时 1:00-- 2:59 chou3
寅时 3:00-- 4:59 yin2
卯时 5:00-- 6:59 mao3
辰时 7:00-- 8:59 chen2
巳时 9:00--10:59 si4
午时 11:00--12:59 wu3
未时 13:00--14:59 wei4
申时 15:00--16:59 shen1
酉时 17:00--18:59 you3
戌时 19:00--20:59 xu1
亥时 21:00--22:59 hai4

And obviously, post-op Jolin. If you can catch the link, you are my hero.


Not bad for Jolin, but it's hard to find the high ground when we're all standing in the mud.


2 条评论:

  1. "the number of 更’s in a day, which is not pronounced 羹, but rather 精, but only if you aren't from the mainland"

    Thank you! I learned "san jing ban ye" in Taiwan (I even have 遠東漢字三千字典 in front of me with the third reading for 更), and when I said it here, people corrected me-- "no, silly laowai, it's 'geng'"

    Curiously, it's given as 'geng1' at the 國語辭典 at, which I have been using to keep me sane when I have to learn subtle, arbitrary simplifications (sometimes with more strokes) and relearn pronunciations where separate readings were educated out of existence. In the last chinese class I took, we sometimes got our teacher to rant about changing readings.

    Thanks again for solving another small mystery and giving back a little sanity.

    Why do you plan on taking the HSK by the way? My friends and I figure that we don't need it as long as we can demonstrate actual skill to future employers; my old korean classmates mostly wanted it as a number on their resumes for a non-essential job skill.

  2. Taiwan keeps a lot of alternate readings for a lot of characters that have been abandoned in most 'media chinese' on the mainland. I'm sure most of the alternate readings are still around somewhere in the mainland, but in Taiwan they are much more pronounced and frequently heard.

    Why do I plan on taking the HSK? I didn't plan on taking the HSK, or at least didn't plan on taking it seriously, but, yknow, things happen. The HSK is for the Koreans, and the Japanese to a lesser extent, but I think it is better to have something rather than nothing. I think the non-testing approach to language ability can be very risky, so even if I didn't care about the HSK in itself, I do believe testing is useful, in itself, in many respects. Also, if you want to apply to grad school, or apply for a job or school in greater china, certificates and qualifications mean a great deal.

    But, I think mostly the reason is what you have on your blog, a post you put up several years ago, from an article I also read many years ago, which everyone else can read on pinyin.org, the infamous "Why Chinese is so Damn Hard" essay:

    "Whatever the reason they started, every single person who has undertaken to study Chinese sooner or later asks themselves 'Why in the world am I doing this?' Those who can still remember their original goals will wisely abandon the attempt then and there, since nothing could be worth all that tedious struggle. Those who merely say 'I've come this far -- I can't stop now' will have some chance of succeeding, since they have the kind of mindless doggedness and lack of sensible overall perspective that it takes."

    I can probably get an 8 and 11 on the HSK at this point, though I probably won't for various silly reasons, which qualifies me to do something ridiculous like 'simultaneous interpretation in advanced situations' or something like that, but I feel my chinese is still bad. I translate books, but I still don't feel my chinese is good. I have a very bad way of dealing with chinese which is I should essentially be able to deal with chinese as I deal with the english language, or at least as well as some foreigner who doesn't know english and moves to American at age 12 and essentially becomes close to a native speaker. This is the trap Moser talks about and it is horrible. It is truly horrible. Once you pick up one skill, you just feel how inadequate you are in some other skill. I know if I ever start to write the way I'd like to write, I'd immediately feel my writing was still horrible, or I'd feel I'd have to master to 方言 or understand so much more that is on TV with 98 percent fluency. It's just ridiculous and my HSK excursion is just a part of it. Rationality, chinese study and HSK preparation often don't mix well. Others seem to handle things better than me, like brendan over at bokane.org, but it often depends on time spent learning, attitude towards speed of progression, expectations, etc. Chinese truly is a giant can of worms and the desire to conquer the language, the idea that you can master and rule over it, gain a incredible deal of competency and 'fluency' and be content seems to be impossible, at least to me. But if it weren't, would I still be interested? Maybe not.

    As for one of my original plans (and one I still pray for sometimes very late in the night), before the downward spiral of chinese, is similar to what John wrote over at sinosplice the other day:


    "I once did have a plan to stay in various countries for relatively short periods of time, just long enough to gain fluency. It does make me wonder… who is heartless enough to leapfrog across the globe, mastering one language after another, gaining precious insight into those cultures, only to leave each one behind?"

    I am the one who is heartless enough. John got married and is a unreliable narrator.

    Anyway, thanks for coming, we get so few visitors these days, with the recession and all.