for those who know Mandarin was it worth it?

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Re: for those who know Mandarin was it worth it?

Postby Mawvellous » 22 Apr 2012, 21:03

How do people deal with everyday chores without knowing some Mandarin?

I don't think anyone at my local bank speaks English, and when I want to do anything there are forms to be filled out in Chinese. I can use the internet banking, but that is available in Chinese only.
If I want to book accommodation somewhere, the website is often only in Chinese. My landlord doesn't speak English and the rental contract is in Chinese. My scooter mechanic doesn't speak English. The local restaurants don't have English menus and no one speaks English. If I need some repairs doing, the local plumber-electrician guy doesn't speak English. I suppose I could get my girlfriend to do everything for me, but she is very busy, and I would prefer to do these things myself.
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Re: for those who know Mandarin was it worth it?

Postby Dragonbones » 22 Apr 2012, 21:22

mike029 wrote:Chinese is difficult because it... uses a ideographic writing system


The character 女 is a vagina.


Where do you dig up such nonsense? :roflmao:
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Re: for those who know Mandarin was it worth it?

Postby antarcticbeech » 22 Apr 2012, 21:31

友 is John Holmes though, right?
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Re: for those who know Mandarin was it worth it?

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 22 Apr 2012, 21:50

This is kind of a roundabout question, because those who speak fluent Mandarin are going to tell you it was worth it and those who don't are going to say 'Nah, you can get by just fine without it.'

As one of the former, I think you should learn it. Maybe you don't NEED it in your life, but quality of life-wise it's much better. Life is easier. Taiwan is a different country when you can understand what everyone around you is saying and talk to them. A language also introduces you to a way of thinking, and when you understand the majority way of thinking life is easier for obvious reasons (things make sense, in whatever twisted way, and you know how to react to situations appropriately). (Maybe I should say 'method of reasoning' rather than 'way of thinking', but it's something like that. Language DOES play a large part in how you shape your thoughts, and culture even more so.)

When you can partake in a society 100%, you can enjoy 100% of what the society has to offer. If you can only partake 30 or 40%, then you're naturally limiting yourself. Some people are OK with that and have a fun life in that 30 or 40% of society. I kind of go mental if I can't read all the street signs (maybe I'm over-nosy?) so regardless of where I lived, I'd end up fluent in the local lingo pretty quickly - I just wouldn't consider functioning without it an option.
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Re: for those who know Mandarin was it worth it?

Postby mike029 » 22 Apr 2012, 22:12

Dragonbones wrote:
mike029 wrote:Chinese is difficult because it... uses a ideographic writing system


The character 女 is a vagina.


Where do you dig up such nonsense? :roflmao:


Image

Tell me that doesn't look like a vagina.
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Re: for those who know Mandarin was it worth it?

Postby tsukinodeynatsu » 22 Apr 2012, 22:23

If I remember rightly, it's supposed be a woman kneeling and possibly holding a baby.
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Re: for those who know Mandarin was it worth it?

Postby Dragonbones » 22 Apr 2012, 22:25

Mike, no, not to me. Besides, it doesn't matter what it looks like to you. What matters, in many cases, is what the character looked like at the beginning (e.g. Shang dynasty oracle bones and script on bronzes; not what it looked like well over a millenium later, as in the pic you posted), what the earliest recorded meanings were, and how those two can be connected and made sense of. In other cases, characters don't resemble what they mean now, and possibly not even back then, because they are being used in the form of phonetic loans, representing a spoken word by way of its sound (and thus are not ideographs). jiu3, 'nine' is a case in point; it is pretty clearly a phonetic loan from a depiction of an elbow.

On nǚ nü3 ㄋㄩˇ (also ru3): Shuōwén defines 女 as 婦人也fùrén ‘woman; wife’ (not 'vagina'). There is no usage in the oracle bones (OB) for 'vagina' as far as I know, either. The OB graph is pretty clear in depicting a person kneeling, with hands crossed in front, almost identical to the graph for 母 mǔ ‘mother’, with the latter having the addition of two dots for the breasts, quite obviously a woman, with breasts emphasized; thus, the former is obviously a kneeling woman. There's a related graph showing the woman holding an infant, as tsukinodeynatsu mentions. There's no significant disagreement among modern scholars over this. Note that the modern forms of the graphs 母 and 女 are both rotated, as, starting in the clerical version, the hands are at the bottom, resembling legs in 女, while the horizontal stroke in each is the original head-torso-leg line. Such rotation is not uncommon for that period, and has been preserved in numerous modern graphs.

It's silly to look at a late (e.g. seal script or modern) graph and imagine what it looks like to you, and come up with baseless conjecture. That's the method behind most of the bullshit folk etymology copied blindly in coffee-table books purporting to explain the Chinese characters. Such books are generally a waste of money.

On ideographs, please read "The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy" (DeFrancis).
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Re: for those who know Mandarin was it worth it?

Postby jimipresley » 22 Apr 2012, 22:29

mike029 wrote:
Image

Tell me that doesn't look like a vagina.


You obviously haven't seen many vaginas.

It looks like a bloke without a head dancing at Luxy.
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Re: for those who know Mandarin was it worth it?

Postby mike029 » 22 Apr 2012, 22:35

Dragonbones wrote:Mike, no, not to me. Besides, it doesn't matter what it looks like to you. What matters is what the character looked like at the beginning (e.g. Shang dynasty oracle bones and script on bronzes), what the earliest recorded meanings were, and how those two can be connected and made sense of.

On nu:3 (ru3): Shuōwén defines 女 as 婦人也fùrén ‘woman; wife’ (not 'vagina'). There is no usage in the oracle bones (OB) for 'vagina' as far as I know, either. The OB graph is pretty clear in depicting a person kneeling, with hands crossed in front, almost identical to the graph for 母 mǔ ‘mother’, with the latter having the addition of two dots for the breasts, quite obviously a woman, with breasts emphasized; thus, the former is obviously a kneeling woman. There's a related graph showing the woman holding an infant, as tsukinodeynatsu mentions. There's no significant disagreement among modern scholars over this. Note that the modern forms of the graphs 母 and 女 are both rotated, as, starting in the clerical version, the hands are at the bottom, resembling legs in 女, while the horizontal stroke in each is the original head-torso-leg line. Such rotation is not uncommon for that period, and has been preserved in numerous modern graphs.

It's silly to look at a late (e.g. seal script or modern) graph and imagine what it looks like to you, and come up with baseless conjecture. That's the method behind most of the bullshit folk etymology copied blindly in coffee-table books purporting to explain the Chinese characters. Such books are generally a waste of money.

On ideographs, please read "The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy" (DeFrancis).


That book sounds interesting, I'll check it out! Actually, it was my teacher at Shi-Da who said it was a vagina, so she probably doesn't know what she's talking about. I'll admit when I'm wrong. In retrospect, maybe it was said as a joke...she messed around a lot in class. I googled "女 character vagina" and this thread came up as result number 4...google works fast! I still think the older form looks like a vagina, though. :lol:
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Re: for those who know Mandarin was it worth it?

Postby tomthorne » 22 Apr 2012, 22:38

jimipresley wrote:
mike029 wrote:
Image

Tell me that doesn't look like a vagina.


You obviously haven't seen many vaginas.

It looks like a bloke without a head dancing at Luxy.


What are you on about? It's obvious that it's supposed to look like The Saint (or perhaps the other way round, my history ain't too hot):



Having said that, Roger Moore was a bit of a cunt.

This post was recommended by Taffy (23 Apr 2012, 09:29)
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