Ellen, Don't worry about the name. I do know how to pronounce it but that's because I took Zhong1 Wen2, ye3 qu4 guo4 Zhong1 guo2 le. Personally, I think the pin yin format, while better than the old wade-giles transliteration is stupid. It's pronounced (approximately) Jao, so where the heck did the Z come from? Wade-Giles was even worse, you know the word for people/person, ren2? Well, in wade-giles it's jen. Now how do you get from the sound ren (where the r is sort of a cross between an r and an l) to a j? Anyways, what do you mean "westerners?" I've never been comfortable with terms like that. First the world is a sphere , and it's floating in space which as far as we know is "endless." So there is no up, down, left or right. (And if you ask Zhuang1 Zi3, there's no right or wrong either ). Of course, people are always "correcting" me because I refuse to use those terms. I'll (randomly alternating my response) say something like, "I'm going down/over to boston from new york," and inevitably someone will respond, "you mean up." Nope, there is no up or down! "Boston is UP from New York." Uh, relative to what? A point on a sphere? The "bottom" of the universe? Nice try. Sorry for the random thoughts, just needed a break from this dumb project I'm working on.
It's a bit off the original topic and I start another thread here, sorry, Robert Your Chinese is amazing, much better than my English How long have you taken your Chinese course? Where the heck did the Z come from? I guess the inventor of pin yin system once studied some philology in Germany. Just pay a little bit attention when Germans are speaking words such as "Zimmer", "Ziel", "Zeichen", etc, you will find the pronounciation of "Z" in Chinese are very similar as in German. Germans can pronunce Chinese names with "z" and "zh" pretty well. And, I think "thao" ( the "th" here reads like in "these" ) is a more approximate pronouciation to "zhao" than "jao". Similarly, "Zhou" better reads "Thou" but not "Joe". I don't know what's Wade-Giles, maybe was popular in 1930's or 1940's. But I was born in 1980's. There's some spelling I cannot understand, either. Madam Jian-Xiong Wu (a great physicist, in the field of � decay, she had no equal) was spelled as Chien-Shiung Wu. How comes the Ch == J That might be some Wade-Giles. As to the term "westerner", I think it's just a convention in people's talk. ( I'm sticking my neck out trying express stuff other than java techniques in English, Robert you are really challenging me ) I don't think west here simply refers to orientation but implies a background of history, culture, phycology, character etc. Cool indeed, you even invoked Zhuang1 Zi3 to support your opinion. Yeah his story is full of wisdom and beauty but please don't take it as philosophy. IMHO, philosophy is based on solid and rational logic/reasoning, but acient Chinese "philosophers" only stated in most occasions. Years ago I was a fans of Lao3 Zi3, who is Zhuang1 Zi3's master( not sure whether the word master is proper here ). His statements are not as interesting and accessible as Zhuang Zi's stories, but much more compact, easy to memorize. I once heard complaints from a teacher of Sinology in USA, he said nowadays his students learn Chinese only intended to do business with Chinese people in the future, thus only interested in how to say the sentences such as "She's not only beautiful but also rich" and don't bother to learn more, let alone to really appreciate the beauty of the Chinese language itself. Robert you were even fathoming Chinese "Phylosophy" there, my admirations. I guess you might enjoy Ray Huang's 1587, A Year of No Significance. I've read the Chinese translation of this book for several times. It's definitely a wonderful book, a unique perspective of Chinese history and "philosophy".
Regards, Ellen P.S.: Actually I may make this a private message or email, but I think there are more and more Chinese people here, maybe they have some opinions and can well express it in English. Just see. [ February 26, 2003: Message edited by: Ellen Zhao ]
An English version of a Chinese Tang Poem. The original poem is a Seven-Character-regular-verse. This translation of the poem is already good enough, but still lacks the visual impact of the origin. Origin:
English Translation: DU FU CLIMBING THE HEIGHT The wind so swift, the sky so steep, sad gibbons cry; Water so clear and sand so white, backward birds fly. The boundless forest sheds its leaves shower by shower; The endless River rolls its waves hour after hour. Far from home in autumn, I'm grieved to see my plight; After my long illness, I climb alone this height. Living in hard times, at my frosted hair I pine; Pressed by poverty, I give up my cup of wine.
Another translation of the poem: A LONG CLIMB Du Fu In a sharp gale from the wide sky apes are whimpering, Birds are flying homeward over the clear lake and white sand, Leaves are dropping down like the spray of a waterfall, While I watch the long river always rolling on. I have come three thousand miles away. Sad now with autumn And with my hundred years of woe, I climb this height alone. Ill fortune has laid a bitter frost on my temples, Heart-ache and weariness are a thick dust in my wine.
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