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Old 7th December 2006, 08:36 AM
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Rewards: Infos for Chinese language

Rewards for providing infos for Chinese language

Recently, one member disputed my statements that 劵 is a Traditional Chinese and that many Chinese use 滑雪 and 滑冰 indiscriminately, and attacked me that I was running my own show for Chinese language when I offered explanations for questions about Chinese characters, words, or language. I think I must remind some members here that offering advice or help in any subject to our fellow users is an act of honor and should be encouraged. Since the birth of this site last year, many members have done a good job in helping each other to understand IDN names in different languages.

I can't understand why anybody would think that providing info to help others is showing off one's talents and therefore should be subjected to verbal attacks. I knew our members are from many different cultures, but I didn't expect to see one with such kind of mentality. I have used internet to get help and to give advices for 20 years, and I will continue to do so and be happy to defend our wonderful tradition.

To encourage the generosity of providing helps in Chinese language, I sincerely pledge to reward good infos with a domain name worths $100 to $1,000. I don't have a lot of cash, but I have quite a lot of value domains :-). Infos have to be backed by proof or make-sense interpretation. Infos can be written in Chinese or English. I will decide which info is good and useful.

To demonstrate what I mean "good infos", let me try how I will explain "劵 is a Traditional Chinese":

1. Base on the stats from different research institutes, Understanding 3,000 Chinese characters will enable you to read, write and speak 99% of everyday Chinese, but you need 15,000 characters to read and understand Chinese old texts written in the last 3,000 years. If you wonder how many characters altogether have been used in the last 3,000 years, the figure is larger than 100K.

An average mainland high school graduate knows less than 6,000 characters.

From these figures 3k, 6k, 15k, 100k, we can say:

An average Chinese cannot read and understand Chinese Old Texts without consulting some LARGE dictionaries.

2. Some pupular dictionaries in China collect very small amount of characters.
-《工农兵字典》: Pupular in 1970s. Total characters: 7,000
-《古今汉语字典》: Published in 1992. Total characters: 9,200
-《简明汉语字典》: Published in 1981. Total characters: 13,000

To conclude a character is not Chinese simply because you can't find it in the dictionary is not a good method that you should adopt.

Here's a good example: "Chinese Kungfu" or "中国功夫" (meaning "Chinese Martial Art")

"功夫" means "martial art" and is well known all over the world, but you can't find such interpretation in most Chinese dictionaries. Is it fair to say "功夫" when meaning Martial Art is not a Chinese? Of course NOT.

"功夫" is an informal term for Martial Art, its formal term is "武术".

Most dictionaries only list "功夫" as "Time or effort dedicated in a task or project", but that's completely different thing.

3. Chinese character is called "Open Set" of characters.
- Arabic numbers created from 10 digits 0, 1, 2, 3...9 are called "Close Set" of numbers, because you can't create more numbers outside the one trillion ones that already been known.
- "Open Set" means Chinese characters can be created any time by anybody. Dictionaries are added new characters every year. Can you deny a character being Chinese character simply because it has not been added to dictionaries (but is being used)? Of course NOT.

*** A character is called a Chinese character if it's created according to character rules (造字法) and has been used in any time in our history.

Example: A person invented a smart knife, and he even created a new character to name it. Let say he combined 矢 and 刀 to make a new term --> [矢刀] and he decided to pronounce it [dao] (same as 刀). Let's look at 2 scenarios:

a. The knife proved to be very useful, and became very popular. People used the word [矢刀] everyday. And after a few years, [矢刀] was added to the dictionary. In this case, we definitely would call [矢刀] a Chinese character because it's recorded in the dictionary.

b. The knife was only popular for a year. [矢刀] did not make it to the dictionary but was recorded in some books and documents. After a few years, [矢刀] disappeared from people's memory. In this case, [矢刀] can still be called a Chinese character because it was created complying with character rules and was used in a certain time.

4. Variants.
I guess some people would ask this question: Why would the Chinese need 100k characters while 3,000 is already enough to handle 99% of everyday readings, writings and conversations? Correct, we don't need that many characters, most of the 100k characters are just Variants of certain current characters, and different Variant is "current" in different period of time.

Example: 証券, 證券, 证券 all mean Stocks.

When 証 was being used, 證 was considered its Variant. When the Nationalist government adopted 證券 as a formal term, 証 was considered a Variant. When PRC started Simplified Chinese, 證 and 証 were 证's Variants. You can't find 证 in Taiwanese dictionaries, and you can't find 證 or 証 in China's common dictionaries either (except some special purpose dictionaries).

劵 (not 券) is pronounced [juan], and is used by many Chinese to mean 券 [quan]. 劵 is actually a typo of 券 in such use, but a very popular typo (Google for 劵: 5,700,000). As I said in a thread, you can find at least 20% of Singaporean Chinese pronounce "Stocks" as [zheng juan] instead of [zheng quan]. If [zheng juan] is pronounced, the written words (typos) you would get are 证劵 (Google: 97,000) and 证卷 (Google: 199,000).

The typos 证劵 and 证卷 are so popular even the court would accept them to mean "Stocks".

So, 劵 is complied with character rules (造字法) and has been recorded in books in various periods of time in history, I don't see how anyone can possibly deny it's a Chinese character.

5. The Japanese use 劵 or not would not make 劵 less Chinese or more.
To disprove my statement "劵 is a Chinese character", you can't just point out that the Japanese also use this character. Whether the Japanese use this character or not is irrelevent to my statement.

Again, let's use the same example: 証券, 證券, 证券 all mean Stocks

The Japanese use 証券, but it cannot change the fact that 証 is actually a Chinese character. Although 証券 is not the current form in Chinese writings, Variants are still considered having same force as the current form.

5. Variants are not obsolete.
Variants should not be considered obsolete even they are not listed in the current dictionaries.

Example: 堃 is a Variant of 坤 and was rarely used for some time. But when the Taiwanese politician named 游錫堃 became popular, 堃 became a popular character again.

To be continue...
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Last edited by Giant; 7th December 2006 at 08:43 AM..
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Old 7th December 2006, 05:07 PM
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Re: Rewards: Infos for Chinese language

Thanks for the Chinese language and history lesson. Very interesting.
Looking forward to Chapter 2.
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Old 7th December 2006, 05:26 PM
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Re: Rewards: Infos for Chinese language

Thanks, I appreciate it .
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Old 9th December 2006, 04:22 PM
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Re: Rewards: Infos for Chinese language

Nice write up. I would love to read curtural exchanges like this. Gaint has inspired me to do some writing on Indic languages.
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Old 9th December 2006, 06:46 PM
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Re: Rewards: Infos for Chinese language

Yes please.

More! More!
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Old 10th December 2006, 07:44 PM
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Re: Rewards: Infos for Chinese language

Quote:
Originally Posted by sramuk
Nice write up. I would love to read curtural exchanges like this. Gaint has inspired me to do some writing on Indic languages.
Very good. We will make this forum look more international.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwhhisc
Thanks for the Chinese language and history lesson. Very interesting.
Looking forward to Chapter 2.
Just finished my Dimsum with friends. Chapter 2 will be here soon :-)

Let's move to the second question for now: Why do many Chinese sometimes use 滑雪 instead of 滑冰 in their daily conversations?

Again, I just list some facts here, please use a little of your brain power to connect them into an argument for my answer.

1. Mandarin being adopted as a National Language is to deal with the different pronounciations of words, rather than dealing with characters. Chinese everywhere throughout the centuries use the same characters or words but pronounce them differently. The fact we chose Beijing's dialect to be the standard pronunciation of Mandarin does not mean Chinese words come from Beijing dialect. The treasure of the Chinese language is contributed by people from all provinces.
I speak perfect Mandarin. I spoke more Mandarin than Cantonese before age 20. Some members of my family and our close family freinds were teachers or professors in Taiwan where Mandarin was mandatory at the time.

2. China is a very large country. In the old days, people in the South like Canton province rarely traveled to the North and knew little about life in the North. People in the North get used to snow and ice, but many people in the South may not have seen real snow in their entire life. Therefore, some terms are used differently between North and South. People in the North pay more attention on the accurate use of 冰 and 雪.

Example:

Refridgerator is called 雪柜 (snow box) in the South, but 冰箱 (ice box) in the North.

Wonton is called 云吞 in the South, but 馄饨 in the North

(Wonton, Kungfu, lysee, 888, fengshui and most English-Chinese names are from Cantonese pronounciation, because the majority of overseas Chinese are from the South especially Canton and Fujian provinces, although we have seen many new immigrants from the North since 1989).

3. The term 滑雪 literally means "sliding on snow", it does NOT mean particularly skiing.

Long before the Chinese learnt about European skiing, 滑雪 had already existed to mean collectively all types of "sliding on snow" by using different equipments, but none of them had been developed into an important sport. When ski was introduced to the Chinese intellectuals, they recognized skiing was the king of all types of "sliding on snow" and therefore gradually used 滑雪 to mean SKIING. The naming was not decreed by the emperor, and many ordinary people still used 滑雪 as a collective name for all sorts of "sliding on snow".

The following 3 sports can all be called 滑雪, but because SKIING is more important we reserve 滑雪 for SKIING:

* Ski --> Skiing - 雪屐 --> 雪屐滑雪 (SLIDING ON SNOW by ski)

* Snowboard --> Snowboarding - 滑板 --> 滑板滑雪 or 单板滑雪 (SLIDING ON SNOW by snowboard)

* Snow Sledge --> Sledging - 雪橇 --> 雪橇滑雪 (SLIDING ON SNOW by sledge)

In everyday language (NOT technical), the short names of all these 3 sports are the same -- 滑雪.

4. Skiing and skating are imported sports from Europe, I guess very few of the proletariat had the luxury or guts to spend their time skiing before McDonald dared to set foot in China :-). When I visited Beijing in 1998, we were told no ski resort existed (correct me if I am wrong) when one of my friend from the South inquired the hotel. But now, skiing is quite common in the North.


Two factors:

A. General Term vs Technical Term.
Supposed you were a back-stroke swimming athlete. One day, your friend from Europe called you but could not reach you while you were in the swimming pool training yourself. You later called him back and explained "I was SWIMMING when you called". You used a General Term SWIMMING in normal conversation instead of a Technical Term "I was BACK-STROKE SWIMMING when you called".

But in an Olympic event, Technical Terms are used. "BACH-STROKE SWIMMING competition is scheduled at 3pm" instead of "SWIMMING competition is scheduled at 3pm", because there are many types of swimming competition.

B. 雪 (snow) is sometimes used where 冰 (ice) is more preferred.
We have mentioned these very popular terms already:
雪柜 [snow box] (refridgerator)
雪糕 [snow cream] (Ice cream)

Among Chinese vocabulary, we do find some terms indicating 雪 and 冰 mean the same thing. The obvious instance is the term "冰雪" (Google: 7,100,000), 冰 and 雪 are combined together to mean ICE.
Chinese love to use 2-character terms by combining 2 same-meaning words:
广大 [large]+[big] --> Large or Big
寒冷 [chilly]+[cold] --> Chilly or Cold
美丽 [beautiful]+[Pretty] --> Beautiful or Pretty
So, to use 雪 as "ice" is indeed a formal Chinese tradition, and more often, a tradition of the Southerners.

Factors A + B = WHY:

If a young man went snowboarding and the parcel delivery man came back the second time and asked where he had been, the answer would most likely "I went 滑雪" instead of "I went 单板滑雪". No one wanted to risk spending time to explain to a stranger the differece between 雪屐滑雪 and 单板滑雪 if the delivery man had never saw a snowboard before.(Factor A)

The General Term 滑雪 is so popular that many people in some smaller southern cities would use it for skating as well (to them 雪=冰).(Factor B)

Let's quote a native speaker ljp198's impression about 滑雪 and 滑冰:

"我来自南部中国,我会溜冰,另外我知道北部中国非常喜欢滑雪。我想这是非常受到人们喜欢的体育活动。
滑冰是体育比赛项目。这个普通的人们接触的就少了,因此我才说没有滑冰这个词,看来是我犯了点错误。但他们的对象是不同的。"

-滑雪 is very popular (everyday language)
-滑冰 is match project, rarely heard (technical term, used in Olympic Games only)

As a matter of fact, people in the south have more chances to skate than to ski because a skating ring is easier to build than skiing hills, yet the term 滑雪 is mentioned more often than 滑冰 and 溜冰 because it is a General Term.

In short, 滑雪 is a General Term and also a Technical Term depends who uses it. People not familiar with these sports would tend to use 滑雪 as a General Term for all slidings on snow or ice. People familiar with these sports would tend to use all Technical Terms 滑雪, 滑冰, 溜冰, 单板滑雪... accurately in their daily language.

1. Chinese in Europe or North America use accurate Technical Terms most often because skiing and skating are their main sports in Winter (provided they speak in Chinese).

2. Chinese in Taiwan and Hong Kong are very familiar with these sports too, and therefore 滑冰 and 溜冰 are used often.

3. Beijing, Shanghai and large cities are more international compare to smaller cities, people in these larger cities are more informed and get used to using the term accurately.

4. Smaller cities in China may still use 滑雪 as a General Term for all sliding-on-snow types of sports.

Google Trends sould have proved that:

http://www.google.com/trends?q=%E6%B...o=all&date=all

If 10 million can be regarded as "many", I guess there are more than 10 million in the South use 滑雪 as a General Term in their daily language, and therefore my statement should be regarded as correct.

Although I have presented all these facts to prove some Chinese use 滑雪 indiscriminately, I do believe that as these sports are becoming more popular in China, the calling of these sports will no longer be a problem. Check the Google Trends in 5 years, you will see the change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giant
But ChinaStar is right, Ice Skating and Skiing are two different sports.

滑冰: Skate

滑雪: Ski

Many Chinese like to say 滑雪 for both Skating and Skiing indiscriminately, but they are wrong. As both sports are becoming more popular in China, the right use of the terms on TV programs will correct people's usage gradually.

滑冰.cn is a good domain.
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Last edited by Giant; 11th December 2006 at 04:18 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 22nd December 2006, 09:06 AM
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Re: Rewards: Infos for Chinese language

Time to announce my first reward...

Guess who he is :-)
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Old 22nd December 2006, 09:58 AM
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Re: Rewards: Infos for Chinese language

Very interesting...., nice job and nice feeling
What a culture....
3000 years....
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Old 22nd December 2006, 10:20 AM
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Re: Rewards: Infos for Chinese language

Give them some credit, Western Culture has been kicking around for nearly that long. These people were mapping the universe when we were still in caves!
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Old 22nd December 2006, 10:44 AM
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Re: Rewards: Infos for Chinese language

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck
Give them some credit, Western Culture has been kicking around for nearly that long. These people were mapping the universe when we were still in caves!
yes, like irakian culture....
5000 years....
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