Archive for the ‘writing system’ Category

(Because I have to take a break. Pshaw, internet forms, pshaw. Especially if they’re really stupid pdfs that need to be filled out FAIL and sent to like five different secretaries HUMANITY WHAT’S WRONGH WITH YOU *HATES*)

1. Hipster racism – I think this post very articulately sums up what people like Amanda Palmer do.

2. Female astronauts! PRETTY!

3. Goerge Takei in uniform, Brad Altman in a tinfoil, uh, headdress.

It was the tinfoil that totally sold the vid to me.

4. No aliens at Area 51. WO must be terribly disappointed (hurr hurr).

5.  10 Dinge die Sie nicht tun sollten beim Gottesdienst (Ten things you shouldn’t do during a mess)

5, 7, 8 = cool, but the transphobia in 6, not so much.

(Incidentally, this is the first vid that pops out if you search YT for “Gottesdienst”, hurr hurr)

6. Hilarious April Fool’s posts:

6a. by CERN:

“It’s awful”, explains Alain Grand, still shocked by the discovery. “It left horrible tracks inside the detector that made the physicists on duty at the time feel quite sick”.

6b.  via Language Log, the best story of the year: Doctorow and Stross to Write Authorized Sequel to Atlas Shrugged

“But then we realized that both of us shared one important trait with Ayn Rand: all three of us really, really like money. That made it much easier for Cory and I to cash the seven figure check.”

Hurr hurr hurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

6c. Silent no longer.

7.  A very insightful post about framing reading books as a moral issue. While I dislike books like the Twilight series as the next sentient person, I also believe that arguing that they ARE BAD FOR THE CHILDRUNZ will get us nowhere. I mean, when you’re a 11 year old, you simply don’t notice stuff like sexism they way you notice it, say, even ten years later. I mean, I do know I would have hated Twilight even as a 11-year old, but only because it was boring, also romance, also boring.  I was into Tolkien and Philip K. Dick when I was 11.

(OTOH, I think Justine Larbalesier goes on a crusade against strawmen when she argues that the issue of reading versus going to play outside is some sort of a problem. I seriously doubt there are parents telling their kids to not go outside to play BECAUSE BOOKS. C’mooooooon)

8. The “new written language” thing everybody and their cousin’s talking about. Seems like a load of bullshit to me, haven’t had the chance to look at the actual paper yet, though.

Nice things, as I said, which means,  I lazily use other person’s explanation instead of doing it myself ^^J


And now, transliteration + translation:

It’s a very easy text, though!

(ed. Daniels, Bright, The World’s Writing Systems)

I like Chinese characters.

Some of them are really really cute!

1. 木 林 森

This is the tree 木 (き)。When there are more of them, they become a moderately sized forest: 林 (はやし; often used in names, like 小林 こばやし)。When there are lots and lots of them, they’re a bigger forest: 森 (もり)。

2.車 轟く

This is a car 車 (くるま)、but also all sorts of wagons that were in use long before the cars were invented。Three wagons give you a verb that means “to roar, roll” 轟く (とどろく)、and another one that means ”to thunder”(1) 轟かす (とどろかす)。

3.耳 囁く

One ear is an ear 耳 (みみ). Three ears and a mouth mean “to whisper” 囁く (ささやく)。

4.馬 騳 驫

One horse is a horse 馬 (うま). Two horses mean “to run” 騳る (はしる)。Curiously enough, three horses mean “a lot of horses” 驫 (しょう)

5.歯 噛む

These are the teeth 歯 (は)。Your teeth + a mouth = ”to bite, chew” 噛む (かむ)。

There are of course MOAR examples, but these are, I believe, the ones you’re most likely to come across if you ever have anything to do with Japanese at all.

(Also, 囁くis actually a pretty common verb. I mean, not usually in speech, but you’ll come across it if you read books. It might not be written with the kanji, though. It depends on how the author wants to come across, and who the potential reader is, and that sort of stuff. It’s actually pretty fascinating.)


*姦計 vs 関係。

(1) As in “speak  loudly”.

Recently, I’ve been reading this book (oh, it’s famous! There’s even an English translation. I didn’t know that, huh). It’s pure escapism, I know. But Chiaki told me to read it, and it’s actually fun.

(Very very snotty, pretentious fun)

(It’s not even pretentious. It’s just that—)

— It’s just that Natsuhiko Kyougoku uses Chinese characters as penile substitutes.

Some people have cars. Some people build phallic monuments, like stelae. Some people actually have penises.

Natsuhiko Kyougoku*, however, uses Chinese characters to reaffirm his masculinity**.

(There’s this whole issue, where Chinese characters are statistically more likely to be used in media whose target are men. According to Smith& Schmidt, “Variability in written Japanese: Towards a sociolinguistics of a script choice”, Visible Language 30, mystery and business novels for adult men have the highest proportion of Chinese characters, and romance novels aimed at women have the highest proportion of hiragana; the highest proportion of katakana is to be found in books aimed at a younger audience. However, why would be mystery novels aimed at men and not both genders is something that’s completely beyond me. LOL, romance, whut.)

But I digress.

Anyway, what he does is (and I’ve only just started the book, so there must be more awesome examples in the next 500 pages or so):

a) to write 摑まる*** instead of 捕まる (meaning: catch, arrest). Not only is it the rarer form of the character, it’s also the pre-writing reform form (摑まる vs 掴まる). Of course, I know that, because I’m brilliant, but, for real, it might have been the first time I’ve seen it used in modern literature.

b) to evilly use the word ubame instead of uba (nursing mother) or something, and furthermore, write it with ateji (??? I don’t even know, really, and personally, I wouldn’t think that 故 is an ateji for “u”. I might just not know though: ateji are not exactly my area of expertise), like that 故獲馬 (as opposed to the typical 乳母、乳母女 — uba, ubame). This is a part of the title though, so there is a possibility that those characters are supposed a profound and, for me, still secret, meaning.

c) to evilly write  検討 with 検闘 (it means to examine), because, obviously, the bigger the better.

d) to evilly write  ごまかす (trick, cheat) with Chinese characters thus 誤魔化す; which is evil and terrible, if you don’t know how to read them****, as this spelling appears not to be present in my Koujien actually (le gasp).

e) to evilly write iwayuru (so-called) with Chinese characters 所謂, which simple and pure evil, and for which there is no excuse.

f) to evilly write 切っ掛け like this 契機 (cue). At least he had the decency to actually use furigana for that one, though.

And it’s only a little bit of the stuff from the first 30 pages or so. Awesome.

(I could of course, just say that he uses the Chinese characters to make the entire text feel old and/or archaic, but where would be fun in that? I prefer penile subsitutes.  As his bizarre Wikipedia page explains:

Kyogoku can use DTP software perfectly, so he freely writes old-fashioned characters and ateji characters with the purpose of capturing old Japanese atmosphere in his novels. However, such characters are difficult even for Japanese people to read.

So, predictably, I’ve no idea about his proficiency with the software, but the thing about the characters? It’s true.)

* Whoa, his Wikipedia page is absolutely bizarre. It just screams NPOV  NPOV NPOV NPOV issues, and also reads like an ad. Great work! ( / sarcasm )

** It would be awesome if it turned out he’s actually a woman. I for one would be ecstatic.

*** This character killed my Anthy. CURSE YOU UBUNTU CURSE YOU.

**** I did, of course.