Linguistic bonus

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Linguistic bonus

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1modalursine
Maio 4, 2010, 10:35 am

An article about strange attempted translations from chinese to english illustrates its points showing some signs in chinese with their putative english translations.

But one sign, at least one that I can recognize, has an unexpected bonus. A visual pun.

Look at the "Do Drunk Driving" sign. The character for "alcohol" (the one partly in red and with a line through it) has part of its standard shape altered to look like a car.

You can see the usual shape of the character
elsewhere on the sign. Its the only character in the set with the water radical which in turn is in red on the large character.

Its the middle character in the left column.

I don't know enough characters to render the sign into intelligible english, but what they've done with the "alcohol" character strikes me as wonderful, and of course, its a trick that's hard to replicate in english.

Hmmmm....Maybe if you wrote cartoonish "blob shaped" letters and made the word into a picture of what it represents you could get something of the effect in English.

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/05/03/world/asia/20100503_CHINGLISH-5.html

2modalursine
Maio 4, 2010, 10:42 am

PS. Maybe somebody who reads chinese for real can sort me out about the "Jews Ear Juice" thing.

The characters SEEM to say something like black mushroom (mushrooms are or can be "tree ears" hence the characters for "Tree" and "ear" on the can) followed by yet another character I don't know (Which would be pretty much all of them).

Very frustrating!

3mvrdrk
Maio 4, 2010, 1:16 pm

"Prohibited post-alcohol driving".

Chinese has a lot of inferred or implied grammar-y things (I'm forgetting the formal term for it) where in English it would be explicit and redundant.

In English: Driving after consuming alcohol is prohibited.

4mvrdrk
Maio 4, 2010, 1:18 pm

Black tree ear dew.

5jimroberts
Maio 4, 2010, 2:01 pm

#2: modalursine "The characters SEEM to say something like black mushroom"

Jew's Ear is indeed a fungus.

6modalursine
Maio 4, 2010, 10:30 pm

So its not as wacky as it first sounds.

The visual pun thing is still neat.

7Pepys
Maio 5, 2010, 2:21 am

"Jews ear juice" = (perhaps) "Blue suede shoes"? (a rock translation?)

8modalursine
Maio 5, 2010, 1:54 pm

Um, as long as you don't step on mine.