Zhi Chinese

The Best from the Web for Chinese Learners & friends

Obama and the end of the queue – Geoffrey K. Pullum

Obama and the end of the queue – Geoffrey K. Pullum

Over the past few days the British media (newspapers and BBC news programs) have been talking about a crucially linguistic argument that President Obama is being manipulated, and literally told what to say, by the UK prime minister’s office. (Links seem superfluous: the Google News UK edition will give you thousands of references.) The evidence…

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Poem or list of band names? – Victor Mair

Poem or list of band names? – Victor Mair

A few days ago, we looked at a propaganda poster in Beijing: “‘Dangerous love’” (4/19/16). In continuing research on this poster, I discovered that at one site where it was pasted on the wall, there was an enigmatic sequence of lines on another piece of paper pasted on the wall just to the right of…

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“Is a thing” antedated to 1783 – Mark Liberman

In the comments on my post “When did ‘a thing’ become a thing“, 4/18/2016,, James Barrett points us to a video from the Royal Society that includes the following passage from a letter, dated 1783, from one Eberhard Johann Schröter in St. Petersburg, addressed to Dr. Daniel Solander, an associate of Sir Joseph Banks: Your browser does…

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Americanism – Mark Liberman

Americanism – Mark Liberman

Here’s an unexpected factoid from the transcripts of the 21 debates held so far in the current U.S. presidential campaign: Despite his “Make America Great Again” slogan, Donald Trump uses the words America and American almost 13 times less often than Bernie Sanders does. In the table below, the first number in each column is…

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Thai Practice: 10 Simple Games and Exercises to Improve your Thai Skills – Holly Keenan

Thai Practice: 10 Simple Games and Exercises to Improve your Thai Skills – Holly Keenan

Thailand’s a favourite destination for vacations and world travellers. So it’s little wonder that that language is proving popular too. The jump in popularity of Thai as a foreign language has led to an explosion of fun games and exercise ideas on the web to help hone your Thai skills. I’ve collected some of my…

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Character amnesia redux – Victor Mair

Character amnesia redux – Victor Mair

This is a topic that we have frequently broached on Language Log: “Character Amnesia” (7/22/10) “Character amnesia revisited” (12/13/12) “Spelling bees and character amnesia” (8/7/13) “Character amnesia and the emergence of digraphia” (9/25/13) “Dumpling ingredients and character amnesia” (10/18/14) In several recent messages to me, Guy Almog has raised the issue once again.  This is…

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Firing and wiring – Mark Liberman

Firing and wiring – Mark Liberman

In discussions about the history of usage, like this one, people often bring out generic memories (“I heard this all the time back in such-and-such a time period”) or even more specific recollections (“I remember so-and-so saying this back in 19XX”). I’ve done this myself more than once. But recently something happened that made me wonder…

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IWTYAL 099: How to cope with a different alphabet – Olly Richards

IWTYAL 099: How to cope with a different alphabet – Olly Richards

Isabelle asks: “I’m learning Korean, but I’m slow at reading. How can I improve?” In this episode: An unfamiliar alphabet can be off-putting Some alphabets present significant challenges (e.g. Chinese) Korean is relatively easy – only 24 characters The pronunciation is reflected in the characters (unlike Chinese, for example) Learn all the characters and associated sounds…

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Polylingualism – Victor Mair

Polylingualism – Victor Mair

I’m sitting in the San Francisco International Airport waiting for my flight to Taipei.  The guy next to me is happily chattering away on his cell phone to someone (or some people) at the other end of the “line”.  What is curious is that one moment he is speaking in Taiwanese, the next moment in…

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Bad of shape – Mark Liberman

Bad of shape – Mark Liberman

Josh Marshall, “Prep for the Overshoot“, TPM 4/19/2016 (emphasis added): [P]eople had convinced themselves last week that Trump was basically done – largely on the basis of a few bad news cycles and a big loss in Wisconsin. As long as he didn’t get to 1237, he was toast. But Wisconsin was obviously an outlier….

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