May 13th, 2007

girl reading by ourescape

I was told to try posting this here.

I've been trying to find out the literal meaning of this zenga scroll (meaning, what each individual character means) for some time now. I've read two different translations: "Why is it necessary for a monk to live in the mountains?" and "Why should a hermit live in a great wood?" I tried asking the Hanzismatter guy and posting it on both the Chinese and Japanese LJ communtities, and no answers. I've been told that the calligraphy makes it tough to read, and also that fact that it was written by a Shinto monk in the 1700s might make it difficult. It's by Jiun Sonja-Onko and is in the Gitter-Yelen collection where it is called "Calligraphy: Great Hermit." I have also tried emailing them and one or two Japanese art professors, but haven't gotten anything back (but I am trying again). If no one here can read it, can anyone give me a resource of where to go to find it? It doesn't seem to be a very famous scroll.

Here it is at the Gitter-Yelen website:

Chinese for a friend

A friend of a friend actually, but hey. I'll paste from the IM conversation:

Ok some girl I know adopted a baby from China. They made her chinese name her middle name. So it's Samantha "Fu" Lynn Turk. Debbie wants her whole name in chinese includning the middle name, or even just Samantha Fu.

While I'd have some idea what to do if it were Japanese, I'm not too well-versed with Chinese names, and really have no idea where to begin with this one. Any Chinese speakers out there have any ideas?

Update: Just received the following detail:

I read the posts and the middle name "Fu" is supposed to mean gift. I think it may also be the calligraphy for gift as well.

Based on that it seems it'd likely be 福, as muckefuck suggested, no?
MISC: Stop that

'Father' (priest) in Eastern Languages

This has been bothering me for ages and I'm finally going to ask it here.

In most Western languages, we refer to our priests (Catholic at least) as 'Father'. But what about other languages? Particularly Japanese. Did Eastern languages adopt this way to refer to Catholic priests when the religion swept across the world? Are there any other ways that Catholic priests are referred to in other languages?

Thank you for answering this question.
  • laudre

Actual Amusing Call

Preface: I work at a call center that provides directory assistance services to several wireless companies.

This evening I got a call from a young woman who seemed to be wanting to practice her Spanish on an actual Spanish speaker. However, she decided to do this by pretending not to speak English.

She was ... about as convincing as Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to pass as a woman by just putting on sun dress. (Only without inspiring the urge to gouge out one's eyes.)

The call went like this:

[autogreeting]: "City and state, please?"
Caller: "Tucson, Arizona." In IPA, for those that speak it: /tusɑn ɛɹɪzoʊnʌ/
Me: "What can I do for you in Tucson?"
Caller: "No comprende." ... Sort of. This was said with a dead standard American accent: /noʊ kʌmpɹɪndeɪ/ (And I should add that she spoke at the pace of an English speaker, complete with the break between the words you don't really hear in Spanish.)

This was not said with a good Mexican or Spanish accent, I repeat, or even a bad one. Just a bog standard American accent like you get in the Southwest. Over and above that, Spanish speakers who speak little or no English but end up with an English-speaking operator never ever say "no comprende" -- I don't think they'd expect us to understand it. Instead, they usually say "Somebody speak Spanish?" (in a very pronounced Hispanic accent, with a /ʌ/ preceding the /s/ sounds, Spanish vowels, etc.) or "¿Español?" or something along those lines.

So, silly me, I figured this was the name of a business or something that she was looking for. So I just kept asking questions, trying to find out what exactly she wanted as I searched for something called "No Comprende" in Tucson (I've had stranger things in five years at this job), and she just kept repeating /noʊ kʌmpɹɪndeɪ/. Finally, she started saying something else in Spanish (again, in a bog standard General American accent), so I transferred her to the Spanish line.

And, of course, what I really wanted to do was gently break it to her that while she seemed to have a decent grasp of grammar -- as far as I can tell, anyway, seeing as I've never studied the language (even if I can understand some) -- she really, really needed to work on her accent if she wanted any native speakers to understand her or, at least, not think her ... perhaps a little slow on the uptake.