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Questions tagged [history]

Questions related to the history of the Chinese language(s).

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更: geng and jing

One of the less common meanings of 更 has to do with traditional Chinese time-keeping. There's a changing of the guard, and this is kept track of by hitting a drum or whatever. 更, extending from the ...
Stumpy Joe Pete's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
99 views

Translation of Rothko's: We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal

In response to a harsh critique of the Syrian Bull by a journalist, Adolph Gottlieb and Mark Rothko wrote a letter which contains the sentence: We are for the large shape because it has the impact of ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
56 views

Word request: Mensatüte

I would like to know the Chinese translation of the German word "Mensatüte". Explanation: German people who a bit older will remember the so-called "Wundertüte" from their ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
182 views

The origin of "goody-goodies are the thieves of virtue"

Does anyone know where I can find the origin of this quote? It is often attributed to Confucious, though I could only trace it back to Alan Watt(eg: https://truthlesstruth.wordpress.com/tag/alan-watts/...
HoaPhan's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
48 views

Translation: the aesthetics of dawn, die Ästhetik des Morgengrauens

What is the correct Chinese translation of: English: the aesthetics of dawn German: die Ästhetik des Morgengrauens Explanation: The aesthetics of dawn is one evoked on a philosophical level in the ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
56 views

Word request in Chinese: media transfer, media transformation

What is the correct Chinese translation of English: media transfer, media transformation German: Medientransfer, Medientransformation Explanation: By medium (plural: media) in this context, I mean ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
102 views

Translation: Not ambiguity, but versatility!

I'm looking for a Chinese translation of this 格言: English: Not ambiguity, but versatility! German: Nicht Vieldeutigkeit, sondern Vielseitigkeit! What is meant with this to give context for a ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
79 views

Translation: Soft abstraction is not an ideal, it's a reconciliation!

I'm looking for a Chinese translation of this 格言: English: Soft abstraction is not an ideal, it's a reconciliation! German: Weiche Abstraktion ist kein Ideal, sondern eine Versöhnung! What is meant ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
119 views

On the Chinese translation of some words "by" Christopher Columbus

In the famous biography of Christopher Columbus by Jakob Wassermann, we find in Chapter 3 the frequently cited passage: Ich nenne mich Cristobal Colón, bin ein Seefahrer aus Genua und muß betteln, ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
82 views

What is the latest official document that describes simplification of radicals?

The document 《漢字簡化方案》 was published in 1956 by State Council of the People's Republic of China and it lists the simplification of some radicals in page 10 (see screenshot below). Here's the document ...
rdrg109's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
93 views

On the Chinese translation of some words by 歌德

I am curious about the official Chinese translation of a few words by 歌德. The first occurs on this webpage advertised as an aphorism, namely Man weicht der Welt nicht sicherer aus als durch die Kunst,...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
479 views

When years are (or were) written using Hanzi numerals, what are the usual variants/options?

I believe that these days, years would be written almost all of the time using Western/Arabic numerals in the Gregorian calendar. But they must sometimes be written using the Hanzi numerals, e.g. in ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
123 views

关于一句鲁道夫·卡斯纳格言的中文翻译

According to a letter from Rilke to Magda von Hattingberg from the 16th-20th February 1914, Rudolf Kassner (his Chinese transliterations is 鲁道夫·卡斯纳 according to this Douban page) has coined a saying ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
60 views

About a passage from a published Chinese translation of Kafka's "The Trial"

According to Bing-AI, Kafka's novel "The trial" (German: "Der Prozess") was translated many times into Chinese by different translators and in different times up to only recently ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
70 views

About a chapter title from Adolf Wölfli's 简历

In the short 简历 (Lebensbeschreibung) of Adolf Wölfli (I don't know how the name of this artist is officially transliterated in Chinese publications - if you can help with this with a reference, it's a ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
375 views

About the origin of the quote 所爱隔山海,山海亦可平

A 网友 drew my attention to a quote which I find recorded in different variations online, e.g. on Baike Baidu as 所爱隔山海,山海亦可平. It's attributed there to a collection of works called 山木诗词全集. My question is:...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
141 views

About the Chinese translation of two passages in the notes of Laurids Brigge by Rilke

According to Bing-AI, the notes of Laurid Brigge by Rilke were translated two times into Chinese (1986 and 2007), cf. screenshot. I am curious about the translation of two passages for my calligraphic ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
46 views

Trying to find information on this silk painting - Presumably from 1666, made for the Kangxi Emperor

This painting was presented to us as follows: “Xia Summer”. With seals“Chen Quan Xi” and “Nam Ping Kangshi”. Dated 1666. I've figured out that this does refer to 'The year of the Fire Horse' which ...
Jordaens's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
155 views

西海 vs 东海 in literature

In Chinese literature, poetry, song, etc. 西海 is used more often than 东海. Is it because 西 in Chinese literature more romantic than 东? For example if I compose a poem, would it be weird if I use 东海 ...
EmilyJ's user avatar
  • 509
0 votes
3 answers
259 views

Why does 黄牛 mean scalper?

What is the history of the word 黄牛 meaning scalper? MDBG defines it like this:
rhughes's user avatar
  • 462
1 vote
1 answer
118 views

What poem of 李太白 was 毛泽东's painting with the title "half sun, half rock" alluding to?

I'm reading the book "Red Star over China" by Edgar Snow. In the autobiography 毛泽东 reported to Snow, in the passage about his teacher's education in a school in 长沙, it is said that he once ...
Christoph Mark's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
922 views

Word for “planet”

This Wiktionary article mentions that the term for “planet” is 行星 and that it was “[c]oined by Alexander Wylie and Li Shanlan in 1859,” from characters meaning “travel” and “star,” which makes sense ...
Pierre Paquette's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
116 views

Where to find official documents that introduce the Wubi 86 input method?

Table of contents The context The input method I'm learning Variant Chinese characters Font used by the creator of Wubi 86 The version of Wubi I'm learning What I'm looking for The question The ...
rdrg109's user avatar
  • 235
1 vote
4 answers
272 views

How did Chinese develop so many different classifiers?

One of the weirdest things about Chinese is the classifier. It's 一栋楼, not 一个楼, and 一只鱼, not 一个鱼. My question is: how (and why) did Chinese develop so many different classifiers? It makes sense to me ...
mucube's user avatar
  • 106
0 votes
1 answer
83 views

Where to find official documents that introduce the four-corner input method?

Table of contents The context Information about the input method The questions The context I'm interested in learning how to use the Four-Corner Method. I've started making some graphics of the ...
rdrg109's user avatar
  • 235
1 vote
2 answers
163 views

The Chinese readings of 朴 (Korean surname)

The character 朴 is used in modern Mandarin in the following ways: pò 朴樹 'Chinese hackberry, Celtis sinensis', 厚朴 'Magnolia officinalis'. pǔ [simplified from 樸] 'simple, plain, rough, unpolished'. ...
Alexander Z.'s user avatar
  • 1,031
1 vote
2 answers
297 views

What’s the deal with the xing-type readings for 行?

How come did the readings of the xing-category appear for 行? They make no sense. The Early Middle Chinese for “to walk” is γæng, which should give héng – and so it does, in 胻, 蘅, 桁 – even with the ...
Alexander Z.'s user avatar
  • 1,031
4 votes
3 answers
63 views

Interpreting a line from Li Shangyin -- 鶯花啼又笑

The full poem is as follows: 早起 風露澹清晨 簾間獨起人 鶯花啼又笑 畢竟是誰春 I was discussing this with a friend who speaks Chinese, and they translated this line: 鶯花啼又笑 as "Birds and flowers cry and laugh". ...
Persimmon_Leaves's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
83 views

Historical background in 《亮剑》 relating to organization of National Revolutionary Army

I am trying to understand the exact meaning of the military terms used in the text at the very beginning of the first episode of the show 亮剑 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WAnpfEbR5s), and in ...
babu_babu's user avatar
  • 169
1 vote
4 answers
217 views

Why does 即使 mean even if?

Usually when two characters combine I can puzzle through how they obtained their combined meaning. However, even after years of study I have no idea why 即使 means even if. I’m looking to better ...
Grant Curell's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
181 views

A Cantonese-influenced Old National Pronunciation (老國音) system

I need advice/help on creating a system similar to the Old National Pronunciation system/language for a worldbuilding project called Roses, Tulips, and Liberty. Some background: Imagines, it's a world ...
Omar 's user avatar
  • 41
-3 votes
1 answer
202 views

Who is the creator of Chinese language?

Who is the creator of Chinese language? When I googled "Who is the creator of Chinese language?" it didn't show what I expected. I will be very grateful for any answers.
My Car's user avatar
  • 145
1 vote
1 answer
54 views

Who was 赵王 after 赵奢 in 赵国?

This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 15: 几年后,赵奢去世了。这一年正好秦国军队来打赵国,赵国派老将廉颇带20万大军迎战。 ... 这时,赵王正因廉颇闭门不战而生气呢,听到外面的那些谣言,果然上当了,他派赵括去换回廉颇。 So I wonder, who was 赵王 after 赵奢 in 赵国? Did he have ...
Konstantinos's user avatar
  • 1,211
2 votes
3 answers
280 views

What language did 咖啡 reach Chinese from?

"Coffee" is originally an Arabic word that reached the English language through Turkish at some point in the 16th century. Does anyone know the history of the word 咖啡 in Chinese? When did it ...
Buddy L's user avatar
  • 892
6 votes
4 answers
884 views

What are the oracle-bone characters for 后 and 司 which led to confusion in naming 司母戊鼎 (or 后母戊鼎)?

My grade-7 Chinese history textbook describes the gigantic bronze ding called 司母戊鼎, and adds a footnote saying it's also called 后母戊鼎: (alternative image source: 1 2) Wikipedia writes: The ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
  • 16.5k
1 vote
3 answers
314 views

Why is it 放学 and 下班, instead of 放班 or 下学?

I know that there is also the variant 放工 but I don't think this is typical usage. The use of 下 is so common, but yet in the instance of a school we use 放 instead.
eancu's user avatar
  • 51
1 vote
1 answer
269 views

Is Chinese language influenced by sanskrit and vice versa?

India and China are neighboring countries, in ancient India sanskrit was spoken and in ancient China Chinese was spoken. So could these two languages have influenced each other in any way.
Dark Knight's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is the number 4 really considered unlucky because it sounds similar to the word for "death"?

From what I've Googled so far, there are lots of claims that the number 4 is considered unlucky in Chinese. 四 is understandably considered unlucky in Japanese and Korean because it sounds identical to ...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is it fair to assume that 站 and 占 are the same word?

It seems that the meanings "to stand" and "to occupy" are semantically related, and considering the pronunciation is exactly the same, is it fair to assume that the difference in ...
Buddy L's user avatar
  • 892
2 votes
2 answers
106 views

What is the origin of 名堂?Compound or loanword?

Does anyone know of the origin of this word? It feels like it must be a loan word from another language as I can't find the semantic connection to 名 and 堂。Any ideas?
Buddy L's user avatar
  • 892
3 votes
1 answer
176 views

How/why was western-style punctuation inherited into Mandarin?

How was it decided what aspects of Western language Mandarin would inherit and why? Ex: Western punctuation (! . ?), left to right writing style (in the mainland at least), pinyin vs bopomofo, etc. ...
Grant Curell's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
155 views

女 in 嫩 : combining characters

So I just learned a new vocabulary called 嫩. An example from a YouTube channel was given as 这块儿牛肉非常嫩 to mean “This piece of beef is very tender”. As I understand many Chinese characters can come ...
EmilyJ's user avatar
  • 509
6 votes
1 answer
189 views

What were the court/administrative languages of various dynasties?

It's called "Mandarin" (and 官话) precisely because it was the language of courtly officials at a time when there was no unified national language of China. This was the case in both the Ming ...
Stumpy Joe Pete's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
138 views

Creation of Chinese characters throughout history?

The Shuowen Jiezi, compiled around 100 AD, contain entries for some 10,000 Chinese characters. The Kangxi Dictionary, compiled almost two millennia later, contain over 47,000 characters. Of the ...
andrew's user avatar
  • 31
0 votes
3 answers
112 views

Does this phrase 斩草除根 exist in dramas only?

So, I have been watching quite a bit of 古代 dramas。 I will say most if not all of them have the situation where this phrase comes up. Does this phrase exist in the dramas only or did this actually ...
EmilyJ's user avatar
  • 509
0 votes
1 answer
222 views

汉长安城的未央宫中的“前殿”是一幢房屋,还是几幢建筑在面积宽大的布局里?

首先得说,我明白现代人对古代的殿、殿堂、皇宫等建筑的样子只不过是考古上的推测。那么,根据某几个词典(现代汉语规范词典、汉语大词典、萌典、两岸通用词典),一个“殿”绝对是单独的房屋;“前殿”是“正殿”,而“正殿”就是一种殿(皇宫中的主殿)。 我在网上看到的一些对未央宫的前殿的复原设想图就大不一致。且看下面的图一和图二。 图一:陕西西安汉长安未央宫遗址前殿复原设想鸟瞰图(来源:https://...
dry_apricot_09's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
736 views

Meaning of early written versions of 地 and etymology?

The glyph origin section of https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E5%9C%B0 shows characters that look nothing like the modern "地" (with the exception of the "Small Seal Script" in "...
D.R's user avatar
  • 153
0 votes
2 answers
165 views

Any hypothesis to remember 刑?

Any easy way or background why Well + knife is Punishment? Knife is related punishment, but after killing with knife any history to through them in the well? wikitionary details about 刑: Originally ...
user27485's user avatar
  • 645
4 votes
1 answer
293 views

Trying to translate signature and stamp for Chinese print (Characters identified: 戊午九月石年)

Trying to find the origin of this print and the translation of the signature and seal.
Elia Richardson's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
290 views

How the 4 tones originated?

My native language does not have tones. Why tones are part of Chinese language? How the tones were started initially? Is it because they do not have so many words? In my native language full sentences ...
user27485's user avatar
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