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Author: Subject: I always wondered "Why?". (Not worksafe)
Katzy
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[*] Post 448223 posted on 16-11-2011 at 13:58 Reply With Quote
I always wondered "Why?". (Not worksafe)



Having seen, as most of us have, things like THIS

I wondered "Why?".

The answer appears to be... er... dry.

A good half of them can trace their origins to one character, known as "GAN4".


To explain what went wrong here, we're going to have to back up and give you a quick crash course in Mandarin.

As you may know, Mandarin Chinese is a ridiculously complicated language, with different characters for each and every word in the traditional written form. It also has a whole lot of homophones -- words that sound similar but have different meanings. There's even a poem called "Lion-Eating Poet" made up of nothing but 92 variations on the syllable "shi."

But, since this is all absurdly hard to learn, back in the mid-20th century an alternative called Pinyin was developed that simplified the written form by clumping together similar-sounding words into the same character.

So what does that have to do with GAN4? Well, as you may have guessed, GAN4 isn't pronounced "ganfor" but is rather one of several Mandarin words represented by the sound "gan," and in Pinyin, all the GANs correspond to a single character. Which wouldn't be such a big deal, except GAN1 means "dry" and is commonly used in grocery stores, while GAN4 means something rather nortier." You can guess how that plays out...

The most plausible explanation here is that store owners are using a crappy translation program that automatically converts any GAN into something norty, which seems like a pretty serious oversight to me. It would be like if an English-to-Chinese converter constantly translated "runs" as the Chinese equivalent of "diarrhea," regardless of context.

So, now you know. :)
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[*] Post 448233 posted on 16-11-2011 at 17:28 Reply With Quote


There must be a lot of Glaswegians in China.

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[*] Post 448236 posted on 16-11-2011 at 18:18 Reply With Quote


It's good news for the sheep .......
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