Asia Blog: China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam

Chinese Tongue Twisters

Posted in China, Language by Elliott Back on October 17th, 2010.

Check out this “Lion-Eating Poet” Tongue-Twister Essay page. It highlights the possible homophone combinations of shi using a poem called 施氏食獅史 (“Story of Shi Eating the Lions”). Here’s the chinese poem, with links to Nciku for translation:

氏拾是十獅屍, 適石室.
石室濕, 氏使侍拭石室.
食時, 始識十獅屍,

The poem was written by Zhao Yuanren (趙元任) who lived between 1892 and 1982. There is a rather excellent Wikipedia article on the Lion Eating Poet in the Stone Den that’s worth reading, as well.

iPhone Chinese-English dictionary

Posted in China, Language, Technology by Elliott Back on January 24th, 2009.

Qǐngwèn is an application for iPod Touch and iPhones which allows quick and easy Chinese-English and English-Chinese dictionary lookups. Take a look at Karan Misra’s site which has more information about the free application. Here’s some screenshots of my own:

The thing I like most is that you can type a word, in either English, Chinese, or pinyin, and get back the right translations and context that word can be used in. Once you’ve translated from English to Chinese, you can also use the search features to find other words containing said character. It’s a great application!

Note that Qingwen uses a modified version of CC-CEDICT as its dictionary.

Cold Stone Ice Cream in China

Posted in China, Language by Elliott Back on August 10th, 2007.

I thought that Clever Ice Cream Names at Cold Stone Creamery was worth a link, if you’re interested in translation and Chinese language.


Apparently a cold stone opened in Shanghai and translated the English menu in some clever and amusing ways. I think I like 草莓美莓 the best.

Malaysian English Impossible To Understand

Posted in Geography, Language by Elliott Back on July 22nd, 2007.

I was checking out the new site Overheard in Malaysia when I realized that I don’t understand it all, although it appears to be written in English. Check out this random post about … well, I’m not sure:

MrBf: Blah blah blah.. why you damn clown? Don’t know how to look where you’re going ah? *lecture lecture*
naeboo: *gives hard look*
MrBf: Why you give me one kind look? Not happy isit?? What look is it ar?
naeboo:YATT LOOK! One look! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.. *layan sendiri* I’m sucha smartass!
MrBf: -_______________-”

The Flesch-Kincaid grade level of this text is 4. The first thing currently on Overheardinnewyork scores a (still low) 7. Apparently there is a class-split around the use of English in the Malaysian educational system.

“Fuck Bush” Chinese T-Shirt

Posted in China, Cute, Words, World News by Elliott Back on July 13th, 2007.

This is old, but I love this Fuck Bush t-shirt that Peking Duck points out:


It literally says “去你马的,Bush” which literally means “Go to your mother’s [implied], Bush.” It’s equivalent to the english “motherfucker” literally, which in this context I find quite charming! How better to voice your opposition of the Western influence in China!

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