Chinese Corner exam results are in
Editor’s note: Welcome back, Sinophone enthusiasts! Good work to all of the readers who took the final exam in December. This was not an easy test – and it had a few trick questions. But the median and average scores were both 6 out of 10. Well done, everyone!
We have not one but two students who scored 100%. They will each receive a free book of Chinese short stories in the original and English translation: both will receive copies of Short Stories in Chinese, a bilingual text edited by John Balcom (Penguin 2013). Check out the results for each question below and read the Chinese Corner posts that inspired each question. We’ll have more linguistic adventures in the new year, on a roughly monthly basis.
Mandarin has four tones and one neutral (fifth) tone, but the fifth isn’t always counted among them. And none of them are as hard to learn as you may fear.
Another tricky one! Cantonese has three “entering tones” marked by a -p, -t or -k at the end of a syllable. Some people don’t count these as tones, since they’re not based on pitch.
There is research suggesting that musical training brings language-related benefits. Other studies show that speaking a tonal language aids in musical processing.
Hakka became an official language of Taiwan at the end of 2017. Hokkien and the Formosan languages are also nationally recognized. English will become an official language in 2019, according to Premier William Lai.
There is no linguistic difference between any two varieties of a language. Categories of language and dialect are sociopolitical.
These words all came to English from different varieties of Chinese, garbled and transmogrified to such an extent as to distinguish them from ordinary loanwords. Other examples of Hobson-Jobson include “compound,” “pundit,” and “ketchup.”
Estimates of the number of Cantonese particles range from 30 to 206.
Most Chinese characters are combinations of sound and meaning components. Some components no longer have any relation to sound or meaning, hanging on as meaningless relics.
When online discussions of #MeToo were censored, netizens invented the “rice bunny” (mǐ tù 米兔), which sounds just like “me too.”
One more trick question! These are all good reasons.