Scholarship and education
Posted by Joel Martinsen on Wednesday, January 24, 2007 at 10:00 PM
The editors of Yaowen Jiaozi (咬文嚼字), the magazine of Mandarin misusage, have announced their picks for the most frequent Chinese language errors during 2006.
Television is the big loser this time round (this is by design; the magazine asked its readers to inspect a different station each month). According to editor-in-chief Hao Mingjian, tens of thousands of complaints were received from readers, out of which the editors determined that 3551 were genuine errors - an average of around 300 per station per month. The stations themselves only bear some of the blame, since many programs are not produced in-house.
Hao points his finger at uncultured TV program hosts who, more interested in entertaining viewers than in the correctness of their language, chatter on about things they know nothing about, misquoting poems, misusing expressions, mispronouncing words, and misidentifying literary characters.
Does this number mean anything? Who knows! But it's still fun to talk about. Here's the categorized list of top errors:
Also on the subject of errors, we bring this article to the attention of anyone who is planning on buying Wang Xiaobo novels this year. Beware the Yunnan People's Publishing House edition! The reviewer found 17 mistakes in the preface alone (the link has photos). Will things be better in 2007, a year in which GAPP plans to emphasize quality in publishing?
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Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.