Archive for the Category: Chinese

肚皮舞 (dù​pí​wǔ​)

The other day I discovered that the Mandarin word for belly dancing is 肚皮舞 (dù​pí​wǔ​). As I knew the meanings of the individual characters, I could guess the meaning of the word, even though I hadn’t heard it before. 肚 (dù​​) is stomach or belly, 皮 (​pí​​) is skin, and 舞 (wǔ​) is dance. I […]

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Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 4 Comments

On the tip of my pyramid

Last night I spoke quite a bit of Mandarin with some people from China, and while I was able to have a good conversation with them, though there were some things I couldn’t remember or didn’t know how to say. Usually when this happens I try to find another way to express the same idea, […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 14 Comments

Christmas

Nadolig Llawen Joyeux Noël 聖誕快樂 Nollaig shona doibh ¡Feliz Navidad! Nollick Ghennal Bo Nadal Nollaig chridheil メリークリスマス Buon Natale Frohe Weihnachten Bon Nadal Veselé vánoce and Merry Christmas!

Also posted in Czech, English, French, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish, Welsh 18 Comments

Colds, streams and rivers

It’s rather cold here at the moment with daytime temperatures not much above freezing, and nighttime dropping to -10°C (14°F) or even -20°C (-4°F) in places. As a result, some of the snow that fell last week has frozen solid and been trampled down on pavements and ungritted back streets making them decidedly icey and […]

Also posted in Czech, English, Etymology, French, German, Greek, Irish, Language, Latin, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Words and phrases 9 Comments

Double dutch and lost dragons

I’ve been playing with Xtranormal today and have made a couple of new films: Double Dutch (in Dutch and English) Where’s my dragon? (In Mandarin and English) When you use Mandarin the system refuses to accept some of the characters you type in, including some common ones like 谢 (thanks). I tried substituting pinyin for […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, Language, Language learning 8 Comments

Chinese puzzle

Can any of you decipher the Chinese in this image? The larger characters appear to be “仙露明珠方 朗潤松風水月北” (xiān lù míng zhū fāng lǎng rùn sōng fēng shuǐ yuè běi). The smaller characters on the left appear to be “??扵甾香饭石生?” (??zāi xiāng fàn dàn shēng ?) – I’m not sure about the first two or […]

Also posted in Language, Puzzles, Writing 6 Comments

Xtranormal

Today I came across an interesting-looking site called Xtranormal that use text-to-speech and other clever stuff – they call it ‘text-to-movie’ – to make animated films. You just choose your characters and setting, and then type in the dialogue. You can also play with the cameras, animate the characters, and add other effects. What interests […]

Also posted in English, French, Language, Language learning 6 Comments

Chinese gooseberries

I discovered today that the kiwifruit is known as 獼猴桃 (míhóu táo) or macaque peach in China. It is the edible berry of the woody vine Actinidia deliciosa native to southern China, and the name kiwifruit was dreamt up by marketing people in New Zealand in the 1950s, before which it was called the Chinese […]

Also posted in English, Language, Words and phrases 20 Comments

Puzzle

This sign appears in the window of a Thai restaurant in Washington DC, and was sent in by a visitor to Omniglot who would like to know what it means. Can you help?

Also posted in Language, Puzzles, Writing 2 Comments

Weeds

Yesterday I finally started work on my garden, and one of the first things I did was a bit of weeding. The large crop of dandelions and other weeds in my lawn will take quite a while to remove, but in the meantime I thought I’d look at the origins of a few garden-related words. […]

Also posted in English, Etymology, French, Irish, Japanese, Language, Latin 15 Comments