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News -Tones of Chinese Language
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News -Tones of Chinese Language
Chinese. This ancient linguistic heritage has something differentiating it from languages of the West: vast variety of tones. More than one billion of people speak this language comprising several dialects, among which are Mandarin and Cantonese. In Chinese, as in all tone languages, one syllable may have several meanings, depending on its pronunciation. Those hardly acquainted with this form of pronunciation may be confused. However, this peculiarity provides space for linguistic possibilities in the field of articulation, not existing in other languages.
Chinese linguist Yuen Jen Chao has written a whimsical poem about a poet eating a lion. Homophony of this poem is built in the way that the essence of the story contained in this poem is reproduced only with the help of real gymnastic manipulation of tones. And if you try to reproduce this poem in English it will sound as a constant repetition of “shi” word.
Although recently Chinese has not be able to escape changes and reading of this poem may lead to certain incoherence, nevertheless upon certain training any more or less trainable reader will be able to enjoy the invention of this lovely poem.
This funny poem consisting of 92 hieroglyphs is, at first sight, senseless. Its personal touch becomes really understandable for Europeans upon writing it in pinyin – Latinized transcript of Chinese, where tones of each syllable are indicated with the help of phonetic signs. It has the following look:
Sh? Shì shí sh? sh?
It is wonderful how the author managed to create the story about the poet eating lions using just one word “shi”. How four tones of one word can form such a complete story?
In this story such words as “stone”, “eat”, “ten” and “time” has the similar tone of pronunciation and “lie” and “story” has completely different tonalities. Moreover, original pronunciation of this poem within reading is not peculiar to all Chinese dialects (besides Mandarin). For example original pronunciation is lost if you read it in Cantonese, Taiwanese or in Hakka dialects.
There are fairly lots of tone languages in the world and there are even the languages with greater tone variations than in Chinese. The apparent confusion caused by repetition of one and the same syllable disappears if you consider that the sense of each phrase determines its context.
You can find audio version of this poem at: http://videodownloader.net/especial/shi.mp3. Maybe this rare phonetic phenomenon will not make you surprised, but it will definitely make you smile.
Quality Control at TransLandia In order to obtain high-quality written translation it is necessary that five more eyes looked at it after the translator. Two proofreader’s eyes, two editor’s eyes and manager handling this project should look at it with one eye. That is why quality control system at TransLandia is built in accordance with the ISO requirements. The selection of translator is a serious stage. The results of tendentious or incorrect translation may be catastrophic. Historical example is Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71 years. Published notification on peace negotiations at Bismarck’s insistence was translated in the way that peace conditions for Prussia looked mocking and humiliating and almost regulated conflict has turned into murderous war. There are lots of peculiarities in the translation. That is why by ordering translation it is necessary to use only professional translation services. There are plenty of texts which are impossible to be translated without special knowledge and training. By the way, agreements in offshore zones are not based on modern legal terminology, but on classical British legal terminology known only to those translators dealing in this field.