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i don't actually know chinese.
July 28, 2005 10:41 PM   Subscribe


 
I think I'm missing a font here. Your post says "box box box box box box".
posted by Elagabalus at 10:46 PM on July 28, 2005


Just because you CAN do something, MUST you do that thing?
posted by jonson at 10:50 PM on July 28, 2005


I don't know chinese either but some of those creative signs are hilarious.
posted by dabitch at 10:50 PM on July 28, 2005


jonson, yes, i'm afraid you must.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:52 PM on July 28, 2005


This is why we can't have nice things
posted by Meatbomb at 10:54 PM on July 28, 2005


Great post!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:54 PM on July 28, 2005


This is good.
posted by Jimbob at 10:58 PM on July 28, 2005


Interesting post, I'm not sure that it's enhanced by the new pony but its certainly interesting. I guess the people selling the map don't get a whole lot of repeat customers.

if I were feeling horribly nasty I'd say something like "Can't China afford a few million suicides?" but that would be pretty awful of me. I'm glad I didn't say it. More interesting that they encourage suicides that don't inconvenience too many people.

#11 seems a little strange, how can you crush yourself with a chunk of tofu?
posted by fenriq at 11:06 PM on July 28, 2005


Your guys' prejudice and racist attitudes towads the chinese are NOT welcome on Metafilter. Go back to Stormfront or wherever you mutants are from.
posted by angry modem at 11:06 PM on July 28, 2005


Your guys' prejudice and racist attitudes towads the chinese are NOT welcome on Metafilter. Go back to Stormfront or wherever you mutants are from.

Is this a joke?
posted by Jase_B at 11:23 PM on July 28, 2005


Gesundheit!
posted by Rothko at 11:26 PM on July 28, 2005


Yes, certainly a joke. The Chinese writing below each sign on the first link indeed says what the English translation says it says. But this looks like someone took standard warning signs and added joke commentary to turn them into "good place to suicide" signs. Hong Kong, for example, is filled with goofy warning signs showing people falling off cliffs or slipping on wet surfaces. But the point is to warn, not encourage.
posted by mono blanco at 11:30 PM on July 28, 2005


The FPP says: Shanghai Suicide Map (Find a Place to Die) -- Direct Connection to the Zoo, You Can Throw Yourself into the Lion's Mouth, etc.

The actual sign referred to said "The #57 Bus goes directly from the first stop to the Zoo, [where] you can throw yourself into the tiger's mouth and die."
posted by jiawen at 11:40 PM on July 28, 2005


I certianly hope that this doesn't become too popular.
I hate waiting in lines.
posted by Balisong at 11:41 PM on July 28, 2005


This will be obsolete in the future.
posted by brain_drain at 11:51 PM on July 28, 2005


Man, that's totally the funniest thing ever for those 28% of web surfers that didn't actually see a series of really lame boxes and all.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:53 PM on July 28, 2005


[这是好]
posted by mosch at 12:00 AM on July 29, 2005


MetaFilter: 28% of web surfers that didn't actually see a series of really lame boxes
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:02 AM on July 29, 2005


cute, mosch. But lose the 是 because 好 is a stative verb, with superpowers beyond the mere adjective.

Here, replace it with this umbrella: 个
posted by mono blanco at 12:08 AM on July 29, 2005 [1 favorite]


(jiawen caught me. I couldn't find the Chinese characters for the first bit.)
posted by neckro23 at 12:14 AM on July 29, 2005


mono blanco: 谢谢你. 我的中文很坏.
posted by mosch at 12:17 AM on July 29, 2005


No problem. A fun language.
For everyone else, I know how irritating it can be to see a bunch of gibberish. So to translate: mosch did a [this is good] in Chinese, I make a small correction, and believe it or not he is not cursing at me but offering thanks with becoming modesty.
posted by mono blanco at 12:33 AM on July 29, 2005


Cars under the Yan’an Road viaduct drive very fast. Accidents happen often.

True, true.
posted by Wolof at 12:45 AM on July 29, 2005


I really, really need to learn Chinese.
posted by blacklite at 1:01 AM on July 29, 2005


Very nice!
"...Wo ai zhongguo ren
Ni hao ma; ni hao ma; ni hao ma; zaijien..."
posted by flagellum at 1:07 AM on July 29, 2005


Weak. The Kerry Center is 32 stories tall. Jumping off is 100% successful.
Practically every building in Shanghai is 32 stories tall. Make a bigger splash, get on the ferry and go to the Jin Mao building, it's 88 stories.
The rest of it is even lamer.
posted by Joeforking at 1:19 AM on July 29, 2005


谢谢你. 我的中文很坏.


That should be something more like 我的中文很差. 坏 means bad as in Hitler-bad or Skeletor-bad.
posted by alidarbac at 1:59 AM on July 29, 2005


All these conversations about Chinese grammar/word usage are cracking me up - in all instances I just have variations on ???????.
posted by Lotto at 2:10 AM on July 29, 2005


原來MetaFilter也可以用中文...

Yeah, there really isn't a good way in Mandarin to say "This Is Good" in the standard Metafilter way. Maybe [好樣儿的!] if Beijing 儿化 Mandarin is okay...
posted by jiawen at 3:20 AM on July 29, 2005


Lotto: Heh, exactly. Reminds me of that classic password bit on bash.
posted by herichon at 3:25 AM on July 29, 2005


非常棒!
posted by afu at 3:26 AM on July 29, 2005 [1 favorite]


好樣儿的wtf?
I'll never get 北京话 :)
posted by afu at 3:33 AM on July 29, 2005 [1 favorite]


上海自杀地图 (找个地方去死) — 「直达动物园可自投虎口等」。

That's just how my daddy used to put it when I was a boy, back home....
posted by alumshubby at 3:34 AM on July 29, 2005


Metafilter is starting to look like my spam folder.
posted by Plutor at 3:40 AM on July 29, 2005


Oh! Oh! Oh! This is in a language I don't know or a typeface I don't have installed! That makes it Bad.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:01 AM on July 29, 2005


EB: No kidding. I was being amused by the question-mark-laden conversation I was just reading, despite or maybe because of my taking a long time to figure out that other people were seeing real characters. I don't see how having the font installed would make a huge difference for some of the people complaining here anyway: if you haven't already got it installed, odds are you can't read Chinese and so seeing a bunch of characters would be exactly as meaningful as seeing a bunch of ???s or little boxes. Sheesh.

As for the post itself [?ZA JID] Thanks neckro
posted by Hal Mumkin at 4:23 AM on July 29, 2005


Just out of curiosity ..how can I install these typefaces on winXP?
posted by srboisvert at 5:01 AM on July 29, 2005


I think the responses to the post indicate just how internationally oriented Me-Fi is. Awesome!
posted by mk1gti at 5:45 AM on July 29, 2005


All thw Shanghai related photos linked on the left side of the main Shanghaist page are pretty cool. It's not that I have anything against suicide, some of my best friends are suicides, the photos are just more fun than the map. There's a whole series of Danny Way getting ready to jump the Great Wall.
posted by OmieWise at 5:52 AM on July 29, 2005


I think the responses to the post indicate just how internationally oriented Me-Fi is. Awesome!

pfff... you're awesome.
posted by phylum sinter at 5:57 AM on July 29, 2005


I like the little drawing of the man-eating tiger.
posted by unreason at 6:11 AM on July 29, 2005


I love this post and thread. Thanks for enabling it, Matt!

And as for you 外國鬼子 who are complaining about the pretty characters: 丫挺! 操你妈个B!
posted by languagehat at 6:39 AM on July 29, 2005


Just out of curiosity ..how can I install these typefaces on winXP?

I'm using WinXP and can see the fonts fine. I didn't install anything special to do it. It might be more of a browser thing - what browser are you using? They display fine with no workarounds in Firefox.
posted by drstupid at 6:46 AM on July 29, 2005


操图的 中投 可杀
posted by odinsdream at 7:13 AM on July 29, 2005


languagehat, that's naughty! ;)
posted by moxyberry at 7:42 AM on July 29, 2005


對不起!
posted by languagehat at 8:02 AM on July 29, 2005


"Skeletor bad"

啊哈哈哈哈!
posted by alexwoods at 8:30 AM on July 29, 2005


11 Wang’s Tofu Stand — crush yourself with a piece of tofu.

I like this best because it comes from a traditional curse not meant to be taken seriously.

odinsdream, I don't get what you wrote...

[见到中文真开心]
posted by of strange foe at 8:33 AM on July 29, 2005


of strange foe, I don't either.
posted by odinsdream at 8:46 AM on July 29, 2005


languagehat, that's naughty! ;)

Tell us Chinese-challenged readers what you wrote there, LH.

I second (or third) the [this is good], and think I probably got the grammar correct. No umbrellas for me.
posted by jokeefe at 8:48 AM on July 29, 2005


LH's first bit of chinese is a slur for white folks... the second bit is (I don't know)! Do you're mom's B.

(It's been a really, really long time since I've studied or spoke Chinese)
posted by mosch at 9:09 AM on July 29, 2005


Oh man... next time I'm in Shanghai, I need to take a trip to Central Fuxing Road!!
posted by BobFrapples at 9:23 AM on July 29, 2005


I plugged some of it into babelfish.
"Bifurcation! Holds your mother!"
posted by leapfrog at 10:17 AM on July 29, 2005


"Bifurcation! Holds your mother!"

Well, that is naughty, I must say.
posted by jokeefe at 10:23 AM on July 29, 2005


*sicks singe de reddition on neckro23*
posted by If I Had An Anus at 10:27 AM on July 29, 2005


MetaFilter: as in Hitler-bad or Skeletor-bad
posted by eckeric at 10:38 AM on July 29, 2005


languagehat: did you purposely leave it as "B" or were you unable to find the character? To be honest, I'm not sure what the character for bi is. Either way, I kind of like the way "bifurcation! Holds your mother!" sounds in English.
posted by moxyberry at 11:05 AM on July 29, 2005


Oh! Oh! Oh! This is in a language I don't know or a typeface I don't have installed! That makes it Bad.

I just find it amusing that those who would so stridently object to "exclusionary abbreviations" like "FPP" have zero qualms about pooping out a bunch of empty boxes all over my browser.

I posted in jest, but tipsy jest, so no worries, it was with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. And a bunch of booze in my gut. That is, no worries until you guys start in with the Klingon stuff, then the gloves come off.
posted by joe lisboa at 11:16 AM on July 29, 2005


LH's first bit of chinese is a slur for white folks... the second bit is (I don't know)! Do your mom's B.

Yeah, the first phrase is usually translateed "foreign devils." The second is short for 丫头养的, which I am told means 'a bastard brought up by a low-class single mother'; the third is Cao ni ma ge bi 'fuck your mother's cunt,' where the final word is pretty much exclusively oral (ahem, so to speak) and thus doesn't have a standard character—I copied the "B" from Taiwanese rapper MC HotDog 热狗. The well-known expression ta ma de, about which Lu Xun wrote an entire essay, is a contraction of that curse.
posted by languagehat at 11:31 AM on July 29, 2005


This is more of a private joke than anything, but maybe someone else would also detect from this poster faint echoes of a famous essay by 文天祥, in which he exhaustively enumerated ways he could have died heroically, ending with the dramatic line - '死而死矣;而境界危恶,层见错出,非人世所堪。痛定思痛,痛何如哉!' (Rough translation: 'Death is just death, but when one is constantly plunged into mortal danger at every turn, it's humanly unbearable. After the agonizing experiences I recall the agony, and how!) (Trust me, this is funny stuff when you have to memorize it for a high school Chinese class.)
posted by of strange foe at 12:21 PM on July 29, 2005


I feel like I'm wearing one of those suits that let young people see what it feels like to be old, with creaky joints, bad vision, and less tactile sense, but with my brain... all these question marks... It's like I'm failing to perceive half the conversations... heh.

So, like, if a guy wanted to learn Chinese (pick a flavor), where would one start? (One is no longer in school.)
posted by socratic at 12:53 PM on July 29, 2005


where the final word is pretty much exclusively oral (ahem, so to speak) and thus doesn't have a standard character

Huh, I totally didn't know that - thanks! Lu Xun was quite the essayist...
posted by moxyberry at 12:55 PM on July 29, 2005


"...who would so stridently object to "exclusionary abbreviations" like 'FPP'"

Yahbut I'm not one of those people.

Maybe I should post this over on meta, but anyway: for anyone, on any platform using any browser, you've got to have a unicode typeface installed that contains the character set being referenced. A unicode typeface can theoretically contain all the world's characters. So you can see why most typefaces do not. Go to the unicode consortium page or wherever and look for typefaces that contain the character set you want, or typefaces that contain lots and lots of character sets. If your browser is working as it should, then given the constrains of how you've set it up with a default typeface, how the page designer has designed the page and other things, the browser will try to display the character. I don't really understand if it will look to other unicode typefaces than those that are defined in the browser settings and page to display some "exotic" character, but it might or might not.

On the Win XP platform, I think the difference between those that are seeing these characters and those that are not is whether they also have Office installed. XP itself doesn't come with the Arial MS Unicode typeface, but Office does. That's a large, pretty darn complete unicode typeface that will display much of what it thrown at it. MS used to offer it for download as part of their "Web Fonts" DL, I don't think they still do.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:18 PM on July 29, 2005


Thanks for the info, EB.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:23 PM on July 29, 2005


So the proper caption for the tiger sign is what?
"Don't let the tiger bite your butt!"
posted by warbaby at 2:20 PM on July 29, 2005


thus doesn't have a standard character
Actually, it does: 屄. Most Chinese speakers don't know it, though, because it's so rarely written.
So, like, if a guy wanted to learn Chinese (pick a flavor), where would one start? (One is no longer in school.)
Depends on where you want to use it. If you're going to mainland China or Taiwan, Mandarin is going to generally be more useful. If you're going to Hong Kong, Cantonese would be more useful. If you're going exclusively to Taiwan, then Taiwanese would give you all sorts of cachet among the 本省人. If you're going to hang out in a Chinatown in the US, it depends on which one: San Francisco's is largely Cantonese-speaking, but New York is more and more about Mandarin.
posted by jiawen at 5:53 PM on July 29, 2005


"If you're going to mainland China or Taiwan, Mandarin is going to generally be more useful."

This isn't really true, though, is it? My impression is that if you're traveling around China, you'll probably usually be able to find some people who speak Mandarin (because it's been the language of the ruling class for a long time--since the Han rule began? Am I right?); but there are many mutually incomprehensible regional dialects. They're not even "dialects", really--they're seperate languages in the same sense that Cantonese and Mandarin are. (Of course that can be said about many so-called "dialects", I'm sure.)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:14 PM on July 29, 2005


Um, actually, you wrote "generally more useful", which of course is true. But maybe not as useful as someone might think.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:15 PM on July 29, 2005


Ah, the joy of making fun of something without understanding it first.
posted by etoile at 7:57 PM on July 29, 2005


They're not even "dialects", really--they're seperate languages in the same sense that Cantonese and Mandarin are. (Of course that can be said about many so-called "dialects", I'm sure.)

My linguist wife says: "The difference between a dialect and a language is an army."
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:20 PM on July 29, 2005


The "fuck" charecter 肏 (cao) and the "cunt" charecter 屄 (bi) are actually illegal to use in mainland China because the charecters themselves are considered vulgar.

肏 (fuck) is a combination of 肉 (rou) "flesh" and 入 (ru) to enter. Entering flesh = fucking.

屄 (cunt) is a combination of 尸 (shi) "body" and 穴 (xue) "cave". Body hole = cunt.

Since these charecters are vulgar most people replace 肏 with 操 and 屄 with "b".
posted by afu at 9:50 PM on July 29, 2005 [1 favorite]


Um, actually, you wrote "generally more useful", which of course is true. But maybe not as useful as someone might think.
Yes, I chose my words carefully. :)

Mandarin is not perfectly useful everywhere in China. It's like learning Standard American English; knowing how to order a "submarine sandwich" isn't going to help when you go to a restaurant that serves "po-boys". And Standard Mandarin is an artificial standard that no one really speaks except newscasters and foreigners studying the language.

However, like with Standard American English, Standard Mandarin is going to be useful -- more useful -- than most other things almost everywhere you go in most of China. If you go to the southeast, you'll undoubtedbly encounter people who speak little or no Mandarin. Mandarin is still going to be more generally useful than any other Chinese language, however. People are required to learn it in school, and lots of people speak it as their native language, so on the whole, it'd be the most useful language in China, unless you were going to spend all your time in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Fuzhou or some other place where the native language isn't Mandarin.
They're not even "dialects", really--they're seperate languages in the same sense that Cantonese and Mandarin are.
Actually, this isn't true. Northern Mandarin, Southwestern Mandarin, etc. are pretty much like what "dialects" are supposed to be: sub-sets of a single language that are pretty much mutually intelligible. Mandarin and Cantonese are as different as French and Italian, so if French and Italian are different languages, so must Mandarin and Cantonese be. But Northern Mandarin and Southwestern Mandarin (and the other Mandarin dialects) are as different as, say, Bostonian American English and Louisiana American English -- not totally different, not yet.
posted by jiawen at 3:28 AM on July 30, 2005


My linguist wife says: "The difference between a dialect and a language is an army."

Your linguist wife is (mis)quoting Max Weinreich.
posted by languagehat at 6:24 AM on July 30, 2005


languagehat : "MC HotDog 热狗"

"MC HotDog Hot Dog"?
posted by Bugbread at 6:28 AM on July 30, 2005


Mandarin. Most Chinese speak it at least as a second language.

When in Hong Kong taxis I sometimes bust out with broken Cantonese, which the cabbies appreciate, then I switch to Mandarin and say, "But now that we have returned to the warm embrace of the Motherland we all must learn how to speak Mandarin, yes?" Roars of laughter.
posted by mono blanco at 4:14 AM on July 31, 2005


Languagehat Your linguist wife is (mis)quoting Max Weinreich.

Heh. She got it from her masters supervisor, and I'm probably the one that mangled the quote. Thanks for the source though!
posted by Popular Ethics at 5:53 PM on July 31, 2005


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