WMD, Non-Believers, and Power of Words 语言的力量

During our last trip to China, we visited many regions predominately populated with people of minority ethnicities (minorities), and saw their languages used (or not). We also met with some unconventional usages of Chinese and English.
在我们今年夏天的中国行中,我们去了很多少数民族地区,看见很多少数民族的语言应用实例。我们也看见一些不寻常的中文、英文的应用。


Seen in the restroom of a restaurant in DuJiangYan.

在都江堰的一个餐馆所见。WMD在英语里通常是“大规模杀伤性武器”的字头。


 

Seen in a restaurant in Xining. Rough translation of the Chinese version: "Our Lord! Pray don’t punish us, were we to forget or err. Pray don’t burden us, as you burdened the ancient people. Our Lord! Pray don’t task us with what we couldn’t accomplish. Pray forgive us; pray pardon us; pray pity us. You are our protector; pray help us, so as to confront those who do not believe [in Islam]." (Emphasis added.) Those are pretty strong, fighting words. I guess freedom of expression (or of religion) is sometimes more abundant than we would have thought.
我们在西宁的一个餐馆所见。看来中国还是很有一些言论和宗教自由的。


 

Some humorous signs seen in the hotel shown below. We don’t know if the humor is intended. The first is a sign in the bathroom, warning about a possible slippery floor. The second is over a flight of stairs, warning about a low beam above.
这两个警告是在下面的旅店所见。第一个是在客房厕所内,其英文提示是“小心滑坡”。第二个是在楼梯上,其英文提示也有些问题,但不好翻译。


 

Our hotel in Lijiang, Yunnan. According to the Dongba (a scholar in the Naxi minority language and culture) shown below, the Naxi language hotel name (second line) is written with "right sound, but wrong characters."
我们在丽江的旅店。据下面的东巴(纳西学者、长老)讲,它的东巴文名字“音是对的,字是错的”。

A Dongba we met in Lijiang. The newspaper he was reading is in Chinese. Almost all social function is carried out in Chinese here. Dongba’s are only found in stationary stores, such as the one shown in this picture.
我们在丽江见到的一个东巴。他读的报纸是汉字的,当地日常用的是汉文。东巴只是在当地的纸店里才能找到。


 


Winery in Mu’s residence, the palace of the local administrator. Even though the Mu family is of Naxi minority, as is most of the local populace at the time, the sign is written in Chinese only, with no Dongba ideograms. Mu’s family strongly believe that the knowledge of Chinese language is an important tool to bring prosperity to the region and people.
木府酒坊的照片只用汉字,不用东巴文,而木家和当地大多数居民都是纳西族。木氏土司掌当地行政权和军权二百多年,他们觉得汉语、汉字能带来繁荣。


 

Dr. He (no relation), a Naxi medicine man famous for his cures for cancer. Here he’s showing off some of the newspaper articles about him published in western media. Inside the house there are more collections like this, which he liked to show his visitors as well. Although he speaks Chinese perfectly, he prefers to use his not-so-perfect English.
和士秀是世界闻名的纳西医生(但是当地人却很少光顾),专治癌症。这里他在给我们看国外报道他的文章剪报。他房子内还有很多这样的剪报,他也津津乐道地一一给我们看过、念过。他的汉语很好,但是更愿意用不那么好的英语跟我们对话。


 

House of AI Siqi, Mao Zedong (Mao Tse Tung)’s philosophical adviser. Why would a revolutionary need a philosophical adviser? Because he wants his words weighted with the persuasion of a philosophy.
毛泽东的哲学顾问艾思奇的故居。“毛泽东思想”的形成和艾思奇很有关系。


 


"Their ultimate sacrifices is forever." Dedication to the Nationalists (Guomindang) died during the war to recover Tengchong, by Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai Shek). It is rare to see Jiang’s handwriting in mainland China. But here in the
Cemetery of the National Heroes for the Tengchong recovery battle, it’s only proper to have the highest dedication from Jiang, who was the head of the Nationalist government.
蒋介石手迹。这在大陆是很难见到的。但是在纪念腾冲收复的国殇墓园,有当时国民政府领袖蒋介石的题字才最得体。


 

"Righteousness of Heaven and Earth." Dedication to the Nationalists died during the war to recover Tengchong. The character for "Earth" is left intentionally incomplete, to signify that at the time parts of China were still under Japanese control.
“天地正气”的“地”字少一笔,表示当时国土尚未恢复完整。

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