livrebleu: (Default)
livrebleu ([personal profile] livrebleu) wrote in [community profile] mandarin1012010-09-27 09:50 pm

Poetry!

I just found this. This is cool on so many different levels (except, perhaps, poetics?) that I don't know where to start. I'm a geek, I know, but--have you guys seen this poem before?

《施氏食獅史》
石室詩士施氏,嗜獅,誓食十獅。
氏時時適市視獅。
十時,適十獅適市。
是時,適施氏適市。
氏視是十獅,恃矢勢,使是十獅逝世。
氏拾是十獅屍,適石室。
石室濕,氏使侍拭石室。
石室拭,氏始試食是十獅。
食時,始識是十獅,實十石獅屍。
試釋是事。

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

[personal profile] pne 2010-09-28 07:46 am (UTC)(link)
Ah, the lion-eating poet in the stone den? Heh. Yeah, I'd come across that several years ago, on Usenet. Wikipedia also has an article about it.

It's occasionally trotted out as an argument about how Pinyin could never work because there are too many ambiguities, except people forget that nobody speaks like that in modern Mandarin precisely because of the ambiguities. So you get 獅子, 屍體, 市場, 時候, 解釋, and 石頭 instead of just "shi". (My favourite being 身體, where both components mean essentially the same thing by themselves, so you can tell that they are just used together to decrease ambiguity in speech. Whereas some words are disambiguated by "meaningless" syllables such as 子 or 頭 or 兒 - those tend to be neutral-tone, too.)
highways: [Dante from Devil May Cry looks down in the dark, his eyes are hidden.] (MARVEL ☌ hit girl.)

[personal profile] highways 2010-09-29 03:10 pm (UTC)(link)
I love the fact that Chinese is capable of that, but I'm also so freaking glad to hear that modern Chinese speakers wouldn't really be able to understand that, because I cannot at all imagine being able to ever parse that no matter how much I studied Chinese.