Wednesday, July 27, 2005

LANGUAGE MYTH: "CRISIS" = DANGER + OPPORTUNITY IN CHINESE

Sorry folks, it ain't so (thanks to Jane Galt for pointing this out).

This bit of folk American wisdom is similar to the oft-repeated "Chinese curse":
May you live in interesting times
I heard that one dozens of times before I realized that I had absolutely no idea how one would say such a thing in Chinese. After asking some native-speaking colleagues, I came to the conclusion that this was another case of a nugget of wisdom being "orientalized" in order to give it more appeal (somewhat akin to how Mark Twain supposedly uttered nearly every humorous anecdote known to man in the last century).

Comments:
It's like how most Chinese food in America are actualy fusion dishes created by Chinese-Americans.
 
Now if only it were all that simple!!
 
I actually heard this cited as an Arabic curse long before I heard it labelled a Chinese one.
 
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