[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: VMs: Repetitions (no 8.7k jpeg attached)

26/09/2004 11:09:37 PM, "Lee Yang Yang" <u0306518@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>Well, as a native Chinese speaker, i feel compelled to burst your bubble :P

>The character that appears 4 times and looks like a "Z" with a cap 


>means "thereof" or "of".

In Wenyan it also means "it/him/her" (accusative), so it
is naturally a high-frequency character.

>Of the two characters that appear thrice, the top one [zhe3] means 
>"he/one who" and the bottom one [bu4] means "not". 

>So, the high density of "one who", "not" and "of" just reflects 
>the high frequency end of Zipf's Law. The fact that they occur 
>in such close proximity in such parallel constructs is because 
>ancient Chinese sages (and fortune cookies) tend to spout wisdom like this:
>"He who does not comprehend Chinese does not comprehend wisdom.


In this case, the fortune cookie read in English, after restoring the
text I cut out to keep the jpeg small:

The princes of the kingdom, however, repairing to
court, went not to the son of Yao, but they went to Shun. 
Litigants went not to the son of Yao, but they went to Shun. 
Singers sang not the son of Yao, but they sang Shun...

Page 355 presents similar repetitions, but of other characters 
(yi3 instrumental, yu2 "give", shi4 "affair", tian "heaven"...), 
and the "fortune cookie" reads: 

"Heaven gave it to him--did Heaven confer its appointment 
with specific injunctions?" 

[Mencius] replied: "No, Heaven does not speak. It simply 
showed its will by his personal conduct and his conduct 
of affairs". 

"It showed its will by his personal conduct and his conduct 
of affairs--how is this?"

[Mencius's] answer was: "The sovereign can present a man to 
Heaven, but he cannot make Heaven give that man the throne. 
A prince can present a man to the sovereign, but he cannot cause
the sovereign to make that man a prince. A great officer can
present a man to his prince [and so on...]".

The funny thing is that yi3 (instrumental), tian (Heaven),
shi4 (affair), and others occur doubled _horizontally_
when the text was written vertically. I thought it was
a result of Classical writers favouring 4-character sentences.
But the columns on p.355 are _ten_ characters long,
and the columns on p.357 (of which I posted a sample) are
_eleven_ characters long. So it's pure coincidence, not

To unsubscribe, send mail to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxx with a body saying:
unsubscribe vms-list