News   Jul 19, 2024
 295     0 
News   Jul 19, 2024
 1.5K     4 
News   Jul 19, 2024
 583     1 

Chinatown Street Signs

For those who are riled up about Chinese-language signage in Chinatown, go check out the Western Union money transfer ad on the TTC shelter on Dundas just outside Dragon Centre (Spadina and Dundas... the same ad is also displayed on a bus shelter outside Pacific Mall).

The ad is entirely covered in simplified Chinese script and Chinese fireworks. The only English on that ad is a Western Union logo.

There's a Ford billboard on Hurontario Street between the 401 and Derry (in Mississauga, but near the Brampton border) entirely in Punjabi.

Interesting to see a simplified Chinese ad in Chinatown. I'd expect that more at say Finch and Warden.
 
Last edited:
i just looked up "chinese alphabet" and found out that instead of an alphabet, it uses characters called logograms to represent things. there's thousands of them!

how the heck do you remember all of that? that's gotta be good for the brain. i wonder if china and similar countries that use logograms have lower rates of dementia because of this?
 
Wylie, I don't think the issue is with private signage. This isn't Quebec after all. The issue is with city signage. Personally I think signs should be in English but would also argue that there is a heritage argument for the Chinese signage in the downtown neighbourhood. Wasn't there a city initiative to customize street signs somewhat per neighbourhood (a rainbow flag in the Church Wellesley neighbourhood for example)? This to me seems to be the better and more consistent approach.
 
English/Chinese signs just happen to be the way the local street signs are customized in Chinatown, as English/Greek signs are used in Greektown, and "Corso Italia" and "Rua Acores" signs are used in the west end. Other BIAs have symbols (ie the Rainbow flag) or logos (ie Bloor-Yorkville).

Why you still have such a problem with Chinese script on streetsigns is beyond me when it's just in Chinatown, and no other wayfinding or street signs are in Chinese (ie "No standing"). May I re-suggest using faux-Chinese lettering instead?
 
i just looked up "chinese alphabet" and found out that instead of an alphabet, it uses characters called logograms to represent things. there's thousands of them!

While there are characters for common words, sometimes characters are chained together and used for phonetic purposes, especially when coming up with ways for writing non-Chinese words (like the street names in Chinatown). What can be confusing is that different dialects will pronounce characters differently, so someone from Hong Kong might come up with different Chinese characters for "Spadina" than someone from Shanghai.

how the heck do you remember all of that?

Most training involves starting with the common characters (man, woman, dog, food, etc) and building out from that as necessary. There are common standards for the number of characters a typical high-schooler knows vs. someone a typical University student.

that's gotta be good for the brain.

Let me tell you, you go through a lot of flashcards. :)
 
my brain hurts

人,婦女,狗,食物

man: 人

woman: 婦女

dog: 狗

food: 食物


i thought woman would have been: 婦人?

same for dog food: 狗食 why are there only 2 logograms? shouldn't there be 3?


p.s, i wanna check if the online translators translate correctly. what am i saying here?

有大乳房的婦女有一頭非常美麗的驢子。
 
Last edited:
人,婦女,狗,食物

man: 人

woman: 婦女

dog: 狗

food: 食物

i thought woman would have been: 婦人?

same for dog food: 狗食 why are there only 2 logograms? shouldn't there be 3?


p.s, i wanna check if the online translators translate correctly. what am i saying here?

有大乳房的婦女有一頭非常美麗的驢子。

girl person (girl) = 女人 .
wife = 婦人
food/eat, type/things = 食物

The translation for dog food doesn't seem right I think? I think it's "gao leung" I can't remember the chinese character.

As for the last sentence, it doesn't make sense i think?
Are you trying to say there's a big bust woman with a very beautiful ass?
Structure is awkward and I haven't even studied proper structure to notice that. Somehow ass got translated to donkey LOL
 
LOL!


what i wanted:

the woman with the big breasts had a very beautiful ass as well.

what i got:

Has the big breast's woman to have a very beautiful donkey.


can't wait for a computer to pass the turing test.



see what happens when we use euphemisms to hide bad words. the computer translating programs get all retarded. :D
 
Last edited:
Well, you have to take into account that online translators translates text directly so you have to use a bit of guessing to get the gist of it. I don't think there's any computers out there that can translate properly. Only humans can translate and even that requires deep enough knowledge to spell and use grammar properly. I've seen some really bad subs around.

As for the flash card business. I suppose they're helpful. But the best way is just to read more. If you try to memorize, you'll forget. But if you keep seeing the word appear in a sentence often, you'll remember it and understand the meaning better. I never had much of a chinese education growing up in Toronto, but I learned reading through magazines, tvb subs in dramas and following lyrics from songs. However that only helps with memorization. Without formal education, it's impossible to form proper sentences. Even some kids in HK can't write properly structured sentence in their creative writing class. They tend to use slang.
 
if you kinda think about it, maybe english words are similar to chinese logograms since when we read english words, we don't really read one letter at a time but instead we recognize the word. i think the biggest difference would be in the way to learn words.

i don't know how well i'd learn by picking up a chinese newspaper. it's all chinese to me, literally! ;)
 
It's pretty painful. But it wasn't like learning English was easy either. In school the teachers kept making us read. If we came across a word we don't understand, we look it up in the dictionary or ask the teacher. Well, with chinese it's the same. Since I have no teacher and I speak the language, it's either look it up in the dictionary or do some guess work (fill in the blank that makes sense). Similar to English that some characters that go together make a certain sound, chinese characters that go together make a certain sound. So you try and sound it out. Try and guess the tone until you get a coherent one that make sense. The only difference between Chinese and English is Chinese is harder to write cuz some characters have a lot of strokes and you have to remember all the strokes and if there's many, it has to fit in a tiny box shape. Otherwise you get big and small words o_O
 
人,婦女,狗,食物

man: 人

woman: 婦女

dog: 狗

food: 食物


i thought woman would have been: 婦人?

same for dog food: 狗食 why are there only 2 logograms? shouldn't there be 3?


p.s, i wanna check if the online translators translate correctly. what am i saying here?

有大乳房的婦女有一頭非常美麗的驢子。

girl person (girl) = 女人 .
wife = 婦人
food/eat, type/things = 食物

The translation for dog food doesn't seem right I think? I think it's "gao leung" I can't remember the chinese character.

As for the last sentence, it doesn't make sense i think?
Are you trying to say there's a big bust woman with a very beautiful ass?
Structure is awkward and I haven't even studied proper structure to notice that. Somehow ass got translated to donkey LOL

woman / female could be translated as either 婦女 (more polite) or 女人 (more general).. 婦人 is kind of the "singular" form of 婦女 when used to refer to a single female person
wife should be 妻/妻子 (more formal) or 老婆 (more colloquial, literally old + old woman)
dog food would normally be called 狗糧, literally dog + food, because 糧 is a more classical/formal word originally meaning grains/taxes and generalized to mean food

classical chinese and the southern chinese languages (cantonese, fujianese, shanghainese etc, which preserved more features of ancient chinese than mandarin) tend more often to use single characters as words, so one character = one word.. but later chinese tended to add redundant characters to lengthen the word, probably to make it easier for speaking, so that nowadays it's more common for two characters = one word.. eg nowadays, esp in mandarin and written chinese (which is based on mandarin), 糧 is usually used as 糧食 (food + food or grain + food)

as for your sentence, it makes sense, but not the meaning that you wanted..

有大乳房的婦女有一頭非常美麗的驢子。

character-for-character is:
have-big-milk-room-'s-woman-woman-have-one-head-not-usual-pretty-pretty-'s-donkey-little

collapsed into words:
have-big-breast-'s-woman-have-a-unusual/very-pretty-'s-donkey
(chinese has a class of "quantifiers" that are usually used in front of nouns, so that 頭 or "head" in this case is the quantifier for large animals)
(the 子 in 驢子 is another common feature in mandarin / modern chinese to lengthen words to two characters, in this case adding a "diminutive" or "intimate" sense.. ancient/southern chinese usually don't do that)

and when you correct for the differences in syntax and the lack of conjugation in chinese, you will get:
(the) woman with big breasts has a very pretty donkey

the only problem being, "ass" has two definitions (buttocks and donkey, which was the original meaning), so the translator took the more formal / original meaning and translated it as "donkey"

--
PS. a grammatically slightly more correct way to say that sentence in mandarin/written chinese would be
那個大乳房的婦女有一頭非常美麗的驢子。
literally:
that-(quantifier)-big(etc same as above)
in this case the first quantifier is for the woman, not for the breasts

in case you're interested, in cantonese the sentence would be:
個大胸女人有隻好靚嘅驢。
literally:
(quantifier)-big-breast-female-person-has-(quantifier)-good-pretty-'s-donkey
see how much shorter the cantonese sentence is
 
Last edited:
thanks golodhendil for making such effort to explain all that to me.

i think that i can say that at least i've learned how to write the word "man": 人

i am a 人. it's easy to remember because it looks like a wishbone.


how is it pronounced?




p.s, 婦女 "woman", looks really complicated.
 
人 = person (cantonese: yan, mandarin: ren")
男人 = male (cantonese: lam yan, mandarin "nan ren")
女人 = female (cantonese: lui yan, mandarin "nu ren")
 
人 = person (cantonese: yan, mandarin: ren")
男人 = male (cantonese: lam yan, mandarin "nan ren")
女人 = female (cantonese: lui yan, mandarin "nu ren")


oh, 人 is man, not literally as a sex but as person. just like how in english, man can mean more than just male.

the logograms for female look easier to remember since the first part looks like two X's on top of each other, kinda like XX chromosomes.
 

Back
Top