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Chinatown Street Signs

haha you're welcome.. must be "teacher's blood" in me, always love to go into long-winded explanations of things given the slightest provocation

人 is one of the most ancient characters, of the "pictogram" class of characters and supposed to diagrammatically represent a human as seen from the side (in earlier forms the left stroke is shorter, supposed to represent the arms, and the right stroke is longer and represents the legs)
(here you go:
in mandarin it would be "ren" (to be perfectly accurate, "r" is pronounced like the "s" in "measure" but with a more rolled tongue; "e" is a short schwa.. but it sounds approximately like "run")
in cantonese it would be "jan" (with the "j" actually being a "y" sound, and the "a" again more like the "u" in run)
i'm not going to go into the tones because that adds a whole another level of complexity

the most original character for woman is 女 (nü in mando, nuy in canto), the pictogram for a woman with breasts
.. the character for "man" (as in male) is actually 男 (nan in mando, naam in canto), which is of the class of "joined meaning" characters, combining two original pictograms in order to "join" their meanings, in this case combining 田 (field) with 力 (strength) to make 男, the gender with the strength to work the fields

the other two major classes of characters are "abstract meaning" (such as 一二三 for one two three, with their corresponding number of bars; or 上下 for up/above and down/below, indicated by the position of the dot relative to the bar)... and by far the most common, phonetic+meaning, which combines a "radical" indicating the general semantic category and a phonetic component roughly indicating the sound.. eg, 狗 combines the modified form of 犬 (the original character for dog) as the radical on the left, and 句 for the sound on the right.. but after 3000 years, the phonetic component usually isn't that good an approximation, eg now 句 is pronounced jü in mandarin / geuy in cantonese, while 狗 is gou in mandarin / gau in cantonese (notice how it sounds closer in cantonese)

if this is deemed to be too OT, we can start another thread or talk by PM or something
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Dug up this old thread to post photos of the many new street signs that have gone up in recent weeks in Chinatown. Most of the old "acorns" on Dundas and Spadina have gone down, replaced by the new street signs.

Fortunately, the new signs retain the same Chinese transliteration of the English street names (and not simply the name "Chinatown" printed across the top of the sign as proposed earlier). However, if I was as picky about Chinatown street signs as Joe Clark is about TTC signage, then I would say I was somewhat disappointed with the Chinese script on the signs. I'd guess that the signs were designed with Photoshop. Some of the Chinese characters appear to be copied and pasted from the old acorn signs, while other characters (probably ones that didn't show up on the acorns) were printed in what is probably the Chinese version of Times New Roman. The worst signs are those where you have a mix of the Times New Roman characters and the acorn characters appearing on the same sign.


Dundas Street West - Chinese characters copied from the old acorn signs


Spadina Avenue - Chinese style "Times New Roman"


Baldwin Street - "Baldwin" is transliterated in the "Times New Roman", and the character for "street" is from the acorn.

Surviving Chinatown "acorns" as of February 18...


Dundas Street West, next to the underground parking entrance east of Spadina


Spadina and Phoebe


Spadina and Bulwer, just north of Queen


Queen and Soho (file photo)
Man, those old signs are so much more aesthetically pleasing. Those new signs look as cheap and flimsy as Toronto's new street furniture... at least they match.
It's too bad they couldn't come up with a consistent Chinese font. I like the signs with the Chinese names on them. They should make them look as good as possible.
When did Chinese become an official language of Canada over French?
Who cares? Chinatown is chinatown. At best you could argue that there is a heavy vietnamese population there. Oh wait... You may be on to something after all, cuz at least the well-educated vietnamese speak French. :)
When did Chinese become an official language of Canada over French?

Since when did street signs have to have two official languages on them?

Are you going to raise a fuss about the Greek street signs in Greektown too?
Come to think of it, are there English/Hebrew street signs up north on Bathurst?
6 pages is pretty rediculous?!

Anyone have a history of this?

I'm gonna guess that it might have had something to do with making Toronto a more tourist friendly destination?

I would think back in the 80's Chinatown would have been the closest anyone in Ontario would have come to experience 'chinese culture'? (China being a closed communist country and all'
I think it gives it character to the area, if anything, it's a bit of a tourist trap gimick.

'Oh, let's go to Toronto's chinato to experience a bit of foreign culture'.

That being said, I think the world is open enough now that we don't need multi-language anymore.

Interesting the NDP-esque posters would be all over this?! What happend to millers 'inclusive' is our motte etc?

bah! lol
We don't need "multi-language" (whatever THAT is), but we clearly do need someone with better a command of the English language on the forum. Your post is borderline unreadable - and ranting about the NDP on here won't help you an iota on that front.

As to the Chinese font used - a bigger issue might be that the dominant population in Chinatown from mainland China uses simplified Chinese.

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