Chinglatin? Latinese?

traffic sign.jpg

This is lifted from FEER’s excellent blog
, where it’s accompanied by the following caption:

Western China desperately wants to be international, which is commendable. But somebody please tell the Qinghai highway department that translating road signs with a Chinese-Latin dictionary is not a good idea. Roland van Asch, an Australian reader working with a forestry project, sent in this baffling sign, which is actually trying to tell truck drivers to keep right.

I want to know what the highway department was doing with a Chinese-Latin dictionary.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

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The Discussion: 11 Comments

totus vestri substructio es belong nobis.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

By the way, I’m carrying on the baton of the someone you covered.

May 29, 2005 @ 4:34 pm | Comment

Another triumph for electronic translating gizmos [as peddled by Da Shan??]. It’s high tech therefore it must be better!

May 29, 2005 @ 11:55 pm | Comment

My all-time fav chinese sign was in a hotel (I think it was called the Forum) in Shenzhen about 5 years ago. I remember it word for word.

“Guests are prohibited from coming in the rooms between 11pm and 6am each evening. If guests come in the rooms this must be reported to reception.”

Sorry for the smut richard.

May 30, 2005 @ 1:40 am | Comment

Verium et mutable, semper ‘China’

Sorry about the spelling, and I don’t know the correct word for China, my latin is pantus maximus.

May 30, 2005 @ 3:02 am | Comment

infinitum est numerus stultorum

May 30, 2005 @ 3:24 am | Comment

ACB – an early Roman word used to describe a not very known people to the far east, who were the source of silk was the “Seres” (seres, serum) … so you could probably say that that is the Latin for China.

May 30, 2005 @ 3:41 am | Comment

And wasn’t that quote originally used to describe women? :-P

May 30, 2005 @ 3:42 am | Comment

It’s a shame this thread has died. I know it’s not very controversial, but I was interested in it. :-(
Anyway who is a native Chinese speaker here, care to point out the most common grammatical / language mistakes they hear, when foreigners are trying to speak Mandarin?

June 1, 2005 @ 10:16 am | Comment

There is a academica sinica, so I suppose the latin form of “China” is “Sina”/”Sinia”, followed by “sinae”, as all in the -a feminitive declination.

June 1, 2005 @ 11:19 am | Comment

Filthy, I wouldn’t be so quick to say this htread has died. The way things have been on Peking Duck lately, this thread could hit 200 comments within the space of an afternoon.

I would imagine that 99% of bloggers are jealously eyeing this particular site at the moment.

June 1, 2005 @ 11:49 am | Comment

Yeah, it’s been absolutely huge just recently hasn’t it? I can barely keep up with the wave of new comments. Well done Richard.

June 2, 2005 @ 9:27 am | Comment

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