2007-04-13

A bit of Chinese

I've been dreaming about learning a bit more of Chinese than the few characters I've been playing with ever since I discovered the excellent introduction by Kyril Ryjik's "L'Idiot Chinois", around 1980 or so (this book is unfortunately sold out now). I've decided that now is the time to learn Chinese, for all sorts of obvious reasons. Hence the extract of the original Chinese text of the now famous "wheel and hub" quote in this page. If your browser does not support Chinese characters, you should do something about it right away.
I've tried to come out with my own translation. Note that I got rid of any capitalization, because Chinese has no notion of Absolute Capital Things. The concepts represented by Chinese characters are most of the time both concrete and abstract, generic and specific. No definite or indefinite articles, no clear distinction between grammatical nature and function. Depending on the context, the same character may be translated as a noun, a verb, or adjective.
In a way, Chinese characters are by nature ... hubjects.