> Today the weather is nice, so my wife and I take
our darling son and daughter to travel the world. Suddenly,
from the side of the road emerges a reeking, filthy-faced,
homeless old woman. My God! It’s none other than my
Chinese teacher from 20 years ago!
> This week you stand through class!
My Chinese friends are of the opinion that it’s fake and the handwriting isn’t a real third grader’s, but I was still very amused by this.
Also, if you’re trying to read this and feeling frustrated, these are the really hard parts (well beyond intermediate-level):
– 环游世界: to take a trip around the world
– 冲出: to charge out
– 浑身: from head to toe
– 恶臭: stench
– 满脸: the entire face
– 污秽: filthy
– 无家可归: homeless (lit. “no home to return to”)
– 竟然: unexpectedly (a grammar point)
I mentioned before in my post “Chinese Numbers: Where 4 Meets 6” that I’d have a longer post on this topic. This is it (although not quite as long as I was hoping). Again, I don’t mean the Chinese character numbers (一、二、三、四、etc.); I’m talking about the numbers we call Arabic numerals. In China, they can occasionally be written pretty differently from what foreigners are used to, and present serious potential for confusion and misunderstandings.
4 and 6
This is the issue I mentioned before, and illustrated with this image:
I actually had a hard time finding really good examples of this “in the wild,” but here’s a fairly representative example:
Here are some more “normal” 4s:
This one is the easiest to document, and by far the least recognizable to Westerners, in my opinion. How do you even describe it? Kind of like a cross between a “P” and a “q”? Spot the 9s!
Sometimes it looks like a backwards Z, and other times it looks like a weird curvy thing with a line through it. In an un-5-like way!
As a bonus, here’s an 8 that looks like a 6:
Consider this post a little heads up. If you’re suddenly in a situation in China where you have to be reading numbers, running into these forms can be a little bewildering.
Also, I’ve been trying to collect representative examples for months, and this is all I’ve come up with. (And three of them came from ChinesePod co-host Dilu. Yes, the food-related ones were all me.) If anyone could share additional examples that I’m allowed to post, please email them to me, or link to them in the comments, and I’ll add them here as an update.