Wednesday, March 07, 2007

msb-0121 Ease and Chinese

msb-0121 Ease and Chinese


"Parlez vous Français? L'offre est encore bonne."

"Sprechen Sie Deutsches? Das Angebot ist noch gut."

I'm seeing if someone from the Netherlands might be interested.

He needs a mike and the wire to express himself. He has a great and expressive style that I think would be of interest to the other Dutch speakers with MS.

The offer I have made to Homer, a Greek soon-to-be podcaster, and that I am making to the French and German speaking people is open to you too.

And for you people I noticed coming to my sites from computers inside of China; do you speak Mandarin? Do you want your own shows?

I wish I could speak and understand Chinese even a little bit. (I also wish my freakin' computer could display the text as more than a series little square boxes! Unicode my ass.)

Feel free to take advantage of my offer for a USB microphone if you need one and distribution of your content on living with MS on

Drop me an email: charles (at)

---- "Make Me Understand" by: "Matt Thorp"

Feedback come first, so...

I really don't have any. Its been an extremely quiet few days here at "Chaos Manor".

Strike that, but I'm not able to talk about it yet.

Remember what I was talking about in "msb-0118 Apophis" about everything getting tied up in red tape and budget cuts.

Well, today /. [] had a thread [ ] about an article [ ] that said that the asteroid Apophis could be coming straight for us but Nasa's not going to do bugger all about it because it would cost too much, like a billion dollars over 10 years. (Okay ... We've spent 360 billion dollars in Iraq so far since 2003 and if that was supposed to make me feel safe, it hasn't. It really hasn't. It would be a Phyrric victory, but I'd almost hope an Apophis-class asteroid smacks Washington right in some GAO goofball's back pocket. )

---- "Dont Need to Understand" by: "Steve Parsons"

Feed forward comes second, so...

In case you're wondering, I'm not an expert on scripts and writing, but I've learned from one.

My primary reference on scripts is "A History of Writing" by "Albertine Gaur" ISBN-13: 978-0684184227.

This is a wonderful book about the history of writing by an extremely engaging author.
I've been in love with this book since 1997 (though my edition of the book actually ates from 1992,) because it is fairly exhaustive and complete without descending into turgid prose.

It covers:
  • the origins and development of writing,
  • the main groups; their characteristics, history and development,
  • the deciphrement,
  • the social attitudes towards writing and literacy,
  • moves towards the future,
  • a select bibliography,
  • a dictionary of scripts and
  • a short but fairly thorough index.
If you're in the least interested, this is a great book.

---- "Long Ways From Understanding" by: "Eric Burrows"

Feed Me! come third, so...

Do you have a therapy, product, good or service that is of interest to MSers?

Consider advertising on this podcast.

Reminders on this segment only cost $0.03 per reminder per download of an episode. (A $30CPM targeted at MSers.)

It can/should lead to a full ad, in text, audio or video, which costs $3.00 per download.

That sounds expensive until you do the math and realize that if nobody downloads it it costs you nothing, unlike print, where you often can't even get an ad in to the specialized journals, or radio or TV where you'd just be wasting your money with the 0.0833% MSers rate of return. (That's about six times "below" the level of "statistical noise".)

But MSBPodcast is 100% in your market, and you only pay per download of your material.

No play, no pay.

Reach the MSers who would buy your therapy, product, good or service, with-out having to waste your advertising money on anyone who is "not" interested...

Send me an email at: charles (at)

---- "I Cant Understand You Baby" by: "Byther Smith"

Main topic: Ease and Chinese (in the same sentence yet.)

Chinese must be easy to learn.

They have taught it to over a billion children, right now. (Okay most of them are now children of a certain age, but that does not detract from the fact that they were all children when they learned it. :- )

So why does it seem so difficult for me to learn it now.

It requires an entirely different way to read, top-to-bottom and right-to-left, but that's not hard (and being able to read upside down once saved my butt [no, I won't go into the whole sordid debacle but I resigned from a position the instant, the second, I read a notice about who was supposed to become my new "boss" on the desk of the VP of finance where I was working. He was a vendor who was being trapped into the position and he fired "everybody" the following Monday. I didn't feel like waiting around and having that bit of unpleasantness on my work history.] Literally I switched subjects mid sentence, made my farewells, and walked through a cloud of water vapor on the way out. [And you will never hear why I still get a wicked grin on my lips when I think about that, years later.])

I suspect that the main difficulty come from having to learn the 600 or so basic script elements (compare that to the relatively few twenty to thirty letters of scripts that are phonetically based,) and the rules for combining these signs along with symbolic pictures, symbolic compounds, signs that have come into being from deflection and reflection and sound signs (the part that can be considered equivalent to our concept of an alphabet.)

But what makes it to hard to learn also makes for stunningly beautiful calligraphy.

---- "No One Understands" by: "berman"

Main topic, part "deux":


What the heck am I talking about?

Subject, Verb, Object. S, V, O.

These are all the ways a complete well-formed sentence can be constructed regardless of which script people use.

Different peoples, different nationalities, different ethnic groups, construct sentences according to different lights at different times, taking poetic license with word order, sometimes not having one part of speech or another because they were judged unnecessary, sometimes using word absence or presence to indicate verb tenses.

Homo sapiens sapiens has proved itself extremely inventive at attempting expressions to represent some deep contextually dependent meme. They usually get it more right than wrong but when they get it wrong, they often go to hell in a freakin' hand basket usually over something as insignificant as a misplaced comma.

They're usually vociferous, vituperative, vulgar, when they're not down right violent.

That's why I'm trying to get as many people to do these podcasts in as many languages as possible.

We have a common problem, MS, and it exists without words, "sans paroles"; below whatever words we care to choose, whatever words we care to use.

Now do you "get it?"

---- "Understand " by: "Andy Stone"



Miss Chris said...

I don't know how anyone can read Chinese. It seems like you'd have to be an artist to even write anything. Speaking it might not be too bad though?

Charles-A. Rovira said...

It takes years to become proficient at writing in ideograms.

There are so many symbols, 600+ for expressing basic memes, and so many rules for combining them that it certainly has a huge learning curve.

But that's why some some people are highly respected for the calligraphy regardless of the actual content.


I always like to remember the fundamental difference between French and English though.

In French you don't have to know what a word means to spell it or how to pronounce it.

In English you can be able to find roots, etymology, derivations and know precisely what a word means without having a clue as to how its pronounced.

I learned English as a second language. French, well Québecois anyway, is my mother tongue.

The ad-hoc rules for pronouncing words and the lack of diacritical marks, caused me many years of study, and much pain at the hands of high-school bullies, before I leaned English.

(While I don't speak with any particular accent, I think we all have accents. :-)

The confusion between forms, written versus spoken, means that words don't look like they should when speaking and don't sound like they should when spelling.

mdmhvonpa said...

Mandarin or Cantonese! I've learned enough of the later to make sure I don't starve to death and most ppl in Hong Kong speak it. Oddly enough, both languages use the same written form.

Charles-A. Rovira said...

Of course they do. China represents about a hundred separate languages.

Ideograms don't depend on the actual words used to verbally express the memes.

They actually try to represent the memes so they would make an ideal Lingua Franca.

Its too bad they require such a heavy investment in time and effort to learn, and I'm too old to invest that much time and effort without a major payback.

They would work for English or French or Greek, or any verbal medium of exchange.

They require the Chinese speakers to go through the same mental exercise as we would have to go through to translate the written form into some form of speakable language.