February 9th, 2011


Which came first, the language or the culture?

You know how there's a belief that pounamu absorbs the wairua of its wearer? Apparently this belief isn't just limited to Maori in New Zealand. According to the book I am reading (fictional but written by a Chinese person) this belief is shared by the Chinese about jade. Traditionally they also have the belief that it has to like you for you to be able to wear it, and apparently it really does change colour over time. To which I go "Hmm.."

And in other things Chinese I started attempting to learn the radicals yesterday. There are a lot of them. I have learned the first five, what they mean and where you might find them in a Chinese character. While my native English-speaking brain is going OMGOMGOMG*POP* at the way in which this language works*, I keep telling myself I'm good at codes and patterns and this is just a bigger, more complex one with the potential to really upset people if I stuff it up. What could possibly go wrong, right?

* For example, the character for 'good' is a combination of the radical for 'woman' and the one for 'child'. Woman and child together = good. Now while I do understand the logic behind this, it's not a leap my brain would make on its own and I've seen enough literal translations Chinese --> English to know there's quite a lot of this metaphorical association stuff going on in there, and some of it may be even more unlikely-seeming to me.

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I have been cooking. I blame this on the three weeks of eating out every night and the desire for more vegetables in my life. Also on my skintness. Anyway, my cooking show will be entitled "Fun things to make with an onion and half a courgette" and The Kid keeps looking at me sideways, perhaps wondering if his real Mum has been abducted by aliens. And so far nobody's died.

Gosh. If I develop a healthy habit every 6 months, by the time I retire I'll be Virtuous As Fuck and probably a bit smug. Clearly I need to pick up some more vices to balance it all out. *nods*