Why i like chinese
Chinese is the most delightful language , thanks to it’s beautiful literalism. There is a finite amount of characters available in written Chinese, so instead of inventing new words as technology progresses, existing characters are combined newly. The results are fantastic.
What do you call an airplane?
Flying machine. 飞机
What do you call a cellphone?
Hand machine. 手机
What do you call a computer?
Electric brain. 电脑
Flower powder. 花粉
Sometimes I can guess how to say something by rewording it to something I know how to say. “How do you say to bloom?” I ask, then ponder the answer. “Kāihuā?” (开花, open flower) This time, I’m correct.
Sometimes there are simple combinations that express something I don’t know how to gracefully say in English: I just learned yǎnshéng, eye spirit— the emotions or personality conveyed by your eyes.
Sometimes the combinations make no sense at all, at least not to me:
pocket is 口袋, mouth bag.
This is probably why English auto-translated from Chinese is often an absolute (though comical) mess.
Even though it is very difficult to understand, and though I’m more or less completely illiterate, the literalism in Chinese keeps my language-learning process joyful.
What do you call a train?
Fire car. 火车 (think steam engine)
What do you call an hippopotamus?
River horse. 河马
What do you call a rhinoceros?
Sharp cow. 犀牛