topic: writing systems

learning Persian

I am waiting to see if the Iranians are going to give me a visa – and, if it comes through, I should be off to Iran in a couple of weeks. I am a tad nervous about the visa because, against the advice of a friend of mine who has been to Iran, I wrote “author” for my occupation. He had expressly told me not to put “writer” because it could lead to the […]

hand holding halberd…

Continuing my, possibly reckless, exploration into Chinese, I want to discuss the character for the singular pronoun (I, me) wǒ which is the first character shown. Now this is composed of two elements: the one on the left, the 2nd shown, is a pictograph for ‘hand’; the one on the right is a pictograph for ‘halberd’ or ‘lance’. So wǒ is written as a hand holding a halberd… This seems to me to pose two interesting questions. […]

how a rabbit may have run off with the sun

I had become increasingly curious about the Chinese language, but everything I read about it contradicted everything else. So at last I took the plunge and I am now in the 2nd term of a course in Chinese. I am less interested in learning to speak it than I am in learning to read and write it – at least a little bit. Fundamentally, what I am after is an insight into China and its people: I […]