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Celestial for Chinese
Posted: 03 November 2012 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Have many other US words found their way into mainstream Australian English?

In the Gold Rush era, various terms such as the verb “prospect”, “digger” meaning a miner, and “bush” meaning a rural area are thought to have been transferred from American English to Australian English. Of these, “The Bush” is considered an Australianism. Similarly, “bonzer” is considered a archetypical Australian word, and the Macquarie dictionary reckons it derived from “bonanza”, brought to Australia by Americans.

According to Phillip Bell and Roger Bell in Americanization and Australia, “hitched” meaning married, “tough luck”, and “chip in” meaning to contribute were all listed as having been introduced to Australian English by 1936.
“OK” began to be used in Australia in the 1940s: WW2 represented a major opportunity for transfer as thousands of US soldiers were stationed in Australia.

Since WW2 of course there would have been countless examples of words that started in the USA that have become part of Global English and hence of course are used in Australia.

EDIT: one regrettable borrowing was the racist term “coon”

EDIT: The Australian Labour Party changed its name to the Australian Labor Party due largely to the influence of the American born labour leader King O’Malley. The spelling with the -u- was the standard in Australia at the time and has remained so since, but the u-less spelling for the ALP has stuck.

[ Edited: 03 November 2012 06:18 AM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 03 November 2012 11:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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On translating Chinese: “Similarly 中国, the usual name for China in China itself, is traditionally translated “Middle Kingdom” in English, but 中 is generally translated “central” and vise versa (Central district in Hong Kong is 中環), so 中国 should “really” be Central Country ... “ ----

Meanings of Chinese words are very much context based and translation into English isn’t always straight forward.  However, the word zhong (中) is appropriately translated into “middle” (AND central AND other words).  Other examples “zhongnian” - literally “middle-aged” (not “central aged").  Or “zhongsiji” = “middle ages” or “zhongjian” = “middle” or “halfway”.  The list of words in which zhong translated as “middle” is large. 

The 2nd word “guo” 国 also has multiple meanings.  Guo literally means “state” or “country.” So if wang guo (王国) is literally translated, it “should” be translated as “king country” or “king state” - but that wouldn’t make any sense, so it is translated into “kingdom.”

As we do in English, sometimes part of a Chinese word is used to represent the whole word (phone = telephone), so “guo” from wang guo + “zhong” = Middle kingdom.  It’s an appropriate translation.

Literal translations between most languages often lose essential meanings or just don’t make sense.  When I first started learning Chinese, I thought it was so nice that America in Chinese is “Mei guo” or “beautiful country” (and American = beautiful person").  Then my Chinese friends explained “mei” was just picked because it sounds a little like “aMERica.” Portugal is “Putaoya” or translated literally “Grapes tooth”.  I doubt many (any?) translators would argue that the Chinese word for Portugal should be translated to “Grapes tooth” to be “literally” correct or that “wang guo” should be translated as “king country.” The best translations capture the feel & use of the word.  Sometimes zhong = central, sometimes = middle, and sometimes = other meanings.  It’s fascinating to go back & forth between the languages.

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Posted: 04 November 2012 12:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Here’s a really colorful example of a creative translation from Chinese into English. 

Earlier this year, I stayed in the “The Lakeview hotel” in Beijing.  It’s Chinese name is considerably longer & it takes some mental gymnastics to get to its English name.  However, “The Lakeview hotel” gives the intended connotation in English, so it could be argued it is a good translation.

The Chinese name is Beida Boya Guoji jiudian.  (北大博雅国际酒店) - which looks complicated, but isn’t
Beida = is the standard abbreviation for “Beijing Daxue” or Beijing University (Peking Univ - PKU)
Boya = is a famous Peking Univ tower overlooking a famous lake.
Guoji = international
jiudian = hotel

Since a foreigner is unlikely to understand that “Peking Univ Boya tower” connotes a feel of “looking over a lake”, lakeview was substitued. 
“international” was likely judged as “unnecessary to translate.”

Does “lakeview hotel” connote the same feeling to foreigners as Beida boya guoji jiudian does to Chinese?  Who can know for sure?  I can say that “The Lakeview Hotel” has a nice ring to it and the Chinese feel the same about the hotel’s Chinese name.  A good translation conveys the sense, feeling & meaning of a word or phrase.  It think it does.  It also illustrates that connections between translated words may not always be instantly apparent.

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Posted: 04 November 2012 01:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Belated thanks to OP.

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Posted: 04 November 2012 06:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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so “guo” from wang guo + “zhong” = Middle kingdom.  It’s an appropriate translation.

“Kingdom,” yes, but it’s not clear why “Middle” is any more appropriate than “Central,” which would sound less exotic.

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Posted: 04 November 2012 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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OP, I recently bought some imported Oz Coon Cheese in Bangkok and thought, OK, the American sense hasn’t reached there yet but it turns out it is the American founder’s name. That entry says

British stand-up comedian Stephen K. Amos regularly performs a skit on Coon Cheese as part of his live show, due to the word “Coon” also being an ethnic slur used for black people.

Coon for black person can’t be that widespread in Australia if such is the case.

Also, I remember reading somewhere of China once referring to itself (in English translation) as Everything Under the Sun. Light, bushel, etc ;) It could be an ornate translation of Middle Kingdom, though.

[ Edited: 04 November 2012 08:25 AM by venomousbede ]
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Posted: 04 November 2012 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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The racial term coon is moderatley common in Australia, vb, among the kinds of people who say such things. There has occasionally been some suggestion that the cheese should change its name, and urban myths suggesting racist origins for its name sometimes circulate.

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Posted: 04 November 2012 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Language hat:  I agree Middle Kingdom is not necessarily more appropriate, both central & middle could be used (so who’s to say…?). 

I was addressing the statement “中 is generally translated “central” and vise versa, so 中国 should “really” be Central Country ...” because it could be read to imply the Middle kingdom translation is wrong - it’s not.  Zhong 中 is appropriately translated both as central/center and middle/mid (and in other ways).  (Berlitz and Langenscheidt Chinese dictionaries will quickly show this).

The correlation with both words in English is quite close:  zhong is used for the Chinese words such as as CIA, CPU, center of the page, center text, etc.

Similarly, virtually any word that begins with mid or middle in English begin with zhong 中 in Chinese:  Middle East, middle aged, Middle Ages, middle man, middleweight, midwest, midweek, midway, middle name, mid day, middle school, middle ear infection, etc.

In case it helps with the “logic” of how the languages translate back & forth:  Zhong is also used for other “middle/center” words:  neutralize, halfway, intermediate, medium sized, etc.

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