some common character slips in China

Joel of Danwei has translated the gist of a list of the top errors in Mandarin use for 2006, as submitted by the readers of Yǎowénjiáozì (咬文嚼字), a magazine in China. (Yǎowénjiáozì is tricky to translate. Maybe “Pedantry,” though that sounds a bit harsh.)

I’ve reproduced the errors relating specifically to character use (7 out of 10), making the characters larger in order to help make the distinctions clearer. See Joel’s post for details.

  1. (xiàng) instead of (xiàng)
  2. 丙戍年 (bǐng shù nián) instead of 丙戌年 (bǐngxū nián)
  3. 神州[六号] (Shénzhōu [liù hào]) instead of 神舟[六号] (Shén Zhōu [liù hào]) (Those responsible for naming the spacecraft, however, certainly intended the name to remind people of “the Divine Land” (Shénzhōu, 神州, i.e. China).)
  4. () instead of ()
  5. 美發 (měi fā) instead of 美髮 (měifà) (The characters 發 () and 髮 () were both given the simplified form of 发, so people in China often end up with the wrong character when trying to use the traditional form of 发.)
  6. 启示 (qǐshì) instead of 启事 (qǐshì)
  7. 哈蜜瓜 (hā mì guā) instead of 哈密瓜 (Hāmìguā)


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