Posted by: atarimonos | September 22, 2008


Chinese is a relatively easy language to learn how to speak, much more difficult to read, and has nothing to do with Scrabble. After work I sauntered over to Turkey-Kebab, the local Iranian owned Kebab shop. Great sandwiches for 40NT (just over a buck). Sandwich in hand I proceeded along the main drag of Taoyuan (Zhong Sheng Rd.) back to my domicile, whereupon I savored my sustenance. We now come the civilized game of Scrabble, which is anything but civilized. Where with eloquent rhetoric a debate began! Should we play Scrabble in our native English? Or Chinese? This devolved into the question of tones, the advancement for use of Wade-Giles rather than Pin-yin, and what dictionary would be used to for corrections. 

This got me to thinking: how does one convey meaning? I am unable to treat the implications to this far-reaching question within the space of this post.  For my purposes a quick outline for why I think this question important must suffice. First, we use language to convey meaning. Second, translation between languages is difficult to say the least. Third, a writer or rhetor’s words, even with her natural command of the native tongue, must “have meaning” not merely “convey-meaning”, savvy? Perhaps Scrabble in other languages would be a means to tackle this issue? No matter, it’s all Chinese to me.


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