September 10, 2004


I smile at the fact that English, in Vietnamese, is the "heroic language"...

Posted by: Sarah at 02:17 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 Hebrew is:iếng Do Thái ‘still great language. That was fun.

Posted by: Rachel Ann at September 10, 2004 05:38 AM (S0cFr)

2 Before anyone gets the wrong idea, the Vietnamese names for countries are made up of word *pieces* (like Latin and Greek affixes in English) in most cases rather than independent words. So anh is a word component meaning "heroic" but can't be used by itself to mean "hero(ic)" - "hero" is 英雄 anh hùng, literally "heroic male." 英 originally referred to a flower (the graph contains the "grass" radical 艹 on the top) but then expanded in meaning to mean "excellent" and excellent males were, in turn, heroic. In the case of 猶太 Do Thái "Jewish," neither 猶 do "still" nor 太 thái "great" are independent words. Do is out of use in modern Vietnamese - at least according to my dictionary - and so I think most Vietnamese have no idea what the two parts of Do Thái means. It would probably be just syllables to them rather than something obviously meaningful like "Stillgreat." Some but not all of these terms carry over to other Asian languages as well: e.g., English is also "heroic" in Chinese (英語 Mandarin yingyu), Japanese (英語 eigo), and Korean (英語/영어 yOngO). Japanese and Korean don't use the "still great" word for Hebrew: in Japanese, Hebrew is ヘブライ語heburaigo (語 go = language) and in Korean it's 히브리어 hibUriO (어 O = language). I just found Hebrew lessons in Korean, with Hebrew written phonetically in the Korean alphabet:

Posted by: Amritas at September 10, 2004 07:21 AM (NLPaJ)

3 I understood that it didn't literally mean "heroic", but I smiled anyway...

Posted by: Sarah at September 10, 2004 10:04 AM (pLh/m)

4 Sarah, It gets better. If you spoke to your husband in Vietnamese, you would call him "anh," literally "older brother," a native word homophonous with but unrelated to 英 anh "hero(ic)" which is from Chinese. I forgot to mention that 英 Anh "hero(ic)" for English is short for 英吉利 Anh Cát Lợi "Heroic Lucky Profit." There is another French-based word for English, Ăng Lê (from anglais, of course), but that's just a sequence of two meaningless syllables, so it's not as fun.

Posted by: Amritas at September 10, 2004 10:25 AM (NLPaJ)

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