‘circumscribe’

I have been living in a non-Mandarin Chinese environment for about four years. Sadly, this does not automatically mean that my English becomes wonderful.

Today I will introduce this new word – circumscribe. I read it from my winter methodology school description that reassures the participants that both quantitative and qualitative orientations are suitable to come to the course. It says, “…especially if their [participants with statistical approaches] populations and/or samples are not so obvious to circumscribe.”

According to Merrian-Webster dictionary, circumscribe is described as follows:

1
a :  to constrict the range or activity of definitely and clearly<his role was carefully circumscribed>

b :  to define or mark off carefully <a study of plant species in a circumscribed area>

2
a :  to draw a line around

b :  to surround by or as if by a boundary <fieldscircumscribed by tall trees>

Circumscribe seems to be one of those posh words that has been widely used in academic articles. For example, when Lijphart explains the definition of his comparative methods, he says that “the approach of his earlier articles was to circumscribe in a number of ways.” (Lijphart 1971: 682)

It was not until I visited Carla in LA that I realized that my English was really rusty.

It was not until I visited Carla in LA that I realized that my English was really rusty. (Yosemite, 2014)

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My fourth Christmas in Finland

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I love Christmas! I didn’t realized how important Christmas it is until I came to Finland.

Christmas feels like Chinese New Year in many ways: people anxiously trying to buy gifts, people clean their houses thoroughly, everybody receive gifts and eat together with family.

This year is my fourth Finnish Christmas. This time, I decided to unravel the mystery of Finnish Christmas food. I had kinkku (ham), karjalanpaisti (Carelian stew), perunalaatikko (potato casserole), lanttulaatikko (rutabaga casserole), bataattilaatikko (sweet potato casserole), rosolli (a kind of salad, find more information about it here) and lohi (salmon).

「語言癌」?

火影忍者的芬蘭文評論

在芬蘭待了一陣子之後,常常有的感嘆就是中文的程度變差了,常常不由自主需要用很多有的沒的字去解釋想要解釋的現象(比如說上次我脫口而出讓家人滿臉疑惑的「要來的星期二」= the coming Tuesday; 又,前幾天我想要在日記上面寫著每天早上太陽九點才出來,所以「很難起床」= difficult to wake up)。

今天看新聞剛好看到這則「語言癌」報導,很有意思。我得承認我其實常常聽到記者或服務生濫用「…的部分」或是「…的動作」也會覺得不太順耳,不過看了朱家安的精要解釋(有興趣下面有連結)就可以大體初步了解這個語言癌狀況。

最後在「語言癌是一個誤診的動作」文章裡面提到台灣中文西化,真是深得我心,尤其是跟芬蘭文對照之後,真是醍醐灌頂。跟大家分享:

「社會語言學者胥嘉陵(1994)年所做的「臺灣中文英語化」(Englishnization)中,列舉了受英語翻譯影響,而出現的文法現像,諸如「濫用『當』(when)作為連接詞」(傳統中文會簡潔地用「…時」)、「濫用『被』書寫被動句」(傳統中文不習慣用被動句)、「第三人稱代名詞分化」(各種女字旁、神字旁、牛字旁的代名詞出現)、「『的』前面有很長的修飾詞」(受關係子句影響),顯然,這些都不在《聯合報》的專題討論範疇內,也就是不是語言癌的徵兆。」

關於前因後果可以看這則連結:
「一些人的語言癌,另一些人的腦癌」
http://www.thinkingtaiwan.com/content/3522

朱家安針對語言癌現象的剖析
http://udn.com/NEWS/NATIONAL/NAT5/9144206.shtml

「語言癌是一個誤診的動作」
http://www.thinkingtaiwan.com/content/3525