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am 26.9.05 15:27 Uhr schrieb Marcia Karp unter [log in to unmask]:

Gunnar Jauch wrote:
Ken:
 
  
rather foolishly and mundanely,

      

Dear Ken,

thank you for once more improving my English vocabulary!
My Webster defines "mundanely" as "to the point of foolish familiarity".

What a wonderful term. But then: isn't "foolish and mundane" a pleonasm?

  
Dear Polyglot Gunnar,
    You of all people must know that a dictionary definition, if taken as
_equivalent_ to a word, can lead to a mathematical view of language.  Best
to read the quotations, too, to begin to notice the richness of usage.  And
best not to stop with what is only one use for a word.  Ken's "mundanely"
emphases the familiar, the daily, the ordinary, _dans le monde_.  Ken's
phrase is lean and mean.  "Rather" raises another ....

    Samuel Johnson, and many others, do not find that English has true
synonyms.  One can, of course, nevertheless, in any event, still be
redundant in the language.

Glossy Marcia


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Thanks, glossy Marcia!


Excursions into the wide realm of the English language are one of my
principal raisons d'tre to stay on the TSE list.

Learning from erudite people such as Ken and yourself is always refreshing.


On synonyms:

In my fourth year of Chinese studies I never cease to be amazed by the
number of synonyms that language has. Learning a single term compares to the
opening of Pandora's box , with a plethora of apparent synonyms cropping up,
which, as our teacher explains, aren't, since they bear extremely subtle
nuances.

Chinese poetry is a helpful means to gain approach to the language. One of
best known poems most every educated Chinese is familiar with by famous Tang
period poet Li Bai (701 - 766) depicts nicely the economical Chinese grammar
and syntax. If its grammar were half as complicated (and illogical) as the
English or German language it would be virtually impossible to learn). Let
me lay it on you, in Pinyin and English:


Y       Si
Night   thoughts


chung      qin        ming         y            guang,
Bed         before      light      moon/month       shine,

yi          si          di          shang           shuang.
doubt       to be       ground      on top          frost.

ju          tou         wng        ming            y,
raise       head        look        light           moon,

di          tou         si          gu              xiang.
lower       head     think/thougt   venerable       homeland.



Two translations:


Night Thoughts

I wake and moonbeams play around my bed
Glittering like hoarfroast to my wondering eyes
Upwards the glorious moon I raise my head
Then lay me down and thoughts of home arise


* * *


Thoughts in a Tranquil Night
Tr. by: H.A. Giles

Athwart the bed 
I watch the moonbeams cast a trail
So Bright, so cold, so frail,
That for a space it gleams
Like hoar-frost on the margin of my dreams.
I  raise my head, --
The splendid moon I see:
The droop my head, 
And to dreams of thee --
My Fatherland, of thee!



Listen to the original sound file and admire the elegant serenity of the
signs under:

http://chineseculture.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://
www.chinapage.com/libai/libai2e.html


Cheers,



Gunnar