Friday, 27 April 2012

Happy Asian Lunar New Year

a Water Dragon by Ukiyo-e Artist  Kuniyoshi 

Look at those Calligraphic strokes. I wonder if Kuniyoshi was also good at "grass script"?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

YUE beyond the south


History and language are linked and the word and name Yue proves this.

Yue as a word and character is a verb.
As a name it describes an ancient nation in what is now southern China.
The original Yue people seem to have been non Sinitic probably speaking an Austroasiatic language related to Vietnamese though the name is now used to describe a grouping of dialects that includes Cantonese.

The Yue realm was once in eastern Zhejiang south of WU then came to cover the areas that are now Guangdong and Guangxi before becoming assimilated fully into the Chinese or Sinitic culture.

Beyond is perhaps not the best translation of Yue but conisder the name of of modern Vietnam. YueNan.

I suspect Beyond the South reflects the  ancient view of Yue  and Vietnam. 

The lands that were beyond the borders of southern China.

There was a time when the Huai and then the Yangtze river was the southern border.

Yes that was thousands of years ago and its China or in the case of Vietnam Sinicized now.

Borders change though. Who knows what the few thousand years will bring to the lands beyond the south?

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


I particularly like this word!

apart form the irony of which word it sounds like in English the character itself has elegance and its an excellent example of how a word can change meaning by semantic extension and shift.

Some one fluent in "Sino Japanese long ago referred some person of style as having PURE elegance and that I suspected is how the word came to change when used by educated Japanese and perhaps also people whose grasp of kanji and the differences between Japanese and Chinese wasnt quite as good as they thought?