Saturday, October 20, 2007

Onomotopoeia

I was listening to my Chinese language tapes this morning, and heard an interesting bit of vocabulary. "Bounce a check" in Mandarin is 跳票 tiào piào. I had to chuckle because, to me, the rhyming words "tiào piào" sound like the noise of a ricocheting object. As in a bouncing ball (or check) ricocheting around. Oh well...

These tapes are supposed to teach beginner's Mandarin, and I found it odd that this phrase is considered necessary for new arrivals in Taiwan. I hope that's not an indication that payroll checks could be dicey. In any case, I certainly won't be forgetting this phrase.

I also found out today that the cat speaks Chinese, at least a bit. It's always walking around the house saying "秒" which means "second" (as in short amount of time) and is pronounced "miǎo", complete with the dipping intonation. I guess the cat is trying to let me know just how long it'll tolerate my inattention to him.


Note: I've changed my default font to Arial. Sans serif fonts seem friendlier to me, both in appearance in in being able to handle the pinyin characters.

2 comments:

Holly said...

Hi Steve - actually, checks are never used in Taiwan, except I think in some businesses. In fact, the only check I've ever seen in Taiwan was the one I got for my tax refund the first year, and I had it in my possession for about 2 minutes. (I was able to cash it in the office)

It's a very different system here. Most payments between individuals are done via direct bank transfer, while everything else is done with cash or credit card. Hard to get used to, but also kind of nice after you settled into it.

Steve4nLanguage said...

Holly, I just now (Jan. 4th!)noticed your comment. Thanks for the info. When is the tax filing season there, and how long does it take to get your refund?