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mr_bean (3802)

mr_bean
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Journal of mr_bean (3802)

Wednesday March 30, 2005
04:53 AM

Misunderstandings at YAPC::Taipei

[ #23925 ]
I counted 6 language mistakes at YAPC::Taipei by the famous and not-so-famous. On the Friday night birthday party for ingy, acme was talking about getting diver instruction certification in Florida, so I asked clkao what the diving was like in Hwalien, but he heard what the driving was like. Apparently the hackathon was going to take the train to Hwalien. Like in Korea, the mountains in Taiwan extend down to the sea on the East Coast, so the drive is apparently more spectacular than the train trip, which goes a lot of the way through tunnels. But, he said the road is only 2 lanes, at least some of the way.

Then on the Saturday at lunch, he mentioned 'turbos.' I couldn't understand and it took mugwump a while to explain, before I realized he had said 'tarballs.' Then during obra's talk, obra mentioned turbos too, and it took me an instant to recognize that he had *also* said tarballs. American English /a/ is less open. This had always troubled me in Korea, where Top Gun was pronounced to my ears, Tup Gon.

Or perhaps I just need to clean my ears out, because when the British New Zealander mugwump asked the presenter on Mail::SpamAssassin about 'graydists,' I didn't understand again. Only afterwards at lunch with colleagues of the speaker did I find out mugwump had been talking about graylists. I thought he had been talking about Paul Graham.

It could be because these were technical words that I had probably only ever seen in print before, and which I had never written down, that this occurred.

autrijus's talk about perl6 was in Chinese and the slides were in Chinese too, so although the talk was interesting I didn't understand all of it, or even 50 percent of it.

I could understand more of the slides, but one interesting point was it appeared he was claiming a Lutheran Reformation in perl's development. I thought he seems to be taking the religious imagery of Apocalypses, Exegeses and Apocrypha in an interesting and new direction. Only 16 hours later on the way home past a big sign did I realize he had been talking about the transformations in the camel. I asked my students later that day what the Chinese for camel was, and they said, 'luotuo.' Not actually 'Lute,' but pretty close.

'Luotuo' incidentally sounds similar to the Japanese 'rakuda' and Korean 'naktha,' but the characters are different. Chinese, Japanese and Korean words often have the same etymological roots, with the same Chinese character. But giraffe is also different. In Japanese and Korean it is 'kirin.' In Chinese it is, 'chang jing lu' or long-necked deer. In Chinese, a kirin is a cameleopard.

clkao has an interesting picture in his svk talk of a camel and a giraffe together.
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