the unfortunate cover of the Dec 2021 issue

January 2022 Forums Socialist Standard Feedback the unfortunate cover of the Dec 2021 issue

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • #224840
    ZJW
    Participant

    Who is responsible for the cover of the Dec SS?

    1) To ‘lie flat’, is 躺平 (‘tǎngpíng’), whose first element means ‘to lie’ . But what is written on the cover is 唐平 (Táng píng), whose first element either refers to the Tang dynasty or can be surname. And there is indeed an individual named 唐平 (Táng Píng), noteworthy enough to have a youtube clip, in fact, a Christian singer! : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75DkGkZWZ3U . Perhaps the designer of the cover is a secret admirer of hers?

    Here is how one does *not* go about selecting ones decorative Chinese characters to put on magazine covers: open Google Translate; select ‘Chinese’. Type in t-a-n-g and then p-i-n-g and then use the first thing that shows up even though you have not the slightest idea what you are reading.

    Is is not the case that the SPGB contains within its ranks at least one member who reads/knows Chinese? I believe that ALB has referred, on this very forum, to the existence of such. I suggest that the next time that Chinese text is intended appear on the cover of the Socialist Standard, that the proposal be submitted to this individual for vetting.

    2) Why the chinoiserie, the kitsch-restaurant decor? I mean the dragon. If the article had been about France what would have been used? A fleur-de-lis? (Which after all, similarly appeared on that country’s last flag of the monarchial era, until Orleanist 1830 anyway.)

    #224841
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Perhaps the need for a correction in January’s issue, ZJW.

    #224856
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Our Chinese speaking (Mandarin), writing and reading comrade confirms:

    “Yes, it is a mistake, and the two ‘tang’ characters aren’t even pronounced the same (different tones). So I think it does need a correction, even though very few readers will notice it.”

    Our apologies. Not sure, though, that it deserves the description “disgraceful”. It was a genuine mistake.

    #224870
    ZJW
    Participant

    Well of course it was an honest mistake. I used ‘disgraceful’ in the literal sense of something that brings disgrace. Certainly no suggestion of it being deliberate (!?).

    As for the two syllables being non-homophones (they are of different phonemic pitch, or ‘different tones’ as it is commonly put), yes, and this can be seen from the difference in diacritics in my first post: ‘tǎng’ vs ‘táng’. Unfortunately, these diacritics are not used (and thus not seen by readers) in journalism. (Only in pedagogy and certain academic writing.)

    Now, in some parallel universe (apart from the one where socialism has already been established world-wide), the Chinese government’s 1928 quickly dead-ended promulgation of the romanisation system called National Romanisation (aka Gwoyeu Romatzyh ) has been in use until this day. In this system, syllables differing in phonemic pitch receive different spellings. Thus ‘tǎng’ is ‘taang’; ‘táng’ is ‘tarng’ (silent <r>). Immediately and obviously different to the eye. For any who have interest in such things, see the section titled ‘Tones’ here: https://www.angelfire.com/pop2/pkv/ipa.html .

    Thus, in this universe, typing ‘taang’ into Google Translate could not have caused the (wrong) hanograph ‘唐’ to appear; and there would be no such thread on this forum as ‘the disgraceful cover of the Dec 2021 issue’.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by ZJW.
    #224877
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Just as a matter of interest, would the mistake be the same in spoken Cantonese which I think will be the main dialect spoken in England and so likely to be noticed ?

    #224878
    ZJW
    Participant

    They are not homonyms in Cantonese either. And of course they are written differently — 躺 and 唐 — regardless of areal pronunciation — Cantonese, Pekinese [so-called ‘Mandarin’], Shanghainese, or what-have-you. This would be so even in the hypothetical case of a dialect in which the pronunciations had merged.

    (‘Merger’ here meaning as with ‘pane/pain’, two words whose pronunciation is now merged for most English speakers but which used to have have different vowels. If interested in such things, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonological_history_of_English_diphthongs#Pane–pain_merger)

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by ZJW.
    #224880
    ZJW
    Participant

    Webmaster:
    A day and a half later, I believe I may have over-reacted a tad. If it is possible, can you change ‘disgraceful’ to ‘unfortunate’ in the thread-title for me? (I don’t see a way of doing it myself.) Thanks.

    #224888
    ALB
    Keymaster

    Anybody know what the writing in Burmese (if that’s what the language there is called) on the front cover of the March 2021 Socialist Standard says.

    #225285
    KAZ
    Participant

    zounds like someone should be appointed Head Inspector of Socialist Standard Covers. on the principle of you complains, you bleeding does it, an application has already been submitted. dragons and the wrong tang. nuh!

    #225297
    Wez
    Participant

    It was unfortunate that my last cover design would be (justly) criticized but it was rather inevitable since the editors changed their minds about what it should feature at the last minute and I had no time to contemplate the design. I checked with them as to the Chinese character to be used and was given the go-ahead. I’m now retired from designing the Standard and have mainly enjoyed working with comrades to the best of my abilities. For many months I was alone in designing it which led to somewhat of a ‘burn-out’ and this together with Covid and the debate about payment the whole process became rather strange. I wish the best of luck to my replacement and now I can return to writing for our beloved journal.

    #225444
    ZJW
    Participant

    I did not know until reading your post above who was in charge of doing covers, but in any case apologise for my extremely intemperate tone.

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