Monday, 17 October 2011

Chinese show movement of travel right to left, and email is becoming unmarked

Just two things that I've noticed today, with no real comment added.

First, my attention has just been drawn by Valdemar over at The Door in the Wall to a blog called Ministry of Tofu. It covers all sorts of Chinese issues, and is written in an absolutely adorable style with ever-so-slightly misused metaphors and so on. For instance, in a story about a hitch-hiking student, a driver "let him into the truck with a grain of salt". Lovely.

Anyway, what struck me was this image of the student's journey. Simple enough graphic, but as the text explains, he started on the right and ended on the left. I find that to be the wrong way round, and presume that the difference is due to Chinese writing going the other way from English.

Secondly, I was looking for a contact address (postal) for a company. These things are hard to find on the company's website, so I Googled it. In a forum someone else was asking the same thing, for "an address" for the company, and they were given the postal address. They replied with thanks but said that they would prefer an email. So they meant email address when they said simply address. Normally I've found that to be the case only when the context of online communication is clear, not generally. So this is an interesting new development in what the unmarked sense of the word is. For me, it's still postal (I would use email if I wanted an email address) but for this person, email address has become the unmarked sense of address. The times they are a-changin', as Dylan is probably saying to himself as he reads this.

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