September 23, 2010

The use of "de" in a Chinese-English bilingual environment

It is not uncommon these days for people in the Chinese community to use Chinese and English interchangeably while speaking. In Chinese, adjectives are usually followed by a de, classified as an "auxiliary word" in Chinese grammar, and somewhat like a preposition but placed between an adjective and a noun. When adjectives in English are translated into Chinese, they are also usually followed by a de, to indicate their classification as adjectives and to make them easily integrable while translated in sentences, e.g. joyful, huanle de, and beautiful, meili de. However, as people colloquially often insert English terms into sentences otherwise Chinese; in the case of English adjectives, they are also often followed by a de, even though as an English adjective, it is an unnecessary complication; and theoretically, while the commonly accepted translation of English adjectives already contains the de, it is incorrect to attach a redundant one on top of that.

The reason why people often commit this redundancy and feel awkward if without it, is probably attributed to that when people speak, their logic and thinking pattern is in a Chinese environment. The English adjectives are treated like Chinese adjectives, ripped off their English-ness. Therefore the English word in a Chinese sentence is only easily identifiable by a Chinese audience as used as an adjective when it is accompanied by a de. With the use of English widely accepted in the Chinese community, more studies into the effect of language integration and its impact on both languages are expected to be carried out.

September 20, 2010

The Christian Sin

One concept that I cannot understand in the Christian teaching is that, if man are after all sinful, how come they can be created by God, who is perfect and almighty? According to my understanding of perfection, if something imperfect or even unpleasant can be derived from some other thing, this latter being must be flawed and definitely not perfect to produce such a faulty creation.

This is also where I like about Daoism. Dao respects the natural state of things. There is nothing as perfection in Daoism – anything proclaimed to be “perfection” must be flawed viewed from another angle, put another way, perfection by itself will always turn into inadequacy. Human beings are a byproduct and part of Nature; they inherently come to this world, without restraints as they are in accordance with Dao. They default but they are not considered sinful because of this as it is only an innate occurrence in Nature.

September 15, 2010

A Simple Model on Marriage

Finding your life partner is in some sense like doing a numerical approximation. After the first a hundred steps if you still cannot find a satisfactory approximation to the true value, you're probably better off stop and try with another algorithm. Despite that there might be a "perfect" match for you in these some seven billion people, but since one's life-span is finite, we can only meet finitely number of people from which we choose the most suitable spouse among them.

Assume you are a male (for the convenience of narration only; all the results can be similarly applied to a female reader. However, due to the radical difference between marriage markets for hetero- and homosexuals, this model may not well apply to the latter group.) in your twenties; you have met some 300 similarly-aged women whom you have contact with throughout these years. Let's further assume that 280 of them do not qualify your life-partner criteria, and ten of the twenty left are separated from you geographically or otherwise physically unreachable. Among these ten, five have already been married off or are currently engaged in a long-term relationship. Therefore there are only five candidates, from the initial 300, that meet your criteria and is geographically available.

Okay, now since most people have similar judgements over a "fit" couple, the five candidates tend also to find you somewhat suitable too. Therefore the chance of engaging with one of them should be sizable. Mostly likely the first one among the five that initiates / accepts a partnership with you will eventually make it to the end of this life's most extensive filtering process.

September 3, 2010

About Plagiarism

I every now and then find my fellow students plagiarize materials from a wide variety of sources and in many different forms. Whenever that happens, I would try my best effort to correct the student's behavior. The critical and dreadful thing is that many students are unbelievably ignorant about plagiarism, and do not know how to create their own work (which should have long been an integral part of their ability after more than a decade of education). This situation would improve significantly should every college student take their studies seriously and investigate themselves the right methods to do research.