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238068.  Fri Nov 30, 2007 10:36 pm Reply with quote

QI tends to make a fair few mistakes regarding China in season C.

1. Stephen says that 'Mao', as in Chairman Mao means 'cat' in Mandarin. It doesn't, it means 'fur' (or 'pubic hair'). The word for cat sounds similar but it has a different tone and uses a different character.

2. Stephen claims that written exams were invented in Cambridge in 1792. However, examinations were conducted in China from about 29 BC. These examinations were reformed in the early 600s and became generally known as the Imperial Examinations. They continued till 1905. Part of the exam required students to write dissertations on Confucian classics. Any error in calligraphy resulted in immediate elimination.

3. One of the guests claimed that Chinese language has no 'ch' sound. Firstly, which Chinese language did he mean? There are over 100 of them. If he meant Mandarin he is most definitely wrong. 'Ch' is a very common sound in Mandarin in words such as 'cha' (tea), 'chi' (eat), 'che' (car) and 'chang' (long). The Great Wall is Chang-cheng (long wall). The 'ch' in all these words is similar to the 'ch' in chair. I believe Cantonese also has a similar 'ch' sound.

238085.  Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:14 am Reply with quote

zhongguotong wrote:
Any error in calligraphy resulted in immediate elimination.

And students today complain that spelling mistakes lose them 5% of their total marks...

Welcome to QI, by the way. :)

238087.  Sat Dec 01, 2007 5:17 am Reply with quote

Thanks for those points. Actually the first two have been pointed out to us before, and we've included them in the extras on the upcoming C Series DVD. The third one is new, and I'll just tag it with the words "retractions special" and this round of applause ...

238115.  Sat Dec 01, 2007 6:24 am Reply with quote

Welcome to QI, by the way. :)

Why, thank you!

Actually the first two have been pointed out to us before, and we've included them in the extras on the upcoming C Series DVD.

Great! Happy about that.
843224.  Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:06 am Reply with quote

The claim in the QI show isn't about the "ch" characters at all, it's about the "tsh" sound. As in "much" pronounced as "mutsh". Rory McGrath in episode 6, after about 7:55 minutes.

Mr. McGrath actually did mention the same "cha" as an example. According to him it's pronounced somehow like "tsa", not "tsha" (that's my phonetic interpretation, he doesn't spell it, but the difference is clear when you hear it).

His claim also is not related to "the" Chinese language at all, he mentions "Chinese" (people, who cannot pronounce it).
843269.  Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:40 am Reply with quote

Here's a transcript. It's about the sound, not about the characters. It's not about the language, it's about (many) Chinese (people). As one can see, he actually used "cha" (tsa: Chinese or tsha:English) as an example. I honestly don't know what's right, but I do know the remarks about this item are far from accurate:

I know that the sound , er, "t-s-h", which is the "ch-" sound, phonetically . . . like, if we were to pronounce the word "much"--
--it would be the same as "m-u-t-s-h". "Much."

A lot of languages can't pronounce . . . the Chinese can't pronounce "ch-"--
--so their word for "tea", which we call "chai", from the Chinese, is "tsa".

849664.  Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:20 am Reply with quote

I've been wanting to go on a rant about that third mistake for ages! As zhongguotong said, Mandarin most definitely does have the "chuh" ch sound. In Cantonese, the ch sound is a bit more like a ts. I can't speak definitely about other Chinese languages and dialects, but the official national language certainly has that particular ch sound.

In Mandarin, it's Cha. Not Tsa.


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