[lit-ideas] Re: "You weren't upskirting your Daoist master"

  • From: John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2009 13:55:48 +0900

The Dao vs. Tao thing is a bit more complicated than a sudden change of
heart in 1948. "Tao" is the Wade-Giles romanization favored by the KMT, the
losers in the revolution that brought the Chinese Communist Party to power
on the Chinese mainland. "Dao" is the Pin-yin romanization endorse and made
official by the Peoples Republic of China. For at least two decades after
1948, scholars who, like me, were U.S. citizens and did their research in
Taiwan, continued to use Wade-Giles. Researchers from other countries,
especially those of a left-leaning persuasion like the late, great Joseph
Needham, and, following Richard NIxon's visit to the mainland in 1971, new
generations of American scholars as well began to use Pin-yin instead of
Wade-Giles; "Dao" has, thus, increasingly replaced "Tao" in scholarly and
mass media usage. LInguistically speaking neither "Dao" nor "Tao" is an
accurate representation of the Chinese consonant, which is both unvoiced and
unexploded, like the "t" in "stop," in contrast to both the English "d"
(voiced and unexploded) or the English "t" (unvoiced but exploded), when
these appear as the initial consonant in words.
Also, nowhere, I suspect, is the upskirting phenomenon more prevalent than
it is here in Japan, the land of cell phones and miniature cameras, where it
is frequently reported on in variously censorious or outraged terms. I
wonder, also, about Korea but haven't followed the news there.


> --
John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324

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