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  1. Korean: The Window Pane Language

    March 8, 2013 by vivian3468

    You might be asking, how does the Korean language relate to windows in any way?

    First off, I grew up thinking that the Korean alphabet with the circles and lines came from a person who got tired of traditional Chinese writing system, stared outside a wooden window, and got his inspirations for a writing system based of the window pane patterns.

    That is the story my family told me, and that is the story I believed for years. However, for this topic, I went on a intellectual adventure to find out what is the real source of the Korean alphabet system.

    To start off, Hangul was promulgated by Sejong the Great, the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty.

    The project was completed in 1444, and described in 1446 in a document titled “The Proper Sounds for the Education of the People”, after which the alphabet itself was named. The publication date of the Hunmin Jeong-eum, October 9, became Hangul Day in South Korea.

    Various speculations about the creation process were put to rest by the discovery in 1940 of the 1446 Hunmin Jeong-eum Haerye (“Hunmin Jeong-eum Explanation and Examples”). This document explains the design of the consonant letters according to articulatory phonetics and the vowel letters according to the principles of yin and yang and vowel harmony.

    In explaining the need for the new script, King Sejong explained that the Korean language was fundamentally different from Chinese; using Chinese characters to write was so difficult for the common people that only privileged aristocrats, usually male, could read and write fluently. The majority of Koreans were effectively illiterate before the invention of Hangul.

    Hangul was designed so that even a commoner could learn to read and write; and it faced much opposition from the conservatives of the time because it might lower their prestige.

    Language shifts often results from a combination of convenience and the political atmosphere. The history of the Korean language shifting from using the Chinese characters to Hangul reminds me of the Cultural Revolution in China, when all the traditional Chinese characters were replaced by the simplified counterparts.

  2. Asian Demographic Distribution in relation to History

    February 27, 2013 by vivian3468

  3. Solano Avenue Experience

    February 27, 2013 by vivian3468

    As our class congregated at the bus stop, we had decided to head towards the Solano Avenue area to explore what linguistic landscape of that area. Split up into teams, Annie and I walked about taking pictures of signs of foreign language and influence. Afterwards, we tried to think of the meanings behind those signs, the atmosphere they are trying to create, and the actual things these signs are telling us.

    At King Tsin, the owner graciously offered us a meal and began talking about his and his family’s experience with the established restaurant. A burning question in the back of my mind at the time was, “why are the Chinese and English names different?” I also wanted to know which one was the name that the owner would most identify with.

    The Chinese name, 厚德福, breaks down into the three values that the Chinese uphold. It very much means kindness, integrity, and happiness. The owner also told us that the name came about because his father came from the 厚德福 in Beijing. There is also another 厚德福 in Taiwan as well.

    The English name, King Tsin, comes from an unexpected source. I thought that the “King” referred to the monarchy meaning it has, but actually it came from Beijing’s pronunciation: Pe-king. Tsin is a derived sound from the place Ten Tsin, which is a landmark in China.

    The owner said that he preferred the Chinese name for its meaning, but also needed the English name because of the convenience of referencing it to something most people around the area could comprehend.

  4. Topic 1: What languages can you see in Berkeley?

    February 27, 2013 by vivian3468

    As a public school in California, Berkeley exhibits a diverse demographics not found in every university. Mainly, this demographic diversity can be attributed to the affirmative action that the government has implemented in order to ensure that racial diversity is achieved in public school systems. The affimative action has both avid advocators and opposers, and its contraversial nature makes the topic a difficult one for either sides to compromise. Should the schools encourage equal opportunity based on background, or should the officials enforce a strict merit system that only look at students’ grades and essays?

    Anyways, that’s besides the point. What we will be exploring today is how the racial diversity impacts the social and commercial environment in Berkeley. In its highly dense Asian student population, a lot of restaurants are targeted so that they could identify with the authenticity of the foods served. For example, Steve’s Korean Barbeque has Korean written on its store front, and Naan and Curry has Indian transcribed on its storefront as well. There are numerous example of Chinese being used, whether it would be on signs, stores, or menues. Walking around Berkeley, it is almost never just English signs everywhere. Spanish is in textbooks, storefronts, and menues as well.

    The languages around campus act as indices to the demographic population here at Berkeley. The frequency of a particular language showing up often points to the higher population of a certain ethnicity. This is mainly to cater to a wider audience or to catch a certain group of ethnicity’s attention.

  5. 3rd Blog Topic: Authentic Chinese?

    February 20, 2013 by vivian3468

    As a Taiwanese/Chinese student in America, the question of authentic Chinese food often come up. People of other ethnicity backgrounds, or even fellow Chinese would inquire about restaurants. “Is Peking Express authentic?” These questions probe further into the ethnicity of the waiters and waitresses, the menu items, and the food tastes. But no one really defines what it means to have something be “authentic.” Especially in the Chinese culture, which spanned for thousands of years over a vast amount of land, who is to say what is real Chinese? What might taste Chinese to some (Some people have argued that Panda Express counts as Chinese food, to which I strongly disagree) might not be to others. But for the sake of generalization, I’ve come up with some ways of categorizing “authentic” restaurants.

    1) Menu items- I hate to bash on Panda Express so much, but it has to be done. Popular menu items such as orange chicken and beef with broccoli… are not actual dishes you’d find in China. These are mainly food made up to cater to the American taste, which tends to prefer sweeter seasonings. And why is everything so gooey anyways?

    2) Taste- This goes a little bit into the last rule. If a dish uses other spices than what is accustomed, it’s not authentic. For example, if the spicy tofu soup has western herbs and spices…. the authenticity of the dish is highly questionable.

    3) Decor- Relating to Dave’s post about Wu’s Restaurant, decor speaks for itself when it comes to authenticity. When I see bright red doors with red table cloth and red menus, I know that this restaurant is “trying to hard” in its disguise to be authentic.

    4) Language- Is the menu in Chinese? English? Both? When the entire menu is in English, it’s difficult for native Chinese people to distinguish dish names that identify with what they’re used to eating. Often times, I can’t figure anything on the menu out except for chow mein or fried rice.

    And lastly, a crucial indicator of whether a place is authentic or not is the customers who eat there. Look around. If a Chinese restaurant has no Chinese patron, chances are it’s not considered authentic. The principle really goes to who is the audience and whose tastebud preferences the restaurant owners are trying to please.

    These rules are, of course, just for funsies as they are of my invention. But if you have completely no idea whether a place is authentic or not, feel free to use them!(:

  6. Vision for Telegraph Avenue

    February 6, 2013 by vivian3468

    When students, parents, or tourists visit UC Berkeley, Telegraph Avenue is a main place of attraction. Place of attraction, but not an attractive place per se. Many street vendors and performers alike livens up the street and some of the best restaurants in Berkeley are all on this street, making it a must-go place. However, the filth of the street and the unforgiving stench of the place also make late-night walk through the region a bit of a concern. Rumors of crime and drugs gives further down Telegraph avenue a stigma that also goes with the UC Berkeley Campus.

    It seems that the negatives of the place sometimes outweigh the potential benefits of the visit. To better the conditions of Telegraph is to encourage more positive tourist outreach, campus reputation, and crime-free environment.

    There are several main issues that need to be addressed by the local Berkeley municipalities.

    1) Increasing crime rates 

    The graffitis on the side of abandoned buildings create a sense of foreboding that makes students uncomfortable to walk through. And to have some more police forces in the area to alleviate the crime problems would make passing through the area less of a pain.

    2) Constant filth of the area

    The pavements are dirty, and the air in the area makes breathing almost impossible. The congregation of homeless people at night as well does not help with the general image of Telegraph.

    3) Poor lighting 

    In order to make the place a more pleasant place to visit for a nice dinner, brighter lighting could make a world of difference.

    Some of the above issues can be more readily fixed than the others, but they all can significantly improve the public image of the region and the campus as well.

    Famous people such as Usher and Jeremy Lin have visited the campus, and by word of mouth and media, we can really attract visitors if we make Telegraph Avenue a pleasant experience for them. Jeremy Lin at Berkeley:

  7. Hello world!

    February 6, 2013 by vivian3468

    Welcome to your brand new blog at Edublogs!

    To get started, simply log in, edit or delete this post and check out all the other options available to you.

    Happy blogging!

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