Some rather dry illiteracy fun

Come, share our ignorance.

Why was there no water in our apartment today? I’ll tell you:

tōng zhī

zǐ jīn nán lǐ (our apt. complex) [X] [X] give? water [X] dào [X] [X] [X] [X] [X] enter? [X] arrive? [X] internet??! [X] head [X] [X], [X] dìng [X] 2007-5-22 [X] 8 [X] [X] [X] 18 [X] [X] water [X] [X], [X] water [X] [X] ________. xiàn tōng zhī [X] [X] [X] first? [X] [X] [X] use water, [X] [X] residence middle? [X] person, yǐ [X] [X] [X] dào [X] [X] and [X] water xiàn elephant??! de [X] shēng.

Thank-you [X] zuò

huà [X] give water [X] [X] have [X] gōng [X]

waternoticesmall1.jpgThat’s what the notice in the photo looks like to us.
If you can find meaning in our “translation,” then you would understand why there was no water in the apartment when we woke up this morning. Well, this particular notice has our address on it and says water a bunch of times… we’re assuming it’s the one. We found it around noon among the several pasted on our gate as we hauled our unshowered selves to class. We circled all the characters we recognize. Do NOT be fooled: there are way more words in English than characters in Chinese, but most Chinese words are combinations of two or three characters and context matters bigtime. Just because you can “read” most or all the characters in a sentence is no guarantee that you’ll have any clue what it’s about.

There are always signs like this posted around, telling us something we might want to know, and we can’t read any of them. So we just ignore them. But this morning, upon discovering our sans agua status, I looked out the window and saw workers digging holes beside the manholes outside our gate and the next gate over. That was our tip to go look at the notices. Not that they help much at this point. Ah well. The illiterate life!

3 thoughts on “Some rather dry illiteracy fun”

  1. ha, yeah, we could make this place sound like a total gong show, depending on how you take the photos and what stuff you choose to talk about. But it’s what we wanted, and the closer we get to being finished settling in the more we love it! The price is on par for the neighbourhood, but actually Tianjin’s housing prices are inflated right now… all the building and Olympics build-up is too much for what the population can afford, and people are predicting that the bubble will burst after the Olympics. I mean, who’s going to populate all these fancy new highrises, anyway? Four years ago a foreigner friend lived in this neighbourhood and paid $25 less per month.

  2. Well…I’d say our first clue about the great deal on our rent was when we moved the furniture around and discovered that there was no paint behind the wardrobes, or the picture that was hanging in the kitchen.

    Our second clue happened when I heard a giant crash in the middle of the night a few weeks ago…in the morning we discovered that the light had fallen out of the ceiling in the dining room…hanging by the wires.

    Fortunately, these are relatively small things…:D and we’re really enjoying our cozy little home.

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