Monday, March 2, 2015, 12:15 p.m.
“Mirrored Resonance: Writing English in Chinese Characters”
University of Oklahoma
Letters are not the building blocks of words—they merely represent the sounds that are, and Chinese characters can do this just as well, if not better. Roughly 170 years ago, Chinese merchants in Hong Kong invented a system for writing English speech sounds in Chinese characters (morphosyllabic transliteration) still widely employed today to learn English pronunciation and to transcribe foreign words and proper names into Chinese (see Names of the World’s Peoples: a Comprehensive Dictionary of Names in Roman-Chinese (世界人名翻译大辞典). Read more.
Jonathan Stalling is an Associate Professor of English specializing in cross-cultural poetics, comparative literature, and translation studies at the University of Oklahoma, where he is the founding editor of Chinese Literature Today magazine and book series and the curator of the Chinese Literature Translation Archive at the University of Oklahoma Library. His books include Poetics of Emptiness (Fordham) (recently published in Chinese as 虚无诗学), Grotto Heaven, Yingelishi(吟歌丽诗), and Lost Wax: Translation through the Void (TinFish early 2015). He is also an editor of The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry: a Critical Edition (Fordham) and the translator of Winter Sun: The Poetry of Shi Zhi (1966-2007) (University of Oklahoma Press).