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New Name for Kimchi. . .

 
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Allthechildrenareinsane



Joined: 23 Jun 2011
Location: Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:48 pm    Post subject: New Name for Kimchi. . . Reply with quote

. . .in China, that is: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=9336

From Language Log's Victor Mair, professor of Chinese Language & Literature at UPenn:
Quote:
Kimchee
January 2, 2014 @ 7:22 am · Filed by Victor Mair under Borrowing, Etymology, Language and culture, Language and politics, Transcription

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Apparently, the South Korean government has decided that kimchi 김치 should no longer be referred to just as pàocài 泡菜 ("pickled vegetables") in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, but should have its own name to distinguish it from other types of pickled vegetables. (There's a November 17 news article about it here.)

The Koreans are very proud of kimchi, and it may be referred to as the Korean national dish. Kimjang, the tradition of making and sharing kimchi that usually is done in winter, has recently been added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.

My brother Thomas, who served in the Marines during the Vietnam War and fought alongside Korean soldiers, told me he was amazed that, when the Koreans opened their K-rations, there was kimchee inside. Thus it is obvious that kimchee is extremely important to the Koreans, and it is indeed different from Chinese fermented vegetables. But, if it's no longer to be referred to as pàocài 泡菜 ("pickled vegetables") in Chinese, what to call it?

Usually the Chinese refer to foreign things however they jolly well please. Niǔyuē 紐約 (lit., "button; knob; handle; wrench; turn" + "approximately; agreement; appointment", etc.) in Mandarin neither sounds like "New York" (it sounds much closer in Cantonese) nor does it mean what that name does, but that doesn't stop Chinese from calling the Big Apple that way. It is interesting, however, that lately the South Koreans have been winning some battles with the Chinese over how to refer to things that mean a lot to them, even when the Chinese aren't very happy about making the requested (demanded) changes.

One of the biggest victories was getting the Chinese to accept Shǒu'ěr 首爾 as the Chinese way to refer to Seoul instead of Hànchéng 漢城 ("Han City"). Naturally, calling their capital "Han City" rankled, since "Han" is the name of the main Chinese ethnic group. In contrast, Shǒu'ěr 首爾 both sounds like "Seoul" and has a felicitous, appropriate meaning (viz., "head [shǒudū 首都 means "capital"]) + "thus; so").

For kimchee, the Koreans have decided that the new Chinese name is going to be xīnqí 辛奇. The Chinese are not accustomed to this and some people have complained that it doesn't make sense to them, since xīn 辛 is usually construed as meaning ("bitter; suffering; laborious") and qí 奇 (means "strange; odd; queer; rare"). As for the sound, although the qí 奇 part is close enough to the second syllable of "kimchee", the initial of the xīn 辛 part is pronounced as x-, s-, or z- in most Sinitic topolects that I know of.

Furthermore, it would seem that the word kimchee is derived from the pre-modern term chimchae 沉菜 (lit., "soaked vegetables"), so there is a ready-made, etymologically exact Sinographic written form available for use. {If I'm wrong about this derivation, I hope that a Korean specialist will correct me.) But perhaps the Koreans do not want the Chinese to be thinking of their national dish as "soaked / submerged vegetables")

Upon reflection, however, xīnqí 辛奇 may not be such a bad choice after all, since xīn 辛 is often used to describe the spicy/sour flavor of foods like kimchee. For example, it may be seen on packages for Korean instant noodles. Moreover, qí 奇 may be thought of not merely as "strange; odd", etc., but also as "wonderful; marvelous; mysterious". So maybe the person(s) who came up with xīnqí 辛奇 wanted to convey the idea that kimchee is spicy / sour and mystical, which is not far from how I think of this fantastic side dish.
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kengreen



Joined: 19 Jan 2011

PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A new name? How about super red smelly fart juice?
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