4000 Golden Household Goods? Huh?

4000 Golden Household Goods? Huh?

By MaaDawCG | Taiwan Sign Language | 16 Mar 2019

This sign seems to say “4000 Golden Household Goods”. One might assume that this crowded store sells 4000 different items. But could they ALL be made of gold? Clever readers would probably realize that something is amiss.


“4000” is written as a pure numeral to playfully mislead casual readers. In modern Chinese, the expression 千金 chian jin / qiān jīn “[literally] one thousand catties of gold” refers to a daughter (usually used to show respect for someone else’s child, not to refer to one's own). [1 catty = 600 grams]


“4000 金” actually means 四千金 “four daughters”, a reference to the fact that the owner of this general goods store has four daughters.



Notice how GR tonal spelling (GR = Gwoyeu Romatzyh) shows tones:

(1) First tone finals are normally unmarked (chian, jin, jia). just like its older brother, Bopomofo (ruby symbols added next to each character above), GR Tonal Spelling leaves most 1st tone finals unmarked.

(2) Second tone (rising) finals with the vowel /i/ or the semivowel /j/ are usually marked with a -y- (tyng), which amounts to a giant, indelible, tone mark (the hollow portion is a mnemonic, a reminder of the correct tone contour).

(3) Third tone (low dipping or long and low) finals with the semivowel /j/  are marked with an -e- (bae).

(4) Fourth tone pure vowel finals are marked with an -h (syh, huoh).





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Professionally Trained Language Teacher (Eng, Fre & Chi as For Lang) with a Linguistics / Biology / Sinology background. I write about cultural geography, history, ethics, medicine,language policy and applied linguistics

Taiwan Sign Language
Taiwan Sign Language

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