a system for transliterating Chinese into the Latin alphabet: introduced in 1958 and adopted as the official system of romanization by the People's Republic of China in 1979.
Pinyin “a system for transliterating Chinese into the Latin alphabet” is a borrowing from Mandarin Chinese pīnyīn, a compound of pīn “to arrange, classify” and yīn “sound, pronunciation.” Because Chinese uses a writing system that is logographic (using symbols to indicate words) there are numerous methods that linguists have developed to romanize Chinese, that is, to transliterate the language into the Roman alphabet. While pinyin is the most popular today, the Wade–Giles and Yale systems were widespread in China throughout the 20th century. With place names specifically, the so-called “postal spellings” were used to render names such as Peking and Nanking into English. After pinyin’s adoption as the official standard of romanization in 1979, a wave of transliteration swept through China, and the most recognizable effects were the changes in place names, such as the switch from Peking and Nanking to their pinyin versions Běijīng and Nánjīng. Pinyin was first recorded in English in the mid-20th century.
Pinyin, which was adopted by China in 1958, gave readers unfamiliar with Chinese characters a crucial tool to understand how to pronounce them. These characters do not readily disclose information on how to say them aloud—but with such a system as Pinyin, those characters more easily and clearly yield their meaning when converted into languages like English and Spanish, which use the Roman alphabet. While it was not the first system to Romanize Chinese, Pinyin has become the most widely accepted.
As Beijing welcomed 2022, residents in the Chinese capital noticed a subtle shift taking place in the city’s subway: on signs, the English word “station” has been replaced with “Zhan,” the pinyin, or romanized version, of the Chinese character. And in some cases, English station names such as Olympic Park and Terminal 2 of the Beijing airport have become “Aolinpike Gongyuan” and “2 Hao Hangzhanlou”—though the English translations are still displayed in brackets underneath.
of or proceeding from the earth or soil.
Telluric “of or relating to the earth” derives from the Latin noun tellūs (stem tellūr-) “earth.” Much as Latin had two words for “star”—sidus and stella, as featured in the etymology for recent Word of the Day circumstellar—Latin had two words as well for “earth”: tellūs and terra. Just as stella became the more productive of the two and is the source of modern Romance words for “star,” so was terra preferred over tellūs. While tellūs is the root of a few technical terms in English, such as the element tellurium, terra can be found today in English terms such as terrain, territory, and extraterrestrial as well as in French terre and Spanish tierra. Telluric was first recorded in English in the 1830s.
There came to me the cracked, halting voices of the water drawers as they returned from the river, laden, and I set down my books and listened to the broken rhythm of their gait, the thud of their walking sticks, the telluric drone of shifting plates of granite.
verb (used with object)
to assert or affirm with confidence; declare in a positive or peremptory manner.
Aver “to assert with confidence” derives via Middle English and Middle French from Medieval Latin advērāre, roughly “to make true,” from Latin vērus “true.” The ultimate source of vērus is a Proto-Indo-European root of the same meaning that has an unexpected cognate in English: warlock. The war- part of warlock means “faith” as well as “agreement, covenant” in Old English, and the original meaning of warlock (Old English wǣrloga) was “oathbreaker.” Latin v frequently corresponds to English w, which is evident in other pairs of cognates from the two languages, such as Latin ventus and English wind, Latin via and English way, and Latin verbum and English word. Aver was first recorded in English in the late 14th century. Learn some synonyms for aver by checking out Synonym of the Day.
Ms. Sidibe’s aunt is Dorothy Pitman Hughes, a founder of Ms. Magazine; a famous portrait from 1971, of Ms. Pitman Hughes and Gloria Steinem raising their fists in a Black Power salute, hung in her sitting room, where Ms. Sidibe passed it every day on her way to school, and Ms. Steinem was a regular guest. While Ms. Sidibe averred that she is “a link on a chain of powerful women,” her own steely self-confidence, she said, wasn’t nurtured by her activist relatives so much as a survival skill she taught herself in the bruising theater of elementary school.
Ours is called the Age of Science for a reason, and that reason is reason itself, which in recent decades has come under fire by cognitive psychologists and behavioral economists who assert that humans are irrational by nature and by postmodernists who aver that reason is a hegemonic weapon of patriarchal oppression. Balderdash! Call it “factiness,” the quality of seeming to be factual when it is not.
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