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Lu Shan: anything other than a mountain range?
March 28, 2011 9:26 PM   Subscribe

If you're Chinese or know Chinese language/culture: when you hear the phrase "Lu Shan," do you automatically think of the Lu Shan mountain range? (Are there any other common meanings that would come to mind more strongly than the mountains would?)
posted by kalapierson to Writing & Language (12 answers total)
 
Apart from the dialect issues (let's assume you mean Mandarin when we say Chinese here), every Chinese character has 4 different pronunciations based on 4 standard intonations. Each pronunciation means something different, unrelated to the others. This causes an extra layer of complication in representing Chinese words using the roman alphabet. So (my chinese is not good but roughly...) e.g. "Ma" could mean horse, mother, not, buy.
posted by Bwithh at 9:36 PM on March 28, 2011


I think of the whole area including the mountains, not just the mountains exclusively. I get asked this sort of question quite often by my dad -- he'll see a pinyin-style anglicism somewhere and ask me what I think it's supposed to be in Chinese. (First generation Chinese-Canadian, grew up speaking Cantonese but took way too many years of Mandarin Chinese school at the behest of my parents.)
posted by btfreek at 9:49 PM on March 28, 2011


Thanks Bwithh, I did ask imprecisely; what my situation really calls for is this question:

If a person who speaks Mandarin AND can read Roman characters sees -- in Roman characters -- the phrase "Lu Shan," will they most likely think of the Lu Shan mountain range (or area), as opposed to some totally different meaning of that phrase?

(Bonus question: is 廬山 the correct way to write it in Traditional Chinese...?)
posted by kalapierson at 9:55 PM on March 28, 2011


Me: Honey, what's "Lu Shan"?
My girlfriend: The mountain?

There ya go. She's a native Mandarin speaker.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:00 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


For people of a certain age and/or political bent, I reckon you might think more of the Lushan Conference, famous for the fall of Peng Dehuai - well, I did. Context is king, naturally. The name is of course derived from the locale and you'd usually add the 'huiyi' bit for 'conference/meeting', so possibly a stretch, but swear I've heard it used stand-alone.
No absolutely unrelated common compound sprang to mind.
posted by Abiezer at 11:54 PM on March 28, 2011


The word "shan" 山 means mountain, so I expect that is exactly what someone speaking Chinese would think of.
posted by zxcv at 12:42 AM on March 29, 2011


Apart from the dialect issues (let's assume you mean Mandarin when we say Chinese here), every Chinese character has 4 different pronunciations based on 4 standard intonations. Each pronunciation means something different, unrelated to the others. This causes an extra layer of complication in representing Chinese words using the roman alphabet. So (my chinese is not good but roughly...) e.g. "Ma" could mean horse, mother, not, buy.

Wow, this is an incredibly inaccurate description of Chinese morphology/phonology.

Not a native speaker, but I know some Chinese. Typing "Lushan" into my traditional Chinese IME, I get 廬山 (famous mountain in Jiangxi), 蘆山 (mountain in Sichuan) and 魯山 (mountain in Henan). There's no other characters that I can think of that would correspond to Lushan.
posted by alidarbac at 12:43 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


My first association with Lushan is An Lushan, the historical figure.
posted by jiawen at 1:57 AM on March 29, 2011


I second qxntpqbbbqxl's comment exactly. Asked my native speaker gf; she said "the mountain?" I continued to persist, does it have any other meanings? She can't think of any. So, pretty much just the mountain.

For further confirmation, I also used alidarbac's method of typing lu'shan into the IME (a different one from his, it looks like). It gives back only the following options:

庐山
卢山
鲁山
麓山
鹿山
卢珊
芦山

The first is the famous mountain -- the others with 山 must also be mountains, given that they have the character 山. The second one from the bottom is, according to my girlfriend, "maybe a person's name?"
posted by jef at 3:23 AM on March 29, 2011


Cantonese native speaker who's had years of Mandarin, and I think of the mountain too. (By extension the famous poem, and its connotations...) I wouldn't think of An Lushan unless you said his whole name - I've rarely heard him referred to only by first name.
posted by monocot at 4:20 AM on March 29, 2011


And 廬山 is correct, yes.
posted by monocot at 4:28 AM on March 29, 2011


My answer is pretty much the same as monocot (also Cantonese native, years of Mandarin). If someone gave me "Lu shan" with absolutely nothing else and told me to guess, I would guess the mountain. No other *common* meanings come to mind . With a little context, it would be absolutely clear.
posted by bread-eater at 11:42 AM on March 29, 2011


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