New Message (aryan invasion)

Dominik Wujastyk ucgadkw at
Mon Dec 16 10:37:36 UTC 1996

On Sun, 15 Dec 1996, Dan Lusthaus wrote:

> [...] and occasionally conversants take recourse to either writing the
> word, making the gestures for writing the word (which can be understood
> since they follow a stroke order), or reciting a well-known phrase or
> line containing the word in question. All that might sound inefficient,
> but it doesn't seem to slow the Chinese down. 

Well, actually, I have always thought that Chinese conversants signing
away in the air to eachother was a rather good example of inefficient
spoken language.  But again, I would direct attention towards the
difficulty of quantifying this.  Perhaps one could give, say, English and
Chinese conversation teams groups of sentences to convey, and time them?
The sentences would need to cover a broad range of semantic areas (it
wouldn't be fair to take them all from textbooks on ontology, for

And as for not seeming to slow the Chinese down, I would ask the same
question: by what measure to you propose to measure the "speed" of the
Chinese?  There are many areas in which I can imagine them "moving faster"
than they do.  But such musings are pointless without quantification.

Best wishes,

Dominik Wujastyk               Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine
email: d.wujastyk at          183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, England
<URL:>                    FAX: 44 171 611 8545

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