Content-type: text/html Downes.ca ~ Stephen's Web ~ Parts of the body — back and waist; slicing up reality

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

On the surface this post is about why people confuse the word for "back" in Mandarin, bèi 背, and the word for "waist", yāo è…°. This sort of confusion happens all the time in translations between the two languages. The lesson we should take from this (and it's important) is that while the back and the waist are real things, "people divide reality in different ways with the words they apply to it; we cannot always assume that what we see and experience is the same as what others see and experience."

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: May 19, 2024 7:22 p.m.

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