An initial 4A N2...?

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Jun 30 13:57:16 UTC 2002

>... My take on this is that "ling" = "zero" ... is the closest
>approximation you can get of "ni" = "you" (not worrying about the final
>"ng"). .... Interesting how it seems that for Chinese speakers the
>initials "n" and "l" are more easily mixed up and/or interchangeable ...
>than they are in English. ... Of course, in Taiwanese "you" is "li", which
>would reinforce the appropriateness of "ling" = "you".

I sure do suspect that it might. I wonder whether the acceptability of the
terminal nasal might also be reinforced, by the existence of the 'Mandarin'
'honorific' "you" ("nin").

On the other hand, on the Web I see "1" used for "ni" in "1487" = "yi si ba
qi" for "ni shi bai chi" = "you are an idiot". Different nerds, different
notions, as they say (^_^). I'm sure the tone is involved at least
sometimes, too.

These things are cute, analogous to those restaurant codes ("86" etc.) and
those CB radio codes ("10-4" etc.).

Next time I get annoyed in traffic, I'll say "Fourteen-eighty-seven": safer
(I guess, at least here in Pittsburgh) than my usual remarks, and better
for the kiddies' ears.

Thanks for satisfying my/our curiosity.

-- Doug Wilson

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