Phrase request

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Amplifythepeace
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Joined: Sep 15, 2013 7:44 am

Phrase request

Post by Amplifythepeace » Sep 15, 2013 7:53 am

I came across a phrase which I would like to get on a scroll. The phrase was shared with me as follows...

"Hari wa hito nari"
Which I have been told can translate into English as "your needle reflects what you are"

The intention of the context of the phrase is that of a lesson for an acupuncture student...the phrase passed on from his mentor.

I would also be interested in any phrase that may be available in mandarin that would reflect the same intention.

Thanks for your time

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Yankee
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Re: Phrase request

Post by Yankee » Sep 16, 2013 8:51 am

This would be written as follows:

針は人也

The literal translation is 'The needle is the person'.

Note two things about this:

1. This is an archaic way of writing this phrase. The slightly antiquated literary equivalent would be 針は人である [Hari wa hito de aru], and the modern casual-speech equivalent would be 針は人だ [Hari wa hito da] (not recommended for something like this).

2. Even though this is technically composed of four characters, it doesn't really follow the standard format of a yojijukugo (four-character idiomatic compound) due to the presence grammatical particles, which are normally omitted from this type of phrase. I did an online search for this phrase and didn't get a single hit, which throws up all kinds of red flags. While this doesn't automatically exclude the possibility of using this phrase, it does mean that I would very strongly recommend having Gary's native Japanese translator double-check this and/or suggest a more literary sounding equivalent. The use of 也 [nari] as the copula on the end of the phrase suggests a degree of legitimacy because most non-native speakers would have no idea how to use this character in this capacity as it's a very archaic usage seen only in literary-type phrases. However, I maintain that it's better to be safe than sorry and have the translator give her opinion.

I hope that helps.

Scott

Amplifythepeace
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Joined: Sep 15, 2013 7:44 am

Re: Phrase request

Post by Amplifythepeace » Oct 23, 2013 8:12 pm

This is an image of the calligraphy that accompanied the translation. I am curious now how this translates?
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image.jpg

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Yankee
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Re: Phrase request

Post by Yankee » Oct 24, 2013 10:41 am

Nice. :-)

This is the same phrase as what I posted previously; however, it utilizes an older character for hari (needle).

I used 針, which is the most common way to see it written in Japanese. This has a broad range of uses, the primary of which is 'needle'.

The calligraphy you posted uses 鍼 instead, which is an older character that specifically refers to a needle without the broad range that the other character has and often specifically refers to a needle used for acupuncture (although that doesn't have to be the specific context).

The other difference is that I wrote the ideographic character 也 for nari, whereas the calligraphy that you posted wrote the same word out phonetically as なり [nari]. This is just a matter of preference. There's no change in meaning.

So, mine was this:

針は人也

The one you posted was this:

鍼は人なり

These mean the same thing. The differences are stylistic.

I hope that helps.

Scott

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Gary
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Re: Phrase request

Post by Gary » Oct 29, 2013 10:01 am

You can order Scott's phrase on a custom calligraphy wall scroll here:
http://www.orientaloutpost.com/calligra ... 0154+20063

Or the one from your image here:
http://www.orientaloutpost.com/calligra ... 2394+12426

Cheers,
-Gary.

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