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Translator in China

Celestial Stems and Earthly Branches

Concerning ancient Chinese time measuring methods, and what's left of them today.

"To say that Chinese culture is old, is to state the obvious. Same goes for dwelling on the fact, that on every turn there, we stumble upon elements that were constituted ages ago. And it is also a false truism, as those elements were oft razed, repainted, refurnished and reconstructed manifold, just as the vast majority of historical landmarks in China, bearing a "wet paint" plaque. Nonetheless, one would ask, whether (and if so, how) this antiquity of Chinese culture manifest itself in everyday life, most notably in a translator's everyday life. One way it actually does, is the usage of two sets of characters, 10 piece set called Celestial (or Heavenly) Stems (天干 tiāngān), and to lesser extent a 12 piece set called Earthly Branches (地支 dìzhī) in modern Chinese, for example in legal contracts as the ways to denote the parties, as page numeration in legal documents, in tests as the available answers and so on. [...]"

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Hubei Cave Exploration Team – Erin Lynch

Interview with karst specialist and cave explorer - Erin Lynch.

"....Often the stories we are told are that somebody’s grandfather went to this cave and came out in a totally different village many years ago. Or you can go into this cave for three days… I know that in Laos there are often temples in caves. Here sometimes you will see little shrines for ancestors in caves but that is very uncommon. I think mostly people think of caves as of economic resources here. You’ll see that many villagers hope, when they see people coming to explore the caves, that maybe the caves would be developed for tourism. And they also want to get the water from the caves. So they think about how it can be useful for their lives. And of course you’ve seen all the nitrate pits in the caves. 70-80 years ago they were extracting this material and making money from that...."

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