Friday, January 02, 2004

Language: Year of the Monkey

I saw used to refer to the year of the monkey on someone's web page, but that conflicted with one of Yahoo's most-emailed Yahoo! news photos from yesterday, a seal painting the kanji for the year of the monkey, .

The Windows Japanese IME didn't have , and my on-line dictionary of choice didn't have it, so it's assuredly not Japanese (or not modern Japanese, anyway).

The Unicode people are an amazing group if for no other reason than their Unihan database. They have every Chinese character ever used in any subset of Unicode, including the stuff no one bothers implementing, like 𪒠, to pick a character at random, which works in nobody's browser that I know of including my own. Notice that all Chinese characters here that link, link to the Unihan database.

I want to nitpick the subtitle under the seal photo, too, since doesn't really mean "monkey" so much as ninth zodiac branch, judging from the definition on this page from the Unihan database. That would be like saying "leo" is English for "lion". Of course, I wouldn't mind any of this so much if the image's subtitle was at least grammatically correct — an article is missing or it's a poor choice of preposition or something or both.

So in writing this post I learned:
is Chinese for monkey. is Japanese for monkey, though it's Chinese for ape. Both have the dog radical, . 申猴 is Chinese for the ninth sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Monkey. is Japanese for the same sign. 年 is Japanese for year. The Year of the Monkey starts Jan. 22, 2004. The Islamic new year 1425 starts Feb. 22, 2004.

I also learned how to have an HTML link tag submit a POST query using Javascript. Not that it was hard — I've just never bothered to learn any Javascript things before.

A note on character encoding: To look up the character numbers, I entered the characters in Microsoft's notepad using the IME, saved the notepad document with "Unicode big endian" encoding, and then opened the file with a hex editor. After 0xfeff, which is the byte-order (endian-ness) indicator, were then the hex numbers that you can enter into the text box at the top of almost every page in the Unihan database to find the character in question.

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