Know Your Picture Characters Entry #17

August 9th, 2010 by Wordsman

A. 車 B. 自転車 C. 新幹線 D. 地下鉄 E. 電車 F. 飛行機 G. 船

The responses to this week’s challenge featured displays of logic, a tactic not often utilized in KYPC.  The proofs were arranged thusly: 1. Assume that “A” is the basic character for train. 2. Assume that the shinkansen, which is a type of train, will contain this character.  3. Ergo, the shinkansen must be either “B” or “E,” as these are the only compounds which contain “A.”  Q.E.D.  Based on this analysis, A Fan elected to go with B, and Shirley chose E, presumably to increase their chances of at least one of them being right.  It may not seem fair of me to accuse my readers of conspiracy, but if they are going to continue to believe that I am trying to fool them, it is only natural for me to think that they are trying to fool me.

Of course, the problem with this logical approach is that it is based on assumptions.  If either part 1 or part 2 proves to be incorrect, then the conclusion falls flat.  And it goes without saying that, if both propositions are untrue, as they are in this case, you might have been better off picking one at random without even looking at them first.  As it turns out, A by itself means “car,” though this is derived from its original meaning of “wheel.”  Thus, while it does not mean “train,” it does appear in the names of trains:

汽車  列車

The first is a steam train, and the second is a more general term for “train,” referring to something made up of linked cars that travels on tracks.  So, while proposition 1 was not technically correct, it was close enough that they almost got away with it.  But once proposition 2 collapsed, they really had no chance.  Shirley came closer, picking out the “electric train,” which is generally the word that a typical person would use when talking about taking the train.  And she was also correct about it being sleeker than B, A Fan’s older, more utilitarian “bicycle.”

Not that they necessarily would have been any better off ignoring character A.  Let’s take a second to wave to Dragon, who’s way out there on G, hanging out with T-Pain.  Sing it: “SHE’S ON A BOAT!”  She can see F from there, a compound that was entirely forgotten by readers.  Apparently you don’t like traveling by plane any better than I do.  Our other misfit this week is D, the subway.  Theoman, using his hidden technique of actual knowledge, outstripped the bicycles, the boats, and the planes to end up on C, the mighty bullet train.  And, in case you’re curious, shinkansen literally means “new trunk line”- the word refers to both the train itself and the route it travels.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.  How can I quiz you on ways to go places if you don’t even know how to go?  So we’ll look at some basic verbs of motion: come and go, walk and run, enter and exit.  We know that you can all talk the talk, but let’s see if you can spot the walk.

A. 歩 B. 行 C. 来 D. 出 E. 入 F. 走

Posted in Know Your Picture Characters | 4 Comments »

4 Responses

  1. Dragon Says:

    E. It’s a pair of legs. Walking legs. And maybe one extremely short arm. Very simple.

  2. A Fan Says:

    C, because sometimes a totally random guess is the best shot to take.

  3. Shirley Says:

    Rats! Hoping to forestall another accusation of collusion(really unsubstantiated, unfair and unkind, W.W. Don’t fall into the trap of sounding like a Republican.) I wanted to get this in before Fan, in case he also stated that E. was clearly a walking figure. I have refrained from reading his until after I submit this, and will immediately, as soon as I finish. I hope neither he nor Dragon will have picked E also.

  4. Shirley Says:

    Oh rats, again! Dragon did.

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