September 20, 2007


I hope that Bertrand Russell, as he hoists a pint with Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing in some celestial pub, will enjoy discussing whether (the message on) this sign is a member of the set of all quotations that are true of themselves:

Victor Mair, who sent this in, explains:

At the top it says: LI4ZHI4 MING2YAN2 "famous words of encouragement" (lit., encouragement famous words).

A direct, literal translation of the Chinese translation would be: "Deriving / drawing / extracting a lesson from (one's) mistakes is an extremely important part of education."

The translation is acceptable and has no obvious typographical error as in the English, so the English mistake must have been genuine and unintentional.

The attribution simply says YING1GUO2 ZHE2XUE2JIA1 ("English philosopher") LUO2SU4. B.

[Photo by David Moser]


Posted by Mark Liberman at September 20, 2007 10:35 AM