Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by slowlikemolasses, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. slowlikemolasses Senior Member

    English - US
    I'd like some clarity about this passage from *The Stranger in China: Or, The Fan-qui's Visit to the Celestial Empire in 1836-7*:

    So very prevalent, however, is the system of cheating, not only foreigners, which they consider a praiseworthy action, but even their own countrymen, that it is not at all uncommon for the words, "Pou-hua," to be written over a door in large characters, and this is intended as a particular attraction to the passersby, as it means, "No cheating here."

    I understand that transliterations from the period this book was written, the mid-18th century, are often incorrect, as well as misleading, but I hope that this passage will help me narrow down the original characters referenced. Do you know what they are?
  2. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    換 is pronounced huã in Xi'an, Taiyuan, and Jinan dialects, and 包換 pau huã, which means "replacement guaranteed" as in 如假包换 "Should the goods are deemed faulty or fake, replacement is guaranteed".
    The foreigner asked, "What do those big characters written over the door say?"
    The Chinese store owner responded, "No cheating here."
    Yes, it sounds a little silly, but that's the only explanation I can think of.
  3. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie Senior Member

    English (UK)
    Or perhaps "保货" ?
  4. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    Then that foreigner of the early 19th century probably saw that sign over the door of a 镖局 (a security and protection company like Brink's and Securicor).
  5. slowlikemolasses Senior Member

    English - US
    That doesn't seem likely. The sign doesn't seem to pertain to any specific type of store.

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