Wednesday, February 23, 2005


There's nothing essentially wrong with What the Ancients Did for Us, but I wish someone had told junior presenter Jamie Darling how to pronounce the name of the first imperial dynasty of China, the Qin. It's chin, not kwin, from which we get 'China' (probably). In the old system of transliteration of Chinese, that in which Beijing was rendered Peking,* it was spelt Tsin. I'm rather concerned that this might have been down to some idiot producer who thought it might confuse an audience to show a letter q on screen and pronounce it ch. However, since the caption to the on-screen map talked about the Qing dynasty, which is the name of the last imperial dynasty of China, it's probably just poor research.

* If you thought that the capital of China changed its name at some point in the 1980s, well, it didn't. What changed was the way the Chinese characters are rendered into the Latin alphabet.

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