Monday, August 15, 2011

自相矛盾 The story of Spears and Shields


Many of the advertisements nowadays are full of contradictions if analyzed carefully. However, nobody seems to care. Ads are supposed to brag a little, some or a lot?


从前有个人,在市场上卖矛和盾。 他拿起盾对人说: “你们看我的盾! 我的盾是世界上最好的,什么矛都刺不穿它!” 然后,他又拿起矛说:“你们再来看我的矛!我的矛是世界上最厉害的, 什么盾它都能刺穿。” 大家听了他的话,都觉得十分好笑。有个人问他: “如果你说的都是真的,你的矛是世界上最厉害的, 什么盾都能刺穿,你的盾是世界上最好的, 什么矛都刺不穿它, 那么用你的矛来刺你的盾, 结果会怎么样呢?” 那个人听了,就很快地收起他的矛和盾, 离开了。所以,中文“矛盾”这个词的意思是contradiction.


cong2qian2   you3ge4ren2,  zai4  shi4chang3shang4  mai4  mao2he dun4.  ta1 na2qi3  dun4  dui4ren2shuo1: "ni3men  kan4  wo3de dun4!  wo3de  dun4  shi4  shi4jie4shang4  zui4hao3de,  shen2me  mao2 dou1  ci4bu4chuan1 ta1!"  ran2hou4,  ta1  you4  na2qi3  mao2 shuo1:"ni3men  zai4  lai2  kan4  wo3de mao2!  wo3de  mao2  shi4  shi4jie4shang4  zui4li4hai4de,   shen2me  dun4  ta1  dou1  neng2  ci4chuan1."  
da4jia1  ting1le  ta1de hua4,  dou1 jue2de   shi2fen1  hao3xiao4.  you3ge4ren2  wen4ta1: "ru2guo3   ni3  shuo1de  dou1shi4  zhen1de,  ni3de  mao2  shi4  shi4jie4shng4  zui4  i4hai4de,  shen2me   dun4  dou1neng2  ci4chuan1,   ni3de   dun4  shi4  shi3jie4 shang4  zui4hao3de,   shen2me   mao2   dou1  ci4bu4chuan1  ta1,  Na4me   yong4  ni3de  mao2  lai2ci4  ni3de dun4,  jie1guo3  hui4  zhen3me yang4  ne?   na4ge4ren2  ting1le,  jiu4  hen3kuai4 de  shou1qi3  ta1de   mao2 he2 dun4,  li2kai1le. suo3yi3,  zhong1wen2  "mao2dun4"  zhe4ge4ci2  de tyi4si  shi4  "contradiction".

Translation:
Long time ago,  there was a man who sold spears and shields in the market.  He picked up his shield and said to the people: "Look at my shield! It is the best shield in the world.  No spear can ever pierce it through!"  After that, he also picked up his spear and said: "Now look at my spear! It's the most powerful spear in the world. It can pierce through any shields."  Hearing this, people thought he's very ridiculous. Somebody asked him: "If what you said is all true, that your spears are the most powerful in the world and can pierce all the shields, that your shields are the best in the world and no spears can pierce them,  pierce your shield with your spear. What will happen in the end?"  Hearing this, the man quickly collected his spears and shields and left.  Therefore, "spear and shield" in Chinese means "contradiction".

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