Tag Archives: crisis

Crisis pun?

Everybody knows that Danger + Opportunity ≠ Crisis.

So it struck me as interesting when I saw this headline on CCTV2’s 第一时间:*

危机还是商机?

Weiji haishi shangji?

Crisis or Business opportunity?

As detailed in the above pinyin.info link, many have wrongly assumed that Crisis weiji is a compound of the words for danger and opportunity, but that’s a false etymology. However, in this headline it is quite clearly being contrasted  – semantically as well as phonologically – with shangji which IS comprised of the character for business and opportunity. What’s going on here? Is it possible that the writers at CCTV also think that the 机 ji in weiji means opportunity?

Unfortunately, I don’t know. I do know that the headline turns up 1.69 MILLION hits on Baidu and 2.3 MILLION hits on Google. And, besides being used as ‘machine’ in words like 机器 jiqi ‘machine’ and 手机 shouji ‘mobile phone’, the character 机 ji is used most often in modern Mandarin to mean ‘opportunity’. Interesting.

*第一时间 is the news roundup show with beautiful (byoot iful) announcers, but this may have come from the part where the bald guy summarises some stories from local newspapers then recites a poem about them. Don’t remember.

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