Earliest Chinese reference to "ma que"

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cymb...@free.fr

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Nov 30, 2006, 4:35:05 AM11/30/06
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In 1903 Li Boyuan (aka Li Baojai, 1867-1906) founded the magazine
"Xiuxiang Xiaoshuo" ("Illustrated Stories") in Shanghai, and started
publishing his serialised novel "Guanchang xianxing ji" ("Officialdom
unmasked") which draws a ferocious satire of Chinese bureaucracy. In
1904 the series was published in book form (abridged English
translation: "Officialdom unmasked", transl. by T.L. Yang, Hong Kong,
2001).

These Chinese bureaucrats play mahjong often!
(excerpts can be seen on Google Book Search at:
http://books.google.com/books?q=Officialdom+unmasked&hl=fr&as_brr=0
open the link to get the 1st cover, then go to the right and scroll
down until the "Search in this book" box, just type "mahjong" and go:
you'll be amazed)

Of course I had doubts: translators take many liberties with game
names! How many times have I read 'whist' in a Russian novel, while it
was 'vint' in the original version... But a German book gives clear
evidence that Li Boyuan wrote 'ma que' ('ma qiao'). In her study "Das
Kuan-ch'ang hsien-hsing chi : ein Beispiel für den politischen Roman
der ausgehenden Ch'ing-Zeit" (The Guanchang Xianxing ji: an example of
a political novel of late Qing times), Bern - Frankfurt/M., 1974, p.
97, Christel Ruh points out many examples of Shanghai speech in Li
Boyuan's prose. One of these is the expression "cha ma que" (gambling
at mahjong) of which she remarks it is typical of the Shanghai dialect
(Wuyu) and would not have been used in the North.

So "cha ma que" in 1903 is the earliest Chinese reference to MJ sofar
found in a literary work.

Readers of Xu Ke (but also of Laufer) will find this helpful.

Thank you for your attention. :-)

Thierry

msta...@aol.com

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Nov 30, 2006, 5:38:20 AM11/30/06
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cymb...@free.fr wrote:
> Of course I had doubts: translators take many liberties with game
> names! How many times have I read 'whist' in a Russian novel, while it
> was 'vint' in the original version... But a German book gives clear
> evidence that Li Boyuan wrote 'ma que' ('ma qiao'). In her study "Das
> Kuan-ch'ang hsien-hsing chi : ein Beispiel für den politischen Roman
> der ausgehenden Ch'ing-Zeit" (The Guanchang Xianxing ji: an example of
> a political novel of late Qing times), Bern - Frankfurt/M., 1974, p.
> 97, Christel Ruh points out many examples of Shanghai speech in Li
> Boyuan's prose. One of these is the expression "cha ma que" (gambling
> at mahjong) of which she remarks it is typical of the Shanghai dialect
> (Wuyu) and would not have been used in the North.
>
> So "cha ma que" in 1903 is the earliest Chinese reference to MJ sofar
> found in a literary work.

Hello Thierry. Wow!! Another excellent find! It is interesting that the
name refers to the gambling aspect of the game. I wondered whether this
suggested that the game was pretty widespread as a gambling game. And
how would this compare and contrast with Millington's claimed lofty and
idealistic game that he claimed was in existence sometime between 1910
and 1920?

A pretty stark juxtaposition I would have thought?

Cheers
Michael

Cofa Tsui

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Dec 2, 2006, 2:03:40 AM12/2/06
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One of these is the expression "cha ma que" (gambling
> > at mahjong)

Can anyone show me or point me to the Chinese writing of "cha ma que"?
Would that be the same or similar to "da ma cheuk" (Cantonese) where
"da" (hit) means "play" in English.

I suspect that "cha" is not necessarily linked to the word "gambling".

-------
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com

cymb...@free.fr

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Dec 6, 2006, 12:19:04 PM12/6/06
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Cofa Tsui a écrit :

> Can anyone show me or point me to the Chinese writing of "cha ma que"?
> Would that be the same or similar to "da ma cheuk" (Cantonese) where
> "da" (hit) means "play" in English.
>
> I suspect that "cha" is not necessarily linked to the word "gambling".

Hello Cofa,

I was in England and could not reply to your message earlier.

The Chinese word 'cha4' is made of Radical no. 29 + 1 stroke.
(Unicode: U+53C9, Big5: A465)
and is normally translated as[1] [v] interlace fingers; cross arms [2]
[v] thrust; pierce; stab [3] [n] fork; prong...

However, a rare meaning is "to play (at mahjong) for money".
This meaning is to be found in large dictionaries only, e.g. in the
recent Grand Dictionnaire Ricci de la langue chinoise, Paris, 2002,
probably the biggest Chinese-western language dictionary (7 volumes).

Here is what they say under 'ch'a' (they use the Wade-Giles
romanization):

ch'a4
1.a. Croiser... 2. fourche... (...)
5. (Jeux) a. Jouer (au machiang).

(in English: 1.a. to cross... 2. fork... (...)
5. (Games) a. To play (at majiang).
(That's for the general meaning of the character. Then they proceed to
explain expressions that use 'cha'.)

ch'a ma ch'üeh (Jeux - loc.) Jouer au machiang ou mahjong (pour de
l'argent).
ch'a ma ch'üeh p'ai (Jeux - loc.) Jouer au machiang ou mahjong (pour
de l'argent).
("(Games - local) To play majiang or mahjong (for money)."

A little further they gloss the phrase "ch'a se" thus:
"(old) A term that means a sort of heads-and-tails game, which
consisted in throwing six coins on the ground..."

So I think 'cha4' had an old meaning dealing with some sort of gambling
and that 'cha ma que' (ch'a ma ch'üeh) could as well be translated -
as all translators do, it seems - as "playing mahjong for money". Isn't
it gambling?

Cheers,

Thierry

ithinc

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Dec 6, 2006, 11:52:37 PM12/6/06
to
Hello Cofa,

I have found the "guan chang xian xing ji" book which was written in
old Chinese and was published from 1903 to 1905 at a newspaper. I
picked a paragraph from it below:

却不料那田小辫子田大人新叫的一个姑娘,名字叫翠喜,是乌额拉布乌大人的旧交。乌额拉布同田小辫子今天是第一次相会,看见田小辫子同翠喜要好,心上着实吃醋。起初田小辫子还不觉得,后来乌大人的脸色渐渐的紫里发青,青里变白。他是旗下人,又是阔少出身,是有点脾气的。手里打的是麻雀牌,心上想的却是他二人。这一副牌齐巧是他做庄,一个不留神,发出一个中风,底家拍了下来。上家跟手发了一张白板,对面也拍出。其时田小辫子正坐对面,翠喜歪在他怀里替他发牌,一会劝田小辫子发这张牌,一会又说发那张牌。田小辫子听他说话,发出来一张八万,底家一摊就出。仔细看时,原来是北风暗克,二三四万一搭,三张七万一张八万等张。如今翠喜发出八万,底家数了数:中风四副,北风暗克八副,三张七万四副,八万吊头不算,连着和下来十副头,已有二十六副,一翻五十二,两翻一百零四,万字一色,三翻二百零八。乌额拉布做庄,打的是五百块洋钱一底的么二架,庄家单输这一副牌已经二百多块。乌额拉布输倒输得起,只因这张牌是翠喜发的,再加以醋意,不由得"怒从心上起,恶向胆边生",顿时拿牌往前一推,涨红了脸,说道:"我们打牌四个人,如今倒多出一个人来了!看了两家的牌,发给人家和,原来你们是串通好了来做我一个的!"翠喜忙分辩道:"我又不晓得下家等的是八万。你庄家固然要输,田大人也要陪着你输。"乌额拉布道:"自然要输!你可晓得你们田大人不是庄,输的总要比我少些?"翠喜道:"一个老爷不是做一个姑娘,一个姑娘不是做一个老爷,甚么我的田大人!你们诸位大人听听,这话好笑不好笑!"


From the above paragraph, I could find they were playing a CC-like
mahjong and Red Dragon, White Dragon had exsited at the moment.

ithinc

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Dec 7, 2006, 12:33:08 AM12/7/06
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Oh, it messed. The Chinese book could be find
at:http://www.inncn.com/book/gd/l/libaojia/gcxxj/index.html

It seems the game was called "ma que (pai)" then. And I find the Red
Dragon was called Centre Wind.

The winning hand exsiting in the Chapter 31 was: RRR, NNN 234C 777C 8C
+ 8C, the West seat made the losing discard to the South seat. They
counted as:
meled RRR, 4pts
concealed NNN, 8pts
concealed 777C, 4pts
winning, 10pts

3 doubles(I don't know which were the 3 doubles) to 208pts.

ithinc

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Dec 7, 2006, 12:52:05 AM12/7/06
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"msta...@aol.com 写道:
The mahjong was borned for gambling. All the symbols on the tiles are
related to money.

ithinc

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Dec 7, 2006, 2:14:05 AM12/7/06
to

"Cofa Tsui 写道:

"Cha ma que"("叉麻雀") maybe is a word in "wu yu". It's similar to
playing mahjong. Generally in Chinese, when mentioning playing mahjong,
it means gambling by playing mahjong. That's why CMCR was made in 1998,
in which Competition Mahjong was introduced to differentiate from the
Gambling Mahjong.

ithinc

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Dec 8, 2006, 1:12:50 AM12/8/06
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"ithinc 写道:
Sorry, I made a mistake. The winner should be the North seat. So the 3
doubles were:
Red Dragon 1dbl
Seat Wind 1dbl
Mixed Characters 1dbl

Cofa Tsui

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Dec 8, 2006, 2:46:15 AM12/8/06
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cymb...@free.fr wrote:
> Cofa Tsui a écrit :
>
> > Can anyone show me or point me to the Chinese writing of "cha ma que"?
> > Would that be the same or similar to "da ma cheuk" (Cantonese) where
> > "da" (hit) means "play" in English.
> >
> > I suspect that "cha" is not necessarily linked to the word "gambling".
>
> Hello Cofa,
>
> I was in England and could not reply to your message earlier.
>
> The Chinese word 'cha4' is made of Radical no. 29 + 1 stroke.
> (Unicode: U+53C9, Big5: A465)
> and is normally translated as[1] [v] interlace fingers; cross arms [2]
> [v] thrust; pierce; stab [3] [n] fork; prong...

Would that be (thanks to Ithinc)...


"Cha ma que"("叉麻雀") maybe is a word in "wu yu".

That makes sense why I didn't know, if this is "hu yu" (胡语); as
initially I thought it was "cuo ma que" (搓麻雀).

I have no idea about the "old meaning," or if this is in "hu yu."
Thanks for the info anyway.

----------------
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com

ithinc

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Dec 8, 2006, 3:42:06 AM12/8/06
to

"Cofa Tsui 写道:

"
> cymb...@free.fr wrote:
> > Cofa Tsui a écrit :
> >
> > > Can anyone show me or point me to the Chinese writing of "cha ma que"?
> > > Would that be the same or similar to "da ma cheuk" (Cantonese) where
> > > "da" (hit) means "play" in English.
> > >
> > > I suspect that "cha" is not necessarily linked to the word "gambling".
> >
> > Hello Cofa,
> >
> > I was in England and could not reply to your message earlier.
> >
> > The Chinese word 'cha4' is made of Radical no. 29 + 1 stroke.
> > (Unicode: U+53C9, Big5: A465)
> > and is normally translated as[1] [v] interlace fingers; cross arms [2]
> > [v] thrust; pierce; stab [3] [n] fork; prong...
>
> Would that be (thanks to Ithinc)...
> "Cha ma que"("叉麻雀") maybe is a word in "wu yu".
>
> That makes sense why I didn't know, if this is "hu yu" (胡语); as
> initially I thought it was "cuo ma que" (搓麻雀).
>
Oh no, what I mentioned was "wu yu"(吴语, suzhou hua/shanghai
hua/etc). Most Probably "cha ma que"(叉麻雀) was the local
pronunciation of "cuo ma que"(搓麻雀) in Suzhou/Shanghai/etc. It is
also possible that it was just a pronunciation and there was no Chinese
characters corresponding to it, but when an article was written, a
Chinese character must be lent.

ithinc

ithinc

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Jan 17, 2007, 10:50:26 PM1/17/07
to

"Cofa Tsui 写道:

"
> cymb...@free.fr wrote:
> > Cofa Tsui a écrit :
> >
> > > Can anyone show me or point me to the Chinese writing of "cha ma que"?
> > > Would that be the same or similar to "da ma cheuk" (Cantonese) where
> > > "da" (hit) means "play" in English.
> > >
> > > I suspect that "cha" is not necessarily linked to the word "gambling".
> >
> > Hello Cofa,
> >
> > I was in England and could not reply to your message earlier.
> >
> > The Chinese word 'cha4' is made of Radical no. 29 + 1 stroke.
> > (Unicode: U+53C9, Big5: A465)
> > and is normally translated as[1] [v] interlace fingers; cross arms [2]
> > [v] thrust; pierce; stab [3] [n] fork; prong...
>
> Would that be (thanks to Ithinc)...
> "Cha ma que"("叉麻雀") maybe is a word in "wu yu".
>
> That makes sense why I didn't know, if this is "hu yu" (胡语); as
> initially I thought it was "cuo ma que" (搓麻雀).
It could be confirmed now that "Cha maque"(叉麻雀) is indeed the
term at that time. It can be found in almost all the books of that time
mentioning "maque". "Play maque"(打麻雀) was also used sometime. You
can find it in the "Guanchang Xianxing Ji". As the mahjong was
initialed and popular in the region of South Yangtse River(thus
Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai, thus region of "Wu yu"), "Cha maque" is
really a word in "Wu yu" and its pronunciation is very similar to "Cuo
majiang"(搓麻将) in mandarin. "Cha maque"(叉麻雀) is still used
in some regions of "Wu yu" today.

ithinc

Cofa Tsui

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Jan 18, 2007, 9:52:26 PM1/18/07
to
ithinc wrote:

> It could be confirmed now that "Cha maque"(叉麻雀) is indeed the
> term at that time. It can be found in almost all the books of that time
> mentioning "maque". "Play maque"(打麻雀) was also used sometime. You
> can find it in the "Guanchang Xianxing Ji". As the mahjong was
> initialed and popular in the region of South Yangtse River(thus
> Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai, thus region of "Wu yu"), "Cha maque" is
> really a word in "Wu yu" and its pronunciation is very similar to "Cuo
> majiang"(搓麻将) in mandarin. "Cha maque"(叉麻雀) is still used
> in some regions of "Wu yu" today.

Thanks Ithinc.

-----
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com

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