November 04, 2008

#01-179: Sino-African Joint Exhibition Showcases African Culture

wide view of an urban area with bushes in the foreground, over which is written "READING BOOMTOWN CHRONICLES"
Shenzhen, the Boomtown

Note: Between Lesson #01-128 and #01-207, I wrote 72 lessons explaining expressions in articles published in the Shenzhen Daily. Read more about "Reading Boomtown Chronicles."

Get Ready: Is there something that you love? Is there a word ending in -phile to describe that kind of person? For example, I love books, so you could call me a bibliophile.

Sino-African Joint Exhibition Showcases African Culture -
published Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Since there was no "Boomtown Chronicles" article to draw words from when this lesson was due, I turned to some other interesting items from the paper for inspiration. Specifically, we took a look at two articles on China/Africa relations.

  • Title: "Sino-African joint exhibition showcases African culture,"

Sino-: a combining form for "China." It comes from the Latin form of the country's name, Sinae. This, in turn, may have come from Arabic Sin, derived from the Chinese Qin, the name of the first centralized dynasty of China. The same root shows up in words such as "Sinology," the study of China.

The same practice is used for many other areas of the world: Franco- (France), Euro- (Europe), Indo- (Indian), Anglo- (England), etc. Later in the article we find the word "Greco-Roman," indicating the "Classical" or Greek and Roman period of Egyptian history.

It's not uncommon to see these prefixes used with the extension -phile, meaning "one who loves" something. So a Sinophile loves Chinese culture, an Anglophile loves English culture, etc.


  • The article mentions the "pharaonic" period of Egyptian history.

pharaonic: of the Pharaohs. Be careful with this word! It ends in -aoh, but is pronounced "oh."


  • the "fauna and flora" of Gabon.

fauna: the animals that live in a particular area.

flora: is the plant-life of an area. It is related to "flowers," but it includes all vegetation, not just flowering plants.

Interestingly, "Flora" was also a Roman goddess of flowers. So when the great Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus was looking for a companion term to describe all the animals of a region, he took the name of a Roman goddess of fertility: Fauna.

She is associated with Faunus, a fertility god; you may know the word "faun," a mythological creature of the forest, with the horns, tail, and hind legs of a goat. His Greek name was "Pan," from which we get the word "panic," which describes a person frightened in the woods, where fauns and other wild fauna live.


Read more:

Practice: Choose the correct term to fill in the blank in the sentence below:

  1. Anglo-American
  2. Eurocentric
  3. fauna
  4. flora
  5. Francophile
  6. Greco-Roman
  7. Indochina
  8. panic
  9. pharaonic
  10. Sinology

  1. The literature department is trying to teach about more Asian and African writers and stop being so ________.
  2. The U.S. president and the British prime minister are responsible for ________ relations.
  3. His interest in the Ming Dynasty led him to study ________ in university.
  4. Because she loved the ________ of her country, she decided to study zoology.
  5. After living in Paris for 15 years, he was quite a ________.
  6. I got lost in the city's back streets and had a ________ attack.
  7. That part of SE Asia where Vietnam, Cambodia, and other countries are located is between China and India, so it's called the ________ Peninsula.
  8. His interest in the ________ period started when he read a book about Julius Caesar.
  9. She studied hieroglyphics so she could read the ________ inscriptions in the pyramids.
  10. He studied botany to better understand the ________ of his region.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for November 4, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. b; 2. a; 3. d; 4. j; 5. e; 6. h; 7. g; 8. f; 9. i; 10. c