2015-02-10 The Year of the Sheep/Ram/Goat!

In Chinese the new lunar year is the year of the sheep (羊), "sheep" in Chinese being neither masculine nor feminine. In English "goat" is also neutral, but for some reason or other in English "sheep" becomes masculine as the year of the ram.

The choice of "sheep" or "ram" has ramifications: a sheep is docile, peaceful, friendly, meek, submissive and obedient. But "ram" denotes determination, initiative, leadership, control and aggressiveness.

As regards the goat, well, I'm not kidding you, but the original character translated as "sheep" has lots of linguistic issues, not just in Chinese but also in Japanese and Vietnamese. See this fascinating article: http://www.cjvlang.com/Spicks/sheepgoat.html

In the new year, let's try to combine the good qualities of both the sheep and the ram. May we be both docile and determined, so that no one will pull the wool over our eyes concerning what we should do. I wish ewe a Happy Lunar New Year!