把 – Ba3 – Hold, Grasp
把戲 – Ba3 Xi4 – Hold Trick — Juggle
Recognize that? It’s Eric Graham’s world famous Juggler demo, for the Amiga. (Only Amiga Makes It Possible™) A reasonable animated GIF of this was one of those things that HAD TO exist, but didn’t, so I created it. Actually it was easy starting from Ernie Wright’s AVI version. Unfortunately converting to a GIF limits it to a paltry 256 colors, falling far short of the orignal’s 4,096 color Hold-And-Modify glory.
My conscience forces me to mention that 把 also plays an important role in Chinese grammar, but I’m not going to explain it to you. Instead I’m going to blast you with this 28 page PDF that contains passages like these:
In Mandarin Chinese, there is a construction sometimes referred to as simply the ba construction. It is one of the most famous constructions in the grammar of Chinese and has attracted the attention of almost every linguist interested in the grammar of Chinese. However, it has also consistently eluded a satisfactory analysis. [...] It would be impossible, within the limits of this work, to do justice to the complexity of this construction and the rich, endless literature on this topic if we aim for a comprehensive presentation of the properties, problems and past analyses and a detailed and extensive review of the published works. In order to at least provide an understanding of the complexities, we will, therefore, …