"No wonder we react so viscerally to the 'ching-chong, ching-chong' schoolyard taunt. To attack our language, our ability to sound 'normal,' is to attack our ability to be normal. It's to attack everything we've worked for." An essay by Arthur Chu
on feigning a Chinese accent for work and ridding oneself of an accent for life. [more inside]
by graphic designer and cartoonist 阿塗 (Ah To) contains 81 Cantonese proverbs and idioms in one image. It was originally published on the Hong Kong website Passion Times
, and was inspired by a 1559 oil painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder called Netherlandish Proverbs
. [more inside]
Ta-Nehisi Coates has spent the last few months in Paris specifically studying French. His latest dispatch, "Or Perhaps You Are Too Stupid to Learn French
," looks at how hard it is to apply the rules of new language in real time, while fighting with one's perceptions and limitations (Other dispatches are here
Washington Post writer Jay Matthews asks if learning a foreign language is worth it
and recounts his own struggles studying Chinese
. Another WaPo writer, Elizabeth Chang, recalls her experience in learning Arabic
, the city states of the Malay Peninsula
often paid tribute to regional kingdoms such as those of China
. Closer relations with China were established in the early
15th century during the reign of Parameswara
, founder of Melaka, when Admiral
Zheng He (Cheng Ho) sailed through the Straits of Malacca
. Impressed by the tribute
, the Yongle Emperor
of China is said to have
presented Princess Hang Li Po*
as a gift to Mansur Shah, then Sultan
(+/-1459 AD). Tradition claims
the courtiers and servants who accompanied
the princess settled in Bukit Cina
, intermarried with the
locals and grew into a community
known as the Peranakan
. Colloquially known as Baba-Nyonya, the Peranakan or Straits Chinese
, they retained many of
their ethnic and religious
customs, but assimilated
the language and clothing
of the Malays
. They developed
a unique culture
and distinct foods
. Nyonya cuisine
is one of the most
highly rated in the South East Asian region, considered
some of the most difficult
to master but very easy
The Global Language Online Support System
(or GLOSS), produced by the Defense Language Institute in sunny Monterey, CA, offers over six thousand
free lessons in 38 languages from Albanian to Uzbek, with particular emphasis on Chinese, Persian, Russian, Korean, and various types of Arabic. The lessons include both reading and listening components and are refreshingly based on real local materials (news articles, radio segments, etc.) rather than generic templates. [more inside]
As you can see, the [Chinese] typewriter is extremely complicated and cumbersome. The main tray — which is like a typesetter's font of lead type — has about two thousand of the most frequent characters. Two thousand characters are not nearly enough for literary and scholarly purposes, so there are also a number of supplementary trays from which less frequent characters may be retrieved when necessary. What is even more intimidating about a Chinese typewriter is that the characters as seen by the typist are backwards and upside down! [more inside]
Unlike many cinematic exports, the Disney canon of films
distinguishes itself with an impressive dedication to dubbing
Through an in-house service called Disney Character Voices International
, not just dialogue but songs, too, are skillfully
re-recorded, echoing the voice acting, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the original work to an uncanny degree
(while still leaving plenty of room for lyrical reinvention
The breadth of the effort is surprising, as well -- everything from Arabic
gets its own dub, and their latest project, The Princess and the Frog
, debuted in more than forty tongues
Luckily for polyglots everywhere, the exhaustiveness of Disney's translations is thoroughly documented online in multilanguage mixes
and one-line comparisons
, linguistic kaleidoscopes that cast new light on old standards. Highlights:
"One Jump Ahead," "Prince Ali,"
and "A Whole New World"
) - "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata,"
(The Lion King
) - "Under the Sea"
and "Poor Unfortunate Souls"
(The Little Mermaid
) - "Belle"
and "Be Our Guest"
(Beauty and the Beast
) - "Just Around the Riverbend"
) - "One Song"
) - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo"
) - Medley
) - "When She Loved Me"
(Toy Story 2
) - Intro
Twenty-four different accents
in just over eight minutes. (NSFW SLYT
"Chinatown" communities across the United States (New York
, Los Angeles
, San Francisco
) are undergoing a shift in linguistic identity, as recent immigrants are more likely to natively speak Mandarin (the official spoken language
of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan,) instead of Cantonese. [more inside]
The Tao Te Ching
in dozens of languages and translations, with a lovely side-by-side comparison
Explore a Chinese Language.
The Ting Chinese English Center is a database of tools to learn Mandarin or English, and it's fun to boot. Don't miss the tongue twisters
, and try to guess how to pronounce the color
before clicking on the sound file.
Well, I'm compleetly fed up with english speling for everything. Its so dammed inconsistant and ilogical, Ill never get the hang of it. Forchunately, now theres a way to express yourselfs using chinese-like english characters. It's called Yingzi
and now you can write english as quickly as you can write