John Cena holds two minutes of his press conference in Chinese, arguably just as well as Mark Zuckerberg's forays into the language. This is partially due to the fact that the WWE offers its stars a free second language program, but is also indicative of the wrestling promoter's big push into India and China. The company just signed their first Chinese national athlete... and, well, WWE has a large fan base in India.
Xiaoou is a Norwegian artist who raps in Mandarin Chinese about income inequality in China, his love for Beijing, and going through a breakup.
Phonemica is a project to record spoken stories in every one of the thousands of varieties of Chinese in order to preserve both stories and language for future generations. (via) [more inside]
In 1859 an American named Frederick Townsend Ward arrived in Shanghai. A sailor, mercenary, smuggler and filibuster, he created a force of Europeans to protect the city from, and engage directly in, the Taiping Rebellion against the Qing Dynasty, to avoid the complications of Western powers getting directly involved. After a severe defeat at Sungkiang/Songjiang, he decided to recruit from the local Chinese population instead, arming and training them in the Western fashion. This force was dubbed the 'Ever-Victorious Army.' [more inside]
Have trouble figuring out who your third cousin twice removed is versus your second cousin thrice removed? Imagine if your family was Chinese. The rules for Chinese family relation names are complex and incredibly specific, though there are patterns that can help out (e.g. tang2 vs biao3). A research paper provides some cultural context. [more inside]
MC Hotdog is a Taiwanese rapper whose songs deal with tempestuous girlfriends, his love for Taiwanese women (some translation), problems with the cram school system, being half-assed, how other musicians suck, how badass he is and lots of other topics. All thoroughly NSFW, certainly if your boss speaks Mandarin, and full of casual sexism. (MLYT. Previously.)
"Chinatown" communities across the United States (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, 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]
At One Minute Languages you can learn greetings, talking about names, counting, and more in Catalan, Danish, French, German, Irish, Japanese, Luxembourgish, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, and Russian.
Damon Albarn’s career reads like a roadmap to some musical no-man's land: start a pop band, turn into an indie/hip-hop/dub “virtual” group, followed by a supergroup featuring Tony Allen and Paul Simonon, and throw in an album of Malian guitar music for good measure. [more inside]
American businessman "stranded" in China. Now safe back in Seattle, Eugene Nelson could barely restrain his tears as he told his harrowing tale of accidently being put on a flight to "remote" Western China ("literally 200 miles south of the Mongolian border"!), "damn near fight[ing his] way out" of a brothel, and barely making his way back to civilization. While Eugene seems a bit unresourceful, his story does illustrate how difficult travel in China can be without Mandarin skills, despite the supposed prevalence of English speakers. Maybe someday his employer can hire one of the legions of students (and toddlers) now studying Mandarin. Or maybe they won't need to.
Mandarin: 1998-2005, R.I.P. (warning: 21 MB QT Movie) A farewell slide show with musical accompaniment by/to a great Denton, Texas band: Mandarin. Many of the images are of Denton and the surrounding area, tour photos and various other bric a brac captured beautifully by Peter Salisbury, the bass player who compiled the slideshow. They were my friends and Denton was my home for many years. Their music will be missed by many.