Here’s one for my British friends:
NPR has a blog called code switch now, and recently published an article called Five Reasons Why People Code-Switch. I recommend you read it in full if you’re at all interested in the linguistic phenomenon of code-switching, but for the purposes of this blog post I’ll some up the five reasons listed:
A certain language feels more appropriate in a “primal” state
To fit in to a certain linguistic environment
To be treated…
One of our star teachers at AllSet Learning recently shared this with me:
This is definitely a tricky one, and you’re not likely to be able to appreciate it if you’re not at least the intermediate level. So forgive me for not providing pinyin and translations for everything.
Like many jokes, this joke relies on ambiguity. Understanding the different sentences requires some understanding of semantic ambiguity, syntactic ambiguity, and lexical ambiguity.
Here’s what’s going on:…
Friends of mine have asked me many times: can you really speak Chinese without translating it first in your head? And when I answer yes, the follow-up question is: but how can you get to that point? I have to translate everything!
There’s both an implied lie and a rather direct lie in that follow-up question.
“But how can you get to that point?”
The problem is that it’s not a “point.” There’s no instant when you can suddenly stop …
One of our teachers at AllSet Learning introduced a hilarious Chinese article to me on the grammatical usage of the phrase 他妈的 (often abbreviated as “TMD”). The most appropriate translation of 他妈的 in English is usually “fucking” (in the emphatic sense), so if that offends you, stop reading now.
The origin of this article is unclear to me, but it dates back to at least 2009 (here’s a copy). Anyway, I found the article both funny and instructional, so …
I’ve already admitted before that I watch the Chinese dating show 非诚勿扰. Well, I’m still watching it, and the cultural and linguistic observations are starting to pile up. Today, though, I just wanted to mention one of the ones that strikes me as particularly odd.
In the program, as each male contestant is introduced, several video clips are shown. These videos reveal more about the man’s career and outlook on life, about his attitudes toward …
To follow up my recent massive post on Language Power Struggles, I’d like to highlight the responses of Dr. Orlando Kelm, a professor of linguistics, teacher of many years, and learner of multiple languages. Dr. Kelm’s experience is largely with Portuguese and Spanish, but he’s also studied Japanese and Chinese, among other languages.
Dr. Kelm’s three main points were:
Chinese perception of use of English: There is something interesting about Chinese adoption of Putonghua as a lingua franca,…
I like the building numbers at 映巷创意工场:
If you don’t recognize the numbers, check my number character variants post. They are: 贰 (2), 叁 (3), 肆 (4).
Just in case you missed these English language Chinese coinages, here’s a sample:
vi. When you are expecting some answers from your Chinese audience, you may just get a mysterious smile and their silence only.
The rest of the list is here, but here’s a taste of what you’ll find:
Smilence is definitely the best …
There’s a new China language blog in town, backed a whole group of linguistically minded writers. Sinoglot is not only a group blog, it’s also host to some other very interesting individual linguistic blogs: