At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Under normal circumstances this blogger will not speak Mandarin in Chinatown, for two reasons: 1) My ability to speak Mandarin is piss-poor, and 2) the native languages of Chinatown, in no particular order, are Cantonese, English, and Toisan (okay, alphabetic order).

My apartment mate and I speak two out of three, but not the same two.
We have English in common.

In a way, speaking Cantonese is a form of cultural imperialism, seeing as by doing so one rightly presumes that the listener, irrespective of whether or not it is their native tongue -- they could be from so far outside of Hong Kong and Guangzhou that everything they say sounds Martian -- will not only understand, but be able to respond. Surely everyone is at least semi-fluent in language? Usually, they are.

Mandarin, on the other hand, suggests that one is not willing or able to communicate.

The other day someone started speaking Mandarin at me.

So the conversation continued in English.

My upper-hand language.

"你好。 我的狗吃了我的功課。 謝謝。"
[Nǐ hǎo. Wǒ de gǒu chīle wǒ de gōngkè. Xièxiè nǐ!]

Toishanwa is not entirely intelligible to the speaker of city Cantonese, and vice-versa, but it is comfortably within the realm of possibility. The two are each other's shadows, in a manner of speaking, and often follow each other around the mental room. Mandarin is the language of Northern warlords, carpetbaggers, the Kuomintang, foreign invaders, refugees, collaborators, snobs, and patronizing tourists. Among other things.
Oh, and stupid white guys.

There are other Cantonese dialects than "city language" and Toisan, but standard Cantonese plays the role of common denominator, whereas hometown dialect is "our tongue".


If you only speak Mandarin, you're probably Taiwanese.

Or English!

[Tongue firmly in cheek.]

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


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