Monday, February 15, 2010


Recentelijk heb ik e-mails uitgewisseld met een oude vriend uit de tijd dat ik aan het Hertog Jan College in Valkenswaard studeerde. Ik heb, ter verduidelijking, een weinigheidje over de plaatselijke talenwereld verteld........

[Translation: Recently I exchanged e-mails with an old friend from the time that I was a student at the Hertog Jan (Duke John) College in Valkenswaard (mid-nineteenseventies).
For clarificatory purposes I described part of the Bay Area language-environment.....]

Omdat het mischien wel interessant is voor sommigen, wedergeef ik die passage hier.

[Translation: Because it may be of interest to some readers, I reproduce that passage here.]


Hier in San Francisco is 'n groot gedeelte van de bevolking van Chineesche afkomst, merendeels Cantonezen uit ToiShan (台山 of ook wel 臺山) die van huis uit 四邑話 (Sei-yap hwa) spreken. De 四邑 (Sei-yap: vier regios) zijn natuurlijk die vier administrative gebieden van Kong Moen (江門) waar meer dan 'n half miljoen Amerikanen hun oorsprong hebben.Mandarin (普通話 , 國語) word in SF vrij weinig gesproken...... Shanghaineesch (滬語) nog minder, Hokkien ( 福建话 , 福佬话 , 閩南語) haast helemaal niet - ik heb het hier slechts een enkele maal op straat gehoord.
In Nederland en Zuid-Oost Azie hoort men doorgaans wel Hokkien, daar het merendeel der overzeesche Chinezen oorsprongkelijk uit de provincie Fujian (福建省) kwamen, om precies te zijn van de havenstad Xiamen (Amoy: 下門 of soms ook 廈門).
Hakka (客家話), Teochew (潮州話), Hunaneesch (湘語 ook wel 湖南語), en sommige andere streektalen zijn hier in SF ook soms te horen.
Chikong-hwa (浙江話) sprekers ben ik ter beste weten hier nimmer tegen gekomen.

[Translation: Here in San Francisco a large segment of the populace is of Chinese background, largely Toishanese Cantonese whose home language is the Szeyap dialect. Szeyap (四邑 - the four counties) are of course the four administrative districts of Kongmoon (江門) where more than a half a million Americans have their roots. Mandarin (普通話 , 國語 , 官話) is spoken somewhat rarely in San Francisco, Shanghainese (滬語) even less, and Fujianese (福建话 - Hokkien) hardly at all - I have only heard it one time on the street.
In the Netherlands and South-East Asia one can however regularly hear Hokkien, as the majority of overseas Chinese originally came from Fujian province (福建省), to be precise from the port-city of Xiamen (下門 - Amoy).
Hakka (客家話), Teochew (潮州話), Hunanese (湖南話) and various other regionalects can also sometimes be heard here in SF. Chejiang dialect (浙江話), to the best of my knowledge, I have not encountered here yet.]


Een van de eerste Chineesche boeken die ik (in 1983) aanschafte was 唐詩三百首 (Tong Si Saam-Pak Sou).Sedertdien ook andere boeken.... waaronder tweetalige versies van de 四書五經 (Sze Syu Ng Keng).Edoch, de T'ang gedichten zijn mij altijd bij gebleven.

[Translation: One of the first Chinese books I ever purchased (in 1983) was the Three Hundred Poems of the T'ang Dynasty (唐詩三百首 - a standard and much loved collection of regulated verse - see this post for clarification of the term 'regulated verse':
Since then also other books.... among which a bilingual edition of the 'four books and five classics' (四書五經 - this phrase refers to the four Confucian standard works and the five additional important ancient tomes: 大學 Daai-Hok - The Great Learning; 中庸 Chong Yung - The Doctrine of the Mean; 論語 Luen Yee - The Analects; 孟子 Mang Tzee - Mencius; plus then also 詩經 See King - The Book of Songs; 禮記 Laai Kay - The Book of Rites; 書經 Syu King - The Document Classic, a compendium of official texts and pronouncements from the early Zhou (周朝) period; 春秋 Tswun Chow, sometimes also known as 麟經 Leun-King - The Spring and Autumn Annals).
However the T'ang poems have always remained with me.]

Andere Chineesche boeken die ik bijzonder prijs zijn 浮生六記 (Fau-sang Lok Kei), 芙蓉鎮 (Foe-yong Dzam), 駱駝祥子 (Lokto Seung Dji) en 正红旗下 (Tjeng Hong Kei Haa') en natuurlijk de kleinere stukken van de schrijver 巴金 (Ba Kam).

[Translation: Other Chinese books which I particularly treasure are Six Records of a Floating Life (浮生六記), Hibiscus Village (芙蓉鎮), Camel Jiangtzi (駱駝祥子 - also called Rickshaw, by LaoShe 老舍), and Under the Red Banner (正红旗下) as well as naturally the shorter pieces by Ba Jin (巴金).]

U merkt nu waarschijnlijk wel dat ik beter Cantoneesch spreek dan 官話. Het kon waarschijnlijk niet anders.

[Translation: You have probably noticed by now that I speak Cantonese better than Mandarin - this was probably inevitable.]



Earlier I had written about the difficulty and relative ease of learning Chinese, here:

It might be worthwhile to visit that post, as the Chinese language is not nearly as hard as most people imagine. And learning at least some of the language is very rewarding.

Note also the clickable label underneath this post (中文), which will bring up the other posts so appended, including at the top of the list naturally the most recent one, that being this article at this time - just scroll beyond.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


jonathan becker said...

another fan letter: i continue to be fascinated with the deeper ramifications of blogging. it appears to me that if you manage to "catch" a reader with your wit/personality/writing ability, then suddenly anything you write about becomes interesting to that reader. it never occured to me that i might take an interest in chinese dialects, or the ethnic makeup of the asian population of san francisco. and yet i find myself actually reading this stuff. life is strange, etc. i just sort of file it away in my mind under "if i ever make it to san francisco i'll know a bit more about where i am." for some reason, knowing about where i am has always been important to me. :)

jonathan becker said...

addendum to the above: "where i am" currently is a small yishuv in the shomron. but even here there lives an ethnic chinese woman, the wife of a friend. her english is just fine, and she always describes her background as "ethnic chinese" when asked, presumably because she knows that we round-eyes are completely ignorant of the subtleties of asian ethnicity (although i presume she adds the word "ethnic" since she is not originally from china). she is, of course, a good jewish woman now, but perhaps if i keep reading your blog i may one day be able to surprise her with intelligent conversation. she is far and away the best cook on the yishuv, if you like chinese cooking- which i do, in my ignorant round-eyed way.

also, while i'm rambling: my best friend from college was also chinese. i wouldn't want to brag about the absolutely disgusting (but delicious) things i ate at his parent's house, since i keep kosher now. unfortunately, due to the the great numbers of chinese and the fact that certain surnames are extremely common among them, i have been unable to locate him since we lost touch. he seems to have managed to remove himself from the college records. oh well.

and furthermore..(just kidding. i'm done now.)

Anonymous said...


The back of the hill said...

My dear Japonymous,

If you think dense lines of gibberish such as you have posted above are appropriate here, who am I to disabuse you of that fantasy?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
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Urecco (ウレッコ, Urekko) is a popular men's magazine published in Japan. The title (売れっ子?) literally means "popular girl(s)" or "girl(s) who is/are much sought after." It is published by Million Publishing. Urecco has several side publications, such as Urecco gal, which focuses on kogals, a type of vain, overly stylish Tokyo girl famous for having loose morals.

Urecco has been one of the top adult magazines in Japan throughout the latter half of the 1980s and most of the 1990s. While most other magazines are published by Japanese photobook powerhouse Bauhaus (also known as Eichi Publishing), Urecco is made by their arch rival, Million Publishing. It's gone through many redesigns over the years, notably adding bizarre English to its covers in the early 1990s issues, with dubious English phrases like "wriggling labias" that would probably not be understood by most readers. The magazine has always been very soft core, offering nudity and no actual sex.

In case you had not noticed, despite the wealth of 'kanji' in the post, it is not transparent for Japanese readers, being in English with the 'kanji' added for reference and the benefit of readers who wish to pursue the data - who might actually be Chinese-readers.

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