An island on an island

Northeast China is hoary in winter (and the winter lasts at least ten months) and torrid in summer, which means that you have to have a lot of different kinds of clothes, not to mention that you have to wear many layers of them all throughout the winter, which makes it difficult to bathe frequently.

The predominant language there is the northeast topolect of Mandarin, 东北话 (dōngběihuà), and that has some interesting features, which I might from time to time continue to blog about.

But I got sick of having it be 12ºC indoors for five months (and the average outdoor temperature all year is less than 5ºC!) and moved south to an island on an island….

The greater island is Xiamen, a Special Economic Zone (in contrast to Dongbei, which is a Special Economic Disaster).  It’s China’s 2nd most livable city, after Dalian (but Dalian is in Dongbei).  The local language here is Minnan, which I don’t understand any of yet (and even have trouble with Minnan-accented putonghua) but I’ll certainly try and learn some.

The smaller ‘island’ is an international school where I will be teaching.  All of the classes (except Mandarin classes) are taught in English, but the Children are from all over the world.  A large percentage come from Taiwan and South Korea, but there are kids from (outer!) Mongolia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, The Philippines, India, Japan, Canada, America, China, and several other countries.

It’s a linguistic candyland!

2 responses to “An island on an island”

  1. Syz says:

    Congrats on the move, special envoy Randy Alexander! We’ll be looking forward to your reports on Minnan, whose lack of Sinoglot representation I have often lamented. At the very least, while you’re learning maybe you can find us some guest posters :)

  2. Congratulations. Personally I’m dying in the Shanghai summer and can’t quite fathom greater heat and humidity, but I’m sure had I been in 东北 that long I’d be dying to get out as well.

    Give me a good desert any day.


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