The first two entries today illustrate the constant tug of language preservation and dominance in China. On the one hand, there’s a proposal that Mandarin should be renamed 中国语, Zhōngguó yǔ (a Danwei translation by Joel Martinsen) and given more “strategic” prominence than the “equal footing” it has with other languages these days. On the other, the People’s Daily publicizes a proposal by the State Ethnic Affairs Commission (SEAC) “to promote the use of [Zhuang language / Vahcuengh], which, unlike many languages belonging to ethnic groups, is still in wide currency.” H/T to Liuzhou Laowai, who acerbically notes that “almost no Zhuang speakers know the written form” and that Zhuang language includes “mutually unintelligible groups known as Northern and Southern Zhuang”.
- A well-written account of the relative value of “dialect” (read: essentially a different language) vs. The Standard Language. Although the setting here is Morocco and the language is Arabic, the themes will be quite familiar to anyone familiar with China’s linguistic situation. (h/t Jabal al-Lughat)
- Another review of Wenlin 4.0, the software for learning Chinese, this from Sinosplice. The first one we linked to was from Pinyin.info
- Try having a non-Cantonese speaker read “至勁係你” and see how far they get — from Victor Mair on Language Log.
- To be “high-speed railroaded” — creative use of the 被 passive construction, also from Mair
- 胖人服侍 as “Fat people apparel” — a nice example of the great divide between superficial meaning and cultural expectations
- Blended Mandarin / Uyghur rap