Standard Mandarin

UK was escape hatch for New Territories' poor

Of all the Chinese who have emigrated from Hong Kong to the UK, the vast majority have been from the New Territories.

Sunday, 22 July, 2012, 12:00am

On Chinese characters, all in Hong Kong should be on the same page

A small educational institution I am involved with recently received a complaint: it teaches its young students to write Chinese using simplified characters.

15 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

Chinese skills of children on the slide

The Chinese language skills of the city's children are in decline, say teachers and tutors, who blame the ease with which Chinese characters can be typed on mobile phones and computers.

Educators say pupils accustomed to easy input methods are unwilling to make the effort to write out complex characters or compose proper sentences.

11 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

Who said it?

In the medium to long term, Cantonese is an endangered language

Dr Stephen Matthews, a University of Hong Kong linguist who is calling on the government to review its policy of allowing Putonghua to be used for Chinese language teaching in schools

We regret the fact that the first notice was not our best work

27 May 2012 - 12:00am

Brash Russian cellist puts his foot in it

Anti-foreigner sentiment was further inflamed yesterday after a video clip showing an expatriate insulting a woman on the Shenyang-Beijing train went viral.

The woman had asked the man to take his bare feet off the back of her seat. Monday's fracas ended with a security officer advising the woman to ignore the offence because the man 'is an artist'.

18 May 2012 - 12:00am

Getting into characters

I remember being surprised, about eight years ago, when the boss of the research agency I worked for suggested that my colleagues and I took Putonghua lessons. At the time, almost nobody in Mumbai thought of anything beyond French or the occasional other European language lesson.

18 Mar 2012 - 12:00am

Chinese moving up beside English

As China rises, a knowledge of Putonghua is being seen as an economic necessity, alongside the ability to speak English, in Southeast Asia.

Bilingualism, though, isn't easy.

Even in the former British colony of Singapore, where over three-quarters of the population is ethnic Chinese, neither English nor Putonghua is the native tongue of many people.

5 Mar 2012 - 12:00am

There's much more to mainlanders than nouveau riche and impolite tourists

As a master's student who has lived in Hong Kong for half a year and come to the city several times before that as a tourist, I sometimes feel embarrassed and uncomfortable being called a 'mainlander'.

13 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Auntie on the case

Domestic helpers who cook and clean for expatriate families are among Beijing's most effective Putonghua coaches to young children. In fact many ayi (aunties) are proud of this role, gently coaxing their charges to speak the language.

12 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Cachet of cash

I am a native Putonghua speaker and, all my life, I remember trying to hide it. Only recently have I truly begun coming out of the language closet.

8 Feb 2012 - 12:00am

Quotes of the week

In front of imperialists, [Hongkongers] are dogs. But in front of Chinese, they are wolves. These people are residues of colonialism

Peking University intellectual Kong Qingdong

You go on board! Is that clear? Do you hear me? It is an order. Don't make any more excuses

22 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

No need for shouting at your own people

With animosity like this, we don't need racism. We used to despise mainlanders because they were poor country bumpkins. Now we hate them because they are too rich. Pregnant mainlanders take up all the beds in local maternity wards; mainland speculators push up property prices, making homes unaffordable for locals.

21 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

Cultural understanding

Cultural differences can be a major source of confusion and frustration for expatriates living in Hong Kong, or those who regularly travel to the mainland for business. Attending classes to learn more about Chinese culture can help alleviate the misunderstandings that occur or help establish important business relationships.

14 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

They're men of few words

Last year, while on a walking expedition across Israel and the West Bank, I stayed with a friend who was naturally gifted at languages. I asked him what was the secret to his linguistic ability. His answer was simple: 'Vocab'.

'But what's the secret to vocab?' I asked.

'Repetition,' he said.

20 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Talk of the town

Broadway is without doubt one of the best things about New York. One out of every four visitors takes in a show, and the industry contributes about US$10 billion to the city's economy every year.

27 Nov 2011 - 12:00am