• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 10:26am

Tonal Languages

Playing victim

Now that we, the Chinese people - at least the ones on either side of the Shenzhen River - have resorted to calling each other animal names, it should be clear the s*** has, indeed, hit the fan.

Monday, 6 February, 2012, 12:00am

Use it or lose it

I am speaking to the bank cashier in English, requesting a transaction, and she cocks her head in confusion. Guilty of speed talking, I slow down. Perhaps seeing that I look Chinese, am Chinese, she switches to Cantonese, and I follow her lead and show off my newly learned Cantonese. She switches to Putonghua. No problem. I swiftly change too.

24 Nov 2011 - 12:00am

Guangdong delegates struggle with Putonghua

The campaign to protect Cantonese may have quietened down, but the dialect was back in the limelight at a panel discussion yesterday by the Guangdong delegation at the National People's Congress.

The discussion was convened by the chairman of the Guangdong People's Congress, Ou Guangyuan, a Guangdong native. But his strong Cantonese accent was difficult to understand.

6 Mar 2011 - 12:00am

Lost for words

Perhaps it's coincidental, but the day last week that I got lost, in a part of Hong Kong I thought I knew like the back of my hand, was the same day that I had started reading a book about the demise in importance of English. I had thought that my mother tongue and the smattering of Cantonese I had picked up from 22 years of living here would be enough to see me through any situation.

11 Jan 2011 - 12:00am

Lawmaker blasts bureau over failed application for Old HouseLawmaker blasts bureau on Old House

A failed applicant for a heritage revitalisation scheme has criticised the government for a lack of clear guidelines and public consultation when asking for proposals.

Lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee said the Development Bureau failed to give reasons for rejecting his group's proposal, the only one shortlisted in the final round for the Old House at Wong Uk Village, Sha Tin.

20 Sep 2010 - 12:00am

Lawmaker blasts bureau over failed application for Old House

A failed applicant for a heritage revitalisation scheme has criticised the government for a lack of clear guidelines and public consultation when asking for proposals.

Lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee said the Development Bureau failed to give reasons for rejecting his group's proposal, the only one shortlisted in the final round for the Old House at Wong Uk Village, Sha Tin.

20 Sep 2010 - 12:00am

Language a crucial part of identity

Recently, large crowds gathered to defend Cantonese. Their protests evolved into conflict, hitting the news and raising public concern about the 3,000-year-old dialect.

Cantonese is the dialect spoken in Guangzhou and is therefore crucial to the culture there.

14 Aug 2010 - 12:00am

Letters

Dialects are worth saving in diverse nation

The plan by Guangzhou Television to switch its broadcast language from Cantonese to Putonghua (because of the Asian Games) has sparked a heated public debate.

I think this proposal, if implemented, will adversely affect China's image as a culturally diverse nation.

2 Aug 2010 - 12:00am

Drought in south and central areas to continue

The severe drought that has ravaged many southern and central provinces, leaving millions short of drinking water, will not ease soon, the top weather bureau says.

Dry spells look set to continue and more areas are expected to be in the grip of drought, which has affected at least six provinces, central and local government officials warn.

24 Oct 2009 - 12:00am

Getting down to the basics

Cantonese is regarded as a modern variation of the ancient Han language, said Roxana Fung, an assistant professor at Polytechnic University's department of Chinese and bilingual studies. The Cantonese system - pronunciations, vocabulary and usage - is very similar to the official language used during the Tang dynasty (618-907).

22 Oct 2009 - 12:00am

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