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Re: What is the language "British"?

From: "Ed Greshko" <Ed Greshko greshko com>
Chong Yu Meng wrote:

Whoa ! Any comment I make on this will no doubt insult some segment of
Chinese people everywhere. I'm going to be very unpopular or be rebutted
quite robustly before this thread is ended.
But here goes, anyway... ;)

Well, Mandarin does not lend itself as easily as English to tongue
twisters, because, as you are probably aware, Chinese is composed of
ideograms, and the pronunciation of each character is very discrete.
There is no "liaison" as there is in French, and no concept of
syllables. I suppose there are tongue twisters -- I have not heard any,
but my grasp of Mandarin is not as good as it should be (my family has
been away from the "Old Country" for several generations now).

Trust me....  I am living here in Taiwan.  My wife is "Chinese".  Her
family is originally from mainland China.  My wife was born and raised
in Korea so she also speaks/reads Korean as well as Chinese and English.
She doesn't speak the local Taiwanese dialect.

I asked her about Tongue Twisters and gave her the example of "She sells
sea shells by the sea shore to sea sick sailors and shell shocked
solders" and asked about tongue twisters.

She assured me that they also have tongue twisters.  If you want, I can
have her tell them to me and write them out for you...but they will be
in "Chinese" Big5 charset.

But Mandarin is the "common language", the ISO standard, if you will.
With dialects, things are different: I have heard some tongue twisters
and puns and general linguistic cleverness in Hokkien and Cantonese
(some of them are unprintable and would not translate well anyway). In
fact, the Cantonese are famed for their cleverness in language.

Ahh...there is so much more to all of this....Mandarin is not an ISO
standard....but never mind.

The thing is, dialects are spoken differently, with a loose form of
liaison/syllables, so tongue twisters are possible and common in some if
not all dialects. I can only speak for Hokkien and Cantonese, though. A
friend in Hong Kong tells me that actually there are over a hundred
dialects in China itself, so I have only a very small representative
sample here.
So that's my 2 cents. Time to put on my asbestos suit and wait for
replies ! ;)

No need....  You are really getting into a very complex area.  More than
mere mortals normally treed.

Thanks both of you. It's fun. And it humanizes people who are somewhat
different from me. Humor is a wonderful tool for getting to know people.


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