The 5th Workshop on Innovations in Cantonese Linguistics (WICL-5) will take place on Sunday, 19 April 2020, at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. The WICL conference — an event hosted every two years by different institutions in North America — focuses on new advances in Cantonese Linguistics, including innovations in methodologies, tools, and/or computing software. New approaches and research on language variation within the Cantonese (or “Yue”) subgroup of the Chinese language family, language contact phenomena, and new subfields and their interfaces are especially welcome.
Keynote speakers are: Professor Roxana Suk-Yee Fung (Hong Kong Polytechnic University) and Professor Genevieve Leung (University of San Francisco) Continue reading →
In his address to a training session for young leaders at the Central Party School on September 3, Xi Jinping spoke of the immense challenges facing the country and the Chinese Communist Party. The language he chose, however, was not “challenge,” “test” or “obstacle.” He spoke instead of “struggle,” or douzheng (斗争), a word that bears the weight of a painful political history — recalling the internal “struggles against the enemy” that tore Chinese society apart in the 1960s and 1970s.
For many still, douzheng invokes not just the need for unity toward common goals, or a can-do attitude, but warns instead of deep and potentially traumatizing division.
A passage from the Xinhua News Agency release on Xi Jinping’s September 3 speech, with the word “struggle” highlighted. Continue reading →
We are pleased to announce that the 32nd North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-32), will be held at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, on April 24 – 26, 2020. The theme of NACCL-32 is collaborativity and interdisciplinarity in Chinese linguistic studies.
NACCL-32 invite abstracts in all subfields of Chinese linguistics, including but not limited to, phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, dialectology, historical linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and corpus linguistics. We particularly encourage submissions that are relevant to our conference theme: connectivity, collaborativity and interdisciplinarity in Chineese linguistic studies. Authors whose abstracts are accepted will be allotted 20 minutes to present their research and 10 minutes to answer questions. Abstracts and presentations can be given in either English or Mandarin Chinese. Continue reading →
Thanks. I don’t hate Germany, or the German language, nor China or the Chinese language. Or any language.
I understand your reaction, and would like you to hear me out on this. I made a comparison which I think is very much valid: If your country organizes mass oppression on the scale of what the Chinese regime is doing now, a Hitlerian scale, it will, unfortunately and unavoidably, make a deep stain on its reputation which it will take a very long time to remove.
The Nazis did this to Rilke’s German, and the current Chinese regime is doing this to Lu Xun’s Chinese. There are other examples, of course (don’t expect a Saami person to love Swedish literature), but the Nazi comparison is apt.
As you know, the Chinese regime is carrying out a massive genocidal campaign to destroy indigenous identities, including by prohibiting native languages, and imposing Chinese at the point of a gun. Continue reading →
That sounds like a very unfair judgment; why taking Magnus’ remarks so personally? This is an academic platform where we at the very least should expect some respectful manners. “I do not like his articles”: this is a statement not an argument. Could you elaborate please? Besides why not addressing him directly? “Magnus, I don’t like your articles (and here is why)” sounds a bit closer to a dialogue than a public attack.
My own reading is that Magnus was trying to emphasise the traumatic experience of people who are forced to abandon their mother language and to learn the dominant language. Some chose to use this dominant language to express themselves, some radically reject that language. The current Chinese policies in the Uyghur region, rather than building bridges and harmony, are creating the same rejection process; though indeed, as in the German case, some chose to use the dominant language to express their identity (like Tibetan writer Pema Tseden for instance).
Concluding from this comparison that Magnus hates Chinese and Germans… there might be other platforms to “laver votre linge sale” as the French saying goes.
Magnus Fiskesjö seems to hate China. I do not like his articles. Magnus seems to hate Germany. Please let me ask, the Nobel prize winner Elias Canetti who wrote in German was German? Kafka was German, Rilke was German? They all wrote in German, but they were not Germans at all. German is the language of Nazis? There is something else. Like me. Writing in German and in Chinese I am fighting Nazis etc. all the time.
The late Irene Eber – I loved her very much – once told me there were so many Germans who helped her… There is something else….
China’s banning and suppressing of the Uyghur and other native languages of Xinjiang, and the forced teaching of Chinese there, reminds me of the Nazi occupation of Norway, when kids there were forced to learn German. My mom was one of those kids, and she never regained a respect for the German language; even I, born much later, failed to study German, just because the Nazis forced my mom to study it. Now I wonder, will the Chinese language suffer similarly, because of the vile oppression they are carrying out now? In the camps, people are starved and beaten if they don’t keep up, in singing Chinese Communist songs glorifying their Führer. With this sort of campaign, why would anyone want to study Chinese language any more — the language of the concentration camps?
Uighur protest in Washington, DC. Photo: Wikicommons.
Of the 7,111 languages being spoken around the world, 41 per cent can be classified as endangered, meaning that face-to-face use by speakers across generations is in decline.
At first glance, it may seem inaccurate to designate the Uighur language as endangered – more than 11 million people speak Uighur as a first language and Uighur is an official language of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (also known as East Turkestan) in China.
Yet, despite these indicators of vitality, the Uighur language is in peril because it has been targeted by the Chinese Communist Party for erasure. Continue reading →
Source: Goldthread (5/29/19) 5 Chinese internet slang phrases you should know, illustrated
By Frankie Huang Frankie Huang is a Shanghai-based illustrator who writes a daily Twitter column called #PutongWords, where she dissects the origins of commonly used Chinese phrases.Many of them are poetic and visual—such as 吸猫 (ximao), “inhaling cats”—but they carry much deeper meanings. (In this case, “inhaling cats” is internet slang for people who are addicted to taking care of their pets.) We asked Frankie to illustrate some common Chinese internet slang and explain the deeper meaning behind the literal phrases.
Get shot lying down
Sometimes you go out of your way to avoid trouble, but trouble finds you like a stray bullet during a firefight. 躺枪 (tangqiang) literally means “to get shot lying down,” and it perfectly describes a situation where you become the victim of a fight in which you had no stake in fighting. The phrase is frequently used in online forums and conversations where multiple parties are present and things get a little too messy or heated. Continue reading →
My student assistants and I made a 15-minute-long short video entitled “Subversive Writing and Political Comics: The Work of Li Xiaoguai.” You may find it useful as a teaching material on the topics of Internet censorship, Chinese characters and Chinese writing, coded language in contemporary China, etc.
On the last day of February, a pair of new political catchphrases made their way not just into the Party’s official People’s Daily newspaper but into a central-level Party document. These were “high-level black,” or gaojihei (高级黑) and “low-level red,” or dijihong (低级红). Before we explore how these two terms emerged on the internet and then made their way into central Party documents (中央文件), let us first take a look at some of the key trends that could be noted in Chinese political discourse in February.
Slogans, Hot and Cold
According to the six-level heat index developed by the China Media Project, here is how various important political phrases appeared in the People’s Daily:
One important thing to note as we look at phrase frequencies is that during February the total number of pages in the Party’s flagship newspaper was reduced to eight in light of the Spring Festival holiday, meaning that the total number of articles was likewise reduced, and so word frequencies were about half of what might usually be expected and we don’t see any dramatic changes in the temperature of various keywords. Continue reading →
“Parallelism,” or paibi (排比), is a rhetorical method that when used with appropriate measure can strengthen an article, but when used carelessly can have exactly the opposite effect. This is the front page of the March 4, 2019, edition of the Study Times newspaper, published by the Central Party School of the Chinese Communist Party, which just this month was upgraded to a central-level news unit.
The Study Times article, pictured here, totals 6,399 characters, and it makes use of 42 parallelisms, or paibiju (排比句).
To use the unique lingo of Chinese Communist Party media, this is what we call a “response article,” or fanyinggao (反应稿),” a kind of formalized exercise in responding to the instructions or ideological demands of one’s superiors. The fanyinggao can be regarded as one of a number of unique “genres” of Chinese Communist Party writing. In this case, we have a “response article” from a group of young Party cadres taking a study course at the Central Party School’s Chinese Academy of Governance (国家行政学院), and they are responding to a speech President Xi Jinping gave to mark the opening of the course. Continue reading →
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan speaks at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. His message: The U.S. shouldn’t expect too much from China when it comes to cracking down on intellectual property theft. Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters
China’s Vice President Wang Qishan likes parables. He offers tales from ancient China when he wants to make a point.
I discovered that last week at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, where Wang spoke and I listened intently on the translation headsets provided by the forum.
“In Chinese history, there was a story of a devil and a demon,” Wang said. He prefaced this by saying it’s a story he would often narrate to his former colleagues at the central bank where he oversaw financial supervision. Continue reading →
The administration aims to make Taiwan fully bilingual by 2030. Singapore, even with a British colonial influence, took 20 years to establish English bilingual policy, with schools teaching English alongside the first languages of Mandarin, Malay, or Tamil, so Taiwan’s 2030 goal appears quite ambitious. Even if Taiwan is not fully bilingual by that time, it will be clear whether the new policies have been effective or if they need to be revised. The government has also set several short-term goals, including having versions of government websites in English and encouraging government employees to use English at work. Continue reading →
Urumqi No. 1 Primary school, 2018: Uyghur script “disappeared.” Photo by Joanne Smith Finley
Uyghur “patriotism” now requires the active disavowal of the Uyghur way of life. Vague euphemisms like “patriotism,” “harmony,” “stability,” “vocational training,” and “poverty elimination” gaslight the erasure of a native system of knowledge and the basic elements that make Uyghur life Uyghur: language, religion, and culture.
On October 27, 2018, Memtimin Ubul, a Communist Party deputy secretary of Kashgar’sQaghaliq County, stated publicly something that had increasingly become the norm over the past two years in the Uyghur homeland. In the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, it was now officially unpatriotic for Uyghur state employees to speak or write in Uyghur language.In a statement that was circulated to more than 750,000 readers, the ethnically Uyghur state official wrote that any state employee who spoke Uyghur in public “should be classified as a ‘two-faced person.’” This is a charge that has resulted in the detention of hundreds, if not thousands, of Uyghur public figures, in addition to the untold number (possibly more than a million) who have been sent to “transformation through education” prison camps.
Memtimin wrote that the patriotic duty of state employees extended throughout all aspects of their lives. Patriotism should be present in the way they dressed, talked, and ate. Even in one’s home life, Uyghurs should refuse to speak Uyghur and instead speak Chinese. From his perspective, government employees had the “highest levels of knowledge and culture” in Uyghur society, and as such they had “immeasurable social influence.” It was therefore up to them to demonstrate what it meant to be patriotic Uyghur citizens. “Speaking the ‘language of the country’ should be the minimum requirement for patriotism,” he wrote. Chinese was no longer the language of Han people, but the language of reeducated patriotic Uyghurs.
A short documentary on rural Uyghur life in the county where Memtimin Ubul works as Party official. The documentary demonstrates the richness of Uyghur rural traditions before the mass detention of Uyghurs and the rise of new forms of “patriotism” across the Uyghur homeland.Continue reading →
For 2018, we could say that the most important testing point (测试点) in China’s political discourse arena was the contraction of President Xi Jinping’s political “banner term,” or qizhiyu (旗帜语), “Xi Jinping Thought of Socialism With Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” (习近平中国特色社会主义思想), which was formally introduced at the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in November 2017.
What do I mean by contraction?
This long and unwieldy political phrase is meant to be Xi Jinping’s political brand, forming and consolidating his legacy, and it is set apart from the banner terms of Xi’s predecessors, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, by including his name, an important mark of Xi Jinping’s power. But to become a phrase on par with previous legacy phrases like Mao Zedong Thought (毛泽东思想) or Deng Xiaoping Theory (邓小平理论), both of which “crown” (冠名) top Party leaders, this latest banner term would need to undergo a process of contraction. And of course the contraction we should expect is “Xi Jinping Thought,” which was strategically imbedded in the expanded “Xi Jinping Thought of Socialism With Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.” Continue reading →