Re: Talk about it

Subject: Re: Talk about it
From: "Sandy Harris" <sandyinchina -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 8 Dec 2007 09:06:40 +0800

On Dec 8, 2007 3:16 AM, McLauchlan, Kevin
<Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com> wrote:

> It wasn't so long ago that China was talked about as "the sleeping giant",
> and just wait till they start flexing their muscles - we'll all have to learn Chinese.

The "sleeping giant" line was originally Napolean's, so a fair while ago.

> Two of our software engineers were conversing, one a tall, lanky Chinese-Canadian
> immigrant, the other a short, stocky Chinese-Canadian immigrant. ... They were
> using English because they didn't have a suitable common dialect between them
> from the old country.

That is odd. Standard or Mandarin Chinese has been the only language
used in education on the mainland since the 1950s, so it now functions
very well as a common dialect. In fact its Chinese name 'putong hua'
literally means 'common speech'.

My guess would be one was from Hong Kong. Their education was in
Cantonese until 1997, not sure what they use now, Or Taiwan;
Mandarin is used there but I don't know details and there is a
Taiwanese language as well.

> I wonder if the same would have been true if they were not technical guys.
> Would a butcher from a southwest province and a heavy-equipment operator
> from a northeast province have a common tongue (even if rusty and rarely
> used) from within the borders of China,


> or would they be stuck (or even perhaps groping for English expressions)?

They would likely have no English beyond "hello" (which they might yell at
passing foreigners),"bye-bye" (which is fairly often used in Chinese
conversation), and "OK".

Sandy Harris,
Nanjing, China

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Talk about it: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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