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One of the other things that took place during last night's Chinese Professional Studies Association (CPSA) meeting was the issue of helping other student organizations with lunar new year activities. One student brought up how the Taiwanese Student Association was looking for some assistance which prompted another to retort, "Oh no, not them. We can't even understand what they're saying most of the time!" Another student proposed checking with the Hong Kong Student Association but was greeted with a similar response, although this time an incredulous "How can anyone speak a language with twelve tones?" was added to the end. There's a good chance those comments were meant in jest, however it still hints at a linguistic superiority complex due to the assumption that Mandarin (官話) is better on account of its "official" status and greater number of total speakers.

A similar exchange occurred after the meeting, as the president of the CPSA offered me a ride home. She asked if I had any plans to take Chinese next year, and in addition to telling her that it was a possibility I also mentioned how I wouldn't mind learning Cantonese (粵語) or Wu (吳方言) as well. Her reply was that all the professors at our university are very strict in not allowing Cantonese in the classroom, and I imagine the same would hold true for any students from Shanghai who tried using Wu in place of Mandarin.

Heck, if the opportunity presented itself I wouldn't mind learning Hakka (客家) or Hokkien (闽南语) either, as both languages would probably come in handy during a visit to Southeast Asia. We'll just conveniently ignore the possibility of diglossia for the moment ...

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
i_phianassa
Jan. 19th, 2006 07:07 am (UTC)
It's the same thing here. the class 'Mandarin for Canto speakers' is the closest the Chinese deparment gets to acknowledging that any other dialects even exist.
chorok
Jan. 23rd, 2006 04:40 am (UTC)
It's me
Hi! long time no see~
ah~ lazy me.
You must hard study.
can you speak Mandarin? -_-;
um.. this post looks like you konw 漢子.
漢子. 漢子. 漢子....
漢子 is very difficult. T.T
samedi
Jan. 27th, 2006 09:06 pm (UTC)
Re: It's me
Unfortunately, I can't speak Mandarin. I would like to learn how to speak a dialect of Chinese one day, but I would rather learn Korean first.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )