Everybody has been puzzling over the language of the series of online ads for Windows 8 that it recently released in Asia.
- Seattle Times: "Those weird and wacky Windows 8 ads: What language are they in?"
- Forbes: "Microsoft's Asian Windows 8 Ads Are Relatively Insane"
- Mashable: "Windows 8 Releases Kooky Ads in Asia — But in What Language?"
Native speakers of Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, and Korean declare that it is not any of those languages. The first time I listened to them, the ads sounded as though they contained elements of some Wu topolect, a bit like mangled Shanghainese, but I could also definitely hear bits of Mandarin, albeit with unusual tonal contours and slurring. What was most perplexing of all to me was that, although I was certain that the ads contained Chinese phrases and sentences, every Chinese person to whom I showed them emphatically maintained that they could not understand a single word! In contrast, several non-native speakers of Mandarin said they could pick out a word of Chinese here and there. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »