Archive for Multilingualism

New official night market sign with Taiwanese

The Shalu district of Taichung (Taizhong) is opening a new night market:

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Multilingual Korean TV drama

New article by Sophie-Ha, posted on allkpop (news.naver.com) yesterday:

"Apple TV+ drama 'Pachinko' praised for the attention to detail and accuracy of all the languages and dialects"

We often talk about topolects and dialects of Sinitic, but seldom do so for Korean.  We can get some idea of what the situation is like by reading sections of Sophie-Ha's article:

Various languages appear in the Apple TV+ original drama 'Pachinko' as the main characters are immigrant families who left their homeland during the Japanese colonial period and went through various countries. Korean, Japanese, and English are all used in one story, as well as different dialects of these languages. The Busan and Jeju dialects were used in the Korean language, and the dialect used by Korean-Japanese immigrants was also refined by seeking advice from Korean-Japanese individuals.

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Multilingual China

That's the title of a new book from Routledge edited by Bob Adamson and Anwei Feng:  Multilingual China:  National, Minority and Foreign Languages (2022).

China is often touted as a nation of linguistic uniformity, when nothing could be further from the truth.  This book is testimony to the astonishing variety of the languages and topolects spoken in the People's Republic of China.

Multilingual China explores the dynamics of multilingualism in one of the most multilingual countries in the world. This edited collection comprises frontline empirical research into a range of important issues that arise from the presence of 55 official ethnic minority groups, plus China’s search to modernize and strengthen the nation’s place in the world order.

Topics focus on the dynamics of national, ethnic minority and foreign languages in use, policy making and education, inside China and beyond. Micro-studies of language contact and variation are included, as are chapters dealing with multilingual media and linguistic landscapes. The book highlights tensions such as threats to the sustainability of weak languages and dialects, the role and status of foreign languages (especially English) and how Chinese can be presented as a viable regional or international language.

Multilingual China will appeal to academics and researchers working in multilingualism and multilingual education, as well as sinologists keen to examine the interplay of languages in this complex multilingual context.

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Another multilingual, multiscriptal sign in Taiwan

Mark Swofford sent in this photograph of a clever, curious sign at an automobile repair shop in Taiwan:

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"Marriage escape wheat egg"

Outside a hotel near Sanyi, Miaoli County, Taiwan:

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Chicken hegemon

From Mark Swofford:

The back of a restaurant stand going up in front of the Banqiao train station as part of a temporary market for the Christmas season.

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Diametrically opposed language policies

On one side of the Taiwan Strait, yesterday the PRC announced its draconian language policy for the coming decades:

"Important new policies on language and script in the PRC" (11/30/21)

Meanwhile, on the other side, Taiwan proclaimed a very different aspiration:

"2030 bilingual policy to help Taiwan connect with the world: NDC head", Focus Taiwan (12/1/21)

The policies are nothing new for either side, simply an intensification of their goals in recent years, the PRC more toward language standardization and monolingualism, and Taiwan more toward linguistic diversification and multilingualism.

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Translanguaging again

(This morning's post offers a bit of mostly-lexicographical follow-up to "Translanguaging", 5/4/2018…)

The verb "to translanguage", glossed by Wiktionary as "To make use of multiple languages in a single discourse", apparently emerged several decades ago in discussion of language policy and education in Wales, and has been widely used since then, both as a verb and a noun, in publications on language instruction. A separate coinage seems to have occurred in naming "The Translanguage English Database", documented in this 1994 paper and published in 2002 by the LDC and ELRA. (My memory is that this collection was originally referred to as "The Terrible English Database", with the name later changed to preserve the TED acronym while avoiding the offensively evaluative adjective…)

The participle "translanguaging", which Wiktionary glosses somewhat oddly in its nominal form as "The dynamic process whereby multilingual language users mediate complex social and cognitive activities through strategic employment of multiple semiotic resources to act, to know, and to be", seems to have become even commoner in the literature indexed by Google Scholar.

Despite their relatively widespread usage, neither of these words has had its (metaphorical) "Word Induction Ceremony", at either the Oxford English Dictionary or Merriam-Webster.

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Speaking Taiwanese as a Second Language in Taiwan

Provocative Twitter thread:

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Cantonese ad for teppan steak

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Sino-French language lessons

Chinese signs from Quora.  Since they are rather lengthy and come with French explanations, I will depart from my usual Language Log treatment of providing Romanizations, transcriptions, and translations for the Chinese.  Instead, I will only give English translations (based mainly on Google translations of the French, with slight modifications).

En raison de la population nombreuse et du nombre insuffisant d'agents de police, les Chinois ont développé une culture unique en matière de panneaux d'avertissement intimidants :

Panneau de signalisation : "Veuillez conduire en toute sécurité, il n'y a pas d'hôpital à proximité".

Due to the large population and insufficient number of police officers, the Chinese have developed a unique culture of intimidating warning signs.

Warning sign: "Please drive safely, there is no hospital nearby".

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Boris Johnson: "prenez un grip", "donnez-moi un break"

Spectacular code-switching:

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Chinese, English, and Japanese toilet instructions

Sol Jung, a former Penn undergrad, took this photograph more than a decade ago, but I'm only now getting around to posting on it.

There's quite a story behind the photograph and why it took me so long to write this blog post about it.  I will explain below.

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