LipsyncHK

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Near the Star Ferry terminal on the Hong Kong Island side, Bea Lam noticed a number of fantastic, huge, colorful posters plastered on the walls as part of a "LipsyncHK" project that showcases Cantonese phrases and encourages visitors to try them out.  Bea was (very happily) surprised to see this large and open demonstration of Cantonese pride in a government-sponsored project, given the political environment.

The collection consists of authentic, useful Cantonese phrases, all written in Chinese characters, many of which are special forms restricted only to Cantonese usage.  It might have been possible to write some of these Cantonese vocables in other ways.  For example, the multipurpose morpheme 啲 is also written as 尐, D in different circumstances and has these meanings:

di1:  [pron] some; those; [adv] a few; a little bit

dit1:  [adv] only a little bit; every little bit

One of the things that intrigued me most was the clever name of this language contest:  LipsyncHK.  That by itself is eye-catching enough, but it is all the more striking that the English name is matched with this Cantonese expression:  ngaam1zeoi2jing4 啱嘴型 ("suitable; appropriate; good fit; fitting").

These Cantoneseisms are indeed fitting for speakers, and I would hope increasingly for writers, of Cantonese.  I cannot think of any good reason why Cantonese speakers, and speakers of other Sinitic topolects, for that matter, should shy away from writing their mother tongue.



1 Comment

  1. Eidolon said,

    April 27, 2016 @ 1:01 pm

    "I cannot think of any good reason why Cantonese speakers, and speakers of other Sinitic topolects, for that matter, should shy away from writing their mother tongue."

    No morally justifiable reason, perhaps, but I could think of a simple practical one – because it'd be extra work to learn both how to write Cantonese, and how to write Standard Mandarin, which is required for communicating between Cantonese speakers and other Sinitic speakers. You could get away with not speaking Standard Mandarin too well, but you have to be able to write it, from what I understand, to move up in the Chinese world.

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