Language of A Superior Man

Wed, Aug 12th, 2015 2:43:52 pm

          In A Superior Man, I wanted a sense of the dialects of south China. I grew up speaking Cantonese and had long enjoyed its pithy, lively nature.
          I used Robert Morrison's Vocabulary of the Canton Dialect: Chinese Words and Phrases, 廣東省土話字彙 printed at the East Indian Company in Macao in 1828.  Morrison wasa Protestant missionary in China who translated the Bible into Chinese.
          His guide featured very colorful language, for example, a phrase for a useless action was "a rat grabs a steel nail." Many of the terms are still in use today.
          I first learned to read Chinese at Vancouver's Mon Keong School. At first I liked it because my worst subject (arithmetic) wasn't on the timetable, but later I resented it because the time seemed wasted.
          Three of my teachers are below. Seated from right, WONG Chun Sang黃春生 ; on his right WONG Kong Fow 黃孔埠 ; standing, facing camera, first from left, WONG Da Sing 黃大成 , in 1951. I didn't meet them until the 1960s. I'm sure this party scene is FAR from how the students remembered them!
          We children wore the school badge on our shirts during the annual picnic.

page from Morrison's Guide
Teachers from Chinese School
 
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