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Brendan Crash Canto BAR 2 Grammar, Chinese characters and Cantonese -

Spelling and grammar! In this as in so many other things, there are only two kinds of people in the world - those who really really care, and those who don’t give a shit.

 I belong in the former category of course, the type that gets banned from Facebook and ostracised for correcting people’s writing.

Yes, I am the type who, if some lawyer were to send me a letter saying: “The late Queen of England has left you Buckingham Palace and all it’s contents,” I would answer “ITS contents!!!”

Some of you will know only too well what I mean, others will think (incorrectly) "what's the big deal". The latter group can't fathom how it hurts the eye to look at a wrongly spelled word, a sentence that doesn't make sense and even txtspk. (I mean UR instead of you're OR your, and don't get me started on the apostrophes!) They can't imagine how the fingers itch to send an email, a strongly worded letter, go to some office and shake someone lightly to death. 

It IS a big deal. 

IMG_5948 Grammar, Chinese characters and Cantonese -

So you can imagine how my eyes have been smarting for the last five years every time I walk past a certain Chinese restaurant in my neighbourhood and see their sign that is set up back to front. 

That's right! The characters, meaning Longevity and Take care of separately but together is a transliteration of Sushi, should be shown like this: 壽司


 IMG_5949 Grammar, Chinese characters and Cantonese - 

Ahhrghhhhh! Pain! Nausea! To stick with the British theme, it would be like walking past the Savoy Hotel every day and seeing the sign spelled like "Savvy Hostel. Wellcome, Ur Majestie". 

Why do they do it? Why? Why? The owners are Chinese. Surely they can read their own language (although the characters are normal, not the crippled version that the communists introduced after 1949 ostensibly to make it easier for illiterate peasants to read propaganda posters, but actually to destroy every remnant of the old culture)?

Yes, of course I have mentioned it to the owner, for who wants to have their eyes taken out with a burning spear every time they walk past an establishment. I think it was my third time there I said it, and the third time they messed up my order and/or overcharged me. "What's the big deal" she shrugged. 

Thus ended my patronage of Sushi. 

Chinese-new-year-4 Grammar, Chinese characters and Cantonese -

But wouldn't you like to be the one pointing out to Chinese that their writing is wrong? Or at least, learn something about Chinese characters - so mysterious looking yes, downright inscrutable, but when you look closer and know how they are constructed, so simple and brilliant? I can give you an insight into this beautiful writing system if you live in Mallorca.

And if you could stick a finger in the eye of the Chinese government, wouldn't that be fun too?

You can do that by learning Cantonese.

For every person in the world learning Cantonese, a Chinese government official gets another haemorrhoid. Nothing irks them more than people speaking this free and irreverent language, the essence of the real Chinese culture.

Learn Cantonese the Natural Way - from a Norwegian! 

Today's Cantonese: 壽司  Sau si - Sushi.