Author: smuffy

Being a foreigner in China   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2015-5-29 11:59:28 |Display all floors
seneca Post time: 2015-5-29 11:45
You seem to be blind to the most obvious facts: Esperanto is popular mostly in former communist  ...

Esperanto is another language that our resident polyglot speaks fluently..... I presume.
The world needs more idiots like me, all the others think they are clever.

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Post time 2015-5-29 12:09:10 |Display all floors
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Post time 2015-5-29 12:42:46 |Display all floors
I'm fluent in English, French, and Esperanto, used to know German reasonably well (now mostly forgotten), used to be able to passively read some Arabic and Persian (and can still understand some) and am semi-functional in Mandarin Chinese.
However, I don't feel any shame in knowing any language. Knowledge is knowledge.

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Post time 2015-5-29 13:27:24 |Display all floors
This post was edited by Caged at 2015-5-29 13:42

[size=33.3148155212402px]I've met Chinese from all walks of life, from university professors to businessmen to physicians to elementary school teachers to humble manual workers with no post-compulsory education.
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[size=33.3148155212402px]In observing their interactions, I do not notice much elitism if any. What has been your personal experience in the matter?
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[size=33.3148155212402px]In fact, I remember listening to a discussion between an Esperanto-speaking friend of mine in his 40's at the time and without a university degree (though able to teach Esperanto at another university due to proven ability and self-instruction) and a student at the Chinese University of Technology (a prestigious university in China, located in Hefei). He was pointing out how the excessive use of English words in Chinese newspapers prevented the average Chinese from understanding the articles. She countered that the average person does not read newspapwers.
[size=33.3148155212402px]He invited her out of the room to look outside and within seconds could point to a manual worker sitting and reading a newspaper.
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[size=33.3148155212402px]She countered that it did not matter, because only the "educated" could make sense of the information even if it were all in Chinese.
[size=33.3148155212402px]He countered that a lack of knowledge of English does not equate with stupidity. She acquiessed, but seemingly more out of frustration than really being convinced by his arguments.
[size=33.3148155212402px]

[size=33.3148155212402px]I have witnessed much more elitism among English-speaking Chinese than Esperanto-speaking ones, and I've just given you one anecdotal observation, though I could present others. While we're at it, here's another one. The general director of the Hefei City Library (who was also an Esperanto-speaking friend of mine) hired an English-Chinese interpreter. At her first interpretation assignment, she fell apart. She was unable to understand Cameroonian English and Australian English.  I would interpret into Esperanto and another friend from Esperanto into Chinese.
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[size=33.3148155212402px]After the meeting, the director asked for my advice, sinse he was thinking of firing her. I explained to him that they all learn only US and British English and that she could understand me only because Canadian English pronunciation is similar to US English pronunciation. I proposed that he give her three months to improve her understanding of world Englishes. My Cameroonian friend immediately noticed the difference. Whereas before that interpreter showed little interest in her and always seemed to want to hang around Americans, Canadians, and Brits, now she was spending more time with Cameroonians, Australians (some with heavy accents by Canadian and British standards), and Pakistanis. Three months later, she saved her job.
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[size=33.3148155212402px]Between Esperantists, I've never witnessed any linguistic prejudice pertaining to one national accent being superior to another, and by introducing the Esperanto idea of equality between accents into this interpreter's English, I'd helped her save her job.
[size=33.3148155212402px]

[size=33.3148155212402px]Same with racism. I've generally found the Chinese Esperanto community far more welcoming of blacks than what we generally find in the English-language industry in China. I'd even heard of US teachers teaching racial prejudices in Chinese classrooms through inappropriate jokes, not having considered that their students might fail to recognize it as a joke and come to accept the teacher's prejudices. From my personal observations, China's Esperanto-speaking community is far more progressive-minded overall. Whereas the English industry is mostly about money,  the Esperanto-speaking community seems to concern itself more with justice and brotherhood. Even those whom I'd met who earned a living through Esperanto had not initially learnt it for the money: they'd merely discovered an opportunity after having learnt the language. I've met few Chinese who'd chosen to learn English for reasons other than personal material benefit. There are some, but very few.

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