I have no basis on which to agree or disagree with your assessment of the linguistic situation in China. However, aren’t nearly all Chinese born after 1949 sufficiently conversant with official Mandarin to understand it, read it and also carry on a conversation in it? In that case, China would be a country with diglossia, with all the non-Mandarin languages/dialects spoken in informal settings between locals, and official Mandarin spoken in formal settings and between people of different regions.
The younger people speak, read, and write Putonghua (a version of Mandarin) very well. A lot of the older adults can do the same. I believe there may be some monolinguals of the other tongues out there. And there are also monolinguals under age 5. Some Westerners adopted a 2-3 year old girl, and the girl could only speak some obscure Gan language. It took them a while to figure what the Hell language she even spoke because it was not obvious and the tongue was not well-known.
A problem is that some varieties have actually developed their own Putonghuas now! So in a sense the experiment is having unexpected consequences. Putonghuas of various regions can hardly be understood by Putonghua speakers of other regions. So even the standard is starting to split! However, getting everyone to speak, read, and write was definitely a good idea.
My father was stationed in China in 1946 after the war for a while. The US occupied China for a while there. He said that when he was in Peking (the old Beijing), there were rickshaw drivers everywhere. If you wanted to get anywhere, you summoned a rickshaw. He said that the rickshaw drivers had the pens and pads and they were always running around offering the pens and pads to passengers and other drivers because the other person spoke some other lect, so they could not understand each other. But most of them could read and write Mandarin! So if worse came to worse and you could not talk to each other, you could always write it down! So actually, China had a Putonghua of sorts even before the Communist victory and the introduction of Putonghua.
And I do not believe that Putonghua was introduced in 1949. I think it took the Communists a little while to come up with it and formulate it properly.
The “Speak Mandarin” campaign has had some unintended consequences because it is not allowed to teach school in any language but Mandarin for Sinitic speakers. I believe that speakers of other tongues such as Tibetans can have home language education, which is considered a progressive thing. I know that teachers were still teaching classes in Shanghainese not so long ago. Also speaking dialects was discouraged and possibly even punished at school. I am not sure if even today you can take courses in other Chinese languages at school. But the Mandarin only campaign went too far and it has led to the destruction of a lot of the less spoken varieties, which in many cases are full languages and not dialects at all. So it has been very controversial.
Filed under Asia, China, Chinese language, Language Families, Left, Linguistics, Mandarin, Maoism, Marxism, Regional, Sinitic, Sino-Tibetan, Sociolinguistics, World War 2
In a radio interview on Robert Stark’s show with Rabbit, Pilleater and Ryan England, England remarked in a baffled tone that I had seemed to have moved far to the Left. This wasn’t really a true statement, as there really wasn’t anywhere to the Left remaining for me to move to. I would have fallen off the cliff if I did. I have always been Hard Left. I am a former member of the Communist Party USA. I used to contribute to the Weapons Funds of Latin American armed revolutionary movements like the FMLN in El Salvador. At one point, I was talking to a representative of the ELN armed group in Colombia, and I was thinking about translating some of their articles for them. I chickened when I worried that I could maybe get 10 years in prison for such harmless activity.
From 1988-1990, I was even on the mailing list for the Weather Underground! I received regular mailings from them.
That was the Weathermen, an underground guerrilla movement that took up arms in the 1960’s to fight the US government. They set off many bombs all over that country. During the period of radical activism from the 1960’s to the 1970’s, a total of 50,000 bombs were set off! I believe in 1970 alone, there were 3,000 bombs set off all around the country. And very few people were hurt or even killed, as they often set them off in the middle of the night and often telephoned in warning calls first so the area could be evacuated.
There was a very large community helping those people – I would estimate 200,000 people at the very low end. The FBI had a very hard time infiltrating the Weathermen because the community was so dedicated to them. People hid them, supported them, moved them around, gave them tips, and funded them with lots of money. A lot of rich people supported them too, especially at the universities and in the legal community. There was a whole group of lawyers who were more or less actively helping them. That was one of the reasons it was so hard to break the movement – you would have had to arrest tens or hundreds of thousands of people.
I used to subscribe to their above-ground publication called Breakthrough. It was put out by something called the John Brown Book Club, headquartered in either Berkeley or San Francisco as of ~1990. The above ground component was legal, and the underground component was illegal.
The Weathermen only killed one person accidentally in their many years of armed action. That was a chemistry student who was up all night working on something in the lab when they bombed at ROTC Headquarters at the University of Wisconsin. Some cops were killed in a bomb attack in Berkeley at Police Headquarters, but I do not think the Weathermen did that. The Weathermen were not the only maniacs running around setting off bombs back then. There were all sorts of groups doing that.
Unfortunately the Weathermen got in with the radical Blacks of the Black Liberation Army and some others and in 1980, they held up an armed car and killed one of the drivers. They got a lot of money, but I did not approve of that action. A couple of them were caught. Afterwards there were raids on Weathermen hideouts all over the US. The FBI mostly found nothing. I remember in one raid in New York City, the Weathermen had left so quickly that burners were left on on the stove. Obviously they had sympathizers inside the government and even law enforcement who were tipping them off to the raids. They why they usually were already gone before they got raided.
Filed under California, Central America, Colombia, El Salvador, Government, History, Homegrown Terrorism, Latin America, Law enforcement, Left, Maoism, Marxism, Regional, Revolution, South America, US, USA, West
Jason Voorhees: Mr. Lindsey
Telugu meaning Tamil of Southeast India. I was there once, many moons ago.
Telegu and Tamil are two different groups and languages. Tamils are indeed in SE India, but Telegu is spoken to the northwest quite a bit in a region of Andhra Pradesh called Telegana. Telegana is the far southern portion of Andhra Pradesh. It is heavily forested. There was a movement among them to break away and form their own state a while back I think. There was also quite a bit of armed Maoist activity there, but I think most of it was wiped out.
With 85 million speakers, Telegu is one of the largest world languages, but no doubt most folks have not heard of it. It has more speakers than Italian! I am not sure how far apart the Dravidian languages are from each other, but they can’t understand each other, that’s for sure.
I met two Telegus in a nearby town and I have seen photos of others, including one of the leaders of the Telegana Movement, also a Maoist, after he was released from prison. These three Telegus had quite prominent Australoid features, at least as Australoid as Tamils.
Filed under Anthropology, Asia, Dravidian, India, Language Families, Left, Linguistics, Maoism, Marxism, Physical, Regional, South Asia, Tamil
My association with “Chinoys” in the Philippines was a result of joint ventures. If you are doing any kind of business in the Philippines you will interact with Chinese-Filipinos whether you want to or not.
Fuji Chinese can be incompetent but their economic grip on the Philippines means that even the morons among them who would be homeless in China hold some position in the Philippines.
You realize that the head of the armed Maoist rebels called the NPA which wishes to destroy, overthrow and sweep away Chinoy rule in the Philippines is a Chinoy himself, right? His name is Jose Maria Sison, and he is one of my heroes.
The ruling class in the Philippines is indeed stone evil, but it also includes some Malays. Aquino, Marcos and Duterte are all Malays. Much of the ruling class is actually landowning Mestizos. There are also a lot of Chinese, but Malays in the ruling class are not unknown. I have had three different psychiatrists and one physician from the Philippines, and all were Malays, albeit with Chinese in three cases or possibly Hispanic blood in one case. That’s a high-paying job. Physicians are part of the elite.
They were all staunch defenders of the Philippines ruling class, although one doctor said he went back to his home village one time, and the whole place was run by the NPA. From 10 miles away in, it was one rebel checkpoint after another. The village itself was full of NPA walking around in broad daylight in full uniform and armed to the teeth with AK-47’s. Everybody acted like this was completely normal. The army in the area knew about the situation but had apparently simply ceded the area to the guerrilla and had decided not to go in there. Mexican standoff.
He went back and looked up his old school friends and they had all joined the armed revolutionaries. They found out he had an MD, and they asked him to join to them to be a field doctor for the guerrilla. He declined. He did not hate the NPA though. His attitude about them was more, “What do you expect? Of course we have armed revolutionary movement in our country. Why would that surprise you.”
Filed under Asia, Asians, Chinese (Ethnic), Filipinos, Left, Malays, Maoism, Marxism, Mestizos, Mixed Race, Philippines, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Revolution, SE Asia, SE Asians, Sociology