I honestly doubt I need an introduction to the current international Olympic frenzy.
Open any social media, and half of what you see is sports news from Tokyo 2020/2021. (For me, the other half is depressing Hong Kong news.)
And with any luck, or if you’re following any Hong Kong-related accounts, you might have some dramatic moments to follow and celebrate.
In this edition of Bel Canton, where I highlight (new) Cantonese words that are essential to current topics, let’s react to the Olympic Games together!
But first, the basics.
It’s been over a year since Hong Kong’s latest fight for freedom began. Over this period, the movement has come to develop its own lingo. If you have tried to figure out what people are talking or writing about the protests, you might be confused by the vocabulary that’s missing from dictionaries.
I initially created the ‘Bel Canton‘ section on this blog precisely for something like this: to document the ever-changing Cantonese language, and to keep you, lovers of Cantonese-speaking culture, up to date. Now, let’s tread some dangerous ground, and find out what these *ahem* pesky troublemakers *ahem* are babbling behind your backs!
Hong Kong, like many other societies, has been rapidly polarised over the past years. Today, instead of left- or right-leaning political views, there are colour-based factions.
Only my closest, language-loving friends know this, but I’ve been dabbling quite a lot. Since my last project to learn Polish, it’s been sort of a bit of this and a bit of that…Kazakh was a bust (I admitted I was dabbling), and my serious Icelandic project lost steam because our plans for a family trip are ruined by coronavirus.
For the past month, I’ve been actively dabbling in Hebrew. I actually started a while ago, trying out the language on Duolingo, but I gave up because the sentences often had no audio. (Since Hebrew doesn’t write vowels, audio is very important.) Since I finally forked out for Glossika a month or two ago for Icelandic, I thought, why not give Hebrew a try again?
Around a month later, I took my first Hebrew lesson online.
And here I am, making it official. I’m properly studying Hebrew!
I’ll still be working on my other languages — I’m still very much in love with Polish, and I’m having fun learning Taiwanese Hokkien with my friends. But hey, it’s my focus.