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February 21, 2011

I found this academic article on ABC Jin’s Cantonese language acquisition and the formation of his identity as an American Chinese. It has a detailed analyses of many of his songs, including a transcript of them ( transliteration , characters and English translation) and a poetical interpretation, so to speak. ..

I find it incredible how these academics can turn the most senseless and trivial things into deep and meaningful issues worth of detailed analyses and research. It is very widespread in our day and age these academic papers about pop culture icons and so on, at the same time when serious studies on many contemporary poets, for instance, are lacking. But I don’t want to turn this post into a lament about academia. However, I would like to highlight this priceless excerpt:

The dimsum lunch ritual is noisy but the food is good and hot:

11. Jam2caa4 zing6hai6 dak1go3cou4, zeoi3gan2jiu3 dik1ye5 jit6laat6laat6

san1sin2 ceot1lou4

(吃點真是吵最要緊的便是東西熱辣辣的剛剛出爐 / going for

dimsum is really noisy, what matters most is that the food is piping hot

and just out of the stove.

Yeah, I am glad she cleared that up.

Nevertheless, the article has some interesting things, especially when it touches on the issue of his identity as a Chinese growing up in America and the language acquisition situation of ABCs. It is interesting to notice how they almost never learn how to read. Sometimes even people who live in Hong Kong for many years and speak fluent Cantonese have not much interest in learning how to read. Perhaps the best example is Janice Wai Lam.

Just for the record : the freestyle battle mentioned in the article is this one here. By the way, ABC Jin totally kicked the guy’s ass! Oh, boy! That must have been embarrassing…