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May 31, 2010



My old Russian teacher had a story about meeting an elderly Russian lady who had taught herself English in her hometown in Siberia using only an English-Russian dictionary and the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. By the time he met her she was, tragically, rapidly becoming fluent in modern English.


There are quite a few archaisms in English as taught in Chinese schools: the use of "bumpkin" for peasant seemed to be current until fairly recently. When I was freelancing for China Daily I used to get emails from people who'd cribbed their vocabulary from 19th century novels, like one from the fellow who congratulated me for improving his powers of ratiocination, for instance.


Boss, Boss! there's Mass Group Incident at't Mill!

-What kind of Mass Group Incident? When did this start? How did it happen?

-Look, I don't know, I was just told to come in here and say there was Mass Group Incident at t'mill. I didn't expect some sort of Ministry of State Security of the People's Republic of China --

-Nobody expects the Ministry of State Security of the People's Republic of China!

Richard J

the Leeds crowd were always more "pick up your backpack and get cracking" than Chinese language graduates from other universities

Funny you should say that. We just hired Leeds grad as PR manager for our Chinese operations because, well, he wrote a letter on spec to the senior partner out there. I was impressed by his chutzpah.


RJ, this should be obvious. Leeds and Bradford are two halves of Yorkshire's divided self; Leeds is extroversion, display, the future, eros. Bradford, paranoia, introversion, bitterness, the past, thanatos. If he'd been a Bradford grad, he'd have been living in a shed inside a dead worsted mill working on inventing a perfect virus.


You always had these differences in orientation: people from Cambridge and Soas seemed to gravitate towards government and/or politics, The Edinburgh/Durham lot were culture buffs, the University of Westminster crowd went into business, and Leeds people were into everything.

"We just hired Leeds grad as PR manager for our Chinese operations"

Hey, you don't happen to have a consultancy sinecure open for a bedroom based Manchester gobshite do you? I only ask because I think I should at least make a token effort to make the blog pay.

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