Uyghur Cuisine

doesn’t matter since he doesn’t have to 争取法案

True, but I’ve invariably been complimented on my pronunciation by everyone from my Chinese teacher to anyone I’ve spoken with. Not that I haven’t had a few bobbles when I’ve exceeded my range.

:slight_smile: I prefer being a bit more sociable.

i can’t help but think of chinese-to-english ESL tapes/records from the 70’s with phrases such as:

“my, but hasn’t the weather been changeable these past few days”

with the point being someone could learn to repeat such phrases with immaculate diction yet still never be mistaken for a native english speaker, if you catch my drift,

Wait, are you implying that they don’t think I’m a native speaker? :smiley: Seriously, at my best, I can be conversant, though somewhat limited. The Chinese course I took emphasized conversation and we learned far more than just random phrases. It was full immersion and pretty heavy duty, though I’d still need 3-4 more years to be remotely close to fluent.

I’m under no false illusions, but my conversations have usually been met with enthusiastic replies in Chinese. Usually, I’m asked if I learned Chinese in China or if I’ve visited. Of course, I often get that (even in English) with some of the ultra-specific regional items I order :wink: A lot of: “how do you know about this?”

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no doubt you get major points for knowing specific dishes, etc.i get the same kind of response from itamaes when it comes to sushi; i’ve had chefs ask me how long i lived in japan (never been). but i maintain that ethnic chinese set the bar fairly low in terms of expectations for non-chinese in a way that is actually kinda racist. it’s more about where they set the level of the bar vs. by how much you cleared it. i hope this makes it clearer.

Got it. I’ve heard that from Chinese friends and colleagues. And I do admit at times I get treated like a unicorn :slight_smile: Ok, but how about the Chinese teacher saying to me in class early on: “Wait…have you spent any time in China? Your pronunciation is really good.” :wink:

I’m the exact opposite. I always speak in English b/c I don’t speak enough Chinese to order. I was at Chang’s Garden recently, and the server said to my father (in Mandarin): “He [motioning at me] must’ve been here a long time if he can’t speak any Chinese.” ::sigh::

i’ve never heard you speak; perhaps your pronunciation is extraordinary.

there’s a double-edged sword. when i first moved out here i tried to order takeout at sam woo but i spoke in toisan and was promptly corrected in cantonese.

someone else who spoke only cantonese tried to order at non-cantonese mandarin speaking restaurant and tried to order spare ribs but instead of ordering pie goo, he ordered “pee goo” (buttock). the waiter responded (in english) you want what while the rest of the table broke out in laughter, i learned from that incident, if i wasn’t sure how to pronounce, don’t try.

the downside of being able to pronounce what i want with proper pronunciation (and tone) is when the wait person then follows up with a long string of gibberish to which i sheepishly respond ‘ting bu dong’.

i think the best thing to do is to point at the menu item and say ‘jei ge’. (this), and then ask “how do you pronounce this?”

Extraordinary? I don’t know, but apparently I’m pretty fly for a…

This is exactly what I am saying has happened to me on numerous occasions, because I’ve often ordered a dish using proper pronunciation (that I don’t mess up or overextend. If I don’t know, I ask afterwards in Chinese, what is this dish called?). Exactly. That’s what I meant with “enthusiastic replies”, a flowing, flurry of a response. I wouldn’t say “gibberish”, but it’s beyond what I can keep up with and that’s when I say: “wo zhi zhidao yidian Zhongwen” (or something similar. Hey, give me credit, I know enough to change it around from time to time) Then the discussion continues, usually in English or a bit of Chinese and English, from there. The nicest compliment came from a young waitress at a short-lived place in Rowland Heights. I asked for a menu, in Chinese, and she responded with a flurry I couldn’t keep up with. So, I said what I usually say - my version of your “ting bu dong” - and she replied: “You pronounced that so well, I thought you knew more. You said that very well.” And we had a short discussion about my Chinese, mainly in Chinese. What was cool is she didn’t treat me like the proverbial unicorn, complete with jaw drop and shocked and stunned disbelief.

A colleague of mine has mentioned me at restaurants I’ve visited and said they invariably remember me and say: “Oh yeah, the white guy that knows a bit of Chinese.” When I said they probably think it’s pretty lame, my colleague replied: “No, they think it’s really cool.”

Are you sure you aren’t the one assuming here? :wink:


That’s rad you speak a little.

I remember a few Latino guys speaking Chinese at places in the 626. I distinctly remember a guy at Kang Kang aka Shau May who spoke pretty damn good.

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if you go back to my original phase and it’s wording, im pretty sure that i put that way to begin with. it’s still an observation about the attitudes of some ethnic chinese. they may jolly well be impressed, but the bar is still set pretty low for a gweilo. regardless for how much you may have cleared it.

yknow, im fortunate in that ive been around a little bit. less than a lot of folks, but more than some.
in my experience, if you make an honest attempt to speak a little of the hosts language, its appreciated and not evaluated.

as far as bars go, i prefer the drinking kind.


Y hablamos bastante español también… A veces.

Thanks JeetKuneBao. I realized every bit I learned could be useful. I wanted to take a second year, but the local college dropped Chinese when the instructor left (I’m still kinda annoyed he didn’t let me know when he tought a second year class about a year after a gap).

You know Barry, I get what you’re saying, but no matter how it comes out, it comes off disparaging to my Chinese pronunciation…even though I know that’s not how you mean it. The more you explain it, the deeper the hole seems to be dug. No problem, all good. I’m just bemused by it :slight_smile:

i regret that it came out that way. thank you for pointing that out.