When we think of endangered languages, we tend to think of those with a small number of speakers in remote areas.

We don’t usually think of Cantonese.

And yet this language with millions of speakers on multiple continents is facing some big changes, and linguists are sounding the alarms.

Linguist Zoe Lam speaks with Daniel Midgley on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Kylie Sturgess


Show notes

Oh, newspapers. https://t.co/ke2DBvGSW6

— Talk the Talk (@talkrtr) September 1, 2015

Fairfax leading jihad to bring down Abbott Government, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-01/fairfax-abc-trying-to-bring-government-down-dutton-says/6739158

Miley Cyrus goes undercover to find out what people really think of her
http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/71569568/miley-cyrus-goes-undercover-to-find-out-what-people-really-think-of-her

Dialect Blog: Yod-Dropping in American Accents
http://dialectblog.com/2011/09/06/yod-dropping/

Oliver Glain: How Traditional Yod Forms are Disappearing from Contemporary English (PDF)
http://www.cercles.com/n22/glain.pdf

Quartz: The British Library is crowdsourcing the translation of a mysterious 13th-century sword inscription
http://qz.com/478065/the-british-library-is-crowdsourcing-the-translation-of-a-mysterious-13th-century-sword-inscription/

Karen Stollznow: Deciphering Proto-Elamite
http://karenstollznow.com/deciphering-proto-elamite/

BBC News (from 2012): Breakthrough in world’s oldest undeciphered writing
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-19964786

About Proto-Elamite
http://cdli.ox.ac.uk/wiki/doku.php?id=proto-elamite#proto-elamite

CBC News: Cantonese language could disappear, says UBC linguist Zoe Lam
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/cantonese-language-could-disappear-says-ubc-linguist-zoe-lam-1.3053933

Zoe Lam’s profile at UBC
http://linguistics.ubc.ca/persons/zoe-lam/

TimeOut.HK: The Death of Cantonese?
http://www.timeout.com.hk/big-smog/features/73305/the-death-of-cantonese.html

International NYT: A Telling Language Lesson in Hong Kong
“A new chief executive took the oath of office in Hong Kong on Sunday morning, and then, somewhat astoundingly, he made his inaugural speech in Mandarin.”
http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/01/a-shocking-language-lesson-in-hong-kong/

81 Cantonese proverbs in one picture.
https://writecantonese8.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/cantonese-proverbs-in-one-picture/

UNESCO: Language Vitality and Endangerment (PDF)
http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CLT/pdf/Language_vitality_and_endangerment_EN.pdf

HKFP: Canadian university adds Cantonese course amid fears over its decline in Hong Kong
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2015/08/18/canadian-university-adds-cantonese-course-amid-fears-over-its-decline-in-hong-kong/

Wikipedia: Cantonese
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantonese

Can a language with millions of speakers be endangered? (the case of Javanese) (PDF)
http://pacling.anu.edu.au/series/SEALS-PDFs/Ravindranath&Cohn2014language.pdf

Prof Stephen Matthews commented that Cantonese may be on its way out after 50 years.
http://www.chinapost.com.tw/china/local-news/hong-kong/2012/06/11/343926/Cantonese-increasingly.htm

Mother tongue squeezed out of the Chinese classroom in Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2015/07/22/mother-tongue-squeezed-out-of-the-chinese-classroom-in-cantonese-speaking-hong-kong/

Plonkable heliostats
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/24/south-african-team-may-have-solved-solar-puzzle-even-google-couldnt-crack

Wiktionary: plonk
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/plonk

Ngram chart for “plonk_VERB,plunk_VERB”

Logan Paul doing the splits around New York.
#plonkingisthenewplanking
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWNAXse1wYs

Wikipedia: List of English homographs
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_homographs


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: http://www.localpresshk.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/putoo.jpg