Friday, January 16, 2015

Mind the gape

Attended a seminar on body techniques in contemporary Shanghai today organized by a French dancer-turned-qigong specialist and anthropologist. The talk was at one of the city's countless French culture centers, this one called Campus France. (The doorway at right, a few blocks down the same street, used to say Joyeuses Fêtes.) The talk was in French, too. Well, not officially. But he told us he was deeply interesting in ombodiement (make sure to pronounce die as, well, die), dilating on anozzer way to distang the yuuman andividu. At ziss pwant in his research he's attending to how managing the breeth contributes to heels... The research is actually fascinating, focusing on gapes in transmission in the context of globalization, and surveys a remarkable range of institutional settings where qigong is taught. I'm visiting him at one next Thursday!

Yes, I wrote down those locutions - but as much in humility as amusement. The strange escapades of vowels when some French folks speak English may be the closest thing to what folks like me sound like to Chinese speakers when we mangle our tones. And maybe we are finally understood best by listeners who can hear the first language behind the second...

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