Friday, July 27, 2012

Fallen Trees

The first typhoon of the Guangzhou summer passed through town in the past week. During the worst of it I was listening to the radio at home, sometimes momentarily trying to focus on the words of the host to grab a little Cantonese "practice". I heard lam syuu repeated and bounced it around my mind just as a sound, the intellect not really wanting to embrace it as something meaningful. Long after the sound stopped the translation is issued from a sleepy corner of my brain: fallen trees; they were reporting the traffic hazards to motorists and were mentioning where the storm had taken down trees.


Every time has its words. Storms have "fallen trees". When learning a language, to anticipate a few of these words is to grasp a lot. Once you know the context you are in you can apply the knowledge of these key words, signs and signals and understand more about where you are and where you're going.

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