Nomad’s Log. My syntax is changing.

Freedom. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Jamaican in China. His life long mission: to explore new world views, to seek a strange new life in different civilizations. To boldly go where no Jamaican man has gone before!

Cue theme music:

Nomad’s Log. Day 6. The year of the Rabbit.

As I spend more time in China, I’ve noticed something strange happening. I’ve noticed that my writing syntax is changing. I wrote an email to a friend yesterday and wrote something like: You were planning on giving up that hotmail account, yes? In another instance, I wrote something like, “This is what you wanted, no?”

As you may know, to form a question in Mandarin, you add the word “ma” to the end. “Ma” turns a statement into a question. For example, Nǐ de háizi means “your child.” When you add “ma” to the end, you get “Nǐ de háizi ma” which means “Your child, [question],” in other words “Is that your child?”

The English equivalent would be “You were planning on giving up that hotmail account, yes?


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