When you speak dialects, I always feel superfluous.
No, don't listen, I don't know.
"Hey, what are you eating?"
"I'll order barbecued pork rice."
"then help me bury it."
"do you have any notes? I didn't place an order."
this is the daily life in A Xin's dormitory.
in the dormitory for four people, all three of them can speak Cantonese, but only A Xin can neither speak nor understand. So every time they speak Cantonese, A Xin can only keep silent.
when takeout came, A Xin realized that all three of them had ordered takeout, and I didn't know when they ordered it.
after looking at the time, takeout is no longer available. She had to put on her shoes and go to the canteen to eat alone in the scorching sun.
when I went out, the roommates were still saying something in Cantonese, probably hurting each other, pointing at each other and laughing with laughter.
No one seemed to notice that she secretly opened the door and went out.
one day, A Xin suddenly contacted me on Wechat and wanted me to teach her how to speak Cantonese.
I am curious: "Why do you suddenly want to learn Cantonese?"
she said, "otherwise you will never be able to fit into the dormitory."
"when they are chatting in Cantonese and chatting and suddenly burst into laughter together, only you are silent and don't know what happened. That feeling is so lonely."
then A Xin looked at me apologetically and said something like "please," as if it was her fault that she couldn't speak Cantonese.
it seems that dialects have become a social currency for college students.
since then, I often have dinner with A Xin, speak Cantonese together, and recommend some Cantonese radio stations and videos like "Crazy Cantonese" to her.
because she has no basic knowledge of Cantonese, she has a hard time learning it.
several times, I felt a little distressed when I watched Ah Xin think hard about how to say "I want to order takeout, too" in Cantonese.
I said to her more than once, "Why don't we stop learning? there's no need to work so hard." More than once, she pretended to be indifferent and said, "it's all right. I'll try again."
although up to now, she can only laugh awkwardly when her roommates laugh.
I think A Xin is very much like me in junior high school.
at that time, I lived close to the home of two friends and often went home together.
they are all from Chaoshan, and when the three of them are on their way home, they often speak Chaoshan dialect in front of me.
if I don't understand, I always feel a little redundant in the middle.
I tried to cut in, but I found that I couldn't get in at all because I had no idea where they were talking.
when they parted at the crossroads, they thought of me and finally said "good-bye" in Mandarin that I could understand.
I tried to joke with them, "can you not speak alien language?"
they all smiled and said, "Chaoshan dialect is easy to understand. I'll teach you."
taught a lot of sentences, but in the end I only remembered "lu ho", which means "Hello".
later, I gradually drifted away from them.
maybe, no matter how close I am to them on the surface, we can only end up at the "Hello" point.
but instead, I breathed a sigh of relief-the feeling of being in it but not being able to fit in was really tired.
I have asked a lot of friends, and they all said awkwardly, "in fact, I really don't want to exclude anyone by speaking dialect. I just feel kind and comfortable."
I can understand the intimacy of communicating in a dialect in an unfamiliar environment. It really shortens the distance between two people quickly, and even brings inexplicable security and comfort.
but the sense of distance between people is relative.
the process of getting closer to others is also unconsciously weeding out people who are not so close.
I don't want to sum up this phenomenon with words like "impolite".
it's just that very often, there are a small group of people on the side who don't understand the dialect, trying awkwardly to integrate into the group.
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they may stand beside you with a bored smile and nod, or they may pretend to understand and laugh with you, and you will find that they are actually carefully maintaining the whole atmosphere of the chat.
so whenever I see people who are divided by different dialects, I always hope that when there are outsiders, I can speak little or no dialects.
the meaning of language is communication, so don't accidentally make it hurt.