Don’t forget the local accent, don’t light time
2020年4月15日 | by 科姆龙
I didn’t know how the topic changed. When I reacted, my grandmother and I were discussing the local dialect of our hometown.
There are many ethnic minorities in my hometown, and there are also many people migrating here and there for various reasons throughout the ages. Nowadays, although people living on the mountain frequently communicate with each other, they still have different sounds for ten miles. People living in different faces of a mountain all speak different languages.
Grandma said that in the previous years, their generation and their elders could only speak local dialect in small places, and they could not even speak the common official language of county level and city level, not to mention Mandarin. She said that when she was young, she had racked her brains to communicate with outsiders, and she could only say that it was half a dialect and half a tone of official language. The difference between dialect and official language is not small. The listeners are not able to understand it, and the speakers are also anxious. From time to time, they will make jokes because of the ambiguity and pronunciation translation between languages.
What my elder generation and neighbors spoke were all dialect, but when I taught our generation, they all spoke official language, and many of them also used Mandarin, so there are very few people in our generation who can speak local dialect. There are many children like my sisters who can’t speak local dialect and can only understand the general situation. Many elders want to chat with us, it is also necessary to turn the local dialect which is always subconsciously exported into the official language which is slightly awkward.
Occasionally when I hear the elder speak dialect, I will learn a few sentences with curiosity, but in the process I can always be amused by my strange pronunciation, sometimes even the elder can’t listen to it.
I sighed with emotion that the dialect I said was not decent. My grandmother thought for a while and said, “whose aunt came back last time, she could not speak the dialect any more, and she could not even speak the half-foreign and half-soil words. No matter it was dialect or official language, I could not speak any more. I could still understand it vaguely, but it was not as smooth to communicate with my family as before I got married.
There are many examples like this. My second aunt has been married to other places for several years, and when she comes back to her hometown again, she can’t speak Native language any more.
I don’t know how many children like my second aunt who grew up in dialect have forgotten all the dialect several years after leaving their hometown, I don’t know how they felt when they went back to their hometown to meet the villagers and wanted to speak, but found that what they said was no longer the familiar language. I only know that even if it was me, even if I grew up not in dialect, my family had never taught dialect. When I saw my ancestors chatting in dialect, I would feel a little estrangement between them. It is true that those estrangement has nothing to do with blood relationship, age or gender, but occasionally I feel that the estrangement between myself and the elders in my family seems to be formed from the place where each other speaks different languages.
There is a poem saying: “young and young, I will go back to my hometown, and the local accent will not change.” There are few people around me who have been away from home for many years but haven’t changed the accent like the poem. The Playmates who grew up together changed their accents after only two years of marriage, and the local accent which had been sticking to their mouths for more than twenty years disappeared. When they had a new home, their hometown changed its place. After that, they spoke a new language, and they could only speak a new language. Their accents and chewing words both had a strong flavor of different places.
In fact, it doesn’t matter if the local accent has changed. It’s not too important that you can’t speak local dialect, but you still feel helpless. People are still those old people. With the passage of time, people’s appearance will always change, but the local accent is always different after being changed.
I don’t know when I began to think like this. Now, every time I go back to my hometown, my sister and I always make trouble with my grandmother to teach us some dialect, even if we never need to go out, even if what he said was not authentic, he still wanted to learn. Grandma also knew that we were just on a whim, but when she saw that we wanted to learn, she was happy to teach us a few words.
We don’t want to rely on the local dialect which is a little bit harsh for us to maintain anything, but we don’t want to be a person who can’t even speak the local dialect of our hometown. If there are old people in the village beside me asking “Where are you from” in dialect, I hope I can simply greet them in dialect they are familiar with and answer my hometown name. This kind of feeling is very novel and also makes people feel at ease when they are happy.
It is just because I know this feeling is very rare, so when I know that my uncle is struggling with the language of the child who is still babbling, I will give advice: “Teach native language. You can learn Mandarin naturally when you go to school or when you are in touch with TV since childhood. You don’t have to worry about official language, but fewer and fewer children can speak native language, sometimes I think that I will not say what has passed down from generation to generation, and it is actually false to say no regrets.”
My uncle’s hometown also has his own dialect, which is quite different from my hometown’s dialect. But because that is what my mother occasionally talks about, it has some subtle connections with me. I can’t speak those languages, but I can only understand some words. What I remember most is her hometown nursery rhyme that my mother talked about in my ear when I was a child, because those half unfamiliar and half familiar languages had accompanied me through many nights without my mother.
Local accent, there is temperature. Some people have deep feelings, some have shallow feelings, and some are numb. Although people are different, as far as I am concerned, the local accent has indeed become a kind of thought branded in my heart in the future.
We were born here and grew up here, even if we didn’t live on this small land for a long time, but everything about it, its appearance, its language, we should not let time fade away.