I Cant(onese) Believe What I’m Hearing

, , , , , | Learning | March 27, 2018

(I’m an Australian citizen, born and raised in Hong Kong. As a result, I’m fluent in English and Cantonese. Recently, I returned to Australia and enrolled in a local high school. One day, I’m venting to a friend about the upcoming exams, the subjects I’m taking, and the “advanced” classes I’m in during recess. Just when I’m about to leave for class, a mutual friend of ours pipes up.)

Mutual Friend: “I didn’t understand a word you said, but it sounded so cool! I’ve never heard a conversation in Cantonese before, and this is the first time I’ve heard [Friend] speaking Cantonese!”

(It turns out that the two of us had swapped to Cantonese at some point during our conversation, and neither of us had noticed. Something else we hadn’t noticed, either, were [Friend]’s classmates. Cue facepalming, embarrassed chuckling, and a hastened departure on my behalf.)

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