Guide to Survival English for Chinese Immigrants

New Chinese immigrants who knew little or no English were at a great disadvantage in everyday business and social interactions. One approach to helping them was to publish common phrases or expressions in Chinese along with the English equivalents.  One example is "An ANglo-Chinese General Conversation and Classified Phrases" book by Yee Shu-Nam published in San Francisco by the Service Supply Company.  It bears no data of publication but probably it was published in the early 20th century.  This well-intentioned phrasebook was of dubious value as any user of the guide would probably have difficulty searching through it for the appropriate expression quickly and it could only cover a very limited number of situations.

Take for example, the scenario below which presents a hypothetical dialogue between a non Chinese speaking customer in a Chinese restaurant and the Chinese manager when the patron received pork chops when he had ordered chop suey!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dr. Jung, I am interested in sharing your writings with my Georgia State University community. Please contact me at pmchaney@gsu.edu so I might tell you of my Southern Writers Onstage: Beyond Black and White programming.
    Thank you for your work in the humanities.


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