time is right ( read - good level of intoxication) to introduce
a topic close to my heart. this may be “tilting at windmills”
but i’m on a one man’s endeavour to lose the appellation
it’s usage is omnipresent; on this site, in conversation and in the
teaching material i’m given.
from what i can gather it is derived from the mandarin imposed
by the KMT when the americans gave taiwan to them to counter
the commies, after the war. i’m of an age that that refers to WWII.
the KMT didn’t think of this as taiwan but as an outpost position
to hold until they could go back and reclaim the mainland (read -
motherland). when the mandarin is translated into english
we get mainland china.
i.e. in Hakka they just say china (haven’t verified this in ‘taiwnanese’).
the rationale i use in weekly sessions with some highschool
teachers and with some twenty-somethings is that to refer
to china as mainland china implies that this is island china.
that gets a rise out of them (well that and the skinnerian conditioning
of my gong show buzzer impersonation).
with the junior high school students i get out my map of the world and
point and say “Taiwnan is on an island and China is on a continent,
using ‘mainland china’ is politics and this is english class.
i’m the english teacher - no more ‘mainland china.’”
( yes i foresee someone saying “but that’s your politics!”
ah but inculcation is easier with the minds of youth. )
with the little kids, the flash cards have physical outlines and flags
of the countries on one side and their names on the other
(e.g. japan,korea, taiwan and mainland china).
i just say “we don’t need the mainland word, just use china.”
they’re happy i made it easier. of course their teachers are so apolitical
that they don’t follow my lead. i have to remind them of the colours of
the good guys/bad guys!
while i’m on my soap box,
quote is a verb, the noun is quotation,
it’s kil-o-me-ter,not ki-lom-e-ter.
(re the last, i suspect noah webster was a creationist too)