越界/粵界 (transgression/cantosphere) closes this Saturday (March 28th).
If you haven't gotten a chance to see our exhibition at the Centre A Gallery yet, please check it out -- especially if you care about culture, history, multiculturalism, language, the local issues of gentrification in Chinatown, and/or the global pressures on Cantonese-speaking populations.
The gallery is open TUESDAY TO SATURDAY [11am to 6pm]
As well, at 4pm this Saturday (March 28th), Centre A will be hosting a fantastic panel discussion. More details can be found below.
Linguistic Diversity & The City:
The Case of Endangered and Critically Endangered Languages in Vancouver
According to a preliminary analysis of the Cantonese language’s vitality and endangerment status in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Vancouver's Chinatown, it is apparent that both state and community support for the language are in decline and that Cantonese is steadily losing realms of use. To say that the language is under threat of very real endangerment is, according to the UNESCO framework employed in the analysis, not an exaggeration. And the time for action may be now.
As community support deteriorates, the People’s Republic of China has evidenced hostility towards the language, leaving its mid-long term fate in places like Hong Kong and Guangzhou increasingly uncertain. Meanwhile, regardless of pretensions to pluralism, as the demographics of Vancouver's Chinatown shift, the language is losing its place on the street-scape.
Simultaneously, revitalisation efforts are having varying effects on critically endangered local languages including hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, the language of the Musqueam people. Is it time, as a community that we assess our approach to linguistic and cultural diversity in the urban landscape and perhaps adopt a manner that borrows from approaches to biological diversity? What sorts of consequences would such an approach have on urban and cultural planning and the arts?
Do arts communities, municipal authorities and others concerned with cultural development have agency in defining sites of cultural flourishing? If so to what degree can they influence language?
Does language even matter?
What can be done at civic, state and grass-roots levels to empower linguistic diversity?
Is culture at the mercy of "inevitable market forces"?
Join us at Centre A gallery on March 28th at 4pm for a discussion on these matters:
- Award winning, UBC PhD candidate, Zoe Lam will present the findings of her analysis.
- Author and First Nations language revitalization advocate Sarah Ling, will share her experience with hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ naming efforts at UBC
- And Ah To the renowned illustrator of “The Great Canton and Hong Kong Proverbs” will join us from Hong Kong via skype for a current view of the status of Cantonese language resilience and grass-roots language defense efforts in that city.