Granny Liu

In the Dream of the Red Chamber, the classical Chinese novel, entered a clumsy Granny Liu.

The country bumpkin, Granny Liú, or Liu laolao, visited the Grand View Gardens, and was totally overwhelmed by new experiences and opulence.

Today I feel like Granny Liu in the north of the country, clumsy and excited. This is the first time I have visited the unknown north as a tourist. I still wear a thick fur jacket to try to fight the northern rain and wind.

This place is rich in history. I was already introduced to Stockport Air Raid Shelters today. The presence of the Second World War remains real.

I had a wonderful discovery today. My friend and her family speak English rather differently. English is their mother tongue, but they seem to drop the ‘t’ sound whenever they say the word ‘but’. Perhaps they are just a bit lazy, so they just say ‘bu’ all the time. If I had pronounced ‘bu’ as an English student, I would have failed my English oral test. Then I wouldn’t have been able to go abroad to study, to marry and have a child in England. My life would have been totally miserable. Therefore I think my friends should start taking the pronunciation of ‘but’ very seriously. Luckily my friends speak with pleasing musical intonations with a marked rising tone. They will make excellent Chinese speakers one day.

Of course I don’t mean my northern friends are lazy. My friend fixed a new toilet seat all by herself and it didn’t wobble. She made me four cups of tea in 8 hours, of different flavours and strength. I think she recycled her tea bags for her own family, but for her friend, she is generous enough to make me fresh tea each time with a new tea bag.

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36 thoughts on “Granny Liu

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Yes. Varied English accents are very interesting and the natives certainly break many ‘rules’ that foreigners stick to. When I first arrived in London many years ago, I couldn’t understand the London cockney English. I still couldn’t understand many British accents, such as the Geordie accent, but some people think it’s the most attractive accent.

      Reply
  1. Ruby

    I’m not sure where in the north you are, but in some parts they abbreviate ‘the’ to ‘t’ – or leave it out completely.

    Reply
      1. Ruby

        maybe a bit far for a day trip, but worth a detour on your way home is the Anderton Boat Lift near Northwich. A fascinating piece of Victorian engineering. In the same area* is a Cuckooland Museum which is also entertaining, and a fine example of British eccentricity.

        *by which I mean that I visited both on the same day

      2. Janet Williams Post author

        We bought the advance tickets, so any deviation was not allowed. Next time though. Hopefully I could find another local blogger to visit near there?

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      One day, I washed some mugs that my colleagues had left laying around, and got rid of one teabag left in the mug. Later I heard a colleague asked, “It’s strange. Who’s emptied my teabag in the mug?” Now I won’t wash people’s dirty mugs!

      Reply
  2. Bill Hayes

    so, you’ve gone t’up north! It’s amazing how you can travel this relatively small country and see such a variation in landsac-pes and architecture and hear completely different accents wherever you go.

    Reply
    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Yes, I’m in the north visiting my blogging friend for the first time, and staying with her family.

      I think I perhaps should tour around the country like the Queen does, as her majesty is now half retiring, I’m happy to take up the role and visit the country folks and listen to all different accents around the country.

      Reply
      1. Ruby

        The first time I drove to Scotland, I stopped every 2-3 hours for refreshments and/or fuel. I was surprised each time I stopped to discover that the local accents had changed significantly.
        I was also surprised to find the road signs still pointed to “The North” when I thought I was already there!

      2. Ruby

        I once caught a plane from Glasgow airport. The car park bus driver said something to me and I had to give up completely too. There’s only so many times you can say “I’m sorry, I have no idea what you just said” without appearing either stupid or rude (or both!).

  3. Opalla

    Accents are funny, sometimes it is intonation and sometimes it is the mother tongue not having the sound of another language. Many Chinese pronounced “Lobert” instead of “Robert”. I also sound differently when I am in England, where I have picked up some British accent. Enjoy your trip, Janet!

    Reply
    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Emotion embedded in a language is also difficult to pick up. I kept saying, “What? What do you mean? Excuse me? I beg your pardon?” I’m pretty slow in getting humour.

      Reply
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