Language interestingness

What I found out today in the online linguistics front as I am easing out of Eid food coma:

For non-Malaysians reading here, ketupat is a dumpling made from rice, packed inside a diamond-shaped container of woven palm leaf pouch. It is normally served on Eid days, and you need to peel the pouch open to eat the ketupat. You can eat it is just like that — but because it’s rice it can be bland — so people eat it with accompanying gravy and condiments such as rendang (spicy chicken, lamb, or beef dish), serunding (chicken, beef, or fish floss) and also eaten along with satay (chicken, beef, or lamb in skewers) dipped in peanut sauce. For northern Malaysians like me, our ketupat is normally made from glutinous rice and packed inside a triangle-shaped container of the same palm leaf.

Ketupat is pronounced as ‘kuh-too-part’. K24, in this sense, is a combination of a pronunciation of a single letter ‘K’, 2 as two, and 4, however as ‘part’, as ’empat’ in Malay stands for the word ‘four’, I know, I know. Such linguistic geniuses. It is not surprising that it is attributed to WeChat, as the Chinese platform is one of the many ways their own citizens can use wordplay in order to dodge the great firewall in their country — and it is apt that we follow suit too, although our purposes might be different (the Twitter post in that context of usage of K24 might be to ease and speed of typing, as WeChat usage in Malaysia is normally employed by younger demographic).​​

I also love finding out about the ingenious way Chinese-born people in New York collectively organise deliveries of familiar comfort food via WeChat (thanks Laura for the link!). Pretty sure I have heard this happening in my area, only that they use Whatsapp, which is more widely used among Malaysians and older generations. It is an interesting case study of food culture, close-knit community, and technology.

Also, another related language interestingness: the dwellers of the Kuşköy village, tucked away in the picturesque Pontic Mountains in Turkey’s northern Giresun province use kuş dili, a whistling “bird language” to communicate across long distances, able to be heard over the area’s vast tea fields and hazelnut orchards, several miles farther than a person’s voice. Check out the video:

Lastly, mad props to mothers with little children, or those with multiple commitments of any kind, pursuing PhD! I managed to get a few lines of thesis written in between Eid, but I kept getting distracted by visiting guests which — not their faults, it’s Eid but I have to work! — somehow slowed down my writing momentum. I am absolutely privileged to be able to turn on my focus mode anytime I want, which makes me appreciate those juggling with multiple responsibilities while attending grad school, even more.

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