"Be Water"

How Generations of San Franciscans are Fighting to Save Cantonese

Toisanese and Cantonese have a deep historical tie to Chinese immigration in the United States. As more waves of immigrants come to the United States since the 1980's, both languages risk being lost as younger generations are encouraged to learn Mandarin.

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Cody Hmelar is an investigative reporter and engineer focused on infrastructure, lifestyle, and culture. Based in New York and Philadelphia, he works as a community builder within the Asian/Asian American communities.

A second-generation Toisanese American, Hmelar grew up in the San Francisco South Bay Area. Wanting to delve deeper into why his mom didn't speak the same language her parents or relatives did, he started examining the linguistic assimilation of first-generation Chinese Americans.