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Old 04-15-2015, 08:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
I'm in Macau, that's a 'false statement' to say that Cantonese will be extinct in less than a century. The Cantonese-speaking region is enormous.

If someone ONLY speaks Mandarin, they won't be able to do much with most locals. Some of the young are studying Mandarin now as a second language; but the mass majority of locals will struggle quite a bit to communicate with Mandarin-speakers in Mandarin.

I was just with a Mandarin-speaking friend who constantly had to switch to English, in Macau, because he just wasn't being understood in Mandarin, and the majority of everyone over 25, was just struggling to reply back.

What is true is that Mandarin is now a course in most K-12 schools now, so young locals are now being exposed to Mandarin. What is also true is that there are Mandarin-speakers living in Macau (who have to go through an enormous amount of paperwork to do so); so if a person is in Macau they can probably find other Mandarin-speakers, or worst case scenario, go to the heavily touristed casino areas like Venetian or Lisboa, and it's a constant shouting fest of Mandarin by many of the mainland tourists. But the massive bulk of local people in Macau will struggle to have to speak Mandarin with a Mandarin-speaking Mainlander.
Why don't people understand this: imagine China is the world, then the language we call "Mandarin" is the lingua franca of this world, it is the English of China.

The vast majority of people, just like Cantonese speaking people, don't speak standard mandarin as their native language. The learned it in school. They speak it only when they talk to people from other parts of China, much like an Italian and a Korea are likely to talk in English.

And much like English, the Chinese from various parts of China speak Mandarin with all sorts of accents. And if you think all the northern dialects sounds very similar to Mandarin, then you are mistaken. For someone perfectly fluent in Mandarin, it is completely possible that he can't understand the local languages in Shandong province.

It is so stupid people for many people to think China has this Mandarin vs. Cantonese dichotomy. The 1.3 billion Chinese usually grow up speaking all sorts of dialects (or call them languages if you want), and Cantonese happens to be one of them, and not a particularly special one. Very few people outside the Cantonese region in China speak Cantonese, because it is a regional dialect and no one bothers to learn a regional dialect unless he has to live in that region.
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Old 04-15-2015, 10:04 PM
 
Location: Macao
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
Why don't people understand this: imagine China is the world, then the language we call "Mandarin" is the lingua franca of this world, it is the English of China.

The vast majority of people, just like Cantonese speaking people, don't speak standard mandarin as their native language. The learned it in school. They speak it only when they talk to people from other parts of China, much like an Italian and a Korea are likely to talk in English.

And much like English, the Chinese from various parts of China speak Mandarin with all sorts of accents. And if you think all the northern dialects sounds very similar to Mandarin, then you are mistaken. For someone perfectly fluent in Mandarin, it is completely possible that he can't understand the local languages in Shandong province.

It is so stupid people for many people to think China has this Mandarin vs. Cantonese dichotomy. The 1.3 billion Chinese usually grow up speaking all sorts of dialects (or call them languages if you want), and Cantonese happens to be one of them, and not a particularly special one. Very few people outside the Cantonese region in China speak Cantonese, because it is a regional dialect and no one bothers to learn a regional dialect unless he has to live in that region.
Yep, which is basically why Cantonese won't be going extinct anytime soon.
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Old 04-16-2015, 02:23 AM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
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To go ahead and take a break from the political aspects of HK... here are some pictures I took in HK which come to mind when I think of the place.






^ When I took this one, the song "This Time Tomorrow" by the Kinks was playing on my headphones, and it was just about the most perfect song and setting for the picture, with the ship in the background, and the quote on his bag.























(For other camera buffs, these were all taken on a Nikon D5100, most shots using either Vietnam War-vintage Nikkor-H and Nikkor-Q manual lenses, or a Nikkor 18-105 AF-S VR)
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Old 04-16-2015, 02:43 AM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
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Oh, and taking it back to the politics, I was there with my camera during the very start of the protests; these were either the night where they tear gassed everyone, or the day/night after. I don't really have a dog in the fight, so to speak, but it was interesting to be there and see, and it'll always come to mind when I think of HK.



This old lady in a wheelchair couldn't read the banner, so her daughter, who was pushing her chair, started reading it to her; then, she clapped, smiled, and turned to ask if we'd all read it.























^ these foxy nursing students were trying to block people from using the Admiralty overpass because they were worried that ambulances would not be able to get through. They started doing a chant and crossing their arms. It worked for a couple minutes before people just sort of pushed past.



The girl with the look of total dejection was the student organizer; this was after everyone had just stopped paying attention and was pushing past.

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Old 04-16-2015, 02:54 AM
 
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I came across many students speaking Mandarin in Macau. There are also many residents, not visitors who speak only Mandarin as their usual language in Macau. Macau's Cantonese-speaking locals are increasing marrying non-Cantonese speaking Mainlanders, some of the children from these marriages also speak Mandarin natively instead of Cantonese.

A lot of Macau people can speak Mandarin nowadays, more so than Hong Kongers, because there are too many Mainland Chinese visitors and workers in Macau. Young people all know mandarin, it is compulsory subject in Macau's schools since 1999. Many casinos recruit dealers who can speak Mandarin as a basic requirement, English is less important. Many hotels hire staff from Mainland China who don't speak Cantonese. Lots of blue collar jobs in Macau such as coach drivers and construction workers are also filled with Mainlanders. A lot of doctors do not speak fluent Cantonese, originating from the Mainland. In contrast, HK does not have a policy of importing many Mainland workers.

Integration between Mainland and Macau is much much more than HK's. Macau people goto Zhuhai frequently to shop. Macau and Zhuhai are very close. HK is not close to Shenzhen. It is more than an hour journey from HK Island to Shenzhen and the fare is expensive.

The truth is many "real local" macau people can speak Mandarin but do not like to speak it due to some resentments with Mainlanders. Macau has more non "real local" than local born, who migrated from Mainland Guangdong before the handover, and received education in Mandarin when they were in the Mainland. At least half of Macau's residents were born in Mainland China.

The Cantonese speaking region is in fact small compared with the Mandarin region. And not all of Guangdong speak Cantonese actually. Hakka and Teochew are spoken in large area east of the PRD. Leizhou peninsula speaks another dialect. Some regional Cantonese are quite different from the standard one in Guangzhou and HK. Shenzhen's large migrant population has Mandarin as the lingua franca.

Last edited by lokeung); 04-16-2015 at 03:14 AM..
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Old 04-16-2015, 03:18 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,951 posts, read 36,191,166 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lokeung) View Post
I came across many students speaking Mandarin in Macau. There are also many residents, not visitors who speak only Mandarin as their usual language in Macau. Macau's Cantonese-speaking locals are increasing marrying non-Cantonese speaking Mainlanders, some of the children from these marriages also speak Mandarin natively instead of Cantonese.

A lot of Macau people can speak Mandarin nowadays, more so than Hong Konger, because there are too many Mainland Chinese visitors and workers in Macau. Young people all know mandarin, it is compulsory subject in Macau's schools since 1999. Many casinos recruit dealers who can speak Mandarin as a basic requirement, English is less important. Many hotels hire staff from Mainland China who don't speak Cantonese. Lots of blue collar jobs in Macau such as coach drivers and construction workers are also filled with Mainlanders. A lot of doctors do not speak fluent Cantonese, originating from the Mainland. In contrast, HK does not have a policy of importing many Mainland workers.

Integration between Mainland and Macau is much much more than HK's. Macau people goto Zhuhai frequently to shop. Macau and Zhuhai are very close. HK is not close to Shenzhen. It is more than an hour journey from HK Island to Shenzhen and the fare is expensive.

The truth is many "real local" macau people can speak Mandarin but do not like to speak it due to some resentments with Mainlanders. Macau has more non "real local" than local born, who migrated from Mainland Guangdong before the handover, and received education in Mandarin when they were in the Mainland. At least half of Macau's residents were born in Mainland China.

The Cantonese speaking region is in fact small compared with the Mandarin region. And not all of Guangdong speak Cantonese actually. Hakka and Teochew are spoken in large area east of the PRD. Leizhou peninsula speak another dialect. Some regional Cantonese are quite different from the standard one in Guangzhou and HK. Shenzhen's large migrant population has Mandarin as the lingua franca.
The students in Macau give off the impression that they speak Mandarin, because I believe it's something like 30% are recruited from Mainland China. They do this to tout themselves as giving an 'international education' with 'international students'. For whatever reason, Mandarin-speakers from Mainland China get to be in the statistics as 'international'. Which, in turn, boosts the universities image as an international university. But, the reality is that the majority of Mandarin-speaking students in Macau, really feel like they are getting an international education, because so few locals understand them when they speak Mandarin. For the record, I will say that the Mandarin-speaking students are VERY NICE PEOPLE, a much more educated lot, with a lot going for them.

You are also right when you mention the bus drivers, taxi drivers, and construction workers can't speak Cantonese, and are often Mandarin-speakers. TOO true! The construction workers are generally the ones fighting to get on buses, pushing, shoving, yelling. There have been a lot of campaigns on how to educate them on how to queue for buses properly. Some of the bus drivers as well, they often ride the accelerator and brake at the same time, definitely another group that needs some basic education on how to drive a bus. There are also numerous very negative websites on Macau taxi drivers because of how inappropriate they do things - i.e. try to overcharge passengers, won't take passengers sometimes, and often illegally parking. Again, it's another huge riff between locals and Mandarin-speakers for so much inappropriate behavior. But, yeah, you are right, they are everywhere in Macau. But, I wouldn't say they 'blend in' by any means. The LOCALS definitely obey cultural norms of HK/Macau, so those who don't really stand out, so much so that even the white foreigners can quickly and easily identify the local Macau person from the very different mainlander construction worker or taxi driver. They are really really different people.

So, yeah, tons of Mainland students in Macau who are students, taxi drivers, bus drivers, and construction workers. Some that also open up businesses as well, or work in casinos. But, there are a ton more of Macau people who really can't speak Mandarin. It's not that they don't want to, they simply can't. When I walk around Macau or go into stores or restaurants, I am basically hearing Cantonese (or something else besides Mandarin) about 99% of the time. It's only when I go to very specific spots of the city, the tourist areas, that I have a shot at overhearing Mandarin.
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Old 04-16-2015, 04:57 AM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
Westerners annoy me when they ask the super stupid question: do you speak Cantonese or Mandarin? I usually don't know what to say. Sorry, there is no such Cantonese vs. Mandarin thing in China, because the former is just one of the dozen dialects in China; I am not from Guangdong, why the hell would I speak Cantonese? And I don't speak Mandarin as my native language as well, thank you very much. It is a language I learned in school, and I definitely don't speak Mandarin with my parents or relatives.
Considering that most Westerners are simply unaware of the existence of the numerous dialects in China, I don't think it's fair to call this a "super stupid" question. It's sort of like when Chinese people ask if I am a Christian because I'm a Westerner and they're taught that "Westerners are Christians." Not super-stupid, but a sensible question for people who are ill- or only partially-informed. The general line Westerners hear is there are two "big languages" in Chinese: Cantonese and Mandarin.
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Old 04-16-2015, 05:00 AM
 
Location: Guangzhou, China
9,780 posts, read 13,368,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Not so sure about that. The ones who are frequenting HK on a very regular-basis, are basically on shopping trips from across the border.

Regardless if they can't afford Barcelona or New York; their purpose isn't to lie on a Barcelona beach or see broadway shows in NYC, their purpose is to buy a bunch of basic necessities like baby powdered milk and other food products, that they don't trust are produced properly on the Mainland side.

That's what the large bulk of them are doing anyway.
And just last week, they changed the cross-border multiple entry requirements so that unless someone gets a specific exception, most SZ residents are now allowed one entry/exit to and from HK per week, to cut down on this cross-border trade. A foreigner with an M visa could still go across as often as they wanted, but would likely raised more suspicion... though I can see a lot of Russians, Middle Easterners, etc picking up some of the slack.

And before anyone goes off on this being a result of HK arrogance, it was a joint PRC/HK decision.
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Old 04-16-2015, 06:04 AM
 
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Overseas Chinese in western countries are mostly either Cantonese-speaking from HK and Guangdong or Mandarin-speaking from Taiwan and most regions of Mainland China. Other Chinese dialects speakers are not too many in Western countries. Many very old Chinese in the US speak Taishanese. Not all Taiwanese speak Taiwanese, there are "Mainlanders" Taiwanese. Most Hong Kongers are fluent in Cantonese.

Westerners asking random Chinese in Beijing ,Shanghai and Singapore if they know Cantonese is weird, but not weird in Guangzhou, US, Canada, Japan and Australia.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
Considering that most Westerners are simply unaware of the existence of the numerous dialects in China, I don't think it's fair to call this a "super stupid" question. It's sort of like when Chinese people ask if I am a Christian because I'm a Westerner and they're taught that "Westerners are Christians." Not super-stupid, but a sensible question for people who are ill- or only partially-informed. The general line Westerners hear is there are two "big languages" in Chinese: Cantonese and Mandarin.
It was Mainland China's government decision(visas are issued by Mainland China government) after many HK protests complaining many problems caused by too many shoppers from Guangdong. It does not affect Mainland Chinese not living in Shenzhen. There is no change in policy for non-Shenzhen and non-Chinese visitors.

For foreigners from countries like US, UK, Japan, Australia etc with M China visa, there is no need to worry about suspicion. Though all immigration officials around the world have the right to enquire a travellers' real intention when they enter.

Zhuhai residents need to apply a new visa every time before they enter Macau. Normally, Macau multiple entry visa is not available for Mainland Chinese visitors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
And just last week, they changed the cross-border multiple entry requirements so that unless someone gets a specific exception, most SZ residents are now allowed one entry/exit to and from HK per week, to cut down on this cross-border trade. A foreigner with an M visa could still go across as often as they wanted, but would likely raised more suspicion... though I can see a lot of Russians, Middle Easterners, etc picking up some of the slack.

And before anyone goes off on this being a result of HK arrogance, it was a joint PRC/HK decision.

Last edited by lokeung); 04-16-2015 at 06:19 AM..
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Old 04-16-2015, 07:31 AM
 
Location: British Hong Kong
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
And just last week, they changed the cross-border multiple entry requirements so that unless someone gets a specific exception, most SZ residents are now allowed one entry/exit to and from HK per week, to cut down on this cross-border trade.
It's a bit confusing to say that because only SZ residents could apply for a visa that allow infinite entry to Hong Kong within a week while every other Chinese in other cities (still accounting of only 49) could just get an one-off visa. SZ residents are still favoured even if their privilege has been limited.



Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
And before anyone goes off on this being a result of HK arrogance, it was a joint PRC/HK decision.
It's always a PRC decision since we are never in control of anything regarding cross-border entry anyway (the only somehow successful policy so far is the limit of pregnant women) .
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