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Old 03-01-2013, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Canada
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Whats the main difference between Mandarin spoken on the mainland and the Mandarin spoken in Taiwan? And which place would be better to learn the language?

Last edited by UrbanLuis; 03-01-2013 at 08:53 PM..
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:47 PM
 
Location: The Big O
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Originally Posted by UrbanLuis View Post
Whats the main difference between Mandarin spoekn on the mainland and the Mandarin spoken in Taiwan? And which place would be better to learn the language?
The spoken language is similar, however Taiwan uses the old more complicated style of Chinese characters, while mainland China simplified them in 1978. Because there are so many more Chinese people in the PRC, it is more useful to be able to read the simplified version.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Data1000 View Post
The spoken language is similar, however Taiwan uses the old more complicated style of Chinese characters, while mainland China simplified them in 1978. Because there are so many more Chinese people in the PRC, it is more useful to be able to read the simplified version.
An interesting thing happened to me over that problem. I had a friend in Taiwan in 1965. I wrote him a letter and in Japan many of the simplified characters are used. I used one in the address without thinking and the letter was returned to me undelivered. I am sure that does not happen today what with the better communication between the two countries.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:24 PM
 
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Really depends on why you want to learn Mandarin. There are minor differences in the pronunciation and the preferred terms used. The written language is more different as Taiwan uses the traditional characters (more strokes) and the mainland uses simplified characters (less strokes). Hong Kong and Macao still also use traditional characters. Traditional characters are also what you can find in historical signs and are more similar to the hanji used in Japan and the hanja used in Korea.

For spoken language, I suggest the Beijing spoken version as it is pretty much considered the "standard." Taiwanese Mandarin has some Taiwanese (Minnan) and Japanese influences. For written version, I pretty much prefer the classical (traditional) form, but there are no new classes/books that teach Beijing spoken form while still using traditional characters.
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:27 AM
kyh
 
Location: Malaysia & Singapore
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Originally Posted by Tom9 View Post
An interesting thing happened to me over that problem. I had a friend in Taiwan in 1965. I wrote him a letter and in Japan many of the simplified characters are used. I used one in the address without thinking and the letter was returned to me undelivered. I am sure that does not happen today what with the better communication between the two countries.
Japanese kanji (Chinese characters) more resembles the traditional characters used in HK and Taiwan than the simplified script used in modern PRC today.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
Really depends on why you want to learn Mandarin. There are minor differences in the pronunciation and the preferred terms used. The written language is more different as Taiwan uses the traditional characters (more strokes) and the mainland uses simplified characters (less strokes). Hong Kong and Macao still also use traditional characters. Traditional characters are also what you can find in historical signs and are more similar to the hanji used in Japan and the hanja used in Korea.

For spoken language, I suggest the Beijing spoken version as it is pretty much considered the "standard." Taiwanese Mandarin has some Taiwanese (Minnan) and Japanese influences. For written version, I pretty much prefer the classical (traditional) form, but there are no new classes/books that teach Beijing spoken form while still using traditional characters.
I'd recommend learning the Beijing dialect as that's the standard Mandarin adopted worldwide for Mandarin learners. The local Beijing dialect used to have a very strong tongue-rolling accent (still can be found spoken among common city folks, but not so much now among the younger educated classes) but that seems to be decreasing with the neutralized standard version in the new century. A knowledge of the traditional script would be advantageous for visitors to HK, Taiwan, and Macau. Malaysia and Singapore adopt the Beijing standard but the accents have local influences and may sound more similar to Taiwanese Mandarin instead of the Beijing one. Also, Taiwanese Mandarin adopts another set of phonetic system (looks like Japanese characters to me) while the PRC's Beijing standard adopts the universal pinyin system.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:00 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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The Mandarin spoken in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia is noticeably different from Beijing dialect. I don't even speak it but I can tell northern accents. More 'sh' sounds and more rhotic 'r's'. Kind of like comparing a British to an American accent.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kyh View Post
Japanese kanji (Chinese characters) more resembles the traditional characters used in HK and Taiwan than the simplified script used in modern PRC today.



I'd recommend learning the Beijing dialect as that's the standard Mandarin adopted worldwide for Mandarin learners. The local Beijing dialect used to have a very strong tongue-rolling accent (still can be found spoken among common city folks, but not so much now among the younger educated classes) but that seems to be decreasing with the neutralized standard version in the new century. A knowledge of the traditional script would be advantageous for visitors to HK, Taiwan, and Macau. Malaysia and Singapore adopt the Beijing standard but the accents have local influences and may sound more similar to Taiwanese Mandarin instead of the Beijing one. Also, Taiwanese Mandarin adopts another set of phonetic system (looks like Japanese characters to me) while the PRC's Beijing standard adopts the universal pinyin system.
Forgot to consider this. It's easier and recommended to learn the Hanyu Pinyin system used in the mainland (as it uses the Latin alphabet). The Taiwanese phonetic system (also known as bopomofo) is not easy to learn for those who do not start young and has limited usefulness (actually almost useless outside of Taiwan) for the effort one puts in to learn new characters. There's more use of Hanyu Pinyin (competes with the closely related Tongyong Pinyin and the older Wades-Giles system) in Taiwan nowadays, but bopomofo is still taught to young children. So unless you want to live in Taiwan, better just learn mainland Mandarin, then if you see the need, to learn traditional characters afterwards. Mainland Mandarin can be understood by most Taiwanese anyway. And as kyh mentioned, Singapore, Malaysia and even parts of Southern China have accents that sound more like Taiwanese Mandarin than from Beijing.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kyh View Post
Japanese kanji (Chinese characters) more resembles the traditional characters used in HK and Taiwan than the simplified script used in modern PRC today.
.
Yes but in address the letter I did not use this form 国 and not the traditional form 國 that was the only official form in Taiwan in 1965 while there were two forms recognized in Japan as there are today (well actually three). Remember that at that time Taiwan was still ruled by Jiang Jieshi and was actually still a military dictatorship with very very strict laws.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:58 PM
 
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Educated mainlanders can all read traditional Chinese, so if you use traditional characters it won't be a problem.
Taiwanese can increasingly read simplified Chinese too. They are not too different to begin with.

China is huge and there are many local variants of "Mandarin". However it is the best to learn the accent used in TV news in China. Local Beijing accent is not really considered standard even by Beijing people.
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:24 PM
 
Location: The Big O
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Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
However it is the best to learn the accent used in TV news in China. Local Beijing accent is not really considered standard even by Beijing people.
That's a good point to bring up. The closest thing to standard Mandarin is probably spoken in the cities in the northeast provinces of China. It is possible to learn standard Mandarin in every province of China, and most people can understand Mandarin.

The only differences are the various accents in China spoken outside of the classroom.
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