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Old 02-24-2014, 12:19 PM
 
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There is no such thing as Taiwanese (it is more political than linguistic). It is exactly the same as Minnan, which is spoken in southern Fujian province (min-nan literally means Fujian-south).

And not every speaks Minnan in Taiwan either. A large number of Taiwanese people don't speak it at all

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Also Taiwanese Mandarin and Chinese Mandarin is 99.5% the same with a few difference in proninciation and vocabulary. They have no trouble understanding each other just like a New Yorker can fully understand a Chicagoan.

There is really no point in asking what is a dialect and what's a language. Linguists can't agree with each other, but i agree someone from Shanghai will understand less Minnan (which is close to 0%) than a Portuguest person understands Spanish (like 70%?).

People on this forum definitely know a lot more about Chinese languages than people on America/Canada forum, where most people seem to think that in China, you are either a Mandarin speaker or a Cantonese speaker. There simply is no such clear division - they seem unware of the fact that Mandarin is simply an official language in in real life, people in the cities and towns don't really talk Mandarin to each other. They communicate in their own dielacts.
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:14 PM
 
6,725 posts, read 6,601,290 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abby Daisy View Post
Cantonese is completely different from Mandarin, and they are two kinds of languages. In China, one speaks Mandarin well but maybe not understand Cantonese completely; however, one speaks American English can full understand one who speak British English. In my opinion, be influenced by the local language, a Chinese people speak Pu tonghua (standard Chinese), and some pronunciation are the same as his local language, instead of the standard Chinese pronunciation and this is called dialect, which means he speak Chinese with local dialect.
English is the worst example one can use. Even French is a better example.

People from Berlin cannot understand Zurich German. A German guy told me he can only understand about 10%.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:24 PM
 
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It is silly to say "Cantonese is completely different from Mandarin" - do you know anything about languages? It is not only about the sound.

Cantonese and Mandarin vocabulary are still about 80% the same. Although they sound differently, the difference is systematic - which means if you know how to pronounce of one word in Cantonese, you can pretty know the pronunciation of anther which shares the same sound in Mandarin.

The grammar is almost the same too. No tense, no conjugation, and they share the same written form. It takes probably 6 month to a year for a Mandarin speaker to be fully functional in Cantonese, without any formal lesson. Can't say the same for Spanish and Italian I guess.
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,235,411 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
It is silly to say "Cantonese is completely different from Mandarin" - do you know anything about languages? It is not only about the sound.

Cantonese and Mandarin vocabulary are still about 80% the same. Although they sound differently, the difference is systematic - which means if you know how to pronounce of one word in Cantonese, you can pretty know the pronunciation of anther which shares the same sound in Mandarin.

The grammar is almost the same too. No tense, no conjugation, and they share the same written form. It takes probably 6 month to a year for a Mandarin speaker to be fully functional in Cantonese, without any formal lesson. Can't say the same for Spanish and Italian I guess.
How do you know? Spanish and Italian are very similar too, with the same vocab - I'd say they share at least 75% of the same vocab, and tons of phrases are very similar or just the same. I will pretty confident an Italian speaker could quite quickly pick up Spanish and vice versa. Also there is already some mutual intelligibility, probably more than between Cantonese and Mandarin.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:14 PM
 
Location: East coast
613 posts, read 892,280 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post

There is really no point in asking what is a dialect and what's a language.
Linguists can't agree with each other, but i agree someone from Shanghai will understand less Minnan (which is close to 0%) than a Portuguest person understands Spanish (like 70%?).

People on this forum definitely know a lot more about Chinese languages than people on America/Canada forum, where most people seem to think that in China, you are either a Mandarin speaker or a Cantonese speaker. There simply is no such clear division - they seem unware of the fact that Mandarin is simply an official language in in real life, people in the cities and towns don't really talk Mandarin to each other. They communicate in their own dielacts.
If there is no point in asking what a dialect and language is, what is the point of calling some variants of human speech "dialects" and others "languages"? Why not just say a Brooklyn accent is its own language because NYC is so much its own world and say call a hundred African languages dialects of one big language because, hey not that many people have heard of them outside their own little areas and they must sound the same to outsiders.

There should be at least a rough idea that languages are bigger categories than dialects at the very least, and although linguists don't agree, I'd rather have the definition be based on language similarity and distance to understanding than political similarity (which have nothing to do with language) such as distance to states and territories' borders. I know they are fuzzy, but then again all categories humans create are. It is a matter of how useful, and while mutually intelligibility is not totally clear cut, a rough measure of "how much can I understand the words you speak" is still useful to have, since that tells you something about the amount of variation.
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Old 11-25-2016, 02:39 PM
 
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Okay. The different dialects or languages in China can be called both different languages and dialects.

It is a bit confusing so I will explain it the best I can.

The written Chinese is actually in Mandarin since Mandarin is the official Chinese language for all of China.

However, the written Chinese can actually be pronounced in the different Chinese languages/dialects and the pronunciations do sound similar to Mandarin pronunciations, well most of the time. However, the word pronunciation differences is only a small reason for them being unintelligible.

The biggest reasons for the unintelligible problems are due to the fact that when the different Chinese dialects/languages are spoken, a lot of the words do not match the actual standard writing system, which is spoken Mandarin.

Often, the dialects have a lot of slang terms. Therefore when dialects are spoken, some of them match the writing system and some do not.

Every Chinese schools are taught to read and write Mandarin, but when the standard Chinese writing is pronounced in the different dialects, they come out too formal for spoken dialect conversations, but when pronounced in Mandarin, it is a normal spoken Mandarin conversation most of the time.

I will give you some sentence examples. I speak Cantonese and Mandarin. So I will give the comparisons between these two to give a better idea for you all.

Mandarin: (M)
Cantonese: (C)
Spoken Cantonese: (SC)

Hello. Good Morning. How is everyone?
你 好。 早 上 好。 大 家 怎 麼 樣?
(M):Nǐ hǎo. Zǎo shang hǎo. D jiā zěn me yng?
(C): Nei Hou. Zou Seon Hou. Dai Ga Zam Mo Yeung?

(SC): 你 好. 早 晨. 大 家 點 樣 啊?
Nei Hou. Zou Sen. Dai Ga Dim Yeung Ahh?
______________________________________________

May I ask who you are?
請問你是誰?
(M): Qǐng wn nǐ sh she?
(C): Cheng Man Nei Si Seoi?

(SC):請問你系邊個?
Cheng Man Nei Hai Bien Go?
____________________________________________


You still have not come yet?
你還是沒有來了?
(M):Nǐ hi sh mi yǒu li le?
(C):Nei Wan Si Myut Yau Loi Liu?

(SC):你中未離?
Nei Zhong Mei Lei?

_______________________________
Please wait here to see the doctor
請這裡等醫生來看你
(M): Qǐng zh lǐ děng yī shēng li kn Nǐ
(C): Cheng Ze leoi dang yi sang loi hon nei

(SC): 請系呢度等醫生離睇你
Cheng Hai ne dou dang yi sang lei tai nei

____________________________________
I am on my way home
我正在回家
(M):Wǒ zhng zi hu jiā
(C):Ngo Zing Zoi Wui Ga

(SC):我而家反屋企
Ngo Yi ga fan ook kei

_______________________________
Why did you do that?
你為什麼這樣做?
(M): Nǐ wi shn me zh yng zu
(C):Nei Wai sam mo ze yeung Zou

(SC):你點解咁樣做?
Nei dim gai gam yeung zou?
______________________________________

I will be here today. Tomorrow I will be not in.
今天我會在這裡. 明天我不會在這裡.
(M): Jīn tiān wǒ hu zi zh lǐ. Mng tiān wǒ b hu zi zh lǐ.
(C): Gam Tien Ngo wui zoi ze leoi. Ming tien ngo bat wui zoi ze leoi.

(SC): 今日我會系呢度. 聽日我唔會係呢度.
Gam yat ngo wui hai ne dou. ting jat ngo mm wui hai ne dou.
___________________________________________

I have to tell you something.
我有事情跟你說
(M): Wǒ yǒu shqng gēn nǐ shuō
(C): Ngo Yau Si Ching Gen Nei Syut

(SC): 我有事情同你講
Ngo yau si ching tong nei gong

________________________________________

I really like this.
我很喜歡這個
(M): Wǒ hěn xǐhuān zhge
(C): Ngo han hei fuen ze go

我好鍾意呢個
(SC): Ngo hou zhong yi ne goh
_________________________________________

I want to eat something
我想吃點東西
(M): Wǒ xiǎng chī diǎn dōng xī
(C): Ngo seong hek dim dong sai

(SC): 我想食d野
Ngo seong sik D ye

_________________________________
Please get that for me
請幫我拿那個東西給我
(M): Qǐng bāng wǒ n ng dōngxī gěi wǒ
(C): Cheng bong ngo na na go dong sai

(SC): 請幫我攞嗰個野被我
Cheng Bong Ngo Law go go ye bei ngo

________________________________________________
Okay. Go to sleep.
好了. 去睡覺.
(M): Hǎo le. Q shu jio.
(C):Hou liu. Heoi Seoi Gao

(SC):好啦. 去訓覺
Hou la. Heoi Fan Gao.

Last edited by toby2016; 11-25-2016 at 03:25 PM..
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Old 11-25-2016, 09:22 PM
 
501 posts, read 461,577 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
Cantonese and Mandarin vocabulary are still about 80% the same. Although they sound differently, the difference is systematic - which means if you know how to pronounce of one word in Cantonese, you can pretty know the pronunciation of anther which shares the same sound in Mandarin.
It is not totally systematic though. Cantonese has more phonemes and more tones than Mandarin, so there cannot be a one-to-one mapping from one to the other. The Mandarin phoneme "shi", for example, in Cantonese might be "sai", "sik", "sek", "si", "sat", or "sap" (世, 識,石,是,失, 十). Similarly, the Cantonese sound "siu" can be either "shao" or "xiao" in Mandarin. Some phonemes are more systematic than others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
The grammar is almost the same too. No tense, no conjugation, and they share the same written form. It takes probably 6 month to a year for a Mandarin speaker to be fully functional in Cantonese, without any formal lesson. Can't say the same for Spanish and Italian I guess.
The grammars are very similar, but there are more grammar differences than many people realize, but because of most Cantonese speakers' exposure to Mandarin, you will be understood even if you speak canewith Mandarin grammar. The order of direct and indirect objects is different in Cantonese vs Mandarin, for example, and this is a common mistake that native Mandarin speakers make.

I think a native Italian speaker could learn Spanish to a very high level in 6 months of study.
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Old 11-25-2016, 11:57 PM
 
Location: Taipei
6,773 posts, read 5,118,153 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Oh, maybe so. Thanks, this is interesting.

But the way the term "Taiwanese" has been used on this forum on other threads has been in reference to Taiwan Mandarin.

So, why should only Minnan be labeled "Taiwanese", if there are 3 other "dialects"? Who decided which one gets to be called "Taiwanese", leaving the other 3 out? Are you sure about this?
Languages get a local name when they are spoken in other regions/countries. See Flemish (Dutch) or Moldovan (Romanian). It's just a habit to call Minnan Taiwanese in Taiwan. Lots of people still call it Minnan though, the names are interchangeable.
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Old 11-26-2016, 11:26 PM
 
47 posts, read 26,381 times
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yes, 8 major "dialects" are separate language. as Wu ethnic ( a group of Han), we speak Wu Chinese. people in Wu regions speak dialects of Wu, like Shanghai , Suzhou,Huzhou, etc
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Old 11-28-2016, 04:01 AM
 
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let's put it this way, if Napoleon was never defeated, Spanish and Italian would be considered a French dialect today.
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