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Old 11-09-2015, 10:48 PM
nwu nwu started this thread
 
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I'm a Chinese-American and several months back I had a conversation with a Chinese international student from Shanghai at my college. I said a few words in Chinese and the student said that she thought I was Taiwanese. I told her I wasn't, my parents were mainlanders. What ended up happening at the end of our conversation was me learning about Chinese "accents" that I didn't know about before.

Both of my parents are from southern China, and they told me back in their day the retroflex consonants zh, ch, sh, in Mandarin weren't strictly adhered to in school. The word shi is pronounced as si. z, c, s, zh, ch, sh are pronounced differently, but the older generation southern Chinese people pronounce them as the same.

Funny thing is, I met a lot of southern Chinese international college students and they spoke regular standard Mandarin, and I can distinctly hear the "shhhhh" sounds in a lot of their conversations. They told me that right now in China, even in the South, the school system really wants to standardize and make sure everyone speaks the same standard mandarin everywhere, but at home they spoke regional dialects with their parents like Shanghainese or whatever.

So from that I kind of became just a little sad because I'm not speaking the correct, standard Mandarin like all the Chinese millennials. Really only old Chinese immigrants like my parents speak with the southern Chinese "accent" so I guess this accent will eventually die out?

But I guess this makes me wonder about whats happening in Taiwan. What kind of Mandarin are the YOUNGER Taiwanese millennial generation learning? (Yes, they have their own phrases and ways of saying words differently from mainlanders) But is the school system over there emphasizing kids better start pronouncing retroflexives and adhering to the standard mandarin speak?

I watched this clip on youtube of some young Taiwanese teenagers. And from the way they are talking it sounds like the retroflexive isn't really used:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_pHSsisAao
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:03 AM
 
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WTF is retroflexive?

All I know is young Taiwanese sound differently from all other Mandarin accents, Beijng, Shanghai, Fujian where Minnan is spoken, Guangdong, Hunan, Sichuan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Young Taiwanese don't speak like Ma Ying-jeou, Hung_Hsiu-chu,Teresa Teng or Harlem Yu. These people are Mainlander Taiwanese.
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Old 11-10-2015, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Taipei
6,790 posts, read 5,154,148 times
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^I think it means 翹舌 or 捲舌, like ㄓㄔㄕㄖ.

Taiwanese use retroflexives, but indeed some people have problem pronouncing them, especially among those who speak Taiwanese as their mother tongue.
Most people I know are fine with them, we just don't pronounce them as dramatically as people from China do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsunamiclc View Post
Ma Ying-jeou, Hung_Hsiu-chu, or Harlem Yu..
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Old 11-11-2015, 04:51 PM
 
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To the OP: if one doesn't pronounce retroflexives, that just means it is not proper standard Mandarin. The fact younger generation are speaking better Mandarin means they are receiving better education. The older generation mostly didn't have the good teachers to teach them.

Your parents' Mandarin with heavy southern accent, it is just a reflection of unsatisfactory language teaching back in the old days, much like Englsh wit heavy foreign accents. I won't be sad to see it disappear.

I believe proper Mandarin in Taiwan has retroflexives too. Many young people can't because their language skills are not great (like Americans speaking with heavy southern accents for example). That's all. However it usually isn't a problem for communication (occasionally it can be).
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Old 11-11-2015, 08:39 PM
 
919 posts, read 606,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwu View Post
I watched this clip on youtube of some young Taiwanese teenagers. And from the way they are talking it sounds like the retroflexive isn't really used:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_pHSsisAao
Your observation is correct. Taiwanese tend not to be bothered by those sounds.

BTW, did you notice another typical pronunciation in Taiwan at the beginning of the video?

What did she said, when she introduced herself?

It should be I'm, but it became I'n.

Many Taiwanese can't pronounce the m sound at the end of a word. And because of this, they have hard time to learn Turkish

Gittim means I went and,
Gittin means You went in Turkish.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:58 PM
 
1,424 posts, read 739,384 times
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Most people in mainland China do not pronounce zh ch sh either.
But standard Mandarin has them, so those who want to speak "standard" Mandarin do. And more and more young people in south China do it.

Simple as that.
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Old 11-12-2015, 10:22 AM
 
448 posts, read 501,425 times
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The OP should watch and listen more China and Taiwan television to find out if there are differences between his Mandarin and the Mandarin spoken on television.
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