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Old 12-28-2017, 01:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
Okay, but thatís an effect not a cause. It is not needed because the government purposefully pushes use of Mandarin-derived Chinese above all else. This is completely intentional and a top down directive.
It's simply wrong to attribute everything to politics. Wu dialect is very diverse, which contributes to its fast fading out.
The same is true in Fujian (especially northern Fujian), but much less so in Guangdong.
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Old 12-28-2017, 02:09 PM
 
Location: In the heights
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
You are a linguist with knowledge of phonology and interest/aptitude in language. Ordinary Shanghainese are not.
I never lived in Shanghai for a long time but I do understand some Shanghainese, however I would not make a generalization to say all Chinese understand Shanghainese to the same extent, minimally.
I assure you my family and family friends are not linguists.

I never said anything about Chinese in general understanding Shanghainese and Iím pretty sure youíre not saying that either. However, the idea that someone fluent in Shanghainese canít understand half of Suzhou dialect is simply wrong. Certainly thereís a difference in accent and slang, but the two are mutually intelligible to a very large extent, up to the point of having a fluid conversation. This isnít true for Hangzhou where a conversation would be halting and generally require clarification and it would be pretty impossible to do so with someone in Wenzhou, but I singled out Suzhou dialect specifically.
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Old 12-28-2017, 02:46 PM
 
Location: In the heights
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
It's simply wrong to attribute everything to politics. Wu dialect is very diverse, which contributes to its fast fading out.
The same is true in Fujian (especially northern Fujian), but much less so in Guangdong.
I disagree and believe it is very much a political affair. There is no particularly strong demographic reason, since they have/had so many native speakers and cultural institutions, for why Shanghainese and many other dialects/languages of Chinese go away except for a top down basis given that there are many languages around the world that have far fewer speakers than many of these (even when you start separating out Wu languages among a dialectical continuum into smaller patches) which have a strong guarantee of survival in the future and transmission to future generations.

It's possibly true that the Yue languages have less internal variation than Wu and Min languages, but Cantonese stayed as strong as it is to a large degree because it had a strong base (HK) from which media and commerce were conducted in Cantonese and schools were taught in that language. In Taiwan, Hokkien and Hakka were both on a moribund path (and Hakka is arguably still on that path) as they were strongly discouraged in myriad ways up until the 80s and the political shift that occurred. There was already a few generations lost in that many people who had parents who spoke either themselves did not speak those languages very well and then more in the next generation, but it has at least somewhat stabilized now. In China, there is very little government support to operate day-to-day, produce media, or to have as the language of instruction anything except for Mandarin-derived Chinese.

There are all kinds of arguments about what the pros and cons of doing so are, but regardless of that conversation, it is larger governmental policy that strongly affects how well transmitted a regional language/dialect is generation to generation. I can understand if you want to argue the merits of doing so, but it seems disingenuous to suggest that this isn't a strongly political affair.

Last edited by OyCrumbler; 12-28-2017 at 03:11 PM..
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Old 12-28-2017, 07:09 PM
 
6,726 posts, read 6,612,834 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
I disagree and believe it is very much a political affair. There is no particularly strong demographic reason, since they have/had so many native speakers and cultural institutions, for why Shanghainese and many other dialects/languages of Chinese go away except for a top down basis given that there are many languages around the world that have far fewer speakers than many of these (even when you start separating out Wu languages among a dialectical continuum into smaller patches) which have a strong guarantee of survival in the future and transmission to future generations.

It's possibly true that the Yue languages have less internal variation than Wu and Min languages, but Cantonese stayed as strong as it is to a large degree because it had a strong base (HK) from which media and commerce were conducted in Cantonese and schools were taught in that language. In Taiwan, Hokkien and Hakka were both on a moribund path (and Hakka is arguably still on that path) as they were strongly discouraged in myriad ways up until the 80s and the political shift that occurred. There was already a few generations lost in that many people who had parents who spoke either themselves did not speak those languages very well and then more in the next generation, but it has at least somewhat stabilized now. In China, there is very little government support to operate day-to-day, produce media, or to have as the language of instruction anything except for Mandarin-derived Chinese.

There are all kinds of arguments about what the pros and cons of doing so are, but regardless of that conversation, it is larger governmental policy that strongly affects how well transmitted a regional language/dialect is generation to generation. I can understand if you want to argue the merits of doing so, but it seems disingenuous to suggest that this isn't a strongly political affair.
If you go to Chengdu or Chongqing, you will find all children speak local dialect fluently.
They are also forced to learn standard Mandarin in school, and the TV channels do not have any programs in dialect.
Why is that? How can you explain the contrast in terms of politics?

"Being remote" is not an explanation. Northwestern China (Gansu, Qinghai etc.) is more remote than Sichuan, but their dialects are losing fast. Also Chengdu and Chongqing are not really "remote" compared to most Chinese cities. Most residents are recent immigrants too.

The major reason here is, in southwest China, 200 million people can communicate with each other in their own dialect. So there is no need for them to do frequent code switching. New residents are willing to learn the local dialect too.

Last edited by Bettafish; 12-28-2017 at 07:18 PM..
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Old 12-28-2017, 08:18 PM
 
4,665 posts, read 2,644,150 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
Okay, but thatís an effect not a cause. It is not needed because the government purposefully pushes use of Mandarin-derived Chinese above all else. This is completely intentional and a top down directive.
As I mentioned before I think reducing the number of dialects is a wise decision. I was simply making the observation that it would happen regardless of whether nor not Beijing interfered. Beijing is speeding up the process.
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:46 PM
 
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It is possible some Chinese people all over the world can speak their parents' dialects or local variations of Mandarin if their parents speak to them frequently in childhoold. There are Chinese born and grown in the West able to speak some or fluent Chinese dialects, but not able to read and write Chinese. There are Chinese born and grown in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen etc able to speak some or fluent Chinese dialects of their parents. Frequent hearing is enough , no need to learn at schools to speak a Chinese dialect.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:43 PM
 
Location: In the heights
22,172 posts, read 23,698,700 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
If you go to Chengdu or Chongqing, you will find all children speak local dialect fluently.
They are also forced to learn standard Mandarin in school, and the TV channels do not have any programs in dialect.
Why is that? How can you explain the contrast in terms of politics?

"Being remote" is not an explanation. Northwestern China (Gansu, Qinghai etc.) is more remote than Sichuan, but their dialects are losing fast. Also Chengdu and Chongqing are not really "remote" compared to most Chinese cities. Most residents are recent immigrants too.

The major reason here is, in southwest China, 200 million people can communicate with each other in their own dialect. So there is no need for them to do frequent code switching. New residents are willing to learn the local dialect too.
Chengdu and Chongqing speak a variant of standard Mandarin to some extent, but I still understand that local variant is dying. The local variant is a variant of Mandarin and they can still communicate with their accent within a state-backed language. Wu language is far enough from Mandarin that there is no such thing possible while most variants of Chengdu-Chongqing Mandarin is more or less intelligible to a standard Mandarin speaker--if you traveled through the regions, you'd recognize this pretty easily despite the accent. This is not very hard to understand. There is no dialect of Wu that is mutually intelligible with standard Mandarin-derived Chinese. This also still completely loses sight of your original assertion that somehow someone who is fluent in Shanghainese will have "50%" comprehension of someone speaking Suzhou dialect which is still a completely incorrect assertion.

I never argued that Wu and Mandarin-derived Chinese languages are not so different, so your tangent makes no sense in regards to the Wu language. Just realize you were wrong in that. Also realize it is very much a state-sponsored affair. What basically works out as a strongly accented Mandarin in practice (though not in its derivation) is still a different conversation from understanding or supporting different Chinese languages in practice. You are simply wrong in what you said about Suzhou dialect and you are still arguably wrong (and I'm arguing against you) about how state sponsorship affects the adoption rate of different Chinese languages from generation to generation. The different language families of Chinese as incubated by political differences for Cantonese and Min languages have real world examples. It is very much evident as such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattks View Post
As I mentioned before I think reducing the number of dialects is a wise decision. I was simply making the observation that it would happen regardless of whether nor not Beijing interfered. Beijing is speeding up the process.
Right. I wrote that in regardless of how you felt the benefits were. I understand when people say there are certain benefits to doing so. The difference is whether or not you want the government to support the different languages. The resounding reply from within China is that no, they do not want to support that. It can vary greatly on the level of state support and you can certainly argue that it is economically a better solution. I do not believe that to be the case in terms of the loss from doing so, but where I find issue with what you're saying is that this is not a direct result of government policy whether it is in favor of supporting other languages (which it is not) or in favor of greater standardization.

Last edited by OyCrumbler; 12-28-2017 at 11:52 PM..
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:54 PM
 
Location: Taipei
6,776 posts, read 5,129,771 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
In Taiwan, Hokkien and Hakka were both on a moribund path (and Hakka is arguably still on that path) as they were strongly discouraged in myriad ways up until the 80s and the political shift that occurred. There was already a few generations lost in that many people who had parents who spoke either themselves did not speak those languages very well and then more in the next generation, but it has at least somewhat stabilized now.
Hokkien is on a stable path of decline now. Within a few decades it will become a dead language. Same goes for most of the other Chinese regional languages. It's basically the French way of eliminating all regional variants for the sake of unity.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:56 PM
 
Location: In the heights
22,172 posts, read 23,698,700 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HSrights View Post
It is possible some Chinese people all over the world can speak their parents' dialects or local variations of Mandarin if their parents speak to them frequently in childhoold. There are Chinese born and grown in the West able to speak some or fluent Chinese dialects, but not able to read and write Chinese. There are Chinese born and grown in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen etc able to speak some or fluent Chinese dialects of their parents. Frequent hearing is enough , no need to learn at schools to speak a Chinese dialect.
To some extent that's true, but there's usually a transmission loss between generations without actual formal education in the language. This is greatly exacerbated by the fact that the diaspora has increasingly centered its Chinese language education towards standard Mandarin. There is a very notable difference in fluency within generations of other Chinese languages that are not standard Mandarin and that's a basic cold and hard fact. You can argue that this is for the better, but it's inarguable that the process of reduced fluency in most Chinese languages for the majority of the younger generation of other Chinese languages has been ongoing and increasingly accelerated.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:57 PM
 
Location: In the heights
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greysholic View Post
Hokkien is on a stable path of decline now. Within a few decades it will become a dead language. Same goes for most of the other Chinese regional languages.
Hokkien is not nearly as moribund as most other Chinese languages. It's certainly not on some great rising trajectory, but its decline within Taiwan has certainly been not as dramatic since the 80s. The weird thing is to go back to Taiwan and realize that your younger relatives in Taipei now speak better Hokkien than they did several years ago. I don't think it'll be a great revival, but it's certainly not as bad as it was before. And yea, there's still a good chance it becomes a dead language within a few decades. I'm of the opinion that I don't want that, but that doesn't matter much.
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