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Old 02-12-2018, 05:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian_Lee View Post
Bettafish:

Technically speaking Cantonese is not a dialect but a different language apart from Putonghua like English apart from German.

On the other hand, the dialects spoken in Tianjin, Jinan, Shanxi, Shenyang,...etc are dialects of Beijinghua-based Putonghua since they are some variable forms of Putonghua..

But if a Cantonese speaker can only speak Cantonese while a Beijinger can only speak Putonghua, they will be in a state of incommunicado. Of course, they can communicate in written language (but nowadays it is harder if the Cantonese speaker resides outside Mainland and is not familiar with the simplified script).

If the difference between two languages are even farther apart than Spanish from Portuguese, then how can one language be a dialect of the other?
As I said before, in China you can find over 100 mutually unintelligible dialects/languages with in the Chinese language "family". People from Wuhan do not understand those from Nanchang; Fuzhou do not understand Xiamen, etc. In some places, people from neighboring towns can hardly understand each other.

It is just a convention to call all the Chinese variants "dialects". If you want you can call them languages too, but that only causes misunderstanding.

People from Berlin cannot understand Zurich German either, but we call them "German language".

Last edited by Bettafish; 02-12-2018 at 05:56 PM..
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian_Lee View Post
Bettafish:

Your points validated what I said.

The novels written in Ming Dynasty and after pretty much resembles current day Putonghua. That is what I wrote -- Putonghua has been tainted by the intrusion of tribal language -- Khitan, Jurchen and Mongol -- which preceded Ming rule.
Evidence?
As I said, all languages evolve, you need to show me the common features between Mandarin and Khitan etc. to prove your points, and also demonstrate the common features occurred in Khitan etc. first, and then spread to Mandarin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian_Lee View Post
Practically nobody knows what language the people in Tang and Song dynasties spoke. But there are hints that it may more likely be close to the language spoken in Southern China nowadays.

For example, Japan implemented its first reformation during China's Sui and Tang dynasties when they sent thousands of students and monks to China to copy the latter's culture, system and language. So Japan's language has most likely retained the legacy of Tang's language.

Japanese say "to eat" as 食べる. Cantonese also say "to eat" as 食. But Putonghua say "to eat" as 吃. Japanese vocabulary is closer to Cantonese even though these two regions are more farther apart.
Every Chinese dialect retains some old words, while losing others. Cantonese also has tons of words that are never found in classic Chinese or Japanese/Korean loan words.
点解 乜嘢 and so on never appeared in formal Chinese/Japanese/Korean.
Classic Chinese uses 寻 or 找, Cantonese uses 揾. In fact in classic Chinese 揾 means to immerse something in water, so Cantonese just borrowed this character for a totally different meaning.
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Honolulu
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https://www.economist.com/blogs/econ...ist-explains-8

Linguists have a different criterion: if two related kinds of speech are so close that speakers can have a conversation and understand each other, they are dialects of a single language. If comprehension is difficult to impossible, they are distinct languages. Of course, comprehensibility is not either-or, but a continuum—and it may even be asymmetrical. Nonetheless, mutual comprehensibility is the most objective basis for saying whether two kinds of speech are languages or dialects.

By the comprehensibility criterion, Cantonese is not a dialect of Chinese. Rather, it is a language, as are Shanghaiese, Mandarin and other kinds of Chinese. Although the languages are obviously related, a Mandarin speaker cannot understand Cantonese or Shanghaiese without having learned it as a foreign language (and vice versa, though most Chinese do learn Mandarin today). Most Western linguists classify them as “Sinitic languages”, not “dialects of Chinese”.
______________________________

Linguistically Cantonese is a language, not a dialect. Many languages can co-exist in a single country, i.e. Switzerland.
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:51 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
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Something tells me that students in Mainland China are taught that Cantonese, Fukienese, Shanghainese, etc. are "dialects" of Chinese rather than separate languages. It may be part of a nationwide educational initiative to put Putonghua in the forefront and reduce usage of all other Chinese languages. This goes back to my original post as it's probably being experimented on in Hong Kong. Here in the States where everyone including Mainland Chinese get to speak freely is where I get honest remarks from Putonghua speakers saying that Cantonese is really a different language and lamenting how hard it is for them to understand it. Of course I also get the occasional "Cantonese is a local dialect" statement which is far from the truth. The Mandarin speaking portion of China may be far bigger than the Cantonese speaking portion but at 69,400 sq mi (179,800 sq km) with a population of over 100 million people, Guangdong is not a small piece of land. Standard Cantonese therefore ought to be considered more of a "regional" language while Toisanese is more of a local dialect.
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Honolulu
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Basically I am quite against the term "Dialect" in Chinese because it is kind of downgrading. In many education-related documents circulated in Mainland, Putonghua is described as a more "civilized" language and the students are encouraged to study this more "civilized" language.

I am not against the learning of Putonghua. As a working language, Putonghua is only secondary in importance to English. But there is nothing related to the issue of more or less "civilized" in learning a language.
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Earth
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just speak english. everything will be ok
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian_Lee View Post
Basically I am quite against the term "Dialect" in Chinese because it is kind of downgrading. In many education-related documents circulated in Mainland, Putonghua is described as a more "civilized" language and the students are encouraged to study this more "civilized" language.

I am not against the learning of Putonghua. As a working language, Putonghua is only secondary in importance to English. But there is nothing related to the issue of more or less "civilized" in learning a language.
Exactly my point in my last post. This is not the first time something like this has happened either. There is nothing wrong with learning Putonghua if an individual so chooses but using a government mandate to force everyone to master it, even over one's own language is going too far. I know a Ukrainian who grew up in the old USSR days who told me everyone in the Ukraine had to learn Russian and had to speak and write Russian in universities. The Ukrainian language at the time was forcibly suppressed for fear the use of it could stoke Ukrainian nationalism. Hopefully the situation in Mainland China and Hong Kong doesn't get that drastic.
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Old 02-12-2018, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Peasant View Post
Exactly my point in my last post. This is not the first time something like this has happened either. There is nothing wrong with learning Putonghua if an individual so chooses but using a government mandate to force everyone to master it, even over one's own language is going too far. I know a Ukrainian who grew up in the old USSR days who told me everyone in the Ukraine had to learn Russian and had to speak and write Russian in universities. The Ukrainian language at the time was forcibly suppressed for fear the use of it could stoke Ukrainian nationalism. Hopefully the situation in Mainland China and Hong Kong doesn't get that drastic.
yellow turban rebellion!

wait for the famine and natural disasters. then strike!

fight the power.
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Old 02-12-2018, 10:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Peasant View Post
Exactly my point in my last post. This is not the first time something like this has happened either....
China is a very big place with many cultures. It is not like Japan or Korean or Ukraine. The problem in China is no ones can communicate with another if there is no common language. Maybe every couple mile or so, there is a group speak a different dialect or language. Imagine different groups of people migrate to a city. Without a common dialect, it is very hard to understand each others. It will be also tough for the government to administer places without a single common language.

Just like USA choose English over all other languages, the Chinese government mandate Mandarin as a standard dialect in schools and government. Cantonese almost became the official dialect in China, but it got voted out many decades ago. There were more people voted for Mandarin than any other dialects.

Cantonese was the officially dialect of Hong Kong. In fact, most of the H.K. people ancestors came from many different regions in China. Most of them couldn't speaks Cantonese when they came. They only spoke their own dialects, but Cantonese was chosen by the H.K. government as the official dialect. The fact that H.K. government didn't choose Taishanese as the officially dialect baffles me, since probably more than 30% of H.K. people ancestry can be traced from the region of Taishan, Guangdong province. I believe they were the dominated group in H.K.

As China gets more and more urbanized, more and more people mitigate to cities and towns, they speak Mandarin to interact with each others, because their native dialect is unintelligent to others. As they are no longer with their own group of people and spend more and more time interacting with other groups, overtime their kids brought up in this environment are losing their own native dialects just like Italian, Polish or German kids whose parents from Germany, Poland or Italy many decades ago came to USA. Overtime their kids lost their native language speaking skills as they mixed up with other group of people.

H.K. kids too. Overtime they lost their native dialects which was once spoke by their parents or grandparents as they mixed. If some people from Taishan went to H.K. today and only spoke Taishanese to them, no ones will understand him, even though 30% of HK people parents or grandparents were once from Taishan. This is exactly what happen in China.

Last edited by davidmun; 02-12-2018 at 10:48 PM..
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Honolulu
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Davidmum:

The British government in Hong Kong before '97 never stipulated Cantonese as the official Chinese language in Hong Kong. In fact, for most of the time, Chinese was not even regarded as an official language in Hong Kong while English has always been.

So Chinese language instruction in Hong Kong's Middle and High Schools during the colonial administration (English has always been the principal language of instruction in universities before and after '97) was actually free for all. Some used Cantonese, some used Mandarin. and I guessed if some schools had used Taishanese for instruction, it would be doable if there were enough students attending.
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