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Old 09-01-2018, 05:51 PM
 
196 posts, read 133,741 times
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Do mainland China's educational institutions mandate all the students to have to roll their tongues to speak Mandarin exactly like a Beijing person?

It seems that in the Mainland Chinese entertainment shows, it seems almost all actors or hosts roll their tongue speaking Mandarin or at least on some aspects. It seems their entertainment including newscast programs requires them to speak like that even though most ordinary Mainland Chinese do not speak with rolling their tongues like the Beijing people or from any northeastern parts of China. Often, the Mandarin speakers from northeast speak with rolling their tongues and so fast that sometimes it is not easy to understand and also they have their own regional dialects of Mandarin.

In Taiwan, most entertainers speak Mandarin without rolling their tongues so much and often speak slowly and often it is easier to understand Taiwanese Mandarin. The Taiwanese speak Mandarin more like the way the southern Mainland Chinese speak Mandarin, but unfortunately mainland Chinese entertainment seem to not accept such accents as you will rarely see Mandarin spoken like this unless if they are a guest on a talk show or being interviewed for a documentary. As in Taiwan, they do not care as much about what kind of accent is being spoken when speaking Mandarin as long as they are understood enough, which is why the Taiwanese entertainers and newcasters speak Mandarin in all different regional Taiwanese accents in addition to the fact many of them or their ancestral families spoke Fujianese or Hakka, which influences their way to speak Mandarin.

In USA, the northern United States accents are usually more preferred and standard, although it is not a big requirement like China wanting everyone to speak 100% Beijing Mandarin including in entertainment and newscast positions. There are a lot of newscasters and actors in the American entertainment that do not speak the standard northern States American accents as there are many of them coming from the south that speak with a southern accent, but at least they can still be understood by the general audience given that they were educated in school to speak standard English. Often there are a lot of slang words used in the southern parts of USA and sometimes with strong accents that the northerners of United States do not understand, but when they have to speak in standard English words and pronunciations depending on their level of skills, education, and personality, they will still have a southern accent, but will still be understood by any normal person.

Just imagine if USA had the same level of standard for everyone to speak 100% the northern states including in entertainment just like China wanting everyone speaking 100% Beijing Mandarin, think of how much more rare it would be to hear southern accents in American entertainment shows/news to the point that it would almost be totally banned.

I personally prefer Taiwan's standard of Mandarin where as long as if the ordinary person can understand what is being said in Mandarin regardless of accent, it is fine just like in the USA where as long as if you can speak English understandably, it is fine.

I came across this interesting video of how in Mainland China, the educational schools want all their students to speak Mandarin rolling their tongues and I think I remember the host saying that they are graded in their pronunciations and that the Chinese entertainment mandate that the actors/hosts have to speak like a Beijing person rolling their tongues and if they failed it, they cannot be in the entertainment. As for Taiwan, they do not emphasize too much on this to roll their tongues speaking Mandarin in schools or even in entertainment.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GYIRKzCEvs
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Old 09-01-2018, 07:33 PM
 
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Are you talking about the r-colored vowels (er, ar, ir...) or the retroflex consonants (sh, ch, zh, r)?

Both are required in standard Mandarin in China, but r-colored vowels are optional in most cases, and used less often in formal speech. Retroflexes are mandatory and it is clearly prescribed which words have them.

That said, no one forces you to speak standard Mandarin. Most people in China have "accents".

Last edited by Bettafish; 09-01-2018 at 08:15 PM..
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Old 09-02-2018, 12:29 PM
 
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Well, there are certain words in Mandarin you do have to roll your tongue, don't get me wrong.

Examples,

2, r二
surround, Wiro圍繞/围绕
weak, Ru弱
allow, Rng讓/让
meat, Ru肉
if, Rguǒ如果

These are very obvious.

But very often, there are a lot of Mandarin words that do not have the rolling tongue sound pinyin, but a lot of northeastern Chinese add that sound to those words sometimes and sometimes it seems like the Chinese entertainment demands that.

I am not 100% accurate with these northeastern Chinese accent pinyins, but this is as close as it sounds to me.

Examples Northeast Accent

Baby, Bǎobi寶貝/宝贝 (Brao Breh)

Taste, Wido味道 (Weir Darao)
why, Wishnme 為什麼/为什么 (weir shren mer)
I arrived, Wǒ lile 我來了/我来了 (Wor Lai le) or (Wor Lrai Le)

I respect the fact that every regions have different accents and it is one thing if they are not speaking in clear pronunciation and others are having a hard time understanding them and yes in that situation they may have to change their speech patterns to be understandable enough, but can still speak with their own regional accent and not necessarily have to imitate an exact certain regional accent. But when they start with mandating everyone to speak only in that one kind of regional accent and telling them to totally abandon their own accents, then I feel that is crossing the line and being disrespectful to that person's regional culture; basically making an exaggeration that no one can understand what they are saying when they were already well understood by others the whole time and unfortunately mainland Chinese entertainment will not accept any actors/hosts with any regional accents even if others already can understand them unless they speak exactly like a northeast Chinese person. It is the equivalent to American entertainment telling actors from the south that they cannot speak with even a tad of southern USA accent on TV shows or movies. If an actor from Taiwan were to enter the mainland Chinese entertainment, their managers would be forcing them to learn to speak like a northeastern Chinese person.

Last edited by toby2016; 09-02-2018 at 12:45 PM..
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Old 09-02-2018, 03:18 PM
 
6,722 posts, read 6,599,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toby2016 View Post
Well, there are certain words in Mandarin you do have to roll your tongue, don't get me wrong.

Examples,

2, r二
surround, Wiro圍繞/围绕
weak, Ru弱
allow, Rng讓/让
meat, Ru肉
if, Rguǒ如果

These are very obvious.

But very often, there are a lot of Mandarin words that do not have the rolling tongue sound pinyin, but a lot of northeastern Chinese add that sound to those words sometimes and sometimes it seems like the Chinese entertainment demands that.

I am not 100% accurate with these northeastern Chinese accent pinyins, but this is as close as it sounds to me.

Examples Northeast Accent

Baby, Bǎobi寶貝/宝贝 (Brao Breh)

Taste, Wido味道 (Weir Darao)
why, Wishnme 為什麼/为什么 (weir shren mer)
I arrived, Wǒ lile 我來了/我来了 (Wor Lai le) or (Wor Lrai Le)

I respect the fact that every regions have different accents and it is one thing if they are not speaking in clear pronunciation and others are having a hard time understanding them and yes in that situation they may have to change their speech patterns to be understandable enough, but can still speak with their own regional accent and not necessarily have to imitate an exact certain regional accent. But when they start with mandating everyone to speak only in that one kind of regional accent and telling them to totally abandon their own accents, then I feel that is crossing the line and being disrespectful to that person's regional culture; basically making an exaggeration that no one can understand what they are saying when they were already well understood by others the whole time and unfortunately mainland Chinese entertainment will not accept any actors/hosts with any regional accents even if others already can understand them unless they speak exactly like a northeast Chinese person. It is the equivalent to American entertainment telling actors from the south that they cannot speak with even a tad of southern USA accent on TV shows or movies. If an actor from Taiwan were to enter the mainland Chinese entertainment, their managers would be forcing them to learn to speak like a northeastern Chinese person.
Erhua (using r-colored vowels) is not only found in Beijing or the northeast, but is common in many Mandarin speaking regions of China, such as Shandong, Henan, Shaanxi, Sichuan...
Southern dialects do not have it, so people in those places tend to avoid erhua when they speak Mandarin.

People from North China speak Mandarin as their native language, not just as a lingua franca, so they tend to have more natural processings: connected sound, syllable reduction, consonant assimilation, tone sandi.... People in Taiwan did/do not speak Mandarin at home and adopted it in school and media, so it is more mechanical. But often times mechanical languages are clearer than natural speech.
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Old 09-02-2018, 03:25 PM
 
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Among your examples, only baobei is regularly changed to baober (but not in all contexts).
Weidao can be weidaor for some speakers, but not common. Weir can be used alone, but not weirdaor.

There is no chance 我 can become wor. And verbs usually do not have such a process.
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Old 09-02-2018, 04:45 PM
 
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There are many examples of this, adding the rolling r onto a word.

Entertainment (and news) is still fairly Beijing centric, so thats why its common to hear that pronounciation on tv for example.

Bettafish is right on though, almost all native Mandarin speakers do roll the rs at the end, which is a large portion of mostly northern China. Its not actually part of the textbook language, more like an added on accent, and thats why most learning Mandarin dont speak that way.
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Old 09-02-2018, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Tulsa
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There is only one Mandarin, everything else is simply wrong.
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Old 09-02-2018, 09:04 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattks View Post
There are many examples of this, adding the rolling r onto a word.

Entertainment (and news) is still fairly Beijing centric, so thats why its common to hear that pronounciation on tv for example.

Bettafish is right on though, almost all native Mandarin speakers do roll the rs at the end, which is a large portion of mostly northern China. Its not actually part of the textbook language, more like an added on accent, and thats why most learning Mandarin dont speak that way.
As I mentioned before, in southern parts of China, they do not roll their tongues due to the fact they speak other Chinese dialects, particularly south east China which influence their way of speaking Mandarin. However, there are some Mandarin speaking regions going south, maybe near the dialect speaking regions where they do not roll their tongues as much. However, regardless of whatever regions of China they are from whether from Guangdong/Guangzhou/Hong Kong, Shanghai, Fujian/Fuzhou, Zhejiang, Beijing/Beifang, Sichuan, Shandong, WuHan, etc., any persons born in China that have had at least a formal education in China at least up until High School and/or maybe college especially in this day and age with the availability of Mandarin entertainment so widely displayed and even if they still speak their own dialects can still speak fluent Mandarin and can be understood whether they speak like a northeast Chinese person or speak with their own regional accents.

However, the problem is with the entertainment and television programmings in China, they want all of their anchors/actors/hosts to speak exactly like a northeastern Chinese person with constant tongue rolling. Even if a person from a dialect speaking region spoke Mandarin with their own regional accents and are understood by any ordinary Chinese people, the entertainment managers still see it as not good enough and mandate they all have speak like a northeastern Chinese person.
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Old 09-03-2018, 01:15 AM
 
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Not sure what the premise is of this thread, but if one really has to nitpick, then Taiwanese Mandarin certainly has some differences with Mainland Mandarin. But that is kind of expected. However, the standard pronunciations are identical in both cases, so to speak "standard" Mandarin, one has to learn to "roll their tongue" and pronounce "r" properly. Taiwanese need to "roll their tongues" much less often though, because "erhua" is not a feature of Taiwanese Mandarin at all, while it is very prominent in Beijing and many other parts of China where Mandarin is the "native" language.


Erhua was not adopted in Taiwan because the "r" sound is completely absent in most Southern Chinese languages/dialects (absent in Minnan/Taiwanese and Hakka) and most uses of erhua are colloquial and there is often a more formal alternative. In Taiwan, here is "zheli" and a bit is "yidian", while mainland Chinese books teaching Mandarin will use "zher" for here and "yidianr" for a bit. When Taiwan separated from China, it's easier for them to teach the more formal alternatives in school as less than 10% were native Mandarin speakers at that time. These words are what people use and hear in Taipei nowadays though. By contrast, it's not easy to change how "here" or "a bit" is spoken in China where millions are native speakers with Beijingers leading the way in rolling their tongues.


"Tongue rolling" is just a minor difference though. I just finished watching Nirvana in Fire few months ago, and there is no "tongue rolling" there. It's probably because erhua doesn't fit with the historical period the show was set it. I just learned though that aside from two main characters, all the other voices were dubbed. The two characters who used their original voices were from Shanghai and Hubei, so they're not exactly from the North or the Northeast. Not sure why movie and TV shows in China are more often dubbed and voices changed, but I suspect it's because the country is huge and many have very heavy accents, with some pretty difficult to understand and change. In contrast, American accents are fairly uniform and most American actors/actresses easily learn to speak like a New Yorker or a Southerner, when the part calls for it. At the very least, most can change their accents to the American Midwestern accent that can sound more "neutral" to most ears and does not call attention to the accent. It's more difficult with Chinese. Many have very heavy regional accents that many outside the area find difficult to understand. If not dubbed, it's like the equivalent of having an actor with a very heavy Irish accent play the role of someone from California. It can be very difficult to understand and very distracting for most viewers.


I have visited about a dozen cities in China, and ironically, I have the most problems understanding what is being said by taxi drivers in cities where Mandarin is the native language. In the South, people know that their native tongue is not mutually intelligible with Standard Mandarin, so they switch right away and can speak "standard Chinese" to be understood. In the native Mandarin cities, some people probably think their native tongue is close enough to the standard, but they're really difficult to understand for those not used to it. I found the most problems in Shandong, Dalian and Beijing. The taxi driver I got in Beijing didn't sound like he's from there, my guess is he's from Shanxi, but who knows. I preferred not to understand his complaints anyway (I know that he is complaining about having me as a passenger as my destination from the airport is too close).
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Old 09-03-2018, 09:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toby2016 View Post
As I mentioned before, in southern parts of China, they do not roll their tongues due to the fact they speak other Chinese dialects, particularly south east China which influence their way of speaking Mandarin. However, there are some Mandarin speaking regions going south, maybe near the dialect speaking regions where they do not roll their tongues as much. However, regardless of whatever regions of China they are from whether from Guangdong/Guangzhou/Hong Kong, Shanghai, Fujian/Fuzhou, Zhejiang, Beijing/Beifang, Sichuan, Shandong, WuHan, etc., any persons born in China that have had at least a formal education in China at least up until High School and/or maybe college especially in this day and age with the availability of Mandarin entertainment so widely displayed and even if they still speak their own dialects can still speak fluent Mandarin and can be understood whether they speak like a northeast Chinese person or speak with their own regional accents.

However, the problem is with the entertainment and television programmings in China, they want all of their anchors/actors/hosts to speak exactly like a northeastern Chinese person with constant tongue rolling. Even if a person from a dialect speaking region spoke Mandarin with their own regional accents and are understood by any ordinary Chinese people, the entertainment managers still see it as not good enough and mandate they all have speak like a northeastern Chinese person.
Yeah, I guess I don't understand what you are wanting. China is very Beijing centric and it has been for quite some time, and I don't see that changing.

The rolling of the r's is more or less an accent, its not going to effect understanding very much. So someone who doesn't roll r's (like me), can understand a person who does and visa versa just fine.

I live in an area where r's are rolled and when I first started learning Mandarin, it confused me quite a bit. In the textbooks there is no r rolling, but everyone did it. For a while I adapted and did roll my r's on some words, but then some foreign friends asked what I was doing that for. It was just the way I learned, but its not necessary.
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