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Old 12-03-2018, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Tulsa
1,806 posts, read 808,823 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greysholic View Post
Standard? They are just different accents. British accent is not of a higher standard than American accent. It's the same for Mandarin.

If you don't understand it when Taiwanese ppl speak Mandarin then the problem is most likely you being rubbish in Mandarin.
It's not all about accent, it's about proper pronunciation.

Most Taiwanese can't tell the difference between 京 and 津.

Some of them can't even pronounce the Chinese word "two" correctly.

I can understand Taiwan Mandarin just like I can understand Taiwan English. Inferring from the context, it's not hard to know what they are talking about. For example, when they pronounce 東京 like 東津, I know it's 東京 because there's no such a place called 東津.

Actually, Mandarin wasn't the native language of most Chinese until the late 20th century. I have met a very old lady from Shanghai who barely spoke Mandarin. But she's ridiculously old, I guess she's 90 years old by now.
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:23 PM
 
1,099 posts, read 1,670,472 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodHombre View Post
It's not all about accent, it's about proper pronunciation.

Most Taiwanese can't tell the difference between 京 and 津.

Some of them can't even pronounce the Chinese word "two" correctly.

I can understand Taiwan Mandarin just like I can understand Taiwan English. Inferring from the context, it's not hard to know what they are talking about. For example, when they pronounce 東京 like 東津, I know it's 東京 because there's no such a place called 東津.

Actually, Mandarin wasn't the native language of most Chinese until the late 20th century. I have met a very old lady from Shanghai who barely spoke Mandarin. But she's ridiculously old, I guess she's 90 years old by now.

That's far from being my experience. There are different accents and there are some stereotypes. But I won't say "most" Taiwanese have that pronunciation problem at all. I have never met a Taiwanese who I had doubts whether he/she said 今 or 经/經, 近 or 静/靜.


I also just took a flight to Shanghai last month. Seated next to me was an old man who is about 70 years old. He doesn't seem to be able to speak Mandarin at all, spoke to flight attendants and me using Wu Chinese. His son, who is about 40-50 years old, translates to Mandarin for him though. First time I heard someone who can't speak Mandarin. He seemed to be able to understand it though. There are likewise still many people (mostly old, but still younger than what your post will lead people to believe) who can't speak proper Mandarin in China as well!


In my opinion, Taipei, Xiamen, Shanghai or Guangzhou can still be good places to learn Mandarin. There might be slightly different accents and Mandarin might not be totally "native", but most people speak decent Mandarin in these cities. One might want to go to Beijing if speaking with a Beijing accent is really important. Some other places such as Shandong and Sichuan might be "native" Mandarin speaking, but their local accents are heavy as well. Many young people will speak "standard" Chinese though, but given that some people will speak to you in local accents that are difficult to understand for beginners or even other Mandarin speakers, I don't think it's a good reason to skip Southeast China cities from consideration.
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:32 PM
 
Location: In the heights
22,149 posts, read 23,676,300 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qilixiang View Post
I agree..

Beijing university offers language programs for foreigners..

People from northern part of China speak more standard mandarin..

But Iím sure the op will be fine studying at any universities in China though.
The biggest problem is then you'd be living in Beijing which is pretty awful.
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,859 posts, read 3,422,274 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
There are likewise still many people (mostly old, but still younger than what your post will lead people to believe) who can't speak proper Mandarin in China as well!
There definitely are still people from older generations in Mainland China, especially in the South and East, who cannot speak Mandarin well or not at all even (some of my relatives included). Mandarin was not taught in most local schools outside of the major cities until the 1960's at the earliest and even then if you grew up speaking your native language dialect with everyone around you, the Mandarin you learned in school has gone to waste.

But back to the O.P.'s concerns, I have personally never been to Formosa before but have known people from there in the past and their Mandarin sounded just as decent as the Mainlanders. I find the authentic Beijing dialect to be the richest sounding in poetry but I also find it very hard to listen to in everyday speech. In fact, I just don't think anyone needs to speak like a Beijing inhabitant if they are not from there. People in Taipei have been speaking Mandarin for generations unlike Hong Kong and Macau, so the Mandarin taught in Taipei should be just as good.
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:16 AM
 
Location: Tulsa
1,806 posts, read 808,823 times
Reputation: 1840
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
That's far from being my experience. There are different accents and there are some stereotypes. But I won't say "most" Taiwanese have that pronunciation problem at all. I have never met a Taiwanese who I had doubts whether he/she said 今 or 经/經, 近 or 静/靜.


I also just took a flight to Shanghai last month. Seated next to me was an old man who is about 70 years old. He doesn't seem to be able to speak Mandarin at all, spoke to flight attendants and me using Wu Chinese. His son, who is about 40-50 years old, translates to Mandarin for him though. First time I heard someone who can't speak Mandarin. He seemed to be able to understand it though. There are likewise still many people (mostly old, but still younger than what your post will lead people to believe) who can't speak proper Mandarin in China as well!


In my opinion, Taipei, Xiamen, Shanghai or Guangzhou can still be good places to learn Mandarin. There might be slightly different accents and Mandarin might not be totally "native", but most people speak decent Mandarin in these cities. One might want to go to Beijing if speaking with a Beijing accent is really important. Some other places such as Shandong and Sichuan might be "native" Mandarin speaking, but their local accents are heavy as well. Many young people will speak "standard" Chinese though, but given that some people will speak to you in local accents that are difficult to understand for beginners or even other Mandarin speakers, I don't think it's a good reason to skip Southeast China cities from consideration.
A lot of people, including more than half of the Chinese population, cannot pronounce chars like 京, they assume 京 and 津 sound identical. As I said, it's easy to tell what it is from the context. I can understand them even though I know they are doing it wrong.

Shandong Mandarin is pretty decent when it comes to pronunciation, but their accent is hilarious, very different from standard Mandarin. Sichuan Mandarin is only slightly better than Taiwan Mandarin. From Sichuan to Hubei, a lot of people constantly conflate "n" and "l". It's not uncommon for them to pronounce 荷兰 like 河南, thanks to the influence of their native dialect - 西南官话。

Common pronunciation problems in Taiwan Mandarin are well documented, there's really no dispute about it.

https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-tw/%E8%8...9C%8B%E8%AA%9E

Southeast China, this one is interesting. Fujian has several dialects, one of them is called Southern Min, which is a major dialect in Taiwan. The linguistic tie between Fujian and Taiwan is akin to that between Hong Kong and Guangdong because a huge percentage of Taiwan population are the descendants of Fujian migrants. In the part of Fujian where Southern Min is the local dialect, their Mandarin accent is very similar with Taiwan accent, but of course, they have slightly different vocabularies.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:54 AM
 
Location: In the heights
22,149 posts, read 23,676,300 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodHombre View Post
A lot of people, including more than half of the Chinese population, cannot pronounce chars like 京, they assume 京 and 津 sound identical. As I said, it's easy to tell what it is from the context. I can understand them even though I know they are doing it wrong.

Shandong Mandarin is pretty decent when it comes to pronunciation, but their accent is hilarious, very different from standard Mandarin. Sichuan Mandarin is only slightly better than Taiwan Mandarin. From Sichuan to Hubei, a lot of people constantly conflate "n" and "l". It's not uncommon for them to pronounce 荷兰 like 河南, thanks to the influence of their native dialect - 西南官话。

Common pronunciation problems in Taiwan Mandarin are well documented, there's really no dispute about it.

https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-tw/%E8%8...9C%8B%E8%AA%9E

Southeast China, this one is interesting. Fujian has several dialects, one of them is called Southern Min, which is a major dialect in Taiwan. The linguistic tie between Fujian and Taiwan is akin to that between Hong Kong and Guangdong because a huge percentage of Taiwan population are the descendants of Fujian migrants. In the part of Fujian where Southern Min is the local dialect, their Mandarin accent is very similar with Taiwan accent, but of course, they have slightly different vocabularies.
Thereís a gradient in Taiwan for fairly standard Manadarin to highly inflected by Hokkien Mandarin and that gradient generally runs from Taipei on out. One thing to realize is that a sizable chunk of people descended from the Mainland came over to Taiwan fairly recently with the KMT and most of those people were not from Fujian. Most of those more recent arrivals also settled in Taipei rather than the rest of Taiwan.
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:33 AM
 
10,062 posts, read 4,668,516 times
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Taiwan also uses traditional Mandarin while China uses simplified
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
9,876 posts, read 6,620,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Peasant View Post
There definitely are still people from older generations in Mainland China, especially in the South and East, who cannot speak Mandarin well or not at all even (some of my relatives included). Mandarin was not taught in most local schools outside of the major cities until the 1960's at the earliest and even then if you grew up speaking your native language dialect with everyone around you, the Mandarin you learned in school has gone to waste.

But back to the O.P.'s concerns, I have personally never been to Formosa before but have known people from there in the past and their Mandarin sounded just as decent as the Mainlanders. I find the authentic Beijing dialect to be the richest sounding in poetry but I also find it very hard to listen to in everyday speech. In fact, I just don't think anyone needs to speak like a Beijing inhabitant if they are not from there. People in Taipei have been speaking Mandarin for generations unlike Hong Kong and Macau, so the Mandarin taught in Taipei should be just as good.
Beijing dialect, in terms of the real local stuff you here in the streets, can be really difficult if you're not used to hearing it.

Before the mainland opened up, Taiwan was a big center for foreigners who wanted to learn Chinese. So they are pretty experienced with teaching it, including the standard pronounciations. Sure, they'll have some usages or vocab that is different than in Beijing, but that's true of any language having some regional differences.

Just in terms of lifestyle and environment, Taipei is not as overwhelming as Beijing is, in terms of size. And the locals are very friendly, which I think is the most underrated aspect of Taiwan in general.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:59 PM
 
Location: Taipei
6,776 posts, read 5,126,284 times
Reputation: 4566
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodHombre View Post
It's not all about accent, it's about proper pronunciation.

Most Taiwanese can't tell the difference between 京 and 津.

Some of them can't even pronounce the Chinese word "two" correctly.

I can understand Taiwan Mandarin just like I can understand Taiwan English. Inferring from the context, it's not hard to know what they are talking about. For example, when they pronounce 東京 like 東津, I know it's 東京 because there's no such a place called 東津.

Actually, Mandarin wasn't the native language of most Chinese until the late 20th century. I have met a very old lady from Shanghai who barely spoke Mandarin. But she's ridiculously old, I guess she's 90 years old by now.
I don't have time for such bull****.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Houston
1,151 posts, read 951,779 times
Reputation: 1291
I don't know if I will ever get around to it, but this conversation is relevant to my own desire to learn Mandarin. I had a Taiwanese friend in Macau who I could stayed with while studying, but even he had to use English since he doesn't speak Cantonese. I'm not experienced enough to know the accents really well, but have known some people from Taiwan who are children of KMT people and seem to speak "proper" Mandarin.

Years ago, I took an Mandarin class taught by a lady from Singapore. The Beijing accent was emphasized, but most of my Chinese friends don't speak the same way, although they mostly understand my limited vocabulary.

Living in Taipei for a while to study the language would be fun, but other friends have suggested Beijing U or places near it. Any advice?
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