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Old 12-21-2018, 12:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gen2010 View Post
where is that term coming from? i think it is the only case where you have a national language called a completely different name in English
China is a large very ancient country and they have many dialects. Their national language is is Mandarin. Their official languages include Cantonese, Mongolian and Tibetan. There are over 90 indigenous (tribal) languages. Citation
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Old 12-22-2018, 04:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitty61 View Post
China is a large very ancient country and they have many dialects. Their national language is is Mandarin. Their official languages include Cantonese, Mongolian and Tibetan. There are over 90 indigenous (tribal) languages. Citation
Cantonese is not really an official language in mainland China.
Hong Kong claims "Chinese" is the official language, but it does not specify whether the official spoken language is Mandarin or Cantonese. So it can be interpreted in either way, although Cantonese is official de facto.
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Old 12-22-2018, 07:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
Cantonese is not really an official language in mainland China.
Hong Kong claims "Chinese" is the official language, but it does not specify whether the official spoken language is Mandarin or Cantonese. So it can be interpreted in either way, although Cantonese is official de facto.

The "Official" language, i.e. the language of government run facilities (such as schools) is Mandarin in all of China - even in Taiwan. China has been trying for decades (with some success) to reduce regional/local reliance on other languages.
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Old 12-22-2018, 07:25 AM
 
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As mentioned earlier, the standard Chinese in China now is called "putonghua" (or pronounced "putonghuar" in Beijing dialect) which I was told meant "common speech" when I lived in Tianjin. Putonghua is basically the Beijing dialect made into the national language. And yeah, it means the speech.

Written characters are the same across the country, and many characters were simplified under Mao's time. Thus, the written language is different in Taiwan in that they still use the traditional characters.

English speakers call it "mandarin". I had Chinese students in Malaysia who even didn't know what I meant when I said that I spoke some mandarin. They were a mix of Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, and Teochiu speakers, with a couple from Stinkapore (Beijing dialect, i.e., "mandarin") and one from mainland China. The mainlander said that my pronunciation of putonghua was better than any of his Chinese classmates.
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Old 12-22-2018, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Taipei
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Who the **** cares.
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Old 12-22-2018, 07:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Teak View Post

English speakers call it "mandarin". I had Chinese students in Malaysia who even didn't know what I meant when I said that I spoke some mandarin. They were a mix of Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, and Teochiu speakers, with a couple from Stinkapore (Beijing dialect, i.e., "mandarin") and one from mainland China. The mainlander said that my pronunciation of putonghua was better than any of his Chinese classmates.

One year in grad school my new room mate was from Taiwan. He was trying to phone his family back in Taiwan and needed to get an operator who spoke Chinese. At one point he turned to me with a confused expression and asked me "what is Mandarin?" And of course that threw me for a loop. He explained that the operator was asking him if he speaks mandarin. Finally, I just said I thought it was Chinese. Anyway, it was while before he was able to call home because he didn't realize that the Mandarin speaking operator was the one he needed.
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Old 12-23-2018, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
If you live in a region, where there's a lot of Chinese immigrants, there will be plenty of occasions to specify, if the topic comes up. For example, cable TV programming in the Bay Area has both Mandarin and Cantonese on separate schedules or channels. And I"m not sure, but there seems to be a 3rd dialect some of the time, which may be Shanghainese. Shopowners in Chinatown tend to be Cantonese-speaking, so people wanting to practice their Mandarin might have to search to find a Mandarin-speaker. Restaurant owners may be mainly Cantonese-speaking, but there are some mainland Chinese Mandarin restaurateurs, too.

But for the general public, unless they have an interest in Chinese language or culture, the occasion probably doesn't arise, that would require them to differentiate.
Well, a lot of the Chinese shopowners whose mother tongue is Cantonese will also be able to speak Mandarin as well - it's practicality, given that it's a lingua franca.
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Old 12-23-2018, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teak View Post
As mentioned earlier, the standard Chinese in China now is called "putonghua" (or pronounced "putonghuar" in Beijing dialect) which I was told meant "common speech" when I lived in Tianjin. Putonghua is basically the Beijing dialect made into the national language. And yeah, it means the speech.

Written characters are the same across the country, and many characters were simplified under Mao's time. Thus, the written language is different in Taiwan in that they still use the traditional characters.

English speakers call it "mandarin". I had Chinese students in Malaysia who even didn't know what I meant when I said that I spoke some mandarin. They were a mix of Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, and Teochiu speakers, with a couple from Stinkapore (Beijing dialect, i.e., "mandarin") and one from mainland China. The mainlander said that my pronunciation of putonghua was better than any of his Chinese classmates.
In Malaysia or Singapore, Mandarin is usually referred to in Chinese as "hua yu" (Chinese language).

As an Chinese American, I stopped being self-conscious of my American-accented Mandarin when in China or Taiwan when I hear all the regional accents around. Why be afraid?
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Old 12-23-2018, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
Cantonese is not really an official language in mainland China.
Hong Kong claims "Chinese" is the official language, but it does not specify whether the official spoken language is Mandarin or Cantonese. So it can be interpreted in either way, although Cantonese is official de facto.
In Hong Kong, generally when you refer to the spoken language as "Chinese", it's usually Cantonese. They'll specifically refer to Putonghua when they refer to Mandarin.
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Old 12-23-2018, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Taipei
6,776 posts, read 5,126,284 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
It’s not a super unique situatuon. People say someone speaks Farsi instead of Persian or Iranian pretty often as there are many related dialects/languages in the country though Farsi is the standard. This happens in a lot of places.
Another case in point: Castilian Spanish. Those who would complain about this are most likely just ignorant and ill-informed.

Quote:
One year in grad school my new room mate was from Taiwan. He was trying to phone his family back in Taiwan and needed to get an operator who spoke Chinese. At one point he turned to me with a confused expression and asked me "what is Mandarin?" And of course that threw me for a loop. He explained that the operator was asking him if he speaks mandarin. Finally, I just said I thought it was Chinese. Anyway, it was while before he was able to call home because he didn't realize that the Mandarin speaking operator was the one he needed.
I think the only lesson from this anecdote is that your roommate spoke extremely poor English, which is sadly too common amongst international students from Asia.
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