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Mandarin vs Cantonese

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Gundamor View Drop Down
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  Quote Gundamor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Mandarin vs Cantonese
    Posted: 01-Sep-2006 at 17:17

My girlfriend is from northern China originally, with her parents still living there, and speaks Mandarin. I've noticed in talking with her and most of her mandarin friends that there is alot of anomosity and dislike for Cantonese. Even more so then the dislike for Taiwan which also brings up intereseting conversations heh.

I was wondering how the 2 originated and whether one is a spin off of the other. Also are there other languages like Mandarin and Cantonese within China that are heavily spoken but dont get the same public view. I assume Cantonese was built up more due to Hong Kong and its influences in the world view. She tells me Cantonese is a slang type of Mandarin. Though slang to me means you can understand it which she can not. Both use the same writing characters as I assume its a pronuciation thing.     
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  Quote jayeshks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Sep-2006 at 10:33
I'm sure someone will be around shortly to explain this better but Mandarin and Cantonese are both from the same language family.  I know Cantonese has more tones than Mandarin.  Here's a wikipedia map of some of the different languages spoken in China:

Mandarin is the standard official language and most of the mainlanders I know in the ex-pat community have difficulty understanding Cantonese.  I don't think they're mutually intelligible (though a native speaker could correct me here) as all the Chinese dramas and movies I've seen always have subtitles in written Chinese to make them understandable to all.   I've also heard that Cantonese is closer to the classical language in which much of ancient Chinese poetry is composed whereas Mandarin has had more external influences. 

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  Quote Siege Tower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Sep-2006 at 13:05
its not the lauguage, it;s the fact that they eat any thing and Canton was not a very civilized region until the 18-19th century, and southern people are usually smaller, and for thier strong ability of servival, they often leave thier home land and go to a foreige land like America, thier appearance give the western world an impression of that chinese are short. in fact northern chinese have this strong disrespectful towards all the people in south includes Viet Nam, Thais.....well southern asians.
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  Quote Cywr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Sep-2006 at 13:39
What family does the Amoy dialect fall under?
That one supposidly gave the world the words 'ketchup' and 'tea'.

Edit: Ask the Wiki, doh!

Its a Southern Min dialect, also known as Hokkien.


Edited by Cywr - 02-Sep-2006 at 13:41
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  Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Sep-2006 at 13:55
The chinese government propergaderizes the population heavily about Cantonese being slang and second rate
 
Personally Cantonese is my favourite language to listen to. When you buy a Chinese DVD nowadays you get a choice of language settings. I always go for Cantonese, Mandarin's a pretty ugly monotone drawl, Cantonese is very harmonic.
 
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  Quote flyingzone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Sep-2006 at 15:16

The various Sinitic languages that jayeshks mentioned in his post are mutually unintelligible with one another. The difference among these languages can be as great as that between, say, Italian and Romanian, even though they belong to the same language family. They are only united by the same writing system. So, Gundamor, it is not just a pronounciation thing. And your girlfriend cannot be more wrong about calling Cantonese a "slang" of Mandarin.

Even within the same language group (e.g. Cantonese), there are many different dialects whose mutual intelligibility vary. Sometimes even neighbouring villages or towns may speak dialects that are only partially intelligible with one another.
 
 
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  Quote Gundamor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Sep-2006 at 01:09
Which one is easier to learn? I'm finding a tough time with mandarian but I kind of want to know it as around 90 percent of the people I associate with are from Shenyang and speak mandarin. I was hoping that maybe I could be like the movie 13th Warrior and just pick it up as everyone talks. It has been kind of working but might take me 50 years that way heh. I am very up on the word "that" and "nothing" though, as one sounds like a racial slur and the other something you put on a sandwich.


We met a couple the other day. The wife spoke cantonese and the husband spoke mandarian back. Neither could speak the same language but could understand eachother. Kind of funny.
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  Quote Leonidas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Sep-2006 at 05:14
ive got the northern mandarin bias, it simply needs tha 'er' to sound right.

 ive never tried to learn cantonese Gundamor but the biggest difficulty(for me) was the different pitches used. Mandarin has 4 and cantonese has 8 if i rember riight, there was no way i can cope with eight.

My teacher told me cantonese is a popular source of slang words in beijing.Ermm

great map jayeshks Thumbs Up

im assuming teichou(sp?)  is min?



Edited by Leonidas - 14-Sep-2006 at 05:24
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  Quote Killabee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Sep-2006 at 13:42
Originally posted by Gundamor




I was wondering how the 2 originated and whether one is a spin off of the other. Also are there other languages like Mandarin and Cantonese within China that are heavily spoken but dont get the same public view. I assume Cantonese was built up more due to Hong Kong and its influences in the world view. She tells me Cantonese is a slang type of Mandarin. Though slang to me means you can understand it which she can not. Both use the same writing characters as I assume its a pronuciation thing.     
 
Cantonese is not the slang type of Mandarin.  The history of Cantonese goes way longer than Mandarin, which is considered a relatively new dialect out of all Chinese dialects. Cantonese originated in more than 2000 years ago when the Qin Empire 's troops garrisoned in the modern day Canton from Northern China. Many old Chinese element still preserve in Cantonese e.g the final stop consonant p,t,k,m but lost in Mandarin. A great example would be reciting Tang dynasty era Poem, you will find Cantonese rhyme better than Mandarin.
 
The origin of Mandarin is based on local Beijing dialect. Historically, for a long period of time Beijing has been the Capital of many non-Chinese Dynasty, which also played a big part into shaping the local Beijing dialect. The lost of final stop consonant p,t,k,m , the retroflexion and the Rhotic Consonant are believed to be influenced by the Altaic-Speaking tribes who ruled Northern Part of China.


Edited by Killabee - 15-Sep-2006 at 14:03
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  Quote jiangweibaoye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2006 at 17:07

Killabee is right.  Cantonese has been around longer than Mandarin. 

During the Tang Dynasty, the language spoken most closely sounded Cantonese. 
 
I think that the slang (even though Cantonese is not a slang) label may be a byproduct of all those crazy HK movies.
 
I am Cantonese and I think Mandarin sounds better.  But it is also true that Tang Poems sounds better in Cantonese.
 
I am a little shock that Northern Chinese feels that way about Cantonese.  Maybe not that shocked because in the not too distant past, Cantonese (especially the HK stock) looked down upon the Northerners as being dirty, uneducated and poor.  Funny how things have changed & changing.
 
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  Quote jiangweibaoye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Oct-2006 at 17:15
Gundamor,
 
I know two Shanghaiese individuals pretty well & never hear or felt the hatred of Cantonese.  Then again, what do I know!  They may think I am a idiot!LOL
 
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  Quote Florawang Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2017 at 22:11
Are we discussing which "language" is "superior" and which "inferior"? Refrain from doing so as there isn't such a thing.  Smile

Both the Mandarin and Cantonese were dialects and the former got established as the "official" one in recent century. I am a Sichuanese (if you would like to describe that way) living in Sichuan province but basically the Mandarin and Sichuanese dialect are equally natural and important in our daily life. 
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  Quote red clay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2017 at 08:49
Notice that this thread is 10 years old. The folks who posted this are no longer active.

That being said, welcome to the forum.
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  Quote medenaywe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2017 at 12:12
Superior language is nonsense
Welcome aboard.Smile
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