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What do you use?




My beginning classes always taught me to use 一点儿 but I feel like 一点 is more polite and even heard some people just say 点.

Other one is 哪里 or 哪儿 - I think 哪里 sounds better and more polite but is there a time where you would use one over the other?



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The thing to remember is the er 儿 is most commonly used in the north mostly by people from Beijing.


As a learner I was taught about it to help understand what I hear but was never encouraged to use it myself. It can sound very weird if it doesn't come naturally in your flow of speech.


Too many learners make it sound like a separate word, I was taught it really is slurred into, in your example you would also drop the final n in dian and say diar. Knowing exactly when and how to do this is more than can be expect from a beginner learner and even advanced students steer clear of it.


I don't know if it is a matter of politeness, more a matter of clear speech. It is a bit like slang or maybe more like a regional accent. So unless you live in Beijing it may seem out of place.


I would advise learning about it so you can understand if it used, but don't use it yourself.

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There are lots of threads about when and when not to use 儿化音 (儿isation), and how much you should use.


Broadly, only northerners tend to say 这儿/那儿/哪儿, and 这儿/那儿/哪儿 are also a little more informal. I don't think “一点” is any more polite than “一点儿” per se, but perhaps “一点儿” is a shade more informal.


However, the difference in level of formality is very slight. There are many people who would always say “一点” or always say “一点儿”.


Your best bet is just to say these things how your teacher says them, or find another model for pronunciation. These two examples are both seen as very standard both with and without the 儿化音, though there are some places where certain speakers will use 儿化音 but it is seen as non-standard or dialectical. If it appears in a textbook, it's probably fairly standard.

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Think polite is the wrong word I meant less harsh. Most of my learning materials are from Beijing so the Er is added a lot. But as I broaden my learning experience I prefer most speaking without it but it's already brainwashed into me to use it lol.

Really need to get a teacher/ someone to talk too mostly just speak out loud and study ATM.

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I actually like the sound of it. It sounds manlier to me and I think 一点点 or 一点 sounds rather 娘娘腔 in comparison, and Chinese is already kind of a sissy sounding language. So, a little touch of 儿 is nice to toughen it up a bit. 8)  


But since I live in Shanghai, I would sound really out of place talking like that, especially being that I'm not a Northerner, nor even Chinese. However, when I've met people who spoke like that, even in Shanghai, I felt I'd be a bit out of place speaking without it. So, I just adapt to my environment and try to let my speech blend in with the people I'm speaking with.


I find I do that in English too. My accent, vocabulary, and slang all adapt to whoever I'm in company with. That is, I should say, all within American English. I don't ever try to put on a British or Australian accent, and I'd likewise never change zhi, chi, and shi to zi, ci, and si if I went to Taiwan.

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Well, that's up to personal taste and opinion, I guess.  :) It sounds a lot less masculine than say Russian to me, and certainly a Chinese accent in English sounds sissier than a Russian accent.  :mrgreen: I mean no offense though. Just my feeling.

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I don't use any 儿化 in my speech at all since I was educated in the south... however with one exception. For 一会儿 I add the 儿. At least in my grammar the 儿 is required for this word (and only really this word). Not sure if this word is only used in the North or if there are any other equivalents that don't have 儿化 in it for speakers who don't do 儿化. (I know, you can say 一下 etc sometimes, but the meaning feels different to me)

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I'd say just go with 一点。But you seem to think that one may be more polite than the other. I don't think that's necessarily the case. Maybe more formal? I sometimes just say 哪 instead of 哪里 or 哪儿. My girlfriend is Chinese and sometimes she just says 哪。哪里 and 一点 seem to be the most formal out of those, but to me it doesn't seem to make a big difference. Like "who's" and "who is"

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There's also another way to look at this. Think about your own reactions to 'foreigners' speaking whatever your first language is - English? What do you like and dislike about it?


In general, in formal situations, and amongst adults, people like foreigners speaking what they think of as 'good' English - actually a bit more formal than a 'native speaker' would use in the same situation. Inappropriate colloquial language and slang really sets their teeth on edge. With younger people, you're being judged according to different criteria, and the accurate use of colloquial language and slang can get you brownie points. So more than anything, you need to be able to hear and understand all the different things you're hearing, and notice the differences in speakers and contexts. Then you have to decide whose judgements on your Chinese matter, when and where.

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