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thanks, Hu Jintao. thanks a bloody lot.


channamasala
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ok lets be fair. cantonese isnt entirely a chinese language cos canton wasnt part of china some 2200yrs ago. so when the chinese took canton that time, inevitably the language mixed with the local tongue, and gave us cantonese we see today. language and pronouciation in northern part of china evolved, but due to communication and transport problem much of the cantonese tongue is left unchange. so it seemed to u that its an entirely different language.

I don't quite get this argument. How can cantonese not be "entirely a chinese language". That's like saying Romanian isn't a Romance language because of the heavy Slavic influences it has.

I think channamasala's (I love that dish, by the way) thuoghts about indoctrination and stuff are pretty interesting. I'm personally not a big fan of telling people "the truth" about things they have been mislead about. I learned pretty early on that someone has to be interested in finding out what the truth is before they can even begin to accept your new ideas.

There's an expression "the truth shall set you free" that I feel needs to be ammended with "if you are willing to allow it." It's tough to convince a big group of people that things they learned weren't true; it's much easier to convince people who approach you looking for the truth.

Oh, my favorite argument for Taiwan not being a part of China: They say, "historically, taiwan has been a part of China." I say, "historically, China has been a part of Germany, England, Japan, etc.. "

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:D not 'entirely' meaning it has a significant proportion of terms that are not chinese originated, maybe remains of the bachviets minorities before qin dynasty conquered canton. some studies says that present cantonese is a mixture of ancient tones in xi'an and luo'yang area with ancient bachviets language when qin acquired canton some 2200yrs ago, and northerners' language(most likely he'nan) some 900 yrs ago when jurchens and mongols took northern china.
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i can say that all pinyin with an x- sound in mandarin equals to mostly h- sounds and some s- sounds in cantonese, all j- in modern mandarin will be mostly g- or sometimes k- in cantonese. if u pronouced the ancient chinese poems in cantonese u will find that they rythme even better than mandarin, meaning, the pronouciation they used thousands of yrs ago was something like cantonese.

This is true - and this is how my friend from Singapore picked up her listening Cantonese from noticing the pattern.

here's a few examples:

'ook' sounds in Cantonese (sook - uncle, mook - wood) go to 'hu' sounds in Mandarin (shu, mu)

damn, she had a lot more of patterns, but I can't seem to think of any right now.

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Baihua doesn't mean "common language". Baihua Wen was invented sometime in the late 1800's to early 1900's. It was promoted by many modern Chinese writers to move away from writing in Wenyen Wen. Baihua should translate to "clear language" meaning it's easy to understand because it reflects spoken Chinese, instead of the more poem-like Wenyen Wen.

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'baihua' means colloquial language, a spoken tongue. that is relative to the official tongue, or 'guanhua', and the context change from time to time cos chinese language evolves. presently, guanhua generally means mandarin while baihua means dialects. in cantonese, guanhua pronouciation means using official chinese characters and classical chinese grammar but pronouced them in cantonese. 'baihua' is the day to day cantonese. also, a lot of chinese words got a guanhua pronouciation and at least one baihua pronouciation for most dialects. example, for the word 'people', or 'ren'(in 'renmin'), in fujian it's 'nang' or 'lang' in baihua, but 'jin' in guanhua pronouciation. therefore, 'renmin' for 'people' becomes 'jinmin' in fujian official tongue. for the word 'big', its 'dua' in fujian baihua, but 'dai' in guanhua(therefore a chinese doctor is 'dai'fu' instead of 'da'fu' in present mandarin). so 'university' becomes 'dua'oh(k)' in fujian baihua but 'dai'hakk' in guanhua. guanhua is used for maintaining communications with the central govt, while baihua is for day to day business. maybe its like in english we have the so-called queen's english and the common english, or in japan, the emperor speaks a different form of japanese compared to common japanese.

baihua had a much longer history. the four chinese classics were all 'baihua' novels and they were written in ming dynasty. so the idea of baihua/guanhua is at least 5-6 centuries old. if we look at present hangchow/hangzhou, they used similiar pronouciation as shanghainese but their grammar and terms are more classical chinese and mandarin, thats because hangchow was the capital for southern song dynasty(called lin'an at that time) before the mongols attacked china. they used the court's language but pronouced them in local tongue. threfore were classified as guanhua. so the idea of baihua and guanhua could be possibly another 2-3 centuries before ming dynasty. same thing for sichuan and yunnan, they were considered as xi'nan(southwestern) guanhua in chinese language studies, cos grammar and terms wise they are vary close to mandarin, just that pronouciation very slightly. this is also the reason mandarin was made the official chinese tongue now. 70%of chinese speaks and use something similiar to mandarin guanhua. the rest of the 30% are cantonese, fujian, chaozhou, jiangsu/zhejiang, jiangxi, hu'nan/hu'bei and hai'nan.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I pretty much agree with you channamasala. I think all this misunderstanding comes from the lack of a good translation for "fangyan" in english, and "dialect" just doesn't do it. In fact, even the word "language" can be misleading. In the chinese perspective, related fangyans do not qualify for the definition of "language". Also, because there is no inflection in chinese, changing the order of words, or using a set of local vocabulary, just doesn't make the two fangyans too different from each other. (at least not so different as the romance languages each with its own inflection rules).

I am a Guangzhou cantonese speaker, and yes I spoke mandarin at school since kindergarten. so, knowing both fangyans really well, I can tell you, the differences between the two are not enough to make the chinese think they are different languages.

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Since this is a forum to express personal views, I'd say I am very impatient with those people who have just learned Chinese and lived in China for a few years and can hardly speak/write the language arguing that they are familair with the history of Chinese civilization, that Cantonese and Putonghua are different languages, and that Taiwan is not part of China. And whenever a Chinese disagrees with these people's views, the Chinese is said to have been brainwashed by the Government. These people can say I'm biased. But these people are also biased in their own ways. So there we are.

I agree with Kulong (mostly), TSkillet, wix (partly), and holyman.

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Confucius says: China weather forecast for the forums includes partly cloudy opinions with isolated brainwashing in the northeast region. Winds blowing out of the south at less than 10 smiles per hour and now we check for chance of rain...Freddy? (Cartoon man strolls to center of screen, suddenly stops and beats flower to death with his long black umbrella.) Enjoy the rest of summer!

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People here with a moderate amount of English are quite happy to use the word "language" for any local form of speech, be it a village, a province, or bigger. eg "My hometown language", or "My mother speaks Fujian language". They either don't demand to be told how to say "fangyan" in English, or forget it once they are told.

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Couldn't we just try literally translating "fangyan" as "local tongue"?

I believe "local tongue" is the closest translation to "fangyan".

I think the word bendihua is a much better translation of local tongue. As I noted earlier the word fangyan causes a lot of confusion because it means both language and dialect. Hence use of the term bendihua where appropriate is preferable as there is no confusion about the meaning of this word.

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I think the word bendihua is a much better translation of local tongue. As I noted earlier the word fangyan causes a lot of confusion because it means both language and dialect. Hence use of the term bendihua where appropriate is preferable as there is no confusion about the meaning of this word.

True, bendihua is a good translation for "local tongue", but I thought we were trying to find a proper English translation of fangyan.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've actually been told in the past that my fangyan is really good, although, believe me, I didn't speak the local dialect with them. I've also been told that I speak Tianjinhua very well, even though, again, I make sure to speak "proper" mandarin.

Slowly, very slowly, I realized that what they're really saying is that when I speak Mandarin they can tell I've lived in Tianjin a long time. I have a slight "Tianjin" accent (along with a foreigner's as well of course).

I think that's a pretty good illustration of how Chinese treat "languages".

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