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XiaoXi

Differences in English accents . . .

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XiaoXi
Generally, northerners roll their tongues more. This results in a clear distinction between zh, sh ch and z, s, c, but it also results in the -er endings (erhua).

The standard defines that zh, sh, ch should be done with a rolled tongue (unlike z, c, and s), and it also defines a (small) amount of erhua that should be pronounced. The southerners generally struggle with zh, ch, sh and the northerners struggle with using too much erhua.

Some people in England have accents where they pronounce 'th' as 'f'. ie fanks instead of thanks. Its not a huge problem as long as no non-natives try to learn English from them.

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anonymoose
Some people in England have accents where they pronounce 'th' as 'f'. ie fanks instead of thanks.

True, but I think that's more down to (lack of) education than a regional thing.

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renzhe

I'm not sure about the "f", but England is extremely rich with regional accents that are sometimes very hard to understand for people who didn't spend a certain amount of time there.

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XiaoXi
True, but I think that's more down to (lack of) education than a regional thing.

No its certainly nothing to do with education. Its just down to where you come from. I've known very intelligent people in higher end jobs that have this accent. Are you suggesting its also down to a lack of education that everyone in Taiwan says 我四 instead of 我是 ?

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anonymoose

So what region do those people come from?

In my personal experience, anyway, it seems to be people lacking education (or let's say chav-like people) who speak like that.

I didn't say anything about Taiwan.

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XiaoXi
So what region do those people come from?

In my personal experience, anyway, it seems to be people lacking education (or let's say chav-like people) who speak like that.

Well you obviously have very little experience of that at all then. There are many university students and other working professionals that have that kind of accent. I think what you're doing is judging people with that kind of accent to be of low education purely due to that fact they speak that way. Anyway it wasn't my intention to alter this thread into one about English accents, my intention was to relate this mispronunciation of Chinese to the same kind of mispronunciation in that English accent.

Its actually a much bigger problem in Chinese since they only have a small number of different word sounds that are each altered by tone.

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anonymoose
Well you obviously have very little experience of that at all then. There are many university students and other working professionals that have that kind of accent.

You're wrong. I spent over seven years at university in the UK, so that shows that what may seem obvious to you in fact has no basis in actuality.

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XiaoXi
You're wrong. I spent over seven years at university in the UK, so that shows that what may seem obvious to you in fact has no basis in actuality.

I didn't say anything was obvious, I just said that people with that accent are sometimes highly educated and sometimes not. The accent has no bearing on their education. So what you're saying is all these people I mentioned that I met in real life in fact don't exist?

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anonymoose
Well you obviously have very little experience of that at all then.
I didn't say anything was obvious

Can anyone spot the contradiction?

I'm not going to continue arguing. It's pointless.

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XiaoXi

I thought by 'obvious' you were referring to that I was saying it was obvious that people with that accent could be highly educated or not. I didn't think you were referring to the fact I said it was obvious you had little experience of people with that accent otherwise you simply would have come across those people.

I've lived in England for far longer than you have and I'm telling you that people with that accent can be highly educated or not. What's the point in telling me you didn't see them in the seven years you were here so they don't exist?

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anonymoose
I've lived in England for far longer than you have and I'm telling you that people with that accent can be highly educated or not. What's the point in telling me you didn't see them in the seven years you were here so they don't exist?

You're just making one wild assumption after another. I said I spent over seven years at university in the UK. I didn't say I was only in the UK for seven years. :roll:

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XiaoXi
You're just making one wild assumption after another. I said I spent over seven years at university in the UK. I didn't say I was only in the UK for seven years.

That's not really the point is it? I have a friend, he's from a part of London and says 'thanks' as 'fanks' and 'think' as 'fink' and yet he has a very high level of general knowledge, studied to masters degree level at university, works as a higher level probation officer and is considered middle class by his lifestyle. Your argument is built on the premise that this person and other persons like him do not exist. Its just an ACCENT. I don't know if there's anywhere in the world in fact where accents have a direct correlation to their education level but please correct me if I'm wrong. That's normally more attributed to level of vocabulary and grammar than a particular way someone pronounces words.

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TezUK

Take it from somebody who was born in the North of England. Saying fanks instead of thanks is how we grew up to speak. I am fully aware the standard British pronunciation has a Th, but I happen to like my accent so say it with an F anyway. As Xiaoxi says its ridiculous to say it has any correlation to a person's level of education. I see a Northern English accent kind of like a Northern Chinese accent: strong and kind of rough.

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wushijiao
Anyway it wasn't my intention to alter this thread into one about English accents, my intention was to relate this mispronunciation of Chinese to the same kind of mispronunciation in that English accent.

I see what your saying, but I think that there's a substantial difference between English and Putonghua: Putonghua has formal standards for pronunciation, while English does not.

People may place certain value judgments on certain regional speech patterns in English speaking countries, and certain accents may have more prestige than others, but there's still no formal standard like the 普通话标准考试 that you need to pass to do certain professions.

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XiaoXi
I see what your saying, but I think that there's a substantial difference between English and Putonghua: Putonghua has formal standards for pronunciation, while English does not.

People may place certain value judgments on certain regional speech patterns in English speaking countries, and certain accents may have more prestige than others, but there's still no formal standard like the 普通话标准考试 that you need to pass to do certain professions.

Well then its even more important that Chinese is spoken correctly then. That's my point entirely. So how come foreigners learning Chinese in Taiwan for example are taught to pronounce non-standard mandarin? They're taught to say sh as s, zh as z etc. Its like if someone from China came to study English at Newcastle and was taught to speak fluent "Geordie-hua". :P

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adrianlondon

A better example would be if someone was learning English in America. They'd be taught American spelling and usage.

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renzhe
A better example would be if someone was learning English in America. They'd be taught American spelling and usage.

Travesty!!! :mrgreen:

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Senzhi
Anyway it wasn't my intention to alter this thread into one about English accents, my intention was to relate this mispronunciation of Chinese to the same kind of mispronunciation in that English accent.

Language is related to culture. Each language is defined by rules: vocabulary, proncunciation, grammar .... which is why dictionaries became so popular in the world.

But even those dictionaries do, each year, have to release new versions, as old cultures disappear and new cultures come in. Can anyone think of the word "texting" (verb "to text") in a dictionary 30 years old?

Language is related to culture. And where culture differs, language will also differ. The more the culture differs, the more the language differs. And this counts for all languages in the world (I speak five of them.)

A better example would be if someone was learning English in America. They'd be taught American spelling and usage.

A good example of the above, together with all other countries and regions that have English as an official (or regional) language.

I have never been to Malaysia nor Singapore, but I'm sure also Mandarin sounds different there.

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XiaoXi
A better example would be if someone was learning English in America. They'd be taught American spelling and usage.

Haha. American is different but they basically pronounce everything the same. Its not different enough to make some of their words sound like other words which is what's happening in Chinese when interchange sh for s, zh for z etc.

Language is related to culture. Each language is defined by rules: vocabulary, proncunciation, grammar .... which is why dictionaries became so popular in the world.

But even those dictionaries do, each year, have to release new versions, as old cultures disappear and new cultures come in. Can anyone think of the word "texting" (verb "to text") in a dictionary 30 years old?

Language is related to culture. And where culture differs, language will also differ. The more the culture differs, the more the language differs. And this counts for all languages in the world (I speak five of them.)

Interesting point but it doesn't really explain why I'd start saying the number four instead of 'am'. (是 for 四).

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renzhe

For the same reason that people started saying "to-mey-to", "mom" and "fasterrrrrrr" instead of continuing to use some British accent. :conf

Language changes, and when there is little communication between two groups speaking the same language, the two standards can diverge from each other.

The disappearing of "sh", "zh" and "ch" is an influence of the local dialect on Mandarin. Just like the "er" (which is a part of the mainland standard today, but rarely used in Taiwan) is an influence of Manchurian.

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