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The Demonization of Non-Mandarin Sinitic Language


green40
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I think you're being quite disingenuous about that website, for example in your presentation you write that 佢 is 'regarded' as "improper usage and Hong Kong style". However, despite the quotation marks, that is not a quote from the website, which says about 佢:

佢 koey5

(1) 他(tā) ,她(tā) ,它(tā) 。

(2) 用在祈使句中表示使令:閂埋度門佢[把門關上]!

That is, its just a dictionary.

In fact, the website also has sections promoting 'standard' (I have no idea how accurate it is since I don't speak cantonese) pronunciations in cantonese, hardly something it would do if it was trying to stamp the language out.

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LOOK at the NAME of the website

before calling me a liar .

Hong Kong Style Usage Clinic

I guess Mandarin speakers will pretend that they don't understand what it implies or even can't see the name of it. at all . B)

If it were a "dictionary, why would they use "診症室" (clinic)?

When your teacher tell you to look up dictionary, will he/she say "go to clinic,boy, your mother tongue is an illness"? :P :o B)

Look at the aim of the website - teach people to use proper Mandarin and "CHINESE".

If the aim was for Mandarin, it was OK. But for now, their aim is for "Chinese" also.

Why isn't Cantonese usage a "Chinese" usage?

Why would the government need to use the word "clinic" on "Cantonese language"?

It seems you are denying the fact the that government is trying to call "Cantonese usage" as an illness.

The Chinese government always claim this and that as "colloquial" and restrict people from writing it out.

It turns out that "colloquial" are very sophisticated usage that can be seen on poems from thousands years ago.

Why are the verbs "食", "飲", "着", "話" and the pronoun "渠" deemed as "HK Usage" just because they aren't Mandarin usage?

If a child put "明日" (tomorrow) on his essay, his teacher would told him to write "明天" instead, because "日" isn't a Mandarin usage.

Foreigners who are learning Japanese think that these are unique Japanese usage. How shameful!

I don't believe that Mandarin speakers haven't studied classical Chinese. These scholars are shameless.

What they are doing is just like how people pulled down ancient architecture and antiques during Cultural Revolution.

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I got the impression that the "Hong Kong Style Usage Clinic" site is about written language only. It seems to be designed to help Hong Kong and other Cantonese people to learn standard written Chinese, which is not a bad thing per se, because it is absolutely essential for education and work. After all, it is not only used in Mainland China, but also in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, and overseas Chinese communities.

Even though I am a big supporter written Cantonese and other regional forms of writing Chinese, knowing how to use standard written Chinese properly (in addition to local writing systems) is a big advantage in my opinion. And I think that is what the site is really about.

I know several kids in Hong Kong who have issues differentiating between what is acceptable in standard written Chinese and what should be only used in written Cantonese.

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I hear you, sebhk. The problem is that the overall trend is one of promoting PTH in Chinese language teaching and MSWC as the only way to write. At the same time, there is no official acknowledgement in HK that written Canto has its own place, and that as HK moves toward Putonghua medium instruction (PMI) and greater "accuracy" in MSWC, it would still be a good thing to allow, and even teach some written Canto in schools. It is completely demonized, even by Chinese teachers who can't speak PTH well and whose own proficiency in MSWC is questionable.

A few years ago, HKIED Chair Professor Andy Kirkpatrick delivered a conference paper in which he stated that HK should make a greater effort toward PMI in Chinese lessons, but at the same time should begin holding one or two lessons a weak on writing Cantonese. The dude was subjected to a total blood bath. He has one or two higher degrees from the mainland and supposedly speaks good PTH (I don't know; never met him). Nevertheless pretty much every Chinese teacher I knew who heard or heard of the presentation skewered him as a dumb foreigner who knows nothing about The Chinese Language, and then raised the same lame argument as always about why written Canto shouldn't be taught: "If it is your mother tongue, you should be able to just write it; there is no need for formal intstruction!"

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My point in here is on the written language. Take a look at the aim and you will see that they claim to promote the proper use of both Mandarin and "Chinese".

What is "Chinese" then? Is Cantonese Chinese??? Is Cantonese usage a Chinese usage? Also, those Cantonese usages are taken right out of the ancient literature!

They are also part of the treasure of Chinese language. The "standard" of CPC is wiping out these "non-standard" words that have been used for thousands of years!

This is much much worser than Cultural Revolution. It is like demolishing historic buildings. Historic buildings can be rebuilt. (The CPC don't even bother to use back the original building material)

However, when a usage gone , it will be gone forever. You can never ever retrieve that.

Do you find it bad that people think "着/食" as a verb is a Japanese usage?

The language suppression got so far that the ancient usage which Li Bai李白 and other poets used is being treated like DIRT.

What I hate about is

1. The government treat Cantonese usage as an epidemic.

2.. Cantonese usage and grammar is also derived from ancient literature, why can't they regarded as "Chinese".

I got a book on Tai-Kadai grammar which Cantonese shares some similarity with them , and the author cites from Old Chinese literature

and illustrates that Tai-Kadai grammar preserves the Old Chinese grammar. I will make more power point on this.

What makes Chinese "dialects" in dangerous situation is that it can't be written out. The CPC even have laws to ban public from using the "non-standard" usage.

Don't just focus on the spoken part. Focus more on the written part. Many of the Cantonese grammar and vocab are also from ancient literature.

http://www.edutech.org.tw/Prospect/MLT-TMSS%281b%29.htm

Taiwanese schools start encouraging students to write in Taiwanese, a Min language.

Written Cantonese and other "dialects" should be allowed along side with written Mandarin, the "Standard".

Many Hong Kong teacher are just rubbish. They are either propaganda machine of CPC or just become a teacher purely for money,PURELY.

Many people call them "teaching bastard". 教畜.

When I was a student, those ******** rubbish Chinese teachers had never give lessons on Cantonese tones and entering tones.

That makes many people don't know how to appreciate Chinese literature with Cantonese and don't know how much depth Cantonese language can have.

Many adults don't even know what the **** is entering tones.

The suppression is too great that not even some proper lesson on Cantonese phonetics are allowed to be in school.

And that's important when people go to learn Mandarin and English. They have no ******* idea on the sounds that Cantonese have and don' have.

Many parents don't want their children to speak Cantonese because they are afraid of the Cantonese accent.

Knowing the phonetics can "cure" much of the problems. I don't agree with these people on accents. I think accent is fine but proper education on Cantonese phonetics can "cure" the problem.

It is just sucks that schools teach phonetics of Mandarin and English but not Cantonese.

Most Asian languages are ordered with Sanskrit way so they don't necessary need phonetics lessons:

How Tibetan /Dai/Japanese order their writing scripts..

Tibetan

ka kha ga gha nga (velar)

ca cha dza dzha nya (palatal)

Japanese

ka ki ku ke ko (velar)

sa shi su se so (alveolar)

Dai

high tone: Ka Kha Nga (velar)

low tone : Ka Kha Nga (velar)

Cantonese definitely needs phonetic lessons .People don't know to pronounce the ng sound at all.

It sucks. It just sucks. The government bar people from knowing that their mother tongue is also a great language and can't stop perpetuate the propaganda that Cantonese is useless and ugly sounding.

Pick a person on the street and ask him/her how many tones do Cantonese have. Most can't answer you back or give you some uncertain answers like 6,7,8,9,10?

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They are either propaganda machine of CPC or just become a teacher purely for money,PURELY.

I agree that many Hong kong Chinese teachers tend to have a negative view towards written Cantonese - Don Snow's book on written Cantonese found that this was one of the groups most forcefully against written Cantonese - but I would say that the reason is not that they're CPC stooges or in love with money.

I can't say for sure, but I think they feel there is one standard way to write Chinese, and their students aren't good at doing that because they are so influenced by written Cantonese....comics, magazines, porn, chat rooms...etc (or so the argument runs).

I'm far from an expert on this, but I think a big part of the problem is that written Cantonese tends to predominate in the above genres, as so it isn't seen as a "High" language or prestige language when put down in writing. From this point of view, I've sometimes thought that the best way to reverse the situational would be to have some heavy weight, well-read public intellectual write in Cantonese. If Cantonese had someone like Plato, William James, Nietzsche, Tagore, Machiavelli...etc writing in Cantonese, public perceptions could change. (On the other hand, maybe Cantonese people need more exposure to Mandarin and English low culture so that they these languages aren't immediately linked to the fields of higher education, white collar jobs, and finance).

Another solution, it seems to me, is to teach more Mandarin - especially in its spoken form - to HK students. That way they could hopefully differentiate Mandarin usage from Cantonese usage. If they read a lot in Standard Mandarin, they'd also naturally absorb many of the written conventions and vocabulary used up north. On the other hand, reading comics and other Cantonese-based materials could help boost the speed of literacy, and although there are some issues in figuring out what is "standard" usage, it seems that reading in Cantonese has far more benefits than drawbacks for young learners, at least from the point of view of promoting literacy and a culture of reading.

One thing I would take issue with, however, is the idea that Mandarin is a more new language, and therefore doesn't have the "history" that the other dialects/regionalects/languages have. (One often reads this sort of thing, and I'm not saying that anyone is explicitly saying that here). But what is the sub-context of this? It seems to me that it is often argued that Cantonese has more direct links to Middle Chinese, as evidenced by the better rhyming of Tang poems and whatnot, whereas Mandarin experienced larger shifts due to contacts with northern tribes. First, I'm no linguist, but I highly doubt there was ever one version of Chinese uniformly spoken in the Tang dynasty, or in any dynasty that spanned hundreds of years and had millions of square kilometers in territory, and I'd be willing to bet that there were tons and tons of dialects back then. Second, so what if Mandarin was later influenced greatly? Are northern tribe people not "Chinese"? Finally, why is a longer history always better? Must history always be phallusized? ;)

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At the same time, there is no official acknowledgement in HK that written Canto has its own place,

I am comfortable with it.

it would still be a good thing to allow, and even teach some written Canto in schools.

I disagree.

Another solution, it seems to me, is to teach more Mandarin - especially in its spoken form - to HK students. That way they could hopefully differentiate Mandarin usage from Cantonese usage. If they read a lot in Standard Mandarin, they'd also naturally absorb many of the written conventions and vocabulary used up north.

This is OK, IMHO.

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I've sometimes thought that the best way to reverse the situation would be to have some heavy weight, well-read public intellectual write in Cantonese. If Cantonese had someone like Plato, William James, Nietzsche, Tagore, Machiavelli...etc writing in Cantonese, public perceptions could change.

This is a great point. Dante did this for Italian with his Divine Comedy (they call him the Father of the Italian Language), and indirectly made it acceptable to write as the language was spoken throughout Europe when Chaucer and others followed his example. Before Dante, anything written wasn't taken seriously unless it was written in Latin. As wikipedia notes: "By creating a poem of epic structure and philosophic purpose, he established that the Italian language was suitable for the highest sort of expression.". (Arguably 李白 and others have done this already for Cantonese usages, but maybe people need to be reminded by someone modern.)

In China, 曹雪芹 did something similar, his 红楼梦 helped a great deal in making it possible to write in 白话 rather than 文言文 and still be taken seriously.

I don't see why some great writers couldn't step up and do the same for Cantonese, although it might be harder as people read less now we have TV so it is harder for a writer to have the impact that Dante and others did.

Although, in the case of Dante, Chaucer and 曹雪芹 it was generally the quality of their works that did the talking rather than their pre-existing public reputations.

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I am comfortable with it.

Sorry' date=' I'm not clear on what you meant here. What is the "it" in your statment referring to?

it would still be a good thing to allow, and even teach some written Canto in schools.

I disagree.

Why? Considering the breadth of knowledge you've shared on these forums, I'm sure you've put some thought into this particular question. I'm curious to know your reasoning.

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This is a great point. Dante did this for Italian with his Divine Comedy

You could also consider Martin Luther and the translation of the Bible into German. This act almost single-handedly provided the foundations of the modern German language.

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I am comfortable with the current position that there is no official acknowledgement in Hong Kong that written Cantonese has its own place.

I disagree that written Cantonese should be taught in school. I think that standard Chinese should be the written language in Hong Kong. I can't offer further reasons other than that this is my personal opinion. And I am just an ordinary local in Hong Kong and do not have much specialised knowledge in Chinese or Cantonese (except that I can use them without difficulties) so perhaps you should not take my opinions too seriously.

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Dear all,

Rob07 wrote:

(Arguably 李白 and others have done this already for Cantonese usages, but maybe people need to be reminded by someone modern.)

XXXXXX

Just because Tang Dynasty poems rhyme better when read out loud in Cantonese (or any of the dozens of other modern southern Chinese dialects)? And this only because the finals "-k", "-m", "-p", & "-t" have been retained to a degree, more or less, in most of the southern dialects whereas it's been lost in Mandarin.

Li Bai was a poet?

Is Cantonese meant to be spoken in rhyme? :blink:

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

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Dear all,

Hofmann wrote:

It is everyone's right to be taught their language in school. Therefore, I think Cantonese in its full form should be taught in schools in Cantonese-speaking areas.

XXXXX

This reminds me of the ebonics controversy of 1996.

Oakland Ebonics controversy

Where the Oakland, California school board passed a resolution recognizing the legitimacy of "Ebonics" or African American Vernacular English as a language.

Should the right to be taught in their own language in school be extended to Hispanic students in the US?

English A Barrier For Latinos In Schools

I believe some schools do offer bilingual instruction but I don't know if extends to all subjects or only language classes.

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

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I was referring to Green40's statement that

The language suppression got so far that the ancient usage which Li Bai李白 and other poets used is being treated like DIRT.

As far as I understand what they said, they weren't referring just to the rhyming but also to this sort of thing:

Why are the verbs "食", "飲", "着", "話" and the pronoun "渠" deemed as "HK Usage" just because they aren't Mandarin usage?

I said "arguably", because as I understood Green40, they were making that argument. I don't really know anything about Cantonese so I don't have an opinion myself.

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Another solution, it seems to me, is to teach more Mandarin - especially in its spoken form - to HK students. That way they could hopefully differentiate Mandarin usage from Cantonese usage. If they read a lot in Standard Mandarin, they'd also naturally absorb many of the written conventions and vocabulary used up north

All I can reply is FUCK YOU.

Northern Chinese are 1000 times worser than colonist and Japanese(during the time of WW2, to be specific).

http://americanenglishdoctor.com/ They must think English is a disease to be 'cured' as well I guess.

Hey, Mandarin speaker, google a better site please. This site is really about the mistakes of English pronunciation and grammar. ;)

This is not a site that calling another language a "disease". If A does something wrong, does that justify what B does if B is trying to do the same thing?

Even if you can find a GOVERNMENT-FUNDED website that picking on another language as a sickness, does that justify what Chinese government did to the Cantonese language?

I can't say for sure, but I think they feel there is one standard way to write Chinese, and their students aren't good at doing that because they are so influenced by written Cantonese....comics, magazines, porn, chat rooms...etc (or so the argument runs).

Because HK people don't have the habit of literature reading. That's all.

Are northern tribe people not "Chinese"?

It can be "yes" or "no" depending on different aspects. However, Mandarin vocabulary is already listed as "standard" and nowadays only "standard" can be used. Great motherland even have laws to prevent people from using the "non-standard" word.

I can't offer further reasons other than that this is my personal opinion. And I am just an ordinary local in Hong Kong and do not have much specialised knowledge in Chinese or Cantonese (except that I can use them without difficulties) so perhaps you should not take my opinions too seriously.

Then you should buy books on "正字" and see the origin of many "colloquial" usages. You will appreciate Cantonese better.

We are all brainwashed to believe that Cantonese is ugly and useless.

Start from here, take a look

http://bbs.cantonese.asia/thread-2896-1-1.html

Li Bai was a poet?

yes

Arguably 李白 and others have done this already for Cantonese usages, but maybe people need to be reminded by someone modern.

Many poets who weren't Cantonese (not born in Guangdong, Guangxi) wrote with nowadays "Cantonese" usage.

Just because Tang Dynasty poems rhyme better when read out loud in Cantonese (or any of the dozens of other modern southern Chinese dialects)? And this only because the finals "-k", "-m", "-p", & "-t" have been retained to a degree, more or less, in most of the southern dialects whereas it's been lost in Mandarin.

If Cantonese were a dialect of Mandarin, why do the CPC so wanted to push Mandarin as teaching medium in HK?

If Cantonese were really a dialect (Like British and American English, then Cantonese medium school would have no difference from a Mandarin medium school. People are contradicting themselves. Cantonese is obviously not a dialect. Cantonese grammar is different from Mandarin grammar and therefore people worry about written Cantonese can affect written Mandarin. Schools ban Cantonese because Cantonese is unintelligible with Mandarin and they afraid Cantonese would screw up the speech of Mandarin.

Different pronunciation , different grammar and different vocabulary - it is more than enough to be qualified as a language. I don't see French and Spanish have that much degree of differences.

And Northern people wish for Cantonese people to take up vocabulary from the north and kill it. (screw them all)

The relationship between Cantonese and Mandarin is two languages from the same branch. Therefore a Putonghua lesson everyday is enough.

The takeover of school with Mandarin is COLON ISM. Ironically, in the Chinese textbook of mainland high school, there is an essay about Nazi German

ban the education of the French language.

The cultural revolution gene is still inside them. Classical Chinese text is like Latin, and Chinese languages are just like branch of Romance/Germanic languages. The usage of Cantonese is also taken from ancient Chinese and now the Northerner want it to lost so badly. Pathetic.

This is a Language Cultural Revolution that Northern Chinese and brainwashed Southerner ruin the treasures of Chinese culture.

You point out the fact that why teaching Chinese (literature, actually) with Mandarin is a bull s***. First, Cantonese rhymes better Second, P,T,K and M is also important. P,t,k words are usually related to motions and m words are usually about darkness/something being covered such as 暗,掩 (am, jim in Canto pronunciation).

P,T,K,M gives colour and mood to literature reading. Therefore Mandarin can't convey these feelings and should not be used to teach literature.

The poem below has k-ending words at the end of every 2 sentences to convey anger and sadness.

杜甫

佳人

絕代有佳人 幽居在空 谷(kuk)

自云良家子 零落依草 木(muk)

關中昔喪亂 兄弟遭殺 戮(luk)

官高何足論 不得收骨 肉(yuk)

世情惡衰歇 萬事隨轉 燭(chuk)

夫婿輕薄兒 新人美如 玉(yuk)

合昏尚知時 鴛鴦不獨 宿(suk)

但見新人笑 那聞舊人 哭(huk)

在山泉水清 出山泉水 濁(chuk)

侍婢賣珠迴 牽蘿補茅屋(uk)

摘花不插髮 采柏動盈 掬(guk)

天寒翠袖薄 日暮倚修竹(chuk)

Green40, have you written to the people who maintain that clinic website or Chinese University of Hong Kong with your opinion? If so, what was their response?

Do you think writing to CPC is useful? B) B) B) B) B) B) B) B) B)

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