Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

The Demonization of Non-Mandarin Sinitic Language


green40
 Share

Recommended Posts

If the people's Mandarin is not good enough, why not have them study harder, provide better programs instead of limiting Cantonese? Limiting Cantonese will cause people's Cantonese ability to drop, and thus future generations will drop too.

MakMak- here is the gist of what I've basically argued for years: promote Mandarin as a common lingua franca, but allow media to use whatever language they choose. This is basically what you're saying above too. (Although, for the record, I'm a white American - not a northern Chinese person. This means my opinion on this matter doesn't really have any influence whatsoever! Also, for the record, I've been studying Cantonese for 3 years or so, and although I'm not great, I can at least talk about most subjects in Cantonese. So, I'm hardly a Cantonese hater).

However, I would state once again: the best way to protect Cantonese (and other Chinese dialects), in my view, is to confidently promote its use in areas deemed to be of "high culture" or prestige (rob07's example of what Dante did for Italian is just what I had in mind). But also one could make various forms of creative and interesting content for others to share. Obviously, Cantonese is lucky in that HK is a influential media hub. But this could work on the individual level as well. One could make short film or documentary in Cantonese, write an e-book, a blog, comic, novel, host a podcast...etc. You could also give free lessons to non-Cantonese speaking people in your community. I think becoming an activist (in this sense of doing some sort of activity) will be better in the long-run than creating straw men Putonghua speakers who demonize and insult Cantonese as a way to rally the troops, so to speak.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

However, I would state once again: the best way to protect Cantonese (and other Chinese dialects), in my view, is to confidently promote its use in areas deemed to be of "high culture" or prestige (rob07's example of what Dante did for Italian is just what I had in mind). But also one could make various forms of creative and interesting content for others to share. Obviously, Cantonese is lucky in that HK is a influential media hub. But this could work on the individual level as well. One could make short film or documentary in Cantonese, write an e-book, a blog, comic, novel, host a podcast...etc. You could also give free lessons to non-Cantonese speaking people in your community. I think becoming an activist (in this sense of doing some sort of activity) will be better in the long-run than creating straw men Putonghua speakers who demonize and insult Cantonese as a way to rally the troops, so to speak.

THANK YOU! You have stated exactly my incentives and motives clearly!

This is the reason I formed my Cantonese blog: http://canton168.byethost31.com

The reason for this is I want to:

1) Promote the learning and use of Cantonese

2) Encourage people to use it more by making it easier (phonetics, dictionary, etc)

3) Find some way that will get people interested in it

As for #3. You are right, HK being a influential media hub. Despite some political and governmental policies that Hong Kong has that I do n't agree with (not different from any government in the world to be honest, every government has its flaws), I am very grateful that Hong Kong has been successful in its use of Cantonese (albeit sometimes it's not a good accurate representation of all of Guangdong). I have had some Taiwanese friends and even a Shanghainese friend who loved watching Hong Kong dramas and it's because of the mandarin subtitles, they began picking up Cantonese (and enjoyed the fact that they did).

The best way to promote a language to the younger generations in my opinion can not be done by stating things such as "preserve our culture!", "learn your roots!" or something like that. In order to do so you must:

1) For those inside the culture, you must give them something to be proud of. Perhaps say Dim Sum in terms of food, or southern Chinese Martial Arts like Wing Chun (永春) or Choy Lei Fut (蔡李佛)。 Or if you want to be drastic, have an event such as what China tried to "oust Cantonese" and they will rise.

2) For those outside the culture, if you want the younger generation to be interested, your best bet has got to be mainstream media. A large group of my friends began wanting to learn Korean and Japanese just because of their Entertainment and Music.

With that in mind, if you by any chance have a Cantonese blog, culture related or language related. I'd be happy to trade links with. It can be any language: English, Mandarin, Cantonese, even French or Japanese for the matter. Point is I want to create a large network of Cantonese related sites. If we have enough people, we'll have enough power to convince or "suggest" protection and promotion of Cantonese in many ways.

Oh that wasn't on this forum in particular. I meant in general. I've had some people who spoke Mandarin (Shangdong 山東人) tell me to "Forget about Cantonese, it's pretty useless. Mandarin is more efficient. Who cares about the history or this or that. It's about using it." I can't accept that. Why do WE Cantonese people have to give everything up for their sake? Isn't it enough that we learn both our language and Mandarin? Why must we also now give ours up?

There was this other guy (Wuhan 武漢人). Heh, he gave an even BETTER answer. "Cantonese is the language of gangsters and rapists"... my response was seriously "what... the... hell..." I'm sure many of you guys here in this forum don't hate on Cantonese nor wish for its demise. But for people out there in the world who just wanna eliminate our language. Sometimes I just wanna ask: "why?"

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).

So how about the Cantonese people themselves? Better make sure you are blame-free before you point your finger at others.

I could easily say I had worse experience when I tried to speak Mandarin in Hong Kong (which I have been doing in the past) but after reading this post I realised that things are always changing and it is not fair and can be even dangerous to generalise only a few personal cases to a large population with great internal variation. This kind of examples more than often just lead to nothing but personal attacks which are not productive at all.

And until now I still have seen any solid evidence of "Demonization of Cantonese" in this post so far. Speaking of cultural revolution, 文字狱 is one of the common forms employed in political persecution in cultural revolution you know...

Okay I wasn't the one cursing just to clarify, but I just want to say: yes you're right. As bad as Northern Chinese people are, Southern Chinese people are just as bad. There's awesome and shitty people of any race, ethnicity, etc. I'm only pointing out the ones that have no sense of shame putting down other people's language. I'm pretty sure you, Xiaocai, are one of the smarter people who are not like that. I've had a lot of support from non-Cantonese Chinese friends who have told me ideas to support my language.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

MakMak- thanks for the interesting blog! That's exactly the type of thing I had in mind. B)

I also think the story of the Taiwanese and Shanghaiese friends picking up some Cantonese is interesting. It reminds me of the HK rock band Beyond...and how they were shocked when they went to the Mainland for the first time, and found that the whole audience knew all the lyrics in Cantonese!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MakMak- thanks for the interesting blog! That's exactly the type of thing I had in mind. B)

I also think the story of the Taiwanese and Shanghaiese friends picking up some Cantonese is interesting. It reminds me of the HK rock band Beyond...and how they were shocked when they went to the Mainland for the first time, and found that the whole audience knew all the lyrics in Cantonese!

Thank YOU for reading it! I would ask you to help me spread it to all your friends, but I think it would be even better if you were able to start a blog on it yourself! We could trade links and be able to gather more and more readers everywhere. This way we can spread it even faster. Well... I mean only if you're interested in doing so :). And the Beyond concert bit. I did NOT know about that... that's pretty interesting and great to hear :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Renzhe,

Renzhe wrote:

Hoffman said "taught their language", not "taught IN their language".

Hoffman wrote:

Of course, being taught in one's own language is a right also.

See!

Hoffman does think that it's also a right to be taught in one's own language. :P

I was thinking of the ESL (English as a second language) learners.

How they'd do in their other courses if they're only taught in a language they don't speak well or at all.

Won't they be at a disadvantage?

We hear a lot about "why Johnny can't read".

Well how is Juanito supposed to learn his three r's if he doesn't know what's going on in geography, history, arithmetic, science, etc.?

Doom them to D's and F's?

I think I read somewhere of immersion programs where they are taught in Spanish but it's rare(?).

I think I read somewhere that a school district is using Mandarin immersion where everything is taught using Chinese except English somewhere in the states.

I think they've also got this in SE Asia as well?

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Renzhe,

Renzhe wrote:

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.

Oh.

Renzhe wrote:

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.

I really don't see what the big deal is about these 5 characters.

In any "Mandarin" dictionary they will have the same definition as how they are used in Cantonese.

From "A New Century Chinese-English Dictionary", a mainland dictionary:

2yo4obd.jpg

食 also means "to eat" in standard Chinese or Mandarin.

Also, from "A New Century Chinese-English Dictionary":

35c4r5j.jpg

飲 also means "to drink" in standard Chinese or Mandarin.

Again, from "A New Century Chinese-English Dictionary":

2qnpr0j.jpg

着 also means "to wear" in standard Chinese or Mandarin.

For 話 it's a bit trickier.

"A New Century Chinese-English Dictionary" has:

307rjpf.jpg

which has "(verb) talk about; speak about" which might not be the same as "speak" and "talk".

But, this from the Xinhua Zidian leaves no ambiguity.

2rwrvk4.jpg

The second definition is "shuo1" and "tan2" which both means "to speak", "to talk".

渠 is even trickier since the third person pronoun is a rather late invention to Chinese. That's why there are so many variations between the dialects.

Still, from the online edition of the Guoyu Cidian put out by The Republic of China (Taiwan)'s Ministry of Education:

30bcp02.jpg

渠 has a definition of ta1.

They even have "qu2 men5":

iqhopd.jpg

But in Cantonese they wouldn't use "men5" they use "dei".

Here, is the entry from "A New Century Chinese-English Dictionary":

11ry9lj.jpg

It says that it's "fang" meaning a "dialect" or if you will a "regionalect" but they don't say what dialect or region and if it's in a standard dictionary anyone may use it. Just check out my thread about "bra". B)

The Guoyu Cidian doesn't even consider it "fang" but they might mean that it's from literary Chinese. They unfortunately don't make a distinction between such things. But still it's included in the modern mainland dictionary, "A New Century Chinese-English Dictionary".

So, if you write an essay or thesis using those characters and the professor calls you out about it. Refer to the dictionary and challenge it. Set him or her right. :P

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The fact that e.g. the verb 食 is not often used on its own in modern spoken Mandarin, or in written vernacular, does not mean that this meaning does not exist and isn't widely known.

For example, in phrases such as 自食其力, 自食其果, or 可食. Same goes for other examples mentioned, such as the verb 着 zhuó, used to mean "wear" in phrases such as 穿着打扮 or 吃着不尽. Or there is 话别 and 话家常, where 话 is used as a verb.

Of course one can use 食 alone as a verb when writing Cantonese, and there's nothing wrong with this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Renzhe's point is well-taken. I, a non-native learner of Mandarin, am already familiar with the usage of 食 and 着 as verbs through my studies of chengyus, which means that any native speaker is going to these usages too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I agree with renzhe as well. It is true. I don't see why we have to hate on each others' languages. Like I've said. Mandarin has Mandarin. Cantonese has Cantonese. We can freely learn each others' if we want. But doing anything that would impede on the development, growth, or progress, that I can't accept.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking back in retrospect. Green40 had a good point. Mandarin does use the word 食 still, but not to the same caliber as it does in Cantonese. In Mandarin, 食 is use as a noun, whereas in Cantonese it keeps it's original flavor as both a noun and a verb. I think that's something to appreciate :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...