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Shai

Qingdao dialect?

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Shai

I know every province has it own dialect but how different is the Mandarine spoken on the street from standart? Total immersion is my main reason to go study at China and so I am trying to figure out which way to go...

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Demonic_Duck

Disclaimer: never been to Qingdao.

 

Looking at Wikipedia:

A local accent known as Qingdao dialect (青岛话, pinyin qingdao hua) distinguishes the residents of the city from those of the surrounding Shandong province. Due to the efforts by the city government to promote standard Mandarin, most educated people can speak that language in addition to their native language.

 

Looking at Youku (search 青岛话 and you'll find a load of videos):

青岛话 is very recognisably Mandarin, although it's also clearly non-standard. I very much doubt your average speaker of "perfect CCTV-standard putonghua" (if such people even really exist "in the wild") would have any major problems understanding it.

 

Either way, I would imagine your tutor would use more standard pronunciation for your lessons, unless you specifically told them you wanted to learn 青岛话.

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anonymoose

How do you intend to learn? By eavesdropping on people in the street? If not, then I don't think you need to worry about it. Any educated people speaking to you will do so in more-or-less standard Mandarin. If you want to learn off your local fruit seller, then you don't have many options.

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gato

It should be pretty close to Mandarin. But I'd recommend going to Yantai instead of Qingdao if you want to go to Shandong. Yantai is a smaller city and a lot more charming. Yantai is more compact and walkable/bikeable, whereas Qingdao is a sprawling industrial-looking city.

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Shai

Qingdao actually appeals to me more because it is a bigger city. Im actually contemplating Chengdu vs. Qingdao, with dialect being the big question. So no, I dont intend on learning from taxi drivers, but hearing good putonghua around me most of the time should put me on the right track. In Chengdu sichuanhua is pretty evident but I have no idea how bad it is in Qingdao.

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Demonic_Duck
How do you intend to learn? By eavesdropping on people in the street? If not, then I don't think you need to worry about it. Any educated people speaking to you will do so in more-or-less standard Mandarin. If you want to learn off your local fruit seller, then you don't have many options.

This isn't quite fair, as you may well need and/or wish to interact with said fruit seller, whether or not you're treating it as a learning opportunity at the same time. Also, when you're hanging out with a group of people who are talking to each other, they may very well be speaking 青岛话, except when they're explaining things to you.

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anonymoose

Unless your Chinese is already of a pretty decent standard, I doubt you'll be able to understand much of what's around you wherever you go. I spent my first year in China in Dalian, which in some ways is similar to Qingdao. I had no problem communicating with people directly as they would of course speak to me in standard Mandarin, but I couldn't really understand any of what the locals said amongst themselves.

 

If I were you, I'd just go where I thought I'd be happiest in terms of environment. The language issue really isn't a big issue.

 

For what it's worth, I've been in Shanghai for several years now. Many people also write off Shanghai because this supposedly isn't even a Mandarin speaking area. But in reality, I've found no difference in potential to learn Mandarin here than in Dalian.

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anonymoose
This isn't quite fair, as you may well need and/or wish to interact with said fruit seller, whether or not you're treating it as a learning opportunity at the same time.

 

What has this got to do with being fair or not? Nobody suggested the OP does not interact with his local fruit seller. But chances are that said interaction is unlikely to be a great learning resource of standard Mandarin, regardless of how enticing the seller's peaches are.

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Shai

Well I took 4 semesters of chinese (wach had 4 hrs a week). What I know I know well, but thats not a whole lot. I can possibly interact in a very simple manner - something around HSK 3 if that makes sense. I guess Beijing is the only place where I can actually hear more correct putonghua but its off limit due to budget. It seems i have to "settle" on a dialect speaking province where I would enjoy my stay nontheless...

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Demonic_Duck

My point isn't that s/he should avoid Qingdao for this reason, far from it. My point is that the local dialect is at least a relevant concern - I could well imagine someone who went to Guangdong to learn Mandarin being frustrated by the fact that most people were speaking Cantonese in their daily life, even if their friends, tutor etc. spoke Mandarin to them.

 

In this case, I don't think talking to the fruit seller would be a big problem - as I say, 青岛话 is still very recognisably Mandarin, and I'd imagine that it wouldn't cause many problems at all to a person immersed in it. Also, I think exposure to dialects is actually a good thing on the whole, as if you're serious about your Chinese learning you're going to come across regional differences anyway, sooner or later.

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陳德聰

I find the replies interesting in this thread, as the time I spent in Qingdao... I could not understand the cab drivers at all, whereas in Chengdu I found it much easier to understand them. This may be because I am more used to "Southern" Mandarin dialects like Guizhouhua, but it was actually a bit shocking to me as I had always assumed I would be able to understand people from most places in Shandong without much trouble.

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driftman

The local accent in Qingdao is basially not understandable for a Mandarin speaker. Like in most places in China many people of course also can speak Putonghua, but they do so with a pretty strong accent. While Qingdao is a nice place, from a language immerison point it is not the right city to go to. If you want to be surrounded by Mandarin speakers you will have to go to Beijing or basically anywhere North/East of it (though some cities like Dalian have a pretty strong accent there too).

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Demonic_Duck

I dunno, maybe what I'm seeing in these Youku videos isn't typical, or there's a lot of intra-city variation, or whatever. By the way, where does your evidence that native speakers of standard Mandarin can't understand Qingdao dialect come from? My impression is that the dialect is about from standard Mandarin as, say, Edinburough English is from RP.

 

Anyway, I found a website:

 

http://www.qingdaonese.com/ha-jiu/

 

Obviously there are a few interesting variant pieces of vocabulary as well as the changes in accent. I'd actually heard that "yín" for "人" was a 东北 thing, but then again, another person told me that 东北人 say "rénr" for "人" instead.

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陳德聰

My evidence is that neither I nor my boyfriend were able to understand the cab drivers while we were in Qingdao. We took between 15 and 20 cabs (and understood 1 or 2), so it was a short stay, but neither of us ever have any trouble in Sichuan. This makes total sense though as he is from Guizhou and I grew up with Cantonese.

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thrice12

i was there for 3 years and never found the dialect too difficult to understand. Obviously half the taxi drivers are impossible to understand but i never had a problem when i was out and about.

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fanglu

I was there for a semester and only ever met one person I couldn't understand (a drinks stall owner). Some people had accents, certainly, but I found they were always understandable with a bit of effort. People on the bus, in the street, etc. that I eavesdropped on were generally speaking mandarin (or Korean) - not always standard, but still recognisably mandarin.

 

To the op - I think you'll find that any local accent (even Beijing) is going to be difficult for you until you a) get used to it, and b) just generally improve your Chinese, including by listening to different accents.

 

To be honest, the places that in my experience have the most standard Chinese are places where everyone is from different places, so there is effectively no local accent/dialect, or it has been totally swamped by newcomers. Shenzhen I found to be like that, and I've heard Xinjiang is the same (for Han people, obviously Uyghurs have their own language and may speak Chinese with an accent). Not sure that those sort of places are best for learning Chinese though.

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MeiMay

Interesting discussion, thank you everyone for sharing your take on how easy the local dialect is to understand/how close to Mandarin it is. I agree, for anyone serious about learning Mandarin (or any language) it's important to learn to understand at least one related dialect, it gives you a better foundation for understanding people in general. There are no real people in China who understand every word of standard Putonghua Mandarin and zero words of any other dialect. At least I hope not 哈哈 Be careful not to become a person like that, that would make your language skills artificial. If you learn the language naturally you end up hearing many different dialects some of which you can understand a lot of and some of which you can understand less of. This way you'll develop the same feeling to dialects as any Chinese person. They will feel like "dialects" instead of other languages altogether. If you are exposed to many dialects you will be able to hear similarities and pick up words and meanings in dialects you never even learned. Like even if you haven't studied Cantonese you can still hear the similarities to Mandarin and can figure out some things even though Mandarin and Cantonese are pretty different. I think it's like a muscle in your brain, the more you train it the more it can work for you. That's natural development.

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Demonic_Duck

^ Fair point, except Mandarin and Cantonese generally are considered separate languages. Putonghua and Qingdaohua, on the other hand, are certainly not.

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