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Mandarin Chinese as a travel language


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...(Of course he can probably also speak Tamil, Hokkien, Hakka and Cantonese!).


@tysond -- That is always such an humbling experience.


I met an ethnic Chinese lady in Kuala Lumpur a couple months ago and decided to impress with some of my intermediate 普通话。She corrected my pronunciation and told me she speaks four Chinese languages fluently, plus of course English, Malay, and a couple others. 

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In the good old days, Cantonese was a far better language for travelling, as it was only the Chinese from the coast that emigrated in any great numbers. 

As there was also nothing decent entertainment wise produced in Mandarin or Hokkien, all the overseas Chinese would watch Hong Kong movies/serials and pick up some of language too.

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A Chinese friend and I took a cruise from Hainan to Vietnam and our Vietnamese tour guide spoke to our tour group in fluent Chinese. Although she claimed that many shopkeepers in Vietnam would be able to speak mandarin, when we were let loose to shop neither of us could find anyone who spoke any Chinese. Luckily English worked. I was very disappointed, I'd really been looking forward to using Chinese in Vietnam.

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Bad luck, @Mouseneb. I found a few Chinese speakers in Sapa.


Can't help but wonder if Vietnam is one of those places where resentment against China as the "Big Neighbor" sometimes creeps into the equation.

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