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Cake

Should I not learn in this city because of its local dialect?

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Cake

Wow! This is exactly what i was looking for.

abcdefg was certainly right in saying that this forum would provide a broad spectrum of valuable information!

 

I really needed the insight and information everyone that contributed phrased in just the way that it was, Thank you! I really feel that I now have the knowledge that is necessary to make the right choice! 

 

Also, I'll definitely listen to podcasts.

 

Hearing about all of your experiences gives me a look into how things are and how they would be that I could not have gotten from anywhere else

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Agree with realmayo about the non-standard vocabulary. It is to be expected there might be some differences with local slang but that is what you can asked your teacher. Frankly speaking, I think it makes learning a little more interesting to recognize variations.

In England it is the same.

London "wotcha "

Leeds " 'aiya,luv"

Both versions mean Hello in English!

(You can still use Hello in both cities )

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NotChinese

Though I agree with those who've said Chengdu is totally fine for learning Mandarin, I'd like to add a couple of anecdotes.

 

I was somewhere a bit further south (possibly Guizhou - still apparently classes as southwestern Mandarin though), and asked a very basic question of a staff member at a bus station (something like, "Where's the number 2 bus stand?") and was met with, "Oh you're speaking putonghua , help me he's speaking putonghua!"

 

Another time, I once flew Beijing to Chengdu and, upon arrival, asked a member of staff (at Chengdu international airport) for some help and was (politely) met with, "Oh sorry you're speaking Putonghua, I only know Sichuanese."

 

So there are two things to take from this.

 

1. Some people really can't follow standard Mandarin! At least not when they have the shock of it coming from a foreigner.

2. I was in Sichuan but still learned putonghua. 

 

I was doing proper classes though. Pretty sure if I'd self-taught without a teacher or peer group and practised on the streets it would have been a different situation entirely.

 

Oh and aside from those two little stories, I communicated absolutely fine with most Chinese people.

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Lu

Good to see your update, even better to hear that you are happy there!

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abcdefg
9 hours ago, Cake said:

Even speaking with a foreign accent most people still treat you with respect and don't look down upon you.

 

I've found that too, here in Kunming. 

 

9 hours ago, Cake said:

Also, the tones really don't matter much either, just say the two syllable version of the word rather than the one syllable version and 95% of the time it's okay.

 

Could you clarify this? Not sure what you mean about the syllables and tones. 

 

Glad that your time in Chengdu has been productive and fun! I enjoy going there because there is so much great food. And the people have always struck me as friendly. 

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NotChinese

@Cake Have you been living in a  bubble for 2 years?

 

I find it quite absurd that you think the Sichuan dialect is only for old, poor or uneducated folk or those "working in service positions". The highly educated software engineers I worked with for a year would all think quite differently. All of them aged between 20 and 30 years, all of them university educated, very well paid and highly skilled, and all of them speaking the thickest sichuan accent I've ever encountered. It was the most difficult Chinese language experience of my life. They literally couldn't speak putonghua if they tried. It was a godsend when the boss was in the office because he was from near Beijing and spoke crystal clear. The difference in accent and dialect was like night and day. 

 

My ex girlfriend is a surgeon and she speaks it too. Admittedly she used putonghua with me, but it doesn't change that she's very highly educated, not a service worker, but speaks sichuanese as standard with everyone else. 

 

Honestly I'm just amazed that you think it's the language of the proles. Sichuanhua is everywhere, everywhere

 

Also tones are incredibly important if you try to get beyond basic chit chat. A mate of mine, British guy, has the largest Chinese vocabulary of any foreigner I know, but he literally makes Chinese people wince when he talks because of how toneless he is. I can understand what he's saying because I'm a fellow tone-deaf foreigner, but the unfortunate majority of actual Chinese people have no idea what he's on about, precisely because he doesn't even remotely attempt to speak the language in the way it was meant to be spoken. 

 

I hate to be "that guy", but I'm going to have to almost entirely disagree with your whole post, sorry! 

 

The only thing I will agree with is that it's still quite possible to learn putonghua in sichuan, just as long as you do it in the safe environment of the classroom and university surroundings. I was at chuanda too. 

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shuipingzi
On 1/12/2016 at 1:57 AM, realmayo said:

Speaking from similar experience of a city like Chengdu:

 

the only way you'll run into trouble is if you spend a couple of years learning just by what you pick up from how friends and others around speak. That might leave you with a too-strong accent and lots of non-standard vocabulary. And you would probably want to correct it later.

 

But if you're learning with teachers or tutors, then -- unless they're bad -- they'll make sure you are learning standard Chinese, no matter what you're hearing around you. So even if you spend loads of time with locals too, your teachers will make sure you don't pick up any bad habits; any slight accent you pick up under those circumstances will not be a problem or cause for regret.

 

If you're getting tuition, go to Chengdu, accent won't be a problem. If you're not getting tuition, it's a bit more complicated.

 

Exactly. As long as you get qualified teachers or tutors, don't worry about the accent issue. Born and raised in Chengdu where most people arround me speaking local dialect, I can still speak perfect standard Mandarin - mostly taught / trained by school teachers. 

 

And nowadays, Chengdu is getting a diversified population with people from various parts of the country. Mandarin is getting its popularity. Big chance is that when you speak Mandarin to a local, he/she will respond in Mandarin too (instead of local dialect). 

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Jan Finster
5 hours ago, shuipingzi said:

Exactly. As long as you get qualified teachers or tutors, don't worry about the accent issue. Born and raised in Chengdu where most people arround me speaking local dialect, I can still speak perfect standard Mandarin - mostly taught / trained by school teachers

 

Exactly! 

 

Imagine someone from China would ask the question: "should I rather not go to study English in London, because I may end up with a Cockney accent"? or "Should I not go and study German in Munich, because I will end up with a Bavarian accent"...

 

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道艺黄帝
On 7/20/2018 at 9:57 AM, murrayjames said:

People from Sichuan speak 四川话 to each other. In general, they speak 普通话 to Chinese people from other parts of the country (外地人). They speak 普通话 and English to foreigners. This was overwhelmingly my experience of young, educated people from big cities like Chengdu and Chongqing.

Can attest to this being the same in Shanghai, school principals, board members, even government department heads are almost all Shanghainese and will happily break out into Shanghainese at a moment's notice if given the opportunity. Luckily my workplace has a number of 外地人 which helps keep the Shanghainese contained to one-on-one side conversations. 

 

Some of them even speak a clearer English than Chinese, at least in my opinion.

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