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Regional Language Question


Larry Language Lover

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I don't know whether it's a question of disliking Mandarin, but Cantonese people certainly prefer to speak Cantonese with other Cantonese people. It is the mother tongue of the Cantonese people (small pockets apart) and anchors the Cantonese identity.

 

Understanding the significance of regionalism is important in understanding China.

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I've been to Shanghai, which is the farthest place for me, and I'm a Beijinger.
As far as I know, if you can speak Mandarin good enough, you won't feel inconvenient living in Shenzhen, Hainan etc.
In fact, people from all over China like to speak local language with local people, which make them feel closer to each other.

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22 hours ago, Larry Language Lover said:

Do people in Guangdong Province and especially in Jiangmen dislike speaking in Mandarin or prefer not to use it?

 

Could you elaborate a bit more?

 

If you have two Cantonese mother language speakers together, they won't use Mandarin. Why would they?

 

Another example I met up with a native English speaker in Beijing and we used English. 

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11 hours ago, Flickserve said:

 

Could you elaborate a bit more?

 

 

I had read sometime ago of someone's experience when trying to speak Mandarin in a Cantonese area with a public employee and that person spitting in their direction.

I wondered whether there was a general negative feeling towards the "imposition of Mandarin" by the central government,  or whether people use Mandarin naturally with no negativity when dealing with non- Cantonese speaking people. 

 

 

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I think this must be an uncommon situation. All the younger people speak Mandarin. Older ones don’t speak it so well. It might have happened during the time the government tried to reduce Cantonese radio or something like that. People interpreted as active suppression of dialect and didn’t take kindly to it. 
 

I asked a media station person what happens at dinners. Usually if the whole table were cantonese speakers , they would use Cantonese. If just one person had mandarin but no Cantonese, the group would use mandarin. 
 

However, my recent experience this year showed this was a very generalised statement. At dinner with a big group who all knew each other fairly well, it was a mixture of Cantonese and mandarin because people split off into small groups and use the stronger dialect in that small subgroup accordingly. Even with me being much stronger in Cantonese, I still tried to use mandarin when appropriate in the subgroup. As to my level, I am doing good if I can manage two minutes of mandarin. 
 

When some non-Cantonese VIPs arrived, it went mostly to mandarin. For me, during the introductions, it was mandarin. Yeah, I had the weakest mandarin but I still had to make the effort. 
 

I admit that I have only been in the big cities- smaller towns probably have lower penetrance of mandarin. 

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9 hours ago, Flickserve said:

Even with me being much stronger in Cantonese,

 

 

How did you learn Cantonese?   And how did you become stronger in Cantonese than in Mandarin?

 

 

 

 

9 hours ago, Flickserve said:

I think this must be an uncommon situation. All the younger people speak Mandarin. Older ones don’t speak it so well.

 

This is the impression I got from a Chinese listening that I practice with.  The man is 70 years old, from the region, and he talks about when he was young kids spoke Cantonese and learned Mandarin in school, but today's kids from big cities in the region speak Mandarin and many are forgetting how to speak Cantonese.

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1 hour ago, Larry Language Lover said:

And how did you become stronger in Cantonese than in Mandarin?

  

Live and work in HK. Only started picking up Mandarin four years ago but pretty inconsistent effort.

 

1 hour ago, Larry Language Lover said:

many are forgetting how to speak Cantonese.

 

I don't think so. The kids are not getting enough Cantonese in the first place so there is nothing to forget. They are not learning it. 

 

You will see the de-emphasis of dialects in favour of Mandarin as it is perceived as better for career prospects. The same happens in other Chinese communities. In Singapore, families were proud of speaking English at home and have lost their dialect. That's partially snob factor for Singapore.

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Ive only been to Jiangmen for a day. Went down to see the diaolou. Beautiful area. Stayed the night and wandered around tge medium small city. Seemed like a very relaxing place. Had some excellent 早茶 in the morning?.

 

I live in 广州 and i find it the worst city in china for learning mandarin. Yes, its true that most people can speak mandaring along with cantonese, but i feel like they are less responsive to me speaking  mandarin with them than anywhere else ive been. I travel very frequently and always get more practice in other provinces. I feel like gz locals tbink “hmm i dont even prefer speaking madarin, let alone with an elementary level 外国人”。 I rarely get this feeling in other provinces. It also seems to be getting better as i slowly improve. Obviously im generalizing, ive met some people who were happy to speak with me in mandarin. Nearly everytime i get a friendly chatty taxi driver, tgey turn out to be from 河南。 

 

 

My northern wife has zero problem communicating, but sometimes feels left out at work when conversations go canto. She also misses hearing more standard sounding chinese. 

 

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