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Mig

Mandarin Chinese status opinion

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Mig

In many languages there is an opinion how well you speak the language either you are educated or less educated, from illiteracy to literacy
and so on. Then there are different variants in the language patterns and different styles when people talk, some are more acceptable than

others. The other day I was in a forum where a person from Taiwan mentioned the prejudice people have to those who doesn't speak the

correct 國語 because they have either a heavy accent or not the correct pronunciation. I wonder if this is the same in mainland China
and why the correct pronunciation from the north is considered better than other pronunciations from different regions in Taiwan and China.
Any thoughts?

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Mig

Still it doesn't tell me the status or opinion of people about those who don't speak properly the standard language because the heavy accent or mispronunciation of words

or tones so they will be considered less educated. In China or Taiwan during the times of Mao or Jiang, most of the leaders had very heavy accent and I don't know what

people would have said or considered their leaders the way they spoke the standard language.

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Flickserve

Yes - there are parents who speak to their kids in 普通話 to improve it at the expense of regional dialects. A perception of better education and possibly anticipated subtle social benefits 
 

Why is the pronunciation is considered better in the north - that region is where standard 普通話 is based upon.

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Mig

And is there a reason why the north pronunciation is considered better? If a westerner pronounces well all the fricatives and er sounds then you hear native speakers say, your pronunciation is sharp or correct. Considering that the northern dialects were influenced by other non Han dialects, I wonder why is that it became the educated standard?? I noticed that southern dialects don't have as clear sounds as in the north but even in the north there are some dialects that differ from 普通話 and still they are not criticized by their accent, differences in tones, etc.

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abcdefg
1 hour ago, Mig said:

Still it doesn't tell me the status or opinion of people about those who don't speak properly the standard language because the heavy accent or mispronunciation of words or tones so they will be considered less educated.

 

People anywhere who have not had the benefit of formal education generally speak less correctly. I have friends and acquaintaces in Kunming who for economic reasons had nothing beyond an elementary education during their early years. Some are quite bright and have won the respect of their peers regardless. 

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zhouhaochen

Mandarin is based on what is spoken in Northern China (actually school children after liberation in Chengde), so thats what was defined as correct and so the closer you are to that kind of correct the more correct you are.

In reality of course this is also just an accent or dialect or language or whatever you want to call it, no more or less correct than what anyone else speaks. A Yunnan farmer who cant read or write speaks. It was just decided that this is the standard for political reasons and thats what it is. Had they decided to make the way that Yunnan farmer speaks the standard then he would be completely correct and everyone else would be as correct as they speak similarly to him.

Education is then used to get other people to speak like that kind "correct speech“ and the more people spend studying it the more similar they will be able to speak to what has been defined as correct so one can see that they spent more time being "educated".

 

Judging people by speaking "well" or not is just a way to make sure that you can easily know who comes from a rich family and was brought in an "educated" way and who didnt and is not really supposed to be part of the ruling elite, because their parents didnt have the means to get him to speak more similar to what has been defined as "correct". However, thats just my own opinion.

 

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Flickserve
4 hours ago, Mig said:

I wonder why is that it became the educated standard??


government policy to introduce a standard that the whole country can refer. Future generations across the country can communicate with each other more easily. If that’s what is taught at schools, then it is a sign of education. 

 

for southern Chinese population, in previous generations, their first language is a dialect of Chinese and 普通話 is their second language. A very clear example would be people from live in Hong Kong who are educated in Cantonese. I doubt Hong Kong style mandarin could ever be regarded as the standard. Theoretically, yes if you want to put a policy out on it. 
 

I agree Northern Mandarin does have variations. It’s only to be expected. 

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Dawei3
16 hours ago, Mig said:

And is there a reason why the north pronunciation is considered better? If a westerner pronounces well all the fricatives and er sounds then you hear native speakers say, your pronunciation is sharp or correct.

The linguist John McWhorter covered how "standard languages" come about.  Most of us have a sense that that standard language is spoken in some place....whereas the reality it's usually an artificially created "standard" and it's standard for now.  The standard may be different in 50, 100 or more years.  E.g., Americans tend to think that American newscaster English is based on some place vaguely in the center of the country;  it's not.  Newscaster English was a created standard.

 

13 hours ago, zhouhaochen said:

Mandarin is based on what is spoken in Northern China

As zhouhaochen, "standard" Mandarin is based on what is spoken in Northern China - but just based on.  I've heard some say it's based on Beijing mandarin, but what a native Beijing taxi driver says is far afield from more educated person (drivers seem to add "er" to every word).  I was surprised in one of my first trips to China, a colleague in Hangzhou said "You have a good accent."  He didn't say I spoke well - just that my accent was good - because I said things like  一点儿.

 

Similarly, I've had friends from Fujian & Taiwan say "Your Chinese is much better than mine."  These are individuals whose entire schooling, including college, was in Mandarin.  Their Mandarin is way way way above mine.  However, they've been taught to think their accent in Mandarin is "bad."  

 

16 hours ago, Mig said:

southern dialects don't have as clear sounds

  

The sounds may not be as clear to others from outside the area, but they would be clear to those in the South.  E.g., I might have trouble understanding a "thick" Scottish accent, but a local Scot could understand it more easily.  They might have trouble understanding me.  What constitutes an accent is based on perspective.  

 

 

 

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