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Larry Language Lover

How different is Taiwan standard Mandarin from the typical standard Mandarin spoken in China?

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Lu

It's the same language, useage is slightly different here and there, as is the accent. Chinese and Taiwanese people can understand each other no problem, with just the occasional misunderstanding (for example, 土豆 is potato in China, peanut in Taiwan). About as different from each other as Dutch Dutch and Belgian Dutch, or American English and British English. If you learn Chinese in one place, you can use it in the other place, with just some occasional confusion over which tone a word is.

 

The bigger difference is of course in the script used: traditional Chinese in Taiwan, simplified in China. That difference takes a bit more time getting used to.

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mungouk

How about learning materials, do any of them use Pinyin?

 

When I was in Taipei briefly I remember seeing a lot of weird romanisation... "Postal" or something and not even Wade-Giles?

 

 

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jannesan
25 minutes ago, mungouk said:

How about learning materials, do any of them use Pinyin?

 

I think usually it’s Zhuyin, the Taiwanese version of Pinyin.

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Demonic_Duck

I think most learning materials for non-native learners would use Hanyu Pinyin, the same standard as mainland China. A minority might use Zhuyin, and a smaller minority (particularly of older materials) might use Tongyong Pinyin, a competing romanization standard that was used in Taiwan before it officially switched to Hanyu Pinyin.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about it — even if you have to learn Zhuyin in addition to Pinyin, it's really not all that much extra work, especially when you compare it to learning thousands upon thousands of characters, each of which encodes significantly more information than any Zhuyin glyph. Zhuyin contains just 37 glyphs (41 including tone marks), which is fewer than either Hirogana and Katakana, both of which you'd have to learn for Japanese.

 

1 hour ago, mungouk said:

When I was in Taipei briefly I remember seeing a lot of weird romanisation... "Postal" or something and not even Wade-Giles?

 

What you'll find "in the wild" on signs and so on sometimes differs from what you'd find in a textbook, and if this blog post from 2009 is still anything to go by, there's very little consistency. I know a lot of Taiwanese people also use Wade Giles for their official Latin-alphabet names ("Hsueh" for 薛 etc).

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Lu
12 minutes ago, Demonic_Duck said:

I think most learning materials for non-native learners would use Hanyu Pinyin, the same standard as mainland China. A minority might use Zhuyin, and a smaller minority (particularly of older materials) might use Tongyong Pinyin

This is mostly my experience as well. I think my textbook (2004-2005) had both Hanyu Pinyin and Zhuyin Fuhao. I don't think I've ever seen a textbook that used Tongyong Pinyin, although it probably exists.

 

Many street names, place names and personal names use botched Wade-Giles. Not actual Wade-Giles, but Wade-Giles with the diacritics removed, so there is no telling if the ching you see is qing or jing, or if a chu is zhu, chu, qu or ju. Not a problem for the locals, because they just read the Chinese.

 

Postal also exists (it's the same romanisation system that brought us Peking and Tientsin), for example in Keelung for Jilong, but it's rare.

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mungouk
40 minutes ago, Demonic_Duck said:

What you'll find "in the wild" on signs and so on sometimes differs from what you'd find in a textbook

 

Yes I was thinking specifically about road signs and place-names.  It all looks pretty random... as a learner it makes you appreciate standardisation!

 

 

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Lu

I split the posts on food allergies off to its own thread, it can be found here. Enjoy!

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