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Ian_Lee

Hong Kong Cantonese vs Guangzhou Cantonese

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Ian_Lee

Is there any noticeable difference between the Cantonese spoken in Guangzhou and Hong Kong?

There used to be. If anyone is interested to compare the difference, they can buy the DVDs of the movies 七十二家房客.

There are two versions which both are in Cantonese. One version is the movie made in Guangzhou in 1963. The other version is the movie made in Hong Kong in 1973.

The scripts and dialogs are almost exactly identical. But the tones of language and the terminologies are somewhat different even both are in Cantonese.

When two places have been cut off from interaction for a long time, the language will evolve differentlly.

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Ncao

I didn't know Guangzhou made an earlier version of a of 七十二家房客? And I always thought all movies from the Mainland were supposed to be in Mandarin. Well to me there isn't that much difference between HK and Guangzhou Cantonese, except for some differences in vocabulary and slang.

I have the HK version. Do you know where I can find the Guangzhou version? I would really like to compare the 2.

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Quest
Is there any noticeable difference between the Cantonese spoken in Guangzhou and Hong Kong?

There are different accents in Guangzhou too, some are characteristically Guangzhou, and others are like Hong Kong's (without 懒音) (I think Hong Kong has different accents too). If you are a local, you probably won't ever notice until you pay attention to the slight differences. And nowadays, slangs created in Hong Kong would be adopted almost immediately in Guangzhou.

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Ncao

Would the Guangzhou accent be like the old 粵語片? I have some old 粵語片on vcd, and their speech sounds a little different from today's Cantonese.

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Ian_Lee

Ncao:

I mean there used to be when two places were cut off from interaction. Of course now the difference is more neligible.

I watched the Guangzhou version of 七十二家房客.in HK in '70s when there was still leftist cinema group which catered to show leftist films (headed by Nam Wah cinema in Mongkok and Nam Yang Cinema in Wanchai -- both had been torn down).

Ironically before '97 the leftist cinmea group had dissolved in HK. So now it is well nigh impossible to watch any classic movies made during early PRC period (DVDs are also hard to find).

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Quest
Would the Guangzhou accent be like the old 粵語片? I have some old 粵語片on vcd, and their speech sounds a little different from today's Cantonese.

no those are more like acting Cantonese inherited from Cantonese opera.

I mean there used to be when two places were cut off from interaction. Of course now the difference is more neligible.

If it was 1960s, my parents, aunts uncles (some went to HK in their teens), and grandparents all lived through those days. I don't think they speak any different.

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Ian_Lee

Quest:

Do you know why Cantonese seems not to make much inroad into the Dongjiang area? It seems that people living in east of Weizhou do not understand much about Cantonese. Does the Cantonese language radio broadcast from Guangzhou reach those areas?

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skylee
I don't find it different from HK at all.

I agree (I have only listened to some of it).

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geraldc

Is there a difference in phrases like 睇病 vs 睇医生? My family always say 睇医生.

I just remember one of my mandarin teachers going on about how HK people saying 睇医生 didn't make as much sense mandarin speakers saying 看病 etc, as the key thing was the illness, not the doctor etc.

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Quest
Do you know why Cantonese seems not to make much inroad into the Dongjiang area? It seems that people living in east of Weizhou do not understand much about Cantonese. Does the Cantonese language radio broadcast from Guangzhou reach those areas?

Those are Hakka and Chaozhou areas, right? I don't know the coverage.

Is there a difference in phrases like 睇病 vs 睇医生? My family always say 睇医生.

I just remember one of my mandarin teachers going on about how HK people saying 睇医生 didn't make as much sense mandarin speakers saying 看病 etc, as the key thing was the illness, not the doctor etc.

No difference. See the doctor... Mandarin teachers are weird animals.

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Ncao
I just remember one of my mandarin teachers going on about how HK people saying 睇医生 didn't make as much sense mandarin speakers saying 看病 etc, as the key thing was the illness, not the doctor etc

I heard mandarin speakers use 看醫生 before. I guess it depends on where the person is from.Just like how mainlanders (mostly northerners) use 說 and Taiwanese (and most other southerners) use 講.

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Altair

I am a little bit surprised to hear that there is not a recognized difference between the two types of Cantonese. The materials I had read seemed to imply something different.

The English Wikipedia article on Cantonese says, for instance:

In Hong Kong, the first tone can be either high level or high falling without affecting the meaning of the words being spoken. Most Hong Kong speakers are in general not consciously aware of when they use and when to use high level and high falling. In Guangzhou the high falling tone is more usual.

This article also implies that the 陰平 tone has a different distribution in Guangzhou from the distribution in Hong Kong. Guangzhou supposedly commonaly has both; whereas the level tone seems to be the predominant form in Hong Kong. When I briefly studied Cantonese, I used the high falling tone only forms like 添, when they appear at the end of a sentence.

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Quest
I am a little bit surprised to hear that there is not a recognized difference between the two types of Cantonese. The materials I had read seemed to imply something different.

I think your materials tend to exaggerate or emphasize the "differences" and ignore the overall similarity or "identicality" of the "two types of" Cantonese. I've always known they are more or less identical in terms of accent. Word choice can differ slightly in some areas. Also, HK youth have their characteristic 懒音s. I think the distributions that you mentioned are also valid to some degree, but they are more like variations within the acceptable spectrum, meaning they are so small one wouldn't even notice unless he/she was told specifically to look for the differences, and the differences exist in populations within each city anyways. So, if you put one Guangzhouren in Hong Kong, or one Hong Konger in Guangzhou, you probably can't tell conclusively by accent alone that he/she is not a local. However, if you listen to 刘生, 黄生 and 蔡小姐 in that radio clip, any native from Guangzhou or Hong Kong can immediately tell they have accents that differ from the norm. Also, the callers in that clip are overwhelmingly older people, it becomes even harder to tell when the young people speak.

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Ncao
However, if you listen to 刘生, 黄生 and 蔡小姐 in that radio clip, any native from Guangzhou or Hong Kong can immediately tell they have accents that differ from the norm.

黃生 and 蔡小姐 both have strong 鄉音, but 劉生 was speaking Mandarin. The rest I couldn't tell any real difference from a HK person.

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Ian_Lee

The most noticeable difference between the Cantonese spoken in Guangzhou and Hong Kong is 戲票 and 戲飛 (cinema admission ticket). In fact, all tickets except 飛機票、股票 and 郵票 (airplane ticket, share certificate and stamp) all end in 飛 in Hong Kong.

It looks like that HK Cantonese may be influenced by words like "fare" or "fee" in English, but in reality 飛 is Classical Cantonese while 票 is not. In Tang Dynasty, there were already terms like 飛券 and 飛錢 (bank draft).

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Jive Turkey

Funny you bring up using fei for ticket, Ian. Just this past weekend, I took the piss with my wife about the hostess at a dimsum restaurant saying "fei" instead of "piao" as she called people for seating.

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