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hidden12345

dominant language in ShenZhen

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hidden12345

mandarin or cantonese? Question refers to both on the streets and in business.

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flameproof

Mandarin by far. It's even hard to find a cantonese speaker.

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Quest

Hakka and Cantonese before the development boom, Mandarin now.

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taschenrechner
Mandarin by far. It's even hard to find a cantonese speaker.

No way. I live in Shenzhen and it's really easy to hear Cantonese here. Everyone can speak Mandarin, though.

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flameproof

>No way. I live in Shenzhen and it's really easy to hear Cantonese here.

Not in a taxi. Maybe 1 in 20 drivers can speak it.

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johnd

A lot of taxi drivers seem to come from Hunan, and their accent was a bit confusing for me at first. A lot of their 'h' sound like 'f'. I say Yinhu, he says Yinfu, I say Yinhu, he says Yinfu. Then I just wait to see where we'll arrive!

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flameproof

johnd

You give me a chuckle here! It really confused me first when a girl told me she was from "Funan".

Ahhhh? Funan??? Hunan? - Dui! Funan!

As a side note: OK, taxi drivers don't speak cantonese. But the language they speak to the operator amazes me often. I usually don't get a single word. Seems they build small language clusters with their village people.

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liuzhou
a girl told me she was from "Funan".

When I lived there it was more like "fulan." I remember arriving in what I took to be Hunan, Huaihua and being welcomed to "Fulan Fuaifua!" Most confusing.

Seems they build small language clusters with their village people.

That was certainly my experience in west Fulan. It was only relatively recently that the railway and road infrastructure connected the various towns and villages in that mountainous area, so each village and valley have different dialects. Also, there is a high number of minority people who aren't even speaking Chinese!

I taught in a university there, and 1st year students, recruited locally, couldn't understand each other for the first few weeks. Lots of note passing!

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geraldc

My family are from Huanggang, Shenzhen, and they were Cantonese speakers. However the kids of the original Cantonese speakers, i.e. those mid twenties and below, apparently are better at Mandarin than Cantonese (well according to my Gt Aunt anyway) as all their classmates and friends are Mandarin speakers, and they only speak Cantonese with relatives.

Walking through dongmen I only came across 1 shop where the guy hawking his wares via the public address system spoke Cantonese, every other shop used Mandarin.

The taxi drivers I came across in Shenzhen were much darker skinned than the locals and I had no idea where they came from. They could understand Cantonese, but we had no idea what they were saying.

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BFC_Peter

Before the development boom (late 70s) Shenzhen was just a small fishing village so the 'native' Hakka/Cantonese speakers will be thin on the ground these days.

The vast majority of people living in Shenzhen are migrants (or descendants of) and while the proportion of migrants who came from Guangdong may be high because of its proximity, it seems to me inevitable that the language of choice will be Mandarin.

In the businesses that my colleagues and I deal with, Mandarin is understood by all but there are also plenty of people around who speak and understand Cantonese.

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dynaemu

I'd really like to live in Shenzhen for a while since I love big cities but I have a question..

Is mandarin or cantonese more spoken there...

thanks!

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johnd

Mandarin is the main language, and even if you meet someone who is a Cantonese speaker, they will speak Mandarin to you (if it is obvious that you are not Cantonese).

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Mugi
Is mandarin or cantonese more spoken there...

Have you read the previous posts?

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gougou
Have you read the previous posts?
His post was merged into here by an admin, that's why it might seem a bit out of context. The correct question would be: did you use the search function? :wink:

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Mugi
The correct question would be: did you use the search function?

That it would, now that the context is clear.

I retract my initial jab! :oops:

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roddy

Yeah, should have posted to point out I'd done that.

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zozzen

To see which dialects are more important in this city of immigrates, take a look on their offsprings. Almost all kids i met can speak native Cantonese and Mandarin, but in my short observation, daily conversation in schools is mostly conducted in Cantonese. I think that's similar to Hong kong that although many people in 60s can't speak good Cantonese, the local dialect is still overwhelmingly preferred and the trend will keep going in Shenzhen.

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Southernjohn

Someone wrote that a Cantonese speaker will speak Mandarin to you if it is obvious you are not Cantonese. This is very true. I live in Southern China near the Macau border. On the Mainland, it can be quite difficult at times to get Cantonese practice. People will frequently express astonishment at a foreigner speaking Cantonese. It can be a little annoying sometimes when someone, such as a checkout girl at the supermarket, will begin to speak Cantonese to me and then when she looks up and sees my white face, she stumbles for a second and then switches over to Mandarin. :roll:

However, when I travel across the border to Macau for business, it is no problem. I can speak Cantonese and locals do not bat an eyelid. They actually prefer that I speak Cantonese over Mandarin.

If you are just concerned about communicating, don't worry. You can speak either language. If you are specifically wondering about getting language practice in Cantonese, you will have to work a little harder at it.

southernjohn

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huisheng

10 million guest workers make up the dominant population of Shenzhen, the only city in Guangdong, in which speaking Putonghua is not discriminated. Although the residents more or less speak Cantonese to a varying degree of fluency. As mentioned above, you more likely get people speak Mandarin to you in the street scene.

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