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Question For Chinese Speakers  
User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6543 posts, RR: 8
Posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2065 times:

A quick question for those who speak Chinese. With all the different dialects, such as Mandarin and Cantonese, how much can, say, someone from Hong Kong, where I beleive Cantonese is spoken, understand and speak with someone from, say, Beijing? Thank you, I have always been curious!

7 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineBoeingnut From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2058 times:

Just a little bit.

Id liken it to English and German. You can pick out a few words here and there, but I cant understand most of it.

User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 2051 times:

Not really, no.... but I'm not a native speaker, so go fig.  Big grin

User currently offlineAOMlover From Singapore, joined Jul 2001, 1335 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 2040 times:

No they can't. My mother speaks Madarin and she doesn't understand Cantonese. She told me that the writing is the same, but not the pronounciation. That means that theorically a Beijiner can read a Hong Kongese newspaper, but he can't understand what a Honk kongese says. There might be some similarities in the pronounciation, I don't know.

User currently offlineSW733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6543 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 2032 times:

Awesome, thank you very much guys, that helps a lot!

User currently offlineFlyboyOz From Australia, joined Nov 2000, 2041 posts, RR: 21
Reply 5, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2021 times:

Oh!... AOMlover is right but his last sentence is not correct.

Hong Kong people speak Cantonese and Chinese people from China and Taiwanese speak Mandarin. Nowaday, Hong Kong people and young hong kong people are now studying and learning cantonese, mandarin and english.

The chinese and Hong Kong people cannot communicate with each other because Mandrian and Cantonese are different dialents and with different pronounciations. For example, Hong Kong is cantonese speaking and Xiang gang (also stands for Hong Kong) is manadrian. However the chinese people (including Hong Kong people, Chinese from China and Taiwanese) can read chinese characters because there is only ONE chinese language.


[Edited 2004-10-06 02:31:11]

The Spirit of AustraliAN - Longreach
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21652 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2006 times:

Do I understand this correctly that the non-phonetic script will have completely different spoken words associated with the same written symbols?

So the syntax and semantics will be identical, just the words will sound completely different?

User currently offlineAirways1 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 1999, 563 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (11 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 2006 times:

The fact that we refer to the different ways chinese people speak as dialects is a little confusing. Actually, the chinese dialects are different languages just as much as, say, English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, etc.. So no, they are not mutually intelligible, though they may contain many similarities.

The situation with the writing is a bit different. In fact, only Mandarin has a standard writing system, so no matter which part of China a person comes from, or which dialect is their mother tongue, local publications will be in Mandarin. Therefore, to be able read this material, one must be literate in Mandarin, even if one cannot speak it! Most official publications in Hong Kong are also in Mandarin. However, chinese characters have been adapted in order to write Cantonese, and so some things may be writting in Cantonese. However, under these circumstances, cantonese grammar and vocabulary is used, and therefore may make as much sense to a Mandarin speaker, as say reading spanish would to a french speaker (in other words, they may be able to understand the general meaning if not every word).

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