Useful Tips



According to a Wikipedia article, there are a total of 10 major dialects of the Chinese language. I will not rewrite the article here, you yourself can read it on Wikipedia.

The official Chinese or 普通话 - pǔtōnghuà is the so-called standard, common or "simple" Chinese language. The same dialect of Chinese that, according to the Chinese government, should be known to every person with Chinese citizenship. Books are published in this dialect, television speakers speak it, and it is taught in all schools in China.

The Mandarin dialect is a Beijing dialect spoken by Beijing residents. In principle, we can say that pǔtōnghuà is a dialect of mandarin, but still there are several striking differences between mandarin and pǔtōnghuà.

Firstly this is the so-called “erization” - 儿 化, érhuà. Beijing residents add the ending 儿 "-er" wherever possible. For example, the adverb “a little”, in pǔtōnghuà sounds like “idyen”, on the mandarin it will sound like “idyar”. And it will be written in different ways:
idyon 一点 yídiǎn on pǔtōnghuà
with the addition of 儿 -er on mandarin - idyar 一点儿 yídiǎnr.
Therefore, if you are not going to live or study in Beijing, you do not need this erization.

Secondly. Mandarin tones are much more pronounced. Pekingese tint syllables very carefully. But this is rather a plus for language learners.

Thirdly. Mandarin has a lot of different slang expressions that are not used anywhere except in Beijing. And yes, almost all of these slangs have erization.

What is the result. If you are not going to go to Beijing - learn the standard pǔtōnghuà. Do not memorize words with erization. Knowing pǔtōnghuà, you can communicate with any more or less literate Chinese. Books that promise to teach you to speak the Mandarin dialect are suitable for learning, just remove the erization from there.

In my translated lessons and exercises, I always remove erizatsii, as I consider it superfluous. Adding it to speech is much simpler than retraining what has already been learned.

There is another dialect that is worth attention - this is the Cantonese dialect. This dialect is spoken in Hong Kong and in China, in the province of Guangdong (south of China). Also, this dialect is spoken by the majority of Chinese people living abroad of China - in the USA, Great Britain, Australia and Canada. The Cantonese language is completely different from the Mandarin dialect or pǔtōnghuà. It has 6 basic tones (not 4, as in the mandarin), a lot of slang and stable expressions, and also much less hissing sounds. So if you are interested in Chinese while living among English speakers, learn Cantonese.

I suggest you listen to pǔtōnghuà and Cantonese speech. The difference is obvious.

Putonghua pǔtōnghuà

Cantonese Cantonese sounds like this

And another point that can be confusing at the very beginning of learning Chinese is traditional and simplified hieroglyphs. I will talk about them in a separate article.

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How to learn Cantonese Chinese

Have you ever wanted to go on holiday to Hong Kong and not encounter a language barrier when communicating with anyone? Do you want to make friends with Cantonese exchange students who do not speak English? So you went to the right place. Cantonese is the most popular of the Chinese dialects in Hong Kong, Macau and among immigrants from China, children of Chinese immigrants who have settled outside their homeland. Nevertheless, the number of those who can fluently speak Cantonese and do not speak English is quite large, since the Cantonese dialect is one of the most difficult languages ​​for English-speaking people. With 9 sounds and more than 5,000 Chinese characters needed to read newspapers, if you can master it, even a Chinese person will appreciate your achievement.

Cultural role

In Russian, “Cantonese” can refer to both the Guangzhou dialect itself and the Yue language. A more precise name is “Cantonese” or “Guangzhou”.

Non-Guangdong Chinese people use names by area:

  • "The dialect of Guangzhou" (cant.trad. 廣州 話, ex. 广州 话, yutphin: gwong 2 jau 1 waa 2 cant.-rus .: kuon chow wah),
  • "The dialect of Guangzhou County" (cant. trade. 廣 府 話, exercise. 广 府 话, yutphin: gwong 2 fu 2 waa 2 cant.-rus .: kuon fu wa).

In Guangzhou, Guangdong and Hong Kong, Cantonese is most often called simple ("white") speech (cant. trade. 白話, ex. 白话, yutphin: baakwaa 2 cant.-rus .: pa: qty, not to be confused with the complete homonym Baihua - the modern literary norm of the Chinese language).

Guangdong also uses the name "Dialect of the provincial capital" (cant. trade. 省城 話, ex. 省城 话, yutphin: saang 2 seng 4 waa 2 cant.-rus .: sa: n-sen-wah).

In Hong Kong and Macau, Cantonese is called "Guangdong speech" (cant. trade. 廣東話, ex. 广东话, yutphin: gwong 2 dung 1 waa 2 cant.-rus .: Kuon Tun Wah).

"Kudos" lets you call Cantonese "Literary (standard) Cantonese" (cant. trade. 標準 粵語, ex. 标准 粤语, yutphin: biu 1 jeun 2 yut 6 yu 5 cant.-rus .: boo).

Cultural role [edit |