not exactly the heart-beat of the Chinese-American populace; more representative samples would include SF, LA & nyc
...er, try Memphis, Chicago, Orlando, and various cities in Indiana and Ohio. .....
Only half Chinese can communicate in Putonghua
Posted 27 May 2005 - 06:38 PM
Posted 27 May 2005 - 07:11 PM
Department of Classics, SFSU
B.A. Honors and Thesis
University of Memphis
Latin & Greek Major
Judaic Studies Minor
Posted 27 May 2005 - 08:03 PM
for a different language, wouldn't it be 100%
Not exactly. I can understand a lot of Italian by knowing Spanish and bits and pieces of German by knowing English.
Posted 27 May 2005 - 11:30 PM
for a different language, wouldn't it be 100%
Not at all.
Languages all have parts that are intelligible with another language, but as a whole, you would not be able to comprehend what is said, at the most you can pick up a few words and get a general idea. In some cases, they might sound exactly like another language, but this does not mean there is general mutal intelligibility. A German saying "Das ist mein Buch" (That is my book) or "Was ist das?" (What is that?) would be understood by an English speaker.
Is Portuguese a different language from Spanish? Of course it is. Nearly all Portuguese though can understand more than 50% of Spanish even if they don't know Spanish. But Portuguese is harder for Spanish-speakers to understand, this is what is called one-way intelligibility.
There are also languages that are almost completely MUTUALLY INTELLIGIBLE but are recognized as different languages due to political separation, such as Norwegian (bokmål), Swedish and Danish.
Did it occur to you that they are just bilingual in the two? 'cause, I don't understand Cantonese and a lot of Cantonese speakers without Mandarin education or Mandarin-speaking parents don't understand any Mandarin.
I know many Cantonese-speaking Chinese-Americans who can understand Mandarin while some speak it perfectly. They obviously won't look at me like I'm crazy or like I'm speaking a foreign tongue
Posted 28 May 2005 - 11:56 AM
Adoo was absolutely right.
I spoke fluently on Cantonese, Hakka, Minnan, Min-xi, Zhaozhou, Min-bei (Amoy)
they're all dialects NOT LANGUAGE, non of these, except Cantonese, have any
written form without the support from the root word from Mandarin fullstop.Chinese
dialects may sound totally diff from one another, but yet, its backbone, still mandarin. As my father told me in Min-xi, just across the river, villagers spoke
other entirely diff dialect which is beyond our understanding, and further west down the village, two Hakka dialects existed. They'all gather in townhall to discuss
issues in written and spoken mandarin. Chinese dialects/language can be very
complicated at times.
unlike Spanish, French, sharing many words, but all can be written, express, differently, and independently.
even Cantonese, though can be written, 90-95% of its root words are still mandarin based.
may be this is the greatest effort by Qinshihuang when he unified the language
thru written form mandarin at the great expense and life of many scholars.
I can't say anything about Shanghainese, cos i have yet to learn from Nishishei
Amoy is Minnan, my friend. Get a map and check it
Look, as a native Spanish I'll tell you how things are in southern Europe. Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese are if not fully, 80% understandable if written. The share 90% of the vocabulary from Latin, which they are descended from. Now, speaking, Italian and Spanish are 60-70% understandable. Spanish and Portuguese, if spoken slowly, probably 80%. French however is much harder to understand spoken because it's phonetics have changed too much from Latin, but Italian and French share 90% of their grammar and vocabulary.
I don't think you can say that about china. I don't think a Cantonese speaker can understand 80% of Minnan if spoken slowly. Or Wu vs Mandarin. If you speak so many "dialects" fluently, then you have a real talent for languages.
Posted 28 May 2005 - 06:23 PM
Western European languages used an alphabetic script. If China had Hangul back in 200 AD, do you think the Chinese languages would have similar writing today?
Agreed European language except French are quite similar, but intelligently, they
all develop its written form for own expression, but to develop Fujianese, Hakka
Zhaozhou into separate language from Mandarin, may take another millenium???
"Was ist das?" (in German) and "What is that?" differ about as much as 你好 in Mandarin (nihao) and Cantonese (neyhou).
The other thing is European languages are inflected, while Chinese and Southeastern Asian languages are all very isolating (not inflected), so there is less room for grammatical variability, other than particle differences, word order, etc.
Posted 02 June 2005 - 08:34 PM
Posted: 01 June 2005 2349 hrs
More young Singaporeans learning Shanghainese dialect
By Joanne Leow, Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE : Shanghai has been called the fastest growing city in the world, attracting businessmen and tourists in droves.
In Singapore, language centres are seeing more and more young people learning the Shanghainese dialect.
Ivy Yeo, 24, worked in Shanghai last year, but found she could not relate to her colleagues because of the language barrier.
So coming back to Singapore, she decided to learn Shanghainese by taking classes in the dialect.
"You can communicate with shopkeepers, it's easier to buy things. And you can get to know people better and get discounts more easily," she said.
When one private language school started classes in Shanghainese three years ago, it only had beginner level lessons.
Then, most of its students were businessmen with interests in the city.
But lately though, it is seeing more young people taking up Shanghainese.
"I have Shanghainese friends, and it's much easier to communicate with them if I speak their language," one student said.
Said teacher Betty Chen, "For Singaporeans, learning how to pronounce Shanghainese properly is more difficult. So we have to draw examples from the local dialects. For example we say this sound is similar to one in the Hokkien dialect - because most dialects have something in common."
The teachers have been in Singapore for quite some time, and they hope teaching Shanghainese will lead to a greater understanding of their culture. - CNA /ct
Copyright 2005 MCN International Pte Ltd
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