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Chinese Languages & Dialects of SEA

Southeast Asia Hokkien Teochew Natural Language Learning

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#1 SeekingSilence


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Posted 26 June 2012 - 12:00 PM

Hello, everyone!

This is my first post here, so please bear with me.

In the coming weeks, I will be travelling through Southeast Asia (SEA) to visit friends and am hoping to scout out a place to move to for a while. The prime locations will probably be Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, or Singapore. Expense-wise, though, Singapore is probably out.

Also, to give you a bit more background, I am a bit of a language nerd and am always curious to learn more about languages. My main expertise is in Western European languages, but I am also extremely interested in learning some Asian tongues as well.

And, finally, before we begin: I have visited your site numerous times over the last couple of years while searching various language topics, and I decided that I should finally post a few things, finally taking a leap of faith to see what everyone here can provide. So, here we go:

1. In the three locations that I have mentioned, would I be safe to assume that Hokkien and Teochew are probably the two primary dialects or languages spoken by the Chinese populations in this region (SEA)?

2. If so, does anyone know of any decent online materials that I can use to get started with either? I am particularly interested in historical information and then also some sound samples. I have watched countless hours of Mandarin programming and have a general sense for the sound of that language but really have little idea about Hokkien or Teochew. Is there any music, radio, or other media available in these languages to help me get accustomed to them?

3. This is probaly getting really out there, but does anyone know of any video materials that would be in either language/dialect? Movies, cartoons, television programming, or even short blurbs (how-to vids, news, etc.) would be most welcome. I know it is asking a lot, but a guy can dream, can't he?

Thank you for any help you can provide.

Seeking Silence

#2 xng


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Posted 28 June 2012 - 06:19 AM

I think you have some wrong misconception about the languages spoken among the ethnic chinese there.

In Kuala Lumpur, the main dialect spoken is cantonese and not hokkien. The older generation tend to speak cantonese while the younger generation , less than 20 years old tend to speak mandarin.

You can find a lot of learn cantonese in youtube.

Different places in Malaysia speak different dialects, read here.


In Bangkok, the main dialect spoken is teochiu but that is spoken among the older generation only, the younger generation don't speak any chinese dialects but they speak Thai only. However, there is a small proportion of younger generation who do speak mandarin.

Basically, chinese dialects are not as widely spoken among the chinese in bangkok as it is spoken in Kuala Lumpur. This is due to the fact that there are chinese medium schools (sponsored by govt) in Malaysia.

In Singapore, the main dialect spoken is hokkien (quan zhou variety) but it is spoken by mainly the older generation. The younger generation mainly speak mandarin only.

Edited by xng, 28 June 2012 - 06:24 AM.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Southeast Asia, Hokkien, Teochew, Natural Language Learning

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