What is the Most Popular Chinese Dialect, Mandarin or Cantonese?

Jun 05, 2009 at 06:46 | Posted in Language 语言 | 8 Comments
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Mandarin is the most popular dialect among the Chinese speakers. It is mainly used in Mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore. These areas represent a population over 1.3 billion Chinese. Mandarin dialect is the official and standard dialect in Mainland China. Almost all TV and radio stations announce in Mandarin dialect. The China education system requires that all schoolteachers in China must teach in Mandarin. In Mainland China, Mandarin is called “putonghua”, meaning “common language”.

The Cantonese dialect is popular in Canton (Guangdong) province of China, Hong Kong and with overseas Chinese in cities such as San Francisco and New York. The Chinese population in these areas is approximately 10 million.

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Can Cantonese and Mandarin Speakers Understand Each Other?

May 31, 2009 at 07:11 | Posted in China Business 中国商务, Language 语言 | 2 Comments
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Cantonese and Mandarin speakers can understand each other through standard written Chinese.  This is particularly true to Cantonese speaker. A Cantonese speaker can normally learn what a Mandarin speaker means when the speaker talks, and can further get a clearer understanding when the speaker writes in a standard Chinese. When Chinese is in standard written format, it is understandable to all Chinese people. Only spoken Chinese has difficulty in communication among different Chinese dialect groups because of the dialect diversities.

However, a Mandarin speaker may or may not understand the written document created by a Cantonese speaker when idiomatic characters are used. Cantonese-speaking communities, such as Hong Kong, have created words that match the pronunciations of the Cantonese dialect or are of unique expression. Under these circumstances, the written Chinese by a Cantonese speaker will not be understandable to a Mandarin speaker, or to other Chinese with other dialects.

What are the Differences between Mandarin and Cantonese?

May 31, 2009 at 06:47 | Posted in China Business 中国商务, Language 语言 | Leave a comment
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The main differences between Mandarin and Cantonese are the pronunciations. For example, in Mandarin, the word for “look, see” is pronounced as kan, while it is tai in Cantonese. There are other differences in usage of words and grammar.

Mandarin and Cantonese share the same written language, Chinese. Standard written Chinese is understandable to all Chinese dialects. This is like the Americans and the British. Both can read English even though Americans and Brits have different dialects.

Mandarin and Cantonese both use “pinyin” to represent the pronunciation. “Pinyin” means “spelling the sound”. It is in the form of alphabet. For example, the pronunciation for the word “English”(“ 英语”) in pinyin is “yingyu”.

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