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CHINESE MANDARI

LANGUAGE KNOWLEDGE

Advances in language developments

Cantonese differs in a lot of ways from its mainland Chinese. Cantonese is the dialect used in the Guangdong province, in mainland PRC, as well as Macao & Hong Kong. Pinyin allows students of Mandarin to focus on their pronunciation, while also enabling them to read & write, without needing to learn complex Chinese characters. Although Pinyin uses the Roman alphabet, the pronunciation of its letters is often not intuitive to English speakers, which is why it must be studied carefully before it can be used. In recent years, due to emigration, Cantonese is the main Chinese dialect used within Chinese communities abroad, for instance, San Francisco, London & other communities.

Both Cantonese & mainland Chinese (Mandarin) are tonal languages, but there are up to nine tones in Cantonese compared to only four in the main Chinese dialect of Mandarin. This makes Cantonese a more difficult dialect to learn. Learn how to use Pinyin. Pinyin is a system used for writing Chinese Mandarin using the Roman alphabet. Hanyu pinyin is the most common form of such Romanization, & is used in a lot of textbooks & teaching materials. Unfortunate arguments have erupted, for example, over whether Taiwanese is a Chinese language or a Chinese dialect. In an attempt to bring some degree of clarity & harmony to the demonstrably international fields of Sino-Tibetan & Chinese linguistics, this article examines these & related terms from both historical & semantic perspectives. 
 

While Chinese dialects have a standard in the written form, Cantonese can be written as it is spoken, although it can also be written in standard written Chinese. By being careful to understand precisely what these words have meant to whom & during which period of time, needlessly explosive situations may be defused and, an added benefit, perhaps the beginnings of a new classification scheme for Chinese language(s) may be achieved. As an initial step in the right direction, the author proposes the adoption of "topolect" as an exact, neutral translation of fangyan. The majority of the Cantonese-specific characters evolve from an existing Chinese character, & have a similar sound, just adding a ‘mouth’ radical to the left side, but generally, written Cantonese in vernacular is still rare.

There are two very interesting hypotheses for this difference. One is the so-called Altaicization hypothesis; it states that Mandarin dialects evolved differently from the southern varieties of Chinese because of its exposure to the so-called Altaic languages of the later dynasties (Mongolian in the 元 Yuán dynasty & Manchu in the 清 Qīng dynasty). Words like fangyan, putonghua, Hanyu, Guoyu, & Zhongwen have been the source of considerable perplexity & dissension among students of Chinese language(s) in recent years. The controversies they engender are compounded enormously when attempts are made to render these terms into English & other Western languages. Both the Yuan & the Qing saw PRC ruled by (originally) non-Chinese peoples. Mandarin evolved in the capitals & major cities of these northern-based empires.