questions about Chinese dialects or topolects

learn more… | top users | synonyms

16
votes
9answers
4k views

Why Cantonese is considered as a dialect of Chinese?

Can someone explain why Cantonese is considered as a dialect of Chinese, instead of a language? It is also for any language exist in China, both land and Taiwan (Cantonese, Hunanese, Fujianese, ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Useful resources for learning Taiwanese?

My girlfriend is from Fujian and speaks 闽南语, so I am trying to learn so I can communicate with her family better. The struggle is finding any useful resources (even in Chinese), so I'm wondering if ...
10
votes
7answers
813 views

What is the status of 什么来的 and 什么来着 in standard and colloquial Mandarin Chinese?

When I first moved to the south of China, I was surprised to hear the phrase "什么来的" used to mean "what," as in  这是什么来的?: "What is this?" As far as I could tell, in many cases there was no ...
9
votes
3answers
567 views

How is the 儿 ending pronounced outside Beijing?

When Beijingers use words like 一点儿, the ending syllable will be very pronounced as far as I understand, and I'm aware that this is a typical feature of the Beijing dialect. But how is it pronounced in ...
9
votes
2answers
127 views

Is there a “Peking Opera dialect”?

Peking Opera has a distinct pronunciation, that is at first similar to Mandarin, but to astute listeners, certain characters appear to have alternate or even non-Mandarin pronunciations. Take certain ...
8
votes
2answers
588 views

Help translating 海南鸡饭 - 2

I've come across Zhang Shaolin's Hoi-nam kai-fan (characters 海南鸡饭, lyrics only in subtitles), a song in Hakka. It is split into three parts. This question concentrates on part 2, part 1 being here and ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Is Hakka spoken the same in Guangdong and Taiwan?

In Taiwan Hakka is the 3rd most popular language, and the MRT in Taipei makes all announcements in 4 languages; Mandarin, Minnan, Hakka, and English. It is also a minority language in Hong Kong and ...
7
votes
2answers
330 views

Character and meaning for the 四川话 sentence-ending particle 'ga'?

Scholars of Chinese will have a lot of work to do in the next 100-200 years, because eventually academics will take notice and want to document the self-emergent standardization of orthography for ...
7
votes
1answer
225 views

Are there some greetings or phrases particular to the Hui people?

I'm in Yunnan and have noticed lots of Chinese muslims and ate at one of their restaurants today. I was aware of Turkic-speaking muslim ethnic minorities in the far west of China but now I know those ...
6
votes
2answers
194 views

Which dialect of Chinese has the fewest tones?

Standard Cantonese has six tones, Minnan, spoken primarily in Taiwan and Fujian, has five to seven; and so on down to Mandarin, based on the Beijing dialect, which has only four. (I don't count ...
5
votes
5answers
634 views

“哩勒公蝦毀” what does this mean?

What does “哩勒公蝦毀” mean? A Taiwanese guy said that to me after I had, accidently, mistyped two words in an idiom I used on him. He also used an expression of surprise (I presume) which went like “蛤?!” ...
5
votes
2answers
746 views

Looking for very common dialect words which have no Standard Mandarin Chinese hanzi characters

I'm basing this question on several assumptions, so if they are wrong please say so as an answer: Written Chinese is mainly used for Standard (Mandarin) Chinese. Mostly other Chinese languages and/...
5
votes
3answers
462 views

When do you use 唄 instead of 吧 to end a sentence?

I hear a lot of people in mainland China use the former (never from Taiwanese Mandarin) when saying a phrase as a sort of command, but I'm still not sure about why someone would say it.
5
votes
2answers
316 views

Chinese [Topolectical] IPA Placeholder: Ẓ

I've asked this elsewhere before but without much luck so I'm just gonna paste what I wrote before: I ran across "Ẓ" use some what in some old texts used as a sort-of "IPA" then to make sure I wasn'...
5
votes
1answer
272 views

Strange pronunciations in Hakka song

I have stumbled upon Zhang Shaolin's Hoi-nam kai-fan. I asked three translation questions about it: 1, 2 and 3. THere you find the lyrics and a link to a video, and my translation attempt. This ...
5
votes
1answer
267 views

Why is “小小” pronounced as “xué xiǎo”?

In the classic 相声《卖马》, near the beginning is a line that goes: 在下王老好的便是,就在这潞州天堂县开了一个*小小*的店房 but in that line, "小小" was pronounced as "xué xiǎo". Here's a clip: http://youtu.be/cB391VthT4Q?t=...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Difference between learning Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese Hokkien for visiting Taiwan

I'm planning on visiting Taiwan as a tourist for about one week next year. Both Wikipedia and Wikivoyage say that Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese Hokkien are common languages there. What advantages ...
4
votes
2answers
366 views

What is the relationship between vernacular and literary Chinese?

I don't quite get the difference between and relationship of vernacular Chinese to literary Chinese. I know that "literary Chinese" does not represents sounds, the way an alphabet does, so it is ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Resources for learning Shanghainese

I'm surprised a question like this hasn't been asked yet. It seems Shanghainese is a dying language and it's rarely spoken. I'd like to know about resources and ways to learn the language by myself. ...
4
votes
5answers
526 views

What is the most common way to say 'indecisive' in Mandarin?

I have heard a range of different terms meaning 'indecisive' in Chinese - I'm not sure if they were in dialect, or there are several options for saying it in Mandarin, and so I'm curious to learn what ...
4
votes
2answers
501 views

Hokkien pronunciation of `白头偕老`

白头偕老 is a set expression in Mandarin, meaning to get old together, in a loose translation. I found it in a Hokkien song called 牵阮的手 (Mandarin 牵我的手, English While you hold my hand). In the linked video,...
4
votes
2answers
396 views

Pronouncing pinyin “c” in Shanxi dialect

I had thought I knew how to pronounce pinyin "c," like the English "ts" in "cats." But on a trip to Shanxi it seemed like most of my friends were pronouncing it like pinyin "ch." Village names ending ...
4
votes
3answers
368 views

Are there any resources for learners of Chinese dialects that are close to Mandarin?

I've lived in Henan provice for around 8 years and have never seen any texts for learners of the Henanese dialect. There are considerable variations in dialect within Henan between people from ...
4
votes
1answer
362 views

What dialect could this be? (Southern China)

I was yesterday in a bus in the HK neighbourhood called 上環/soeng6 waan4. A guy nearby was talking in a strange, almost alien-sounding, Chinese dialect. At some point he mentioned (what I suppose is ...
4
votes
4answers
308 views

Chinese views on Erhua

I'm already well acquainted with erhua (儿化) in putonghua, essentially appending 儿 to the ends of words (or reading it when 儿 isn't written, as sometimes people do with 花 or 八点 etc). Many of these ...
3
votes
3answers
221 views

What is the Mandarin equivalent for the Shanghai term for dirty?

In the Shanghai dialect dirty is pronounced something like "o co" with the o pronounced like the "o" in cot and the "c" pronounced like the usual c in pinyin (kinda like an 'ts' sound). Which ...
3
votes
4answers
472 views

Where is 蛮 used, as in the meaning of 'quite'?

I was watching a Chinese show today, where they said '蛮舒服'. Since I've never heard 蛮 before I looked it up, and the dictionary tells me that 蛮 is only used as 'quite' in dialect. Now my question is, ...
3
votes
1answer
258 views

Cantonese sandhi

In Mandarin, there is limited tone sandhi, mainly about third tones and the tone variations of yi1 (one) and bù (not). By contrast, Min has sandhi rules for all tones, as illustrated by this diagram. ...
3
votes
1answer
363 views

Help translating 爱人跟人走

I have come across the song 爱人跟人走 (lyrics here). I'll give a complete translation attempt of this Hokkien song: It's already 3 years since you left me; Have you gone away without [ever] turning back? ...
3
votes
2answers
207 views

Asking “which language do you speak?” on the phone

I work at a medical call center. Many Asians will call in asking for a translator so we can schedule their appointments. Most of them will understand when I ask, "which language, Cantonese or Mandarin?...
3
votes
2answers
777 views

Benefits of Learning a Chinese Dialect in Addition to Standardized Mandarin

Edit: This is now cross-posted to linguistics. Studies have shown that learning more than one language helps people of all ages learn each one of the languages. For a nice mainstream media piece on ...
3
votes
1answer
54 views

Information about the Nantong dialect

I want to learn the dialect spoken in Nantong. Are there any resources to help me?
3
votes
3answers
110 views

Reference: 'hou' in Sichuanese meaning 'to eat'

Looking for a reference. Apparently 'hou' (pronunciation roughly similar to '候') means eat in Sichuanese, at least in some dialects. For instance: hou饭 出去hou hou东西 hou𩛲𩛲(𬲹𬲹) hou酒 I've gone ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

How widely is Mandarin used in Nanjing?

I know there is a Nanjing dialect of Jianghuai Mandarin but I have not been able to learn much about current usage in the city of Nanjing. For example, do many people in Nanjing today ordinarily ...
2
votes
4answers
427 views

What is the meaning of “拜了个拜”?

I heard this phrase from some Chinese-speaking stranger. I assume it's related to farewell since the stranger was waving hand to someone else, but what does it mean exactly? Is there a certain context ...
2
votes
3answers
180 views

When is a 方言 a language and not a dialect

I have always thought, perhaps wrongly, that it was mutual intelligibility that was the deciding factor as to whether a 方言 would be considered a dialect or it's own separate language. Wikipedia's ...
2
votes
1answer
150 views

一单字动词,表示给食物过冷水,是哪个字? / a single-character word meaning to submerge food in cold water

北京话里有个单字动词,表示给食物(比如刚煮熟的面条、蔬菜等)过冷水。华北其他地区可能也说。请问这是哪个字?以前经常听人说,现在记不清了。 There is a single-character verb in Beijingese Mandarin, meaning to submerge food (like boiled noodles, vegetables, etc.) in cold ...
2
votes
5answers
363 views

(Better) Translations of: 稀罕/稀奇?

In Chinese 稀罕 and 稀奇 are often used negatively to express disdain, e.g.: ABC 我不稀罕你的钱。 Wǒ bù xīhan nǐ de qián. I don't care about your money. And 你以为我稀奇你的东西? Dictionaries often ...
2
votes
2answers
88 views

What's the significance of Tangut?

With the preparation of the Tangut script for Unicode there seems to be extra added attention on the language, recently. Tangut being a dead, sinitic language with a script all of its own. What is ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

What Possible Pronunciations of 也 exist in Suzhou Dialect?

I was looking at old Kunqu opera the other day and was interested by the fact that the singers seemed to be pronouncing 也 as "yi" instead of "ye", for example in http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/...
2
votes
3answers
174 views

The most used Chinese dialect on the Web?

Do Chinese use different language dialects on the Web? e.g. Mandarin, Cantonese, Min Chinese, Xiang  Chinese, Hakka Chinese, Gan Is there difference how people in China are looking for stuff on the ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there online resources for learning the Chongqing dialect?

I'd like to learn the Chongqing dialect or chongqinghua. If anyone can help me to find resources like phrasebooks, differences with putonghua, or any article on this topic, I would be thankful.
2
votes
2answers
201 views

Alternative name for moon cakes?

The standard name for moon cakes in Chinese is 月餅. In Thailand they are called ขนมเปีย or roughly ‘khanom pia’. The first element is a general word for baked goods, so the operative term is ‘pia’ ...
2
votes
2answers
413 views

Help translating 海南鸡饭

I've come across Zhang Shaolin's Hoi-nam kai-fan (characters 海南鸡饭, lyrics only in subtitles), a song in Hakka. It is split into three parts. This question concentrates on part 1, part 2 being here and ...
2
votes
3answers
429 views

Meaning and usage of 得瑟(嘚瑟)

嘚瑟 [dè·se] (usually written 得瑟 in my limited observation) is apparently 东北方言. I've seen a couple dictionaries/explanations that say it means to "show off". I hear this word fairly frequently, but I ...
2
votes
2answers
116 views

Sichuanese: When Is First Tone 55 Vs. 45?

55 and 45 are 调值 or tone values. The Sichuanese first tone is sometimes 55, like mandarin (high & flat), and sometimes a rising 45. Sichuanese: When Is First Tone 55 Vs. 45?
2
votes
1answer
157 views

Tone Sandhi: Sichuanese 四川话

Been trying to find the rules of tone sandhi in Sichuanese - but not having a lot of luck. Wikipedia Talk:Sichuanese Mandarin Tone Sandhi Great improvements to the original article! Can we ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

Correct spelling of Min word

I have come across this song recently. I understand practically all of it. My question is specifically about one word. At a certain point, the lyrics go: 二項要選擇啥 Now, according to 台灣閩南語常用詞辭典, a ...
2
votes
0answers
144 views

Open source Sichuanese TTS (语音合成?)

There's a couple of iOS apps that support Sichuanese TTS (text-to-speech): 川话达人 语音合成助手 From what I can tell it's all from a company called 讯飞, but I'm not totally sure. Is there an open source ...
2
votes
2answers
411 views

Help translating 海南鸡饭 - 3

I've come across Zhang Shaolin's Hoi-nam kai-fan (characters 海南鸡饭, lyrics only in subtitles), a song in Hakka. It is split into three parts. This question concentrates on part 3, part 2 being here and ...