I'd like to gain more exposure to northern Chinese accents. I feel their vocabulary, speed of talking, and even which idioms they use are very different from the rest of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. My friend recommended a popular TV show, but it has to do with ancient Chinese history. I can't recall the name of the TV show, but while it was definitely what wanted in terms of hearing more northern accents, learning words like 陛下 aren't quite useful to me as far as conversation, reading, business, etc.

Are there any TV series, dramas, shows, etc. that are very popular that can allow me to be exposed to more northern styled Chinese? It can be a 电视剧 or any sort of show as long as it can help me with modern northern Chinese language. Note: I really don't like 爸爸去哪儿.

Update: I apologize as I don't mean to just categorize one group of people as "northerners". It's hard for me to specifically say which area, as I don't have much exposure to northern accents at all (hence the blunt question), but I suppose Beijing would be more of what I'm referring to, or, as NS.X said, anything with a slight northern accent. I suppose a romance / drama series may be best as well, since I find those to be most helpful with conversation.

  • By "northern Chinese accents", do you mean those different from the "CCTV Chinese accent"? – Stan Oct 26 '15 at 10:41
  • 1
    Do you mean Beijing? or Harbin? or Hohhot? Or was @Stan right to suspect you mean CCTV announcer pronunciation? – Colin McLarty Oct 26 '15 at 13:09
  • at least among 刑侦 电视剧 it seems hard to find any cases with pronounced regional accents,this user came across only one,namely 无路可逃 v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTgyNTQ4NTA4.html in which some actors (involved in the illegal manufacture of fire arms)use 青海 dialect,which seems unintelligible to listeners only knowing 普通话。 – user6065 Oct 26 '15 at 16:04
  • Most TV shows on any CCTV channel use Putonghua or with slight Northern dialects. – NS.X. Oct 26 '15 at 23:10

Update history:

OCT27 2015: Write down the 1,2,3 parts

OCT28 2015: add the 4th part

OCT28 2015: add explanation to @tofu_bacon

NOV01 2015: Note which is TV.

explanation to @tofu_bacon

Shalom, my content is not just categorize them. I want to divide them more orderly. To answer your question more clearly, I add some romance/ city TV series and also I will note them with EMPHASIS to you.

I think the northern Chinese accents is a large range because in Northern China, there are many different accents. And the standard pronunciation (Pu tong hua) is also based on northern Chinese accents.

I will introduce these types and the movies or TV with them:

1.Northwest Chinese:

Xinjiang Accent:

《无人区》 - Movie - (It's a chinese road movie in which you can hear different type accents in Xinjiang and Qinghai, not only the Uygur language)

Shaanxi Accent:

《关中匪事》 - TV series - (Especially the theme song of this TV, is created by a famous Shaanxi composer )

《武林外传》 - TV series - http://www.iqiyi.com/a_19rrk2hct9.html (The lead role woman: Tong is an actually Shaanxi Accents)

《平凡的世界》 - TV series - (in this TV, you may listen another type Shaanxi accent, because Shaanxi province have three geographical conditions so it has three different life style and accent, this TV from a famous book in China written by a north Shaanxi Author: Luyao)

2.Beijing Accents:

Beijing accent does not means the Putonghua, for many authentic Beijing director or screenwriter, they like to design some roles with pure Beijing accent instead of Putonghua.

《大宅门》 - TV series - http://www.iqiyi.com/a_19rrk57msh.html (This TV adapted from a real story of a Family of Chinese Medicine, the actors nearly all use Beijing accent. What's more, the time in this TV is the end of Qing dynasty and the begin of the Republic of China so it show many conflicts and cultures in China, also have some Beijing opera decorated the atmosphere. I recommend this TV.)

《贫嘴张大民的幸福生活》 - TV series - (This TV show the daily life of Beijing in 1990s, my parents really love this TV because its their great youth time)

《北京爱情故事》 - TV series - (This is a love story in Beijing about some people, not only use Beijing accent, but also some other accent popular nowadays. It's a good TV to know the life and love for Beijing young people. link: http://www.iqiyi.com/v_19rrh59e04.html )

3.Northeast Accents:

At least four areas use this accent: Liaoning province, Jiling privince, Heilongjiang province and some cities in Inner Mongolia. Among these areas, people in Liaoning province use the Northeast accents more. Many outstanding actors, singers, and performers from this there.

《东北一家人》 - TV series - (This is a situation comedy called A family in northeast China and first broadcast in 2001. It's really funny. And you can see many famous stars in this TV when they are young)

《乡村爱情》 - TV series - (I will not give the links here because they have too many seasons. This TV directed by Zhao Benshan, a famous comedy actor and also is a heritage of 'Er ren zhuan' Show in China. This TV show the rural Life in northeast China)

Comedy Sketches acted by Zhao Benshan all show the usage and pronunciation of Northeast accents. I just give a link here and you can search him in several video site. He nearly attended each Chinese New Year Gala, and he is honored as The king of comedy in China.

4.Tianjin Accents:

There is a city, Tianjin, close to Beijing, who has good development in economy, education, view sight, and traditional culture.

《杨光的快乐生活》 - TV series - This is a life comedy. Two main actors are father and son and their relationship in this TV is also father and son. They use Tianjin accent in this TV and show the life in Tianjin city.

Another interesting thing I will recommend from Tianjin is 相声

相声 (Chinese Crosstalk comedy, Xiangsheng) nowadays have many different factions, they usually divided by the area. The Tianjin Xiangsheng is the most famous one. This is a folk art. Some radio have this program http://qingting.fm/livechat/channels/1175, you can have a try but it may be difficult.

I will update here.

My expression in English may lead to confusion of you, I should say sorry. If you find out the wrong use of language, please point out and I will learn that.Thanks.

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  • Several of these are movies...I was asking for TV shows/series :\ – tofu_bacon Oct 31 '15 at 7:58
  • @tofu_bacon most of them are TV series, some even have more than 100 episodes. If it is TV, I use the word " TV series" to introduce. – Daofan Cao Nov 1 '15 at 7:50

I think there is no specific "northern accents" exists in China. Although Putonghua pronunciation based on northern dialect, but the differences among regions still exist. Beijing and Tianjin are so close to each other, but they still speaks in different tones, don't even mention Henan accent, Shanxi accent, or Shandong accent.

I assume you were talking about the Putonghua accent, which is also the standard accent nowadays. All public(satellite) TV programs in China mainland are in "northern accent"(standard accent) in my opinion, except those TV programs broadcasting in local cable channel or those special TV programs made for minority people(Tibetan, Uygur).

So if you want to learn Chinese from dramas or entertainment programs, just turn on your TV, and follow the pronunciation. If you were trying to find recommendations on programs, I would like to suggest below TV dramas:

  • 《我爱我家》 I Love My Family. A popular comedy series in 2000s.
  • 《家有儿女》 Home with Kids. Popular comedy series made in 2000s.
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