There has been some confusion here between different senses of "Putonghua." So to clarify: article 19 of the constitution of the PRC says "The state promotes the nationwide use of Putonghua (common speech based on Beijing pronunciation)." Pursuant to this the government supported a huge project to create language standards close to Beijing usage, but deliberately not identical to any specific usage in Beijing. This went along with the character simplification and the creation of Hanyu Pinyin. These official standards are tested by the 普通話水平測試 and the HSK. Many jobs, especially in education and the media require some level on the 普通話水平測試. The standards have been lightly amended over time. I am asking about this official Putonghua. Numerous current and older dialects and usages called Putonghua in other contexts are not my concern now.

I am trying to find an official statement of the current standard, and I much prefer English for this (I expect it is a fairly long document). I am especially interested to know what words are officially given erhua. I am told some are, but not nearly so many as commonly get erhua in daily use in various parts of China.

I am not looking for help preparing for the HSK. That is widely available. I am trying to find the official standard.

  • What exactly is being asked here?
    – Mou某
    Aug 10, 2014 at 15:28
  • @user3306356 Can anyone help me find an English version of the current official description of Putonghua? Or at least an official vocabulary list? Aug 10, 2014 at 23:25
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    Wikipedias entry on Mandarin is no good?
    – Mou某
    Aug 11, 2014 at 0:46
  • 2
    – Mou某
    Aug 11, 2014 at 6:08
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    @user3306356 No, the 普通話水平測試 tests conformity to precise language standards created pursuant to article 19 of the constitution of the PRC, along with Hanyu Pinyin and the character simplification. This Putonghua is not a "diverse group of dialects spoken in northern and southwestern China." It is what Wikipedia's page on Standard Chinese calls "the official definition" of Putonghua by the People's Republic of China. I apologize if I sounded grumpy. I guess you really did not know this. Aug 12, 2014 at 11:52

1 Answer 1

  • While these references seem authoritative, I have to point out in reality the degree of Erhua in the real Putonghua that people use is much less than in these references. In other word if you follow these rules you'll sound more Northern/Beijing-ish than the common understanding of Putonghua by people from China. For example, the first link listed 号码儿 and 戏法儿 which most people (including news broadcasters who are considered the de-facto standard of Putonghua pronunciation) choose not to Erhua when they are trying to speak Putonghua.
    – NS.X.
    Aug 14, 2014 at 23:41
  • Thanks for a helpful answer. But this list combines the erhua in 普通话水平测试用普通话词语表 with that in the 现代汉语词典. A lot of web pages give at least parts of the 普通话水平测试用普通话词语表, spread out in groups of 100 at a time at separate URLs. I do not know if the whole could be assembled by following those. Or maybe some website has the whole thing but I have not found it yet. Aug 15, 2014 at 12:04

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