Questions tagged [topolect]

questions regarding regional variants of the Chinese language

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1answer
33 views

Do any good topolect maps exist for Chinese?

I've been rummaging through English dialect maps. Here's an example of one on Twitter: And an American one for good measure: Do any good topolect maps exist for Chinese?
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101 views

Are there northern dialects which still preserve velars before front vowels?

It's well known that Modern Standard Mandarin has merged what were historically velar stops and alveolar silibants when followed by front vowels. For instance, 京 is "jing" rather than "ging", and 津 is ...
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45 views

What does “和尚撞了道士” mean?

In the song《掐死大象的蚂蚁》by Bridge and 二毛 there's a bar by twenty-cents(?) that goes: 咋个回事咋个回事 十点半还不晓得回家 问起咋子问起咋子 也不晓得打个电话 有事有事安啥子事嘛啥子事嘛 和尚撞了道士上房揭瓦你要造次 The part that is tripping me up is: ...
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95 views

Why does Cantonese sound vaguely British?

Speaking as a native speaker of American English, I notice from my perspective that Cantonese speakers tend to sound more "British" than Mandarin speakers. I'm not just referring to Hong Kong, but ...
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63 views

Is it a common requirement for Chinese interpreters to be fluent in two or more dialects?

I was looking at job postings for interpreters and found a few for generic "Chinese" interpreters, a few more for both Mandarin & Cantonese, and just one for Mandarin only. To my surprise, I didn'...
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161 views

Is there a politically neutral Chinese term for China that is acceptable to all Chinese speakers?

By "China," I am referring to the Mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan collectively, without regard to geopolitics. Is there a word that refers to this entire region that would not offend any ...
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50 views

What is the line between 新派 and X普 in topolects?

Not sure if there is a definite answer to the question. A lot of dialects distinguish between 老派 and 新派 for old-pronunciations and new-pronunciations. Many 新派 pronunciations though are heavily ...
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2answers
90 views

Resource request: Hainanese dictionaries

What are the available Hainanese (海南話) dictionaries? In particular, dictionaries of the Wenchang (文昌) dialect. If those are not available, dictionaries of the Haikou (海口) dialect are also fine. If ...
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1answer
54 views

How can I find where a dialect word come from?

I often come across words like this in a dictionary: 肚皮 <方> 腹部; 肚子 (dù·zi)。 I would like to know if there's a way (a website or a dictionary or whatever other way instead of asking someone) ...
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52 views

Origin of transliteration of ~j/sw to ~r in Mandarin

In Malaysia/Singapore, “Raja” is often transliterated to 拉惹,although Wikipedia uses 拉者as the name for its article on the title. e.g. Ayer Rajah 亚逸拉惹 Perlis’s Raja 玻璃市拉惹(https://zh.m.wikipedia.org/zh-...
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93 views

Why was Jutland transliterated as 日德兰?

Background: Jutland is the peninsula which makes up part of Denmark, and it was the site of the WWI Battle of Jutland (which is one of the main reasons "Jutland" would be written about at all in other ...
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120 views

Is there any study on the relative difficulty of native Chinese speakers with different dialects learning another dialect?

I wonder if there is any research conducted in China, on the relative difficulty of Chinese speakers learning different dialects. I'm looking for something like the research by the Foreign Service ...
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72 views

Asking Chinese mother-in-law to learn pinyin?

I thought about asking this on parenting.se but it seemed specialized enough that this site made more sense. I'm a white man married to a Chinese woman, living in the US. Her parents live in China ...
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3answers
222 views

Difference between 汉语 and 华文

A Singaporean friend of mine calls his Chinese: 华文. I didn't realise that this also meant Chinese. What is the difference between 华文 and 汉语?
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74 views

Is ㄙㄨㄚˋ (sua4) for the character 嘴 from another Chinese dialect or language?

In my explorations of my area of Taichung today I noticed this sign with Zhuyin Fuhao and took a photo to look it up when I got home: And it seems that ㄙㄨㄚˋ (sua4) is not even an existing syllable in ...
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110 views

What could 轰 be a contraction of to mean “what”?

轰 can be found in some dialects, often with a 个 found on the end, to mean what. This is most definitely a contraction. (Similar dialects also feature a contraction of 哪 and 样 as 孃 niang, also meaning ...
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1answer
91 views

What is a Singapore Sling drink known as in the Chinese dialects of Singapore?

The drink's inventor was Hainanese, though accounts of the drink's history and contents vary. The only reference to it in any form of Chinese that I was able to find was apparently written in ...
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192 views

How are “vernacular” and “literary” readings of characters chosen and used outside of Mandarin?

There are other posts that mention the relationship between classical Chinese vis-a-vis Mandarin (e.g., this one and this one), but what defines the use of "literary" and "vernacular" readings in ...
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1answer
122 views

Why would Antimony (Sb) and Aluminum (Al) be confused?

I'm going through some Chinese language materials and finding some interesting discoveries across multiple dialects. In Chinese 锑[銻] is Antimony (Sb) & 铝(鋁) is Aluminum (Al). In Cantonese there ...
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181 views

What Chinese languages are spoken in South East Asia?

With the abundance of immigration and emigration in Asia it would be interesting to know where the Chinese languages moved to as well. The effect of Chinese characters on Japan and Korea goes ...
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95 views

About a (Southern Sixian?) Hakka folk song found on Youtube

Since all the info I have about the song is in the Hakka Lyrics (facebook group) post I made about it, let me quote it as is, then proceed to ask the questions. Nyi-teu-sa ti li siu ko kai Hak-boi ...
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136 views

Help translating two lines of Zhang Shaolin's “Hakka homesickness” (客家乡情) + some weird pronunciations in that song

Song video. Lyrics, romanization (based on what I hear in the video), translation attempt. 张少林的“客家乡情”(客家话) 爱记乡情 齐家都係客人 最緊有煞拼求進 (AX 建议的写法) 莫忘乡情 齐家係自家人 只只回故乡寻根 叔公叔婆来相认 亲戚送礼来好热心 到处都有人亲 做事耐苦 人乌白也分明 ...
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1k views

Questions on a Hakka song and its particular Hakka dialect

Warning, General Background, Table of Contents This is going to be a very long post, just like my work on this video was very long. This is why I am breaking it down into sections. It is also going ...
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100 views

Any evidence for z(h)uang (这么) and luang (那么)?

I keep hearing: zuang [tsuaŋ] and luang [Ĩuaŋ] for 这么 and 那么, respectively. I believe it is Minjiang dialect (岷江话, 岷江小片). I've flipped through a couple of books I have but I haven't been able ...
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183 views

Why is Húnán pronounced with an F?

I traveled to Hunan province and stumbled across something interesting. I was speaking to a taxi driver and asked him, 'where are you from'? He responded, 'Funan'. I then realized he actually meant '...
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212 views

Is there any proof that learning ones own dialect will improve ability in Mandarin?

There were many topolectical surveys done and data collected in the 70’s and 80’s under the reasoning that a person more familiar with their own dialect would be readily more proficient at Mandarin. ...
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164 views

Why does Mandarin differentiate 发[發/髮] fa1/fa4 when most topolects don't?

發 and 髮 have been simplified into one single character: 发. 发 contains the separate meanings of 發 and 髮 but differentiates by tone: fa1 (fā) and fa4 (fà). Most topolects (西安,武汉,洛阳,乌鲁木齐,贵阳,济南,柳州,万荣,...
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2k views

How similar are Hakka and Cantonese?

I refer to this map (also shown below), which depicts that Yue and Hakka variants of Chinese are geographically very close to each other. If we take Hong Kong for example, how similar would the ...
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5answers
695 views

In Sichuanese does 日本人 mean “fuck me”?

I found a very interesting entry on Pleco: 日本人 (Sichuanese expletive) fuck me (日 here means cào [肏]) I have never heard it but is this explanation correct? What is the etymology of this usage ...
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89 views

Taiwanese brand of computers called 嘉馬電腦

From what I can tell, 嘉馬電腦 means The Auspicious Horse Computer. Is this a reasonable translation? Is 嘉馬電腦 a normal-sounding brand name to Chinese-speakers? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
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372 views

How is “biang” as in “biáng biáng miàn” pronounced in other dialects?

To my understanding, "biáng" is not a sound that exists in Mandarin, though there's some argument on the hypothetical phonological possibility of such here. One might assume therefore that it is a ...
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119 views

What dialect/topolect is 凉薯 a part of?

《现代汉语大词典》defines 凉薯 as: 方言。即豆薯。有的地方也叫地瓜。藤本植物, 花色浅蓝或白色, 结荚, 种子有毒, 块根像甘薯, 可食。 It was the 方言 part that threw me off here. Baidu Baike just calls it a 别称 other resources also just say something ...
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1answer
105 views

Why is inital /ŋ/ considered hick-ish?

There seems to be a habit of dropping /ŋ/ initials in topolects/dialects for fear of seeming like a redneck. Consider: Canto: 屋 nguk1 vs. uk1 [the new ABC Cantonese dictionary only gives the uk1 ...
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61 views

About the last non-repeated sentence in 爱人是行船人

The Min song mentioned in the title has the following lyrics (conformed to the "guidelines" of 台湾闽南语常用词辞典): 在阮的心目中 伊是一个男子汉 在阮的一生中 只爱伊一人 伊的船只已经欲出航 毋知何时才会阁再入港 虽然装着笑容 来共伊相送 阿~~心爱的人 ...
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89 views

Two questions on a sentence in a Min song

The sentence We are looking at the first sentence of the part of Liû-lõng kàu Tām-tsuí sung solo, which is typically found written: 扞着风琴提着吉他 双人牵做伙 According to my research, noting that I ...
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138 views

Min 毋免: m̄-bián only, or possibly m̄-mián?

This word is found in 爱拼才会赢, where I hear it as undoubtedly m̄-mián, yet when I look it up on 台湾闽南语常用词辞典 or on Wiktionary, I only find the pronunciation m̄-bián. So I was wondering: is he getting it ...
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65 views

About an extra sentence in a Min song in a CD

光盘上在这首歌的结束又多一句话:“na li bo sua tsong lai thi pue tua”(若你无线总来?袂大?); maybe “tsong ai”, maybe “na bo sua”…就是“若你无线总爱紩袂煞” | Nā lí bô suànn tsóng ài thīnn buē suah | 如果你没线总要缝不完… but it sounds like it ends ...
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326 views

About a line in 爱拼才会赢

Here are the full lyrics of the song in the title as found here, where a video is also found: 一时失志不免怨叹 一时落魄不免胆寒 那通失去希望 每日醉茫茫 无魂有体亲像稻草人 人生可比是海上的波浪 有时起 有时落 好运 歹运 总嘛要照起工来行 三分天注定 ...
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1answer
173 views

Hakka equivalent of 把

I was wondering if there is any Hakka word that functions the same as Mandarin 把, that is, marks the direct object when it is placed before a verb. For example: 我把我的电脑放在桌子上了。 Hakka: ...
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98 views

地位 sounds like tek-ui or te-kui: singer's mistake or lyrics should be different?

In the Hokkien song 男人的汗 (Min title 查埔人的汗, lyrics here, there is the following line: 人生行到遮 地位亲像山 It should sound: Lin-sing kiann kau tsia    te-ui tshin-tshiunn suann Instead, in the ...
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82 views

Spoken unsubtitled Min in a (now deleted) Youtube video: characters?

Long ago, I ran into the song 媽媽歌星, and in particular I have a download of a video where there were two spoken parts in Min, without captions. It is rather unfortunate that the video in question is ...
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3answers
150 views

Using 鸟 as a verb

Wiktionary gives one usage of 鸟 as "(dialectal) to pay attention; to heed; to take notice of" Which dialect, or what region is this, and how does it look in one or two sample sentences?
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55 views

What verb is the 捏 in the Min sentence 将你捏絚絚?

There is this song called 不能讲的秘密 (well, technically it's best spelt as 袂使讲的秘密), "Secret I cannot tell", and it is in Min Nan. At a certain point, there is this sentence: 将你捏紧紧 That's how the ...
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76 views

Hakka song: problem translating a bit

Full song lyrics with transliteration and translation attempt The spelling is not something I want to discuss here. Indeed, I discussed it here. The transliteration is that given by Minhakka, plus ...
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2answers
182 views

On average, how literate in Mandarin are overseas Chinese?

I'm hoping to be able to provide better service to some Chinese customers I occasionally see at my night job (hardware store) who have difficulty describing what they're looking for in English. I can'...
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1answer
119 views

Min Nan expressions: spelling, meaning and pronunciation?

There is a song called 三声无奈, "three times helpless". It is in Min, and it has lyrics that can be written as: 一时贪着阿君仔媠 | A moment of craving, oh, you are beautiful 痴情目睭格眛眛 | [My] infatuated eyes [...
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46 views

Are there any circumstances in which 弈 (yì) could be mistaken for 野 (yě)?

I understand the sounds and inflections are distinct, and that the only commonality is the initial consonant. But what if it were a conversation between two speakers with different native dialects, ...
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218 views

What does “liam” mean in this song's lyrics?

深深的爱(詹雅雯) Min Nan lyrics (spelling and romanization from twblg.dict.edu.tw, video here) 想起行过的路: | Siūnn-khí kiânn-kuè ê lōo: 阮的跤步, | Gún ê kha-pōo, 虽然经过风雨, | Sui-liân king-kuè hong-hōo,...
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1answer
67 views

Why would topolects get described in terms of Mandarin? (声母变异、韵母变异)

[Perhaps this is a "which came first - the chicken or the egg?"-type question - but I'm left quite puzzled why anyone would describe things in this manner.] Why would anyone (or any material for that ...
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2answers
227 views

二 Mandarin pronunciation vs. other dialects and Japanese

Since I started learning Japanese a while ago, I always found the onyomi pronunciation of 二, being 'ni', unusual compared to the Mandarin pronunciation of 'èr'. The Old and Middle Chinese ...