Posted by: 1of10boyz | June 15, 2013

Getting China’s Tower of Babel on record


This is something that most people that haven’t lived here in China don’t realize, there are more languages spoken here that sound like Chinese but really aren’t. This is one of the main problem I have with learning the language here, the tonations of syllables changes the meaning. My mandarin speaking friends tell me that the Haiyangese is not mandarin so there is at least some portion of the Shandong peninsula that should not be the tan color of mandarin.
What it really means is that the Mandarin that is shown is in tan is many various shades of tan because mandarin is going to be different even from province to province.

China Daily Mail

Map_of_sinitic_dialect_-_English_version.svgMichael Wu, 20, a student at Peking University, grew up in Shanghai. But when he wants to talk to his cousins in Hainan, he needs to bring his mother along to interpret the conversation.

The cousins in Hainan speak two kinds of Hainan dialect. “I actually cannot understand either of them,” Wu says. “It’s actually not much good for me to [try to] communicate with them.”

In China, that’s a common problem: The differences in dialects are so vast they amount to different languages – possibly more than 3,000 variations, according to some estimates.

It’s one of the reasons that standard Beijing Mandarin has become the lingua franca of schools, businesses and government in China. But that uniformity comes at a cost:

The rapid loss of many Chinese dialects

Now two Americans have taken on a daunting task: trying to get an audio record of all the thousands of…

View original post 795 more words

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