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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why Learn Mandarin Chinese, not Cantonese

I occasionally get these requests for Learning Cantonese. So why don't I offer Cantonese material? Why not Taiwanese.

I actually have some data for my decision. I bought some stories with tapes (tells you how long ago it was) in Cantonese. I then E-Mailed the people who had asked me to stock Cantonese items. Those items took so long to move, and it was not that many since it was only a test.

Mandarin is the language to learn for Chinese. The Chinese governments (yes, plural) since the revolution of 1911 have done an incredible job of promoting the use of Mandarin in China. Originally Mandarin was only a regional tongue spoken around Beijing. A person I met in her 40's from Guangdong (Canton) Province spoke fluent Cantonese, but could understand Mandarin. Her son in his 20's was fluent in Mandarin. This shows the spread of Mandarin. The written language is independent of the verbal. So my wife was able to borrow books in college from a friend from Hong Kong, when they could not speak the same language. There are lots of dialects in China (at least 14).

So what is happening to Cantonese is it's becoming a home language. An article today mentioned how China is again promoting study in Mandarin and English, where it used to be Mandarin and Cantonese after China took over HK. A quote from HK's Educational Minister explains the reasoning (English is needed for business, and Mandarin for connecting to the Mainland).


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2 Comments:

Blogger 建伟 said...

Mandarin is dominant in Chinese. Almost all the people in mainland can understand even speak Mandarin, including people in Shanghai. If you want tolearn Chinese or know about China, you' better learn Mandarin.
http://www.hellomandarin.com/

December 30, 2007 at 5:02 AM  
Anonymous Summer Program China said...

Mandarin is very interesting and today it's demand is increasing in the market.

March 25, 2009 at 2:09 AM  

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