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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Writing in Cantonese, not Mandarin? Ask Ray

My guess is the immersion nursery is run by somebody from China, that automatically said Traditional Characters are Cantonese.

Original Question:

hi there

Some time ago I bought a number of CDs from your online shop and had them shipped to me in London, UK.

I have since been told by my daughter's Mandarin immersion nursery that the pictures I have shown them of the CDs show Cantonese language writing.

I have not had a chance to lend them the CD yet, but that is my next stop.

For these two CDs at least, ALL the writing is in Cantonese not Mandarin:

I have not had a chance to take pictures of the other CDs that I purchased yet, neither have I had a chance to play the CDs to the fluent Mandarin speakers.

However, I am already a bit shocked. Are you absolutely sure these are Mandarin?



My response:

Dear K,
Short answer is the books use Traditional Chinese Characters with Mandarin Chinese on the CD's and were published in Taiwan.

Longer answer is there are basically two styles of writing in Chinese.  Traditional Characters and Simplified Characters.
Hong Kong, where Cantonese is spoken uses Traditional Characters officially. And that is what is mostly taught in the schools.
Taiwan, where Mandarin Chinese is the official language uses Traditional Characters.
China where the official language, but a lot of dialects are spoken, uses Simplified Characters since the revolution in 1949, and the use of Traditional Characters was outlawed in China.
Simplified Characters are the same as Traditional (if you know one, you can read the other), where some strokes on some characters were removed.
The difference between usage of Traditional Characters in Taiwan and in Hong Kong, are more of a grammar issue.

On which is easier to learn, you have people who argue one or the other is easier. The claims are one has less strokes and the other has a system. My opinion is they are both equally hard and the simplification did not go far enough.

The books with CD's I sold you are in Mandarin, and published in Taiwan with Traditional Characters along with Bo Po Mo, which is a traditional type of phonics used in Taiwan. China uses Pinyin for phonics, that is based on Russian pronunciation. There are also claims on which type of phonics is easier to learn from.
Ray, Owner



Blogger Unknown said...

Well, 1. Most of international schools in Hong Kong use Simplified Chinese characters, Singapore also uses Simplified Chinese characters.
2.There are some differences between Hong Kong traditional characters and Taiwan traditional characters.
3. Mandarin is the official language in China and of course lots of dialects are spoken cause it is huge.
4. Most of my students study Simplified Chinese characters as it is much easier for them.
5. Your guess is really genius.

May 17, 2016 at 9:51 PM  

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