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What about latinos in Japan?

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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby SirFirestorm » Fri 07.27.2007 11:30 am

two_heads_talking wrote:
SirFirestorm wrote:
I thought the Americas referred to The US and Latin America only. Canada doesnt even count so yea, I'm pretty sure there's no word to describe both continents. To answer that question I would call it 'North and South America'.


So, Central America does not exist in your world? square blocks don't fit so well in round holes.


I was thinking of Cuba and the Caribbean?
I'm not really sure on the whole thing in any case, but I think central america consists of both North American and South American countries and I was under the impression 'The Americas' was used for the US territories and those touristy islands I cannot name.
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby SirFirestorm » Fri 07.27.2007 11:47 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Right, all I was saying was that the Chinese government does not like the idea of Cantonese, Mandarin, Wu, Hakka, etc. being classified as different languages rather than different dialects, because of nationalistic reasons. There's a lot of confusion on this topic because most people don't know that much about Chinese, and the perception is aided by the myth that something written with the Chinese writing system can be read in all the "dialects" spoken in China.


Where did you hear that it was a myth? I know at least cantonese and mandarin can be read if it is written, the difference is only in the spoken language.
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby ocetalo » Fri 07.27.2007 1:21 pm

tanuki wrote:
ocetalo wrote:
Some people from Catalonia also say that catalan is a language, not a dialect. But still we spanish speakers can understand a good part of it.


Catalonian is a language! "Some people from Catalonia", what are you talking about?

ocetalo wrote:
For example, Basque is a totally different language from spanish, but as the Basque Country (Pasi Vasco, "Euskadi" in basque), is inside Spain, from the official point of view it's considered to be a dialect.


W-what? Basque has absolutely nothing to do with Spanish, it's not even a Romance language! Can you please cite your source?


Catalan is a language. I know that and you know that. What I try to mean is that catalan can be considered a dialect of spanish as, I don't know if you have tried to read, for example, the oficial website of the Barcelona "ciutat": http://www.bcn.es/
I understand almost 80% (probably more) of what they say, and I bet you'll do too.
I'll tell you a tale: during the rule of dictator Francisco Franco, Catalan was considered a dialect because it was intelligible for spanish speakers (and with a bit of imagination you can come to think of catalan as a dialect of spanish, at least it somewhat follows the three charatheristics of a dialect, as opposed to spanish being the offical language of Spain). Now, the reason for the decision of Franco government to forbbid catalan, galician and others and consider them to be dialects was obviously not linguistic, but political. Now, after the return of democracy, all those were recognized as languages.

When I was learning Basque on the Internet, I found taht in fact, Basque is, like Japanese and Ainu (nad maybe a few others), one the languages that have no known origin. But there's also a "dialect" definition which goes more to political and geographical than to linguistic.

So, I point this again: dialect is more a matter of geography and politics than of linguistics.
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby ocetalo » Fri 07.27.2007 1:26 pm

SirFirestorm wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Right, all I was saying was that the Chinese government does not like the idea of Cantonese, Mandarin, Wu, Hakka, etc. being classified as different languages rather than different dialects, because of nationalistic reasons. There's a lot of confusion on this topic because most people don't know that much about Chinese, and the perception is aided by the myth that something written with the Chinese writing system can be read in all the "dialects" spoken in China.


Where did you hear that it was a myth? I know at least cantonese and mandarin can be read if it is written, the difference is only in the spoken language.


Chinese dialects: Cantonese and Mandarin and the others are very different languages. At least that's the conclusion anyone with some hardly standard brain (like me) can reach. They are not intelligible among different speakers. The fact that they all use the same writing system it doesn't mean they have any relation because they were only spoken and not written (excepting mandarin, but I'm not sure), so the writting system was imposed. In fact, the writting system is not a good way to infere relation. If you say that cantonese nad mandarin only have differences in the spoken, but in written they're teh same, trying to say it means they're dialects of "chinese", it's like saying that spanish and english and the others are related as dialects because they use the smae roman alphabet.
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 07.27.2007 2:12 pm

SirFirestorm wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Right, all I was saying was that the Chinese government does not like the idea of Cantonese, Mandarin, Wu, Hakka, etc. being classified as different languages rather than different dialects, because of nationalistic reasons. There's a lot of confusion on this topic because most people don't know that much about Chinese, and the perception is aided by the myth that something written with the Chinese writing system can be read in all the "dialects" spoken in China.


Where did you hear that it was a myth? I know at least cantonese and mandarin can be read if it is written, the difference is only in the spoken language.


Cantonese speakers learn to write a standard written dialect of Chinese that is based on Mandarin. Because Cantonese and Mandarin are in the same language family this is not as onerous a task as learning a totally new language. But this is why literate Cantonese can read written Mandarin Chinese. The myth is that a written text will be read by a Cantonese speaker as Cantonese, and a Mandarin speaker as Mandarin.
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby SirFirestorm » Fri 07.27.2007 2:59 pm

My parents speak mandarin and cantonese, but I only speak cantonese. I know how different they are in spoken language, but written is supposed to be universal and understood by both. My grandparents speak a village dialect which is basically very accented cantonese, but they can understand some mandarin, although they cant speak it. To me, mandarin is different enough to be a totally different language, but for some people like my grandparents that can understand mandarin from listening experience, the dialect difference is not as huge.

To my knowledge, a newspaper can be read interchangeably between cantonese and mandarin, the vocabulary and grammar are exactly the same. The difference is only in the reading or pronunciation, I'm not sure what you would call it. Written text can be read as cantonese and it can also be read in mandarin. The meanings, do not change, the difference between them is the difference between the spoken language.

Maybe I'm just misunderstanding what you are saying Chris, but in my experience written text can be read as cantonese, or you could read it as mandarin, if you speak both languages you could read it half and half, the meaning would not change. I dont know why someone would think this is a myth.
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 07.27.2007 4:03 pm

Literate Cantonese speakers and literate Mandarin speakers can both read standard written Chinese, but it's not the case that they read it "as Mandarin" and "as Cantonese" just like their spoken language. A single text cannot represent two languages at the same time.

Maybe Wikipedia puts it more clearly than I am:
The complex interaction between the Chinese written and spoken languages can be illustrated with Cantonese. In Hong Kong, Cantonese speakers are all taught standard written Chinese in school even though its grammar and vocabulary are based on Mandarin, which is not generally spoken in Hong Kong. As every character in standard written Chinese has a Cantonese pronunciation, standard written Chinese can be read aloud using Cantonese pronunciation but the result is very different from normal spoken Cantonese. For Cantonese speakers in Guangdong Province where nearly everyone can also speak Mandarin, this difference between the written and spoken language is much less pronounced as standard written Chinese can be read aloud in its standard pronunciation, which is Mandarin.
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby SirFirestorm » Fri 07.27.2007 9:27 pm

ahhh yes I see what you mean now.
You are correct in saying written text sounds weird read aloud in either mandarin or cantonese, but I figured it was due to a literary style or some old school type of speech. The difference is not as big as the language gap between mandarin and cantonese though. It can still be understood by someone like me that only speaks cantonese.

I am not too sure about "A single text cannot represent two languages at the same time.", written text is slightly different when read in cantonese, but it doesnt affect understanding. I think you could attribute the difference to the writing style, rather than the actual language differences. The speech difference is superficial if the meaning is there isnt it?
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby AndyTheUsagi » Sat 07.28.2007 9:34 pm

It seems as if Cantonese and Mandarin are right on the fence as far as being different dialects or languages.
I have a friend whose family speaks Chinese (I forget whether it's Mandarin or Cantonese) who told me that a Chinese character has one basic meaning and pronunciation, but its inflection can change, which changes the meaning of the word. The meanings, however, are all similar (keeping the "basic meaning" of the character). I'm going to go a little further here and assume that this is true for both Mandarin and Cantonese. If I'm wrong, please correct me. My friend, though, did also tell me that Chinese writing has 'accent' signs over its characters to indicate a difference in inflection, and we have already established that both Mandarin and Cantonese use the same system...

Anyway, assuming that both languages make similar words from different inflections, I would say that they could both easily utilize the writing system. It seems to be an equal compromise between the two, if "written text sounds weird read aloud in either Mandarin or Cantonese." Therefore, it sounds like the text does represent both, but doesn't match either one perfectly.
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 07.28.2007 10:09 pm

I think the written form is further away from Cantonese than it is from Mandarin, though.
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby SirFirestorm » Sun 07.29.2007 11:58 pm

AndyTheUsagi wrote:
It seems as if Cantonese and Mandarin are right on the fence as far as being different dialects or languages.
I have a friend whose family speaks Chinese (I forget whether it's Mandarin or Cantonese) who told me that a Chinese character has one basic meaning and pronunciation, but its inflection can change, which changes the meaning of the word. The meanings, however, are all similar (keeping the "basic meaning" of the character). I'm going to go a little further here and assume that this is true for both Mandarin and Cantonese. If I'm wrong, please correct me. My friend, though, did also tell me that Chinese writing has 'accent' signs over its characters to indicate a difference in inflection, and we have already established that both Mandarin and Cantonese use the same system...

Anyway, assuming that both languages make similar words from different inflections, I would say that they could both easily utilize the writing system. It seems to be an equal compromise between the two, if "written text sounds weird read aloud in either Mandarin or Cantonese." Therefore, it sounds like the text does represent both, but doesn't match either one perfectly.


Cantonese and mandarin are different enough to be separate languages, but is considered dialects because of a little bit of politics and a little bit of stubbornness. There are very little similarities between the two.

What you "heard from a friend whose family speaks chinese" is pretty iffy. inflection is only in speech and written language has one pronounciation, no such thing as written inflection changing the meaning of the character. The meanings of words can change due to speech inflections but they aren't necessarily similar, and in fact more often the words are completely different. Being completely different, they are simply represented by another character. I have never heard of accent symbols in written text, not even in dictionaries, but I am not positive on this.

The reason written text sounds weird is because written text has a different structure and always sounds overly formal in relation to normal speech. The difference is very noticeable in cantonese because cantonese has very simple speech structure as opposed to mandarin that is I guess you could call it naturally formal?
Even so, it is closer to mandarin than cantonese but not because of the languages, it is the speaking styles that are different in this case.
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby AndyTheUsagi » Mon 07.30.2007 12:34 am

I stand corrected, Firestorm. In hindsight, my friend speaks English as a first language and doesn't know as much Chinese as his parents. He may have been confused about the specifics of pronunciation, or maybe I just misunderstood him. (Of course, now I know I was right when I pointed out to him that Japanese has multiple pronunciations for each kanji, but Chinese only has one.)
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby Shirasagi » Mon 07.30.2007 6:49 am

Perhaps what your friend was trying to say is that many Chinese characters with the same phonetic sound often share a character. For example, ma (horse) 馬 (in Mandarin Chinese). Many other characters that share the "ma" pronunciation (but with different intonation) share the horse character, although their meanings are quite distinct. For example, ma (question particle) 嗎, and ma (mother) 媽.

Now, there are no inflection marks for characters, but there is an official PRC romanization called Pinyin that does use intonation marks. For example,

mā - horizontal bar indicates high, level tone. This is the one used for "mother".
má - rising to the right indicates rising tone.
mǎ - v-like mark indicates a dipping tone. This is the one used for "horse"
mà - falling to the right indicates falling tone.
ma - no mark indicates neutral tone. This is the one used for the question particle.

Now, while the use of tones is similar in Cantonese (although it has more differences in tones) and the same Chinese characters are used to write it, it doesn't make use of any intonation marks in its romanization, largely because there's no real consensus romanization for Cantonese.
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 07.30.2007 7:38 am

The difference is very noticeable in cantonese because cantonese has very simple speech structure as opposed to mandarin that is I guess you could call it naturally formal?


It's just because the written form is based on Mandarin rather than Cantonese.
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RE: What about latinos in Japan?

Postby AndyTheUsagi » Mon 07.30.2007 3:35 pm

Thank you, Shirasagi. Your explanation makes total sense, and I think everything is clear now. I have noticed the trend of kanji with the same parts having the same pronunciation in Japanese (which loosely takes the Chinese pronunciations and makes them 'on' readings). I haven't studied Chinese, though, so the part about romanization is new information. It looks like your guess as to what my friend meant to say is very accurate.
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