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Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Sat 01.10.2009 5:52 am

richvh wrote:Well, for someone not trying to be hostile, you sure do a great imitation of one. This whole section of your second post comes off as hostile

Would it be possible to leave this "he said, you said, they said" level? I can't see anything but **YOU** keeping That Old Dog Alive. Just bury it, please. I have no interest at all in giving the poor dog artificial air.

richvh wrote:To improve vocabulary, try typing Japanese texts into a word processor (I use JWPce by preference, as I don't need extensive word processing features, and the built in (edict-based) dictionary is handy.) This is much slower than reading, but helps cement readings into your mind. If copying from online sources, avoid copy and pasting except for lookups - the object isn't simply to reproduce the text, but to reproduce it through your own efforts.


Done that. My main method to study Japanese was to enter the Japanese text in Word, save it as an html page and use Rikaichan to help me with words I didn't remember. When the word didn't stick, which was way too frequent to be comfortable, I dumped it into Anki for more practice. I also added sentences to an Text-to-voice app to also get an acceptable Japanese reading of the text. There is an amazingly great one, which I can't recall the name of just now. As far as I can tell, it's as close to Japanese spoken by a Native Human Being, that I suppose we can expect from A Machine.

These texts could be anything from more basic text book sections to short stories like Soseki's "Ten Nights of Dreams" from Breaking into Japanese Literature: Seven Modern Classics in Parallel Text. I think this is the very best combination of text and audio I've found since the readings from the book is more than excellent and fairly slow:

http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-into-Japanese-Literature-Classics/dp/4770028997
http://www.speaking-japanese.com/breaking/
http://www.speaking-japanese.com/mp3/TenNightsofDreams/FirstNight.mp3

Of course it's a fairly advanced text for me, but it's nevertheless more to have fun with difficult stuff, than being bored with a more correctly chosen "level"

But currently I am perfectly happy to spend a bit of time each day on JapanesePod101.com. My MAIN focus will be on Mandarin. I am nevertheless glad I looked at JP101 so I could get an excuse to continue a bit with Japanese :D
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby katafei » Sat 01.10.2009 6:39 am

KanjiHanzi wrote:
richvh wrote:Well, for someone not trying to be hostile, you sure do a great imitation of one. This whole section of your second post comes off as hostile

Would it be possible to leave this "he said, you said, they said" level? I can't see anything but **YOU** keeping That Old Dog Alive. Just bury it, please. I have no interest at all in giving the poor dog artificial air.
/quote]

Well, you did ask:
KanjiHanzi wrote:I am not being "Hostile", at least my ambition is the opposite: trying to be constructive. I am also being conservative. I try to conserve time, space, bandwidth and energy. If I was very explicit, it was with these aims in focus.

If you intend to stick that label on me, I seriously would like you to have some sort of foundation for that. Quote.

@Rich:
richvh wrote:
To improve vocabulary, try typing Japanese texts into a word processor (I use JWPce by preference, as I don't need extensive word processing features, and the built in (edict-based) dictionary is handy.) This is much slower than reading, but helps cement readings into your mind. If copying from online sources, avoid copy and pasting except for lookups - the object isn't simply to reproduce the text, but to reproduce it through your own efforts.


You should see me read :mrgreen:
I look up every word in the dict, add them to the margins and hope I can read it again in a month, or so....
Takes forever.... :lol:
Edit: I got a Japanese version of one of the Herriot books the other day!
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Sat 01.10.2009 6:51 am

I am working my way upwards through the messages here (and VERY funny: when I had finished a longer reply to this post and clicked preview, the computer froze and all was lost :evil: New attempt, pasting into a text editor!)

becki_kanou wrote:As others have said, the level of difficulty of any language varies widely depending upon what your native language is and what other languages you can speak with some degree of fluency. If your native language is English, odds are you're going to find Japanese pretty hard going, but Germanic or Romance languages much easier. On the other hand if you're a native speaker of Korean, Japanese will probably be easier for you than English or Spanish.


I would very much like to hear a Korean's take on Japanese. What seems to be a well established fact is that there is a CONSIDERABLE problem to learn English in Korea. Here's an interesting post I fount at AJATT:

http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/book-review-absolutely-do-not-study-english-a-korean-antimoon-in-japanese

becki_kanou wrote:For myself, I've found that although kanji are obviously time-consuming to remember, the almost complete regularity of conjugation and the lack of gender and singular/plural, as well as comparatively easy pronunciation make Japanese easier (for me) than French (the only other language I can speak with any degree of proficiency).


Yes, but what an AMOUNT OF REGULARITY! If you are a good student, able to perform maintained drilling, you will learn all verb/adjective conjugations sooner or later. No doubt.

But when THAT is finished you have an almost unlimited amount of stuff to tack on to the conjugated verb/adjective! There are 20 extremely well pack - some would say "dense" - pages of Verb3-following Expressions (but only twelve of Verb2!) in Modern Japanese Grammar. Picking the second example>

日本に行く場合、飛行機で行きます。

I would never be able to exactly express this myself, despite the simplicity of the sentence, since I have not seen the 場合-part before. (I would have tried with

日本に行くところで、飛行機で行きます。

... but I swear that I would NOT be entirely sure if this is correct!! Probably isn't :x

I could understand 場合, after looking it up, of course. It would even be possible to make some sort of guess work here: The kanji used - "location/place" and "meet" - seems to indicate some sort of focus on a point in time and space, but it COULD mean something entirely different. For sure.

私が行くからこそ彼も行くんです。 ???

etc. etc. etc.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Sat 01.10.2009 7:02 am

katafei wrote:Well, you did ask:


My very final words on this: Right. I did ask. Rich quoted something that **I** thought was an appropriate comment to a person not reading my entire post before jumping to totally unfounded conclusions. If that might have come across as Pure and Unfounded Hostility.... OK. I am not hostile NOW. HUGE PERIOD.

katafei wrote:Edit: I got a Japanese version of one of the Herriot books the other day!


What are the Herriot books? Fiction? Fantasy?
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby JaySee » Sat 01.10.2009 7:21 am

KanjiHanzi wrote:I would very much like to hear a Korean's take on Japanese. What seems to be a well established fact is that there is a CONSIDERABLE problem to learn English in Korea. Here's an interesting post I fount at AJATT:

http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/book-review-absolutely-do-not-study-english-a-korean-antimoon-in-japanese


When I studied in Japan, many of the Korean's spoke better Japanese than I could ever dream to speak. The sentence structure and word order of both languages are very similar, and they both use a ton of words from Chinese that often mean the same. So in order to get the Japanese word for something, in many cases all Koreans have to do is turn the Sino-Korean reading into the Sino-Japanese one.

The problems that exist in Korea with regards to learning English are more or less the same ones the Japanese have.

KanjiHanzi wrote:Regarding Korean I am blissfully ignorant apart from two snippets: 1) The jury is still out where the Japanese language came from. Korean has been suggested as one possible grand-daddy. 2) I am always intrigued by the writing system in various language - I will actually devote an entire section on the HUB for this - and know as much that Korean no longer uses Kanji/Hanzi but a rather radical simplification of these characters.

Hmmm.... Looking at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangul suggests that I was wrong there. Perhaps. Seems like it could be an entirely Korean "invention". It's nevertheless vastly more easy to learn than Kanji/Hanzi. Besides... It also uses ROUND shapes, totally forbidden in Chinese Characters, which gives the script a kind cure look and feel.


Hangul were invented in the 15th century, the shapes of the letters are supposed to represent the place of artuculation and the shape of the mouth when pronouncing them.

Japanese did not "branch off" from Korean. But one (controversial) theory is that they do share a common ancestor (which can neither be called Korean nor Japanese).

KanjiHanzi wrote:日本に行く場合、飛行機で行くます。


I think that should be 行きます.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby richvh » Sat 01.10.2009 8:05 am

日本に行く場合、飛行機で行くます。


As Jaycee said, that last bit should be 行きます.

場合 isn't a part of a verb conjugation; it's a noun being modified by a verb phrase. There are a number of noun-ish entities (for instance, はず) that (almost) never appear except at the end of verbs, but 場合 isn't one of them. Perhaps your grammar book is over-complicating things by treating them as conjugations? "In case I go to Japan, I'll go by plane."

日本に行くところで、飛行機で行くます。


するところ has the nuance of "about to do." で is the て form of the copula here. "I'm about to go to Japan, and I'll go by plane."

日本に行くからこそ、飛行機で行くます。


Here you have two separate particles, から and こそ, modifying the clause 日本に行く. If you had ever studied a beginning Japanese textbook, rather than just books like "Breaking Into Japanese Literature", you would know that するから means "because (I) (will) do" (Mr. Murray doesn't bother to provide glosses for common kana-only verbs and particles.) こそ serves to emphasize what it is attached to. "For the very reason that I will go to Japan, I will go by plane."

What are the Herriot books? Fiction? Fantasy?


James Herriot was an English veterinarian and author; his books were mostly fictionalized accounts of his experiences as a veterinarian in Yorkshire.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby katafei » Sat 01.10.2009 8:14 am

What are the Herriot books? Fiction? Fantasy?

James Herriot
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Sat 01.10.2009 8:18 am

JaySee wrote:When I studied in Japan, many of the Korean's spoke better Japanese than I could ever dream to speak. The sentence structure and word order of both languages are very similar, and they both use a ton of words from Chinese that often mean the same. So in order to get the Japanese word for something, in many cases all Koreans have to do is turn the Sino-Korean reading into the Sino-Japanese one.

What would say is sort of closest to Chinese? One would assume Korean, since the communication between China <> Korea ougth have been much more intense than China <> Japan??

JaySee wrote:The problems that exist in Korea with regards to learning English are more or less the same ones the Japanese have.


It seems like we have to add China there, too! My wife and daughter just came back from a short trip to Beijing: NOBODY spoke English! They went to the biggest book shop in Beijing - four stories high - and they couldn't find a single person speaking English, until someone brought out a lady from the management dept. !! Didn't expect it to be THAT rare, really.

JaySee wrote:Hangul were invented in the 15th century, the shapes of the letters are supposed to represent the place of articulation and the shape of the mouth when pronouncing them.


That's neat! Now they are even cuter! :D

JaySee wrote:Japanese did not "branch off" from Korean. But one (controversial) theory is that they do share a common ancestor (which can neither be called Korean nor Japanese).


No, I didn't intend to suggest that "Japanese evolved from Korean". I just suffered from an unusual attack of brevity :o

JaySee wrote:I think that should be 行きます.


So do I. Typo. Or rather: the danger of copy and paste. Corrected. Thanks.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Sat 01.10.2009 8:57 am

richvh wrote:場合 isn't a part of a verb conjugation; it's a noun being modified by a verb phrase. There are a number of noun-ish entities (for instance, はず) that (almost) never appear except at the end of verbs, but 場合 isn't one of them. Perhaps your grammar book is over-complicating things by treating them as conjugations?

Never said they were part of verb conjugation. Wrote:

me wrote:Yes, but what an AMOUNT OF REGULARITY! If you are a good student, able to perform maintained drilling, you will learn all verb/adjective conjugations sooner or later. No doubt.

But when THAT is finished you have an almost unlimited amount of stuff to **tack on to the conjugated verb/adjective!**


No, this is standard Japanese grammar. Even the despised and "basic" "Japanese - Verbs & Essentials of Grammar" by Ms. Lampkin have quite a few examples of these "Endings". Other books like "Japanese Verbs at a Glance" and "The Handbook of Japanese Verbs" do exactly the same, but give it a slightly name now and then. Verb Sentence Patterns, Endings (with words/set phrases after the proper verb etc. The only "complication" with Modern Japanese Grammar is that it seems to cover almost every possible "ending". Never is it described as "a noun being modified by a verb phrase", though, since it seems to be the other way around: a verb being modified by a word.

What are the Herriot books? Fiction? Fantasy?


richvh wrote:James Herriot was an English veterinarian and author; his books were mostly fictionalized accounts of his experiences as a veterinarian in Yorkshire.


Sounds like a nice TV series :-)
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Sat 01.10.2009 9:02 am

katafei wrote:
What are the Herriot books? Fiction? Fantasy?

James Herriot


Seems like it IS some sort of TV series!

All Creatures Great And Small - Series Two Set DVDs
http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=4977858&style=movie
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Sun 01.11.2009 4:18 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Well, "professional educator" may be a bit おおげさ as I'm just a teaching assistant, but I suppose I do have teaching experience.

There's really no way to quantify the difficulty of a language.

That's where I beg to differ. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION you have to learn, digest, and be able to output, has a lot to say about the "difficulty" of a language, i.e. the amount of time it will take before you can consider yourself more or less fluent.

Yudan Taiteki wrote:You can do it a little better with a writing system, but in general the best you can do is talk about relative difficulties for speakers of certain languages. For instance, a native Cantonese speaker will probably find Mandarin easier to learn than English, but that's not really "proof" that Mandarin is easier than English.


I can't ell for 100% sure, but my guess is that a respectable percentage of Cantonese speakers have felt the need to learn Mandarin too. Linguistically Mandarin and Cantonese is considered as two Chinese DIALECTS, even if the spoken tongue is different enough to be considered as two different LANGUAGES. There are some differences in Grammar, but not enough to not consider WRITTEN Mandarin and WRITTEN Cantonese as THE VERY SAME LANGUAGE.

Almost any person in China can grab a book or a newspaper, read it, and understand it, no matter if the writer had Mandarin or Cantonese in his/her head when writing. The only difference is that it will SOUND entirely unintelligible when read out load. Same "words" (Hanzi), different pronunciation. - To simplify and sum up my understanding.

Writing systems are easier to quantify as harder or easier; I think it is self-evident that the Chinese writing system is considerably more difficult than Western alphabet-based scripts.

Yudan Taiteki wrote:It's also difficult to talk about difficulty of a language because of the tendency to conflate languages and writing systems, and to consider a language merely as the sum of vocabulary items and ignore cultural factors. The politeness system of Japanese is enormously complicated and by far one of the most difficult parts of the language to master well.


One of the advantages of Mao and friends: This has been almost removed from Mandarin, since I assume that it was more like Japanese once upon a time. There is even rarely a REQUIREMENT to use the more polite



(nin) instead of the informal/neutral (ni)



You see/hear people addressing superiors etc. with the "impolite" NI all the time. (Of course this must be different in literary Chinese, but I don't know enough to have an informed opinion there.)

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Speaking from an objective linguistic standpoint, all languages are equally complex. There's nothing in one language that cannot be expressed in another one, and losses in complexity in certain areas tend to result in gains in other areas. For instance, English has a much poorer (and simpler) system of inflection and conjugation than Greek or Latin. But English's prepositions and semi-fixed word order are more complex than Greek and Latin.


To simplify even further: To express the same English idea, you usually have to ADD STUFF in Japanese, but in Mandarin you REMOVE STUFF, i.e. a Mandarin sentence usually gets short, using fewer words, than the English original sentence. It's VERY ECONOMICAL language.

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Chinese grammar is deceptively simple, but has complexities. Y. R. Chao's "Grammar of Spoken Chinese" is 850 pages, which is a similar length to Martin's Reference Grammar of Japanese.


No, Mandarin grammar is NOT DECEPTIVELY SIMPLE. It **IS** SIMPLE! PERIOD! :-) There is no way to get away from this definition. I own ONE Mandarin Grammar Book - ("Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar" - 396 pages) and I am very confident that will be enough for me at least a couple of years. My shopping virus has been trying to convince me that I also need the more advanced Chinese: A Comprehensive Grammar (Routledge Grammars), 434 pages but it's simply too expensive at $62.32 on Amazon.com. Using the Look Inside feature on Amazon.com doesn't reveal much apart from the same excellent layout and structure as the one I have. No surprise, since they are from the same publisher.

Y. R. Chao's "Grammar of Spoken Chinese" is not available anymore unless you want to spend $89.98 - $211.86 on a used copy. I think I'll pass for the time being. Oooops!!! "A Reference Grammar of Japanese (Hardcover)" has obviously been reprinted since I tried to find a copy!!!! http://tinyurl.com/8xud2j $51.75 and 1198 pages in this edition. And suddenly you can buy a used copy for less than $40. When I looked - obviously years ago - the Tuttle edition was $100+++ and beyond what I could consider paying. But now ...... :-) Later.

Couldn't resist:

Amazon.com wrote:Product Description
Have you ever wondered about a Japanese sentence your textbook fails to explain? Do you feel unsure about the use of "wa," "ga," and "mo?" Or what the rules and meanings of words in their literary forms are? If so, you will find your answers in A Reference Grammar of Japanese, the most comprehensive and reliable reference source available.

With an extensive 105-page index, the reader will quickly find explanations for particles such as wa, ga, mo, ni, and de; difficult nouns such as mono, koto, tokoro, wake, hazu, and tame; sentence extensions such as ne, yo, sa, yara, and nari; verb tenses, literary forms, negative forms--in short, everything concerned with the Japanese language. For the serious student, this book is indispensable for clearing up the ambiguities of puzzling Japanese sentences.


I am sure Martin's "Essential Japanese" is considered as TOTALLY outdated, but it's actually one of those text books on Japanese that I've found most useful. He is truly a Great Teacher!!! Romaji only, but with tons of example sentences for almost every new item he introduces. If you are a Kana/Kanji purist then some of his texts appear in "A Japanese Reader - Graded Lessons for Mastering the Written Language", another excellent book.

Nevertheless: You can't even compare Mandarin and Japanese grammar on the same day! They just exist in different worlds where you have to wait until they intersect. If this isn't ONE serious aspect weighing in when comparing the DIFFICULTY of a - any - language with another one, then I truly don't know what to use. Both Chinese linguists and students make a lot of fuzz about the difficulty of the "particle" "le"



and it **IS** kinda vague, indeed. But this is just A SINGLE ONE, compared with almost each and every Japanese particle being exactly as vague and multifunctional as LE. There is only a handful of these 'words' in Chinese, compared with the dozens in Japanese.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Sun 01.11.2009 4:32 am

KanjiHanzi wrote:There is only a handful of these 'words' in Chinese, compared with the dozens in Japanese.


Since I have the books open:



(de) is the most common Hanzi/word in Chinese/mandarin. It basically takes the Japanese particle の as well as the -的 (-teki) suffix and bundles these two functions into one character. It also is used in some fixed expressions, so it's no wonder it's Number One. A typical example of the beauty and simplicity of Mandarin grammar :-)
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby JaySee » Sun 01.11.2009 9:22 am

KanjiHanzi wrote:That's where I beg to differ. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION you have to learn, digest, and be able to output, has a lot to say about the "difficulty" of a language, i.e. the amount of time it will take before you can consider yourself more or less fluent.


I think you're confusing the notion of "absolute" and "relative" complexity of a language here. If you define complexity by the amount of "rules" needed to describe a language accurately from scratch, I don't think you will see a lot of variation among the world's languages (but this assumes starting with a "blank sheet", which in my opinion doesn't really make it a practical way of looking at language difficulty because everyone already has a system in their minds, their native language). However, if you take your native language as the starting point and then look at how many extra rules or changes in rules are needed in order to arrive at certain other languages ("relative" complexity), you will see big differences, which I don't think anyone is denying.

KanjiHanzi wrote:I can't ell for 100% sure, but my guess is that a respectable percentage of Cantonese speakers have felt the need to learn Mandarin too. Linguistically Mandarin and Cantonese is considered as two Chinese DIALECTS, even if the spoken tongue is different enough to be considered as two different LANGUAGES. There are some differences in Grammar, but not enough to not consider WRITTEN Mandarin and WRITTEN Cantonese as THE VERY SAME LANGUAGE.


Linguistically Cantonese and Mandarin are very much considered to be different languages. The fact that they are treated as dialects by the Chinese government is more of a political thing, an attempt to marginalise differences to make China seem more culturally unified. Written Cantonese exists, and is different from written standard Chinese (i.e. Mandarin), although I don't know how much it is used. If you take a text in written Mandarin and pronounce it the Cantonese way, you would get a lot of odd sounding sentences, because next to the differences in pronunciation there are also differences in grammar and vocabulary between the two languages.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 01.11.2009 10:26 am

Right; the reason Cantonese speakers can "read Chinese" is that they learn to read written Mandarin in school; not because the written text represents both Mandarin and Cantonese at the same time.
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Re: Is Japanese THE MOST DIFFICULT LANGUAGE?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Sun 01.11.2009 1:07 pm

JaySee wrote:I think you're confusing the notion of "absolute" and "relative" complexity of a language here. If you define complexity by the amount of "rules" needed to describe a language accurately from scratch, I don't think you will see a lot of variation among the world's languages (but this assumes starting with a "blank sheet", which in my opinion doesn't really make it a practical way of looking at language difficulty because everyone already has a system in their minds, their native language). However, if you take your native language as the starting point and then look at how many extra rules or changes in rules are needed in order to arrive at certain other languages ("relative" complexity), you will see big differences, which I don't think anyone is denying.


I am perhaps mixing "absolute" and "relative" complexity intentionally. The "absolute" part is simply the amount of information, facts and rules you, as a foreigner, has to learn, memorize and be able to reproduce when speaking and writing with ease/fluency. The "Relative" aspect is that we ARE individuals with different learning capacities. I assume some sort of average student from West as the person having to evaluate the "absolute" difficulty, since that's the only point of view I ca speak from. I am not an AJATT type of person learning a language by merely CONSUMING texts, movies, comics etc. (He defies the notion that he should be particularly talented in learning languages, though.)

JaySee wrote:Linguistically Cantonese and Mandarin are very much considered to be different languages. The fact that they are treated as dialects by the Chinese government is more of a political thing, an attempt to marginalise differences to make China seem more culturally unified. Written Cantonese exists, and is different from written standard Chinese (i.e. Mandarin), although I don't know how much it is used. If you take a text in written Mandarin and pronounce it the Cantonese way, you would get a lot of odd sounding sentences, because next to the differences in pronunciation there are also differences in grammar and vocabulary between the two languages.


I am actually reading "The Languages of China" by S. Robert Ramsey right now, since my previous 'knowledge' was rather meager. He surely talk about the Mandarin dialect and the Cantonese dialect etc. Chapter 6 is called Today's Dialects: Mandarin, Wu, Gan, Xiang, Hakka,Yue ("Cantonese") and Min.

snippet from book, p. 99 wrote:Today such dialect writing is largely suppressed in the PRC, but it continues in Hong Kong and overseas communities, where Cantonese newspapers and other colloquial publications are sold on almost every newsstand. Cantonese is being challenged these days by Putonghua (Mandarin) and the language poliicies of the Peking government. But, as yet, its speakers retain their own separate traditions.


Always a pity when minority groups' culture and language are pressed back by the majority. A small piece of consolation is that both Mandarin and Cantonese speakers can read and understand, say poetry from the Tang dynasti. No difference at all in "inner language" and understanding BUT it will sound very different. Cantonese is said to be conservative language/dialect having preserved much more of the older types of Chinese, than the northern dialects like Mandarin. Thus a Cantonese reading is much more authentic, since what supposedly were rhymes in the original still has (some of?) these qualities. It's still amazing that 1100+ years old text are still ALIVE. I studied a simple poem myself a couple of weeks ago.
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