dialect to start leraning?

Discussions on the Cantonese language.

dialect to start leraning?

Postby echalon » Tue Jan 13, 2004 12:11 pm

I know this is a very common question, so forgive me, but I wanted to get an up to date answer. I am interested in learning a chinese dialect, and am wondering which to learn. I have a great interest in Hong Kong, and am probably more likely to visit their than the rest of China. So I had thought Cantonese to be the logical step. Is this a good decision? Should I learn Mandarin regardless of regionalities? This is ignoring difficulty. Similarly, what is the state of the simplified vs traditional characters? If I was going to learn Mandarin should I bother to learn simplified? traditional first? Thank you for your patience :-D

Dylan Sung

Re: dialect to start leraning?

Postby Dylan Sung » Tue Jan 13, 2004 5:34 pm

Yes. Hong Kong folks use Cantonese most commonly, although depending on where you go, and to what generation you meet, there are other dialects like Hakka, Chaozhou, Shanghainese, and English. The latter you can get about with in the north of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. In the New Territories, I'd say if you want to use your Cantonese, it has wider currency than English.

For characters, I'd learn both. Learn them at roughly the same time, and you won't feel you're doing the whole thing over again at another time...

If you're visiting China and Singapore, then definitely Mandarin, and simplified hanzi. If you're visiting Hong Kong and Taiwan and other Chinese communities outside China, traditional hanzi is more commonly used, though for Cantonese, you'll find dialectal characters in use. Even a few characters commonly used will have different meanings, or vocabulary items may differ.


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