Malaysian Mandarin Accent

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Eng Wai

Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Eng Wai » Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:11 pm

I am Eng Wai, from Malaysia.

I have come in contact with various Mandarin/putonghua speaking people, including Malaysian, Singaporean, Taiwanese, westerners, and of course China Mainlanders (northerner and southener).

Different people are speaking putonghua with their special accent. I know what the Malaysian accent is like, but would like to know how foreigners (people not from Malaysia) view it.

Among Malaysian, there are different accent with regard to their areas too. But generally I can conclude that a strong Malaysian accent Mandarin is like swallowing every word altogether, never use qing1 shen, and hardly qiao4 she2. I have no problem communicating with every mandarin speakers but when I talk very fast, they wouldn't be able to understand me. And there was one time I was speaking Mandarin to another Malaysian mandarin speaker with very heavy Malaysian accent, heavy in the sense that even I know I am speaking Malaysian accent Mandarin (not different vocab usage, grammar etc, but different style of pronounciation).

Malaysian accent shuold be heavily influenced by the other Southern Chinese languages (Hokkien n Cantonese). But I noticed that mainland Cantonese people speak Mandarin within the frame of proper mandarin, that you can immediately sense that it is more "proper". I suppose the Malaysian accent is the results of obligation to learn many languages (mandarin, malay, english n other chinese languages). At the end we speak all 4/5 languages with more or less the same accent, which is foreign to the native speakers of respective languages.

Perhaps other Mandarin speaking people, regardless of their origin, nationality, native chinese language who have ever come across with Malaysian accent Mandarin could comment on this topic?

Cheers

Eng Wai

[%sig%]

Language learner

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Language learner » Tue Dec 14, 2004 3:42 am

Hi Eng Wai,

I can speak 4 languages fluently, 3 of which without accent, one with minimum accent. Here is my comment why you or Chinese Malaysians/Singaporeans, in general, speak with accent:

Mandarin with heavy accent:
(1) Lack of proper Mandarin speakers in the environment where people learn Mandarin.
(2) School system lacks proper teachers who speak Mandarin without accent
(3) Lack of good ears: People do not pick up proper Mandarin even you are given the opportunity to listen to proper Mandarin speakers
(4) Lack of seriousness: People do not take learning proper Mandarin seriously
(5) Lack of ability (no offence): This means even without (1) & (2), one can learn proper pronunciation from Chinese dictionary. However, because of the lack of ability, one cannot pick up the method of correct Mandarin pronunciation.

I personally classify Mandarin into 9 levels ( I am not sure if I should write them all out because I don't want to offend people ):

Level 1, 2: Hong Kong / Macau people who 'try' to speak Mandarin (learn or without learn)
Level 3: Other native Cantonese speakers in Guang Dong or Guang Xi who do not put an effort to learn
Level 4: Native Cantonese speakers in Guang Dong Guang Xi who put an effort to learn; Southern coastal Chinese & Southern Taiwan
Level 5: Northern Taiwan, typically Taipei; Eastern coastal Chinese, typically Jiang Su, Zhe Jiang, typically Shanghainese. Note There is a connection why Northern Taiwan & Eastern coastal Chinese are in the same catagory & I will let you to figure it out
Level 6: Nothern Chinese North of Long river (excluding North East China) with regular effort.
Level 7: Northern Chinese North of Long river (excluding North East China) who put an effort to learn; I consider this level (7) zheng4 gui1 guo3 yu3; This level is the majority (population of Northern Chinese)
Level 8: People from Beijing with high school education & people from North East China (polulation of Beijing, North East China, Cheng2 De2, Re4 He2)
Level 9: Graduates from broadcast schools, typically either native Beijing speakers or North Eastern Chinese

Now you see the list ! Everybody says they speak Mandarin ! Now you can see where you fit in the list !

Note: There is other aspect of speaking Mandarin without accent (for non Mandarin native speakers): They can jump from lower levels to level 7 (maximum), you can't jump to level 8, trust me !

Language learner

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Language learner » Tue Dec 14, 2004 3:55 am

Correction to my typo:

>Here is my comment why you or Chinese Malaysians/Singaporeans, in general, speak with accent
Here is my comment ON why you or Chinese Malaysians/Singaporeans, in general, speak with AN accent
>Mandarin with heavy accent:
Mandarin with A heavy accent:
>People do not pick up proper Mandarin even you are given the opportunity to listen
People do not pick up proper Mandarin even THEY are given the opportunity to listen
>"guo3"
"guo2"

Eng Wai

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Eng Wai » Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:40 am

To Language Learner

Which 4 language can you speak fluently and which 3 can you speak without accent?

Don't really agree with you classifications. It is quite common in everybody's mind that native Bei Jing people do not speak standard Mandarin unless they speak slower and don't add er2 after every word. I have listened to a couple of Bei Jing people speaking Bei Jing hua and compared it to the pu tong hua in broadcasted programmes in CCTV, the difference is not negligible.

Instead I find people from He2 Nan3 speaking best pu tong hua. But I have to add that I meet only few He Nanese before so what I get might just a oversimplified stereoype.

And do you know that the Mandarin broadcast in TV News is artificially made higher pitch so that people will make great effort to emulate them and eventually settle with standard lower pitch Mandarin which everyone can speak n understand?

How do you describe Malaysian Mandarin accent?

Eng Wai

[%sig%]

Language learner

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Language learner » Tue Dec 14, 2004 3:10 pm

Hi Eng Wai,

Eng Wai wrote:
>Don't really agree with you classifications
It is my 'personal' classification based on years of learning, listening, reading, asking and getting inputs from people from different regions. Wait till you figure out why Malaysian Madarin has accent, then get more contacts with people (learning, listening, reading, asking etc) then we may bridge our gap. It's your personal choice !

>It is quite common in everybody's mind that native Bei Jing people do not speak standard Mandarin unless they speak slower and don't add er2 after every word.
Standard Mandarin excludes local Beijing words but still based on Beijing pronunciation on individual words. Some of Beijing people do not speak standard Mandarin because they speak Bei3 Jing1 Hua4, not Putonghua ! They speak with lots of er2 because they don't want to speak Mandarin to you, simple as that ! If they speak properly, their Mandarin (with high school education and you can't expect all native Beijing are univerisity graduates) is standard, clear, sound beautiful, individual words pronounced accurately, speed on INDIVIDUAL words (I did not mention speed in my previous email, this speed is 1 of the factors seperating levels because virtually it takes effort to move from level to level, and accent can be identified from 'speed').

>I have listened to a couple of Bei Jing people speaking Bei Jing hua and compared it to the pu tong hua in broadcasted programmes in CCTV, the difference is not negligible.

BEIJINGHUA IS DIFFERENT FROM PUTONGHUA ! Please read my email carefully !

>Instead I find people from He2 Nan3 speaking best pu tong hua. But I have to add that I meet only few He Nanese before so what I get might just a oversimplified stereoype.

There is no 'best pu tong hua' ! However, most broadcast anchors are from Liao2 Ning2 province, Chang2 Chun1 and native Beijing people. I will tell you next time why Liao2 Ning2 people & Chang2 Chun1 can be the news anchors once you absorb completely what I mentioned in the email.

>And do you know that the Mandarin broadcast in TV News is artificially made higher pitch so that people will make great effort to emulate them and eventually settle with standard lower pitch Mandarin which everyone can speak n understand?

News anchors are clear & precise ! Whatelse do you want to say !? They are from the Central Broadcast University with special training, that's why they are level 9 ! You may classify Malaysian Mandarin as level 9 per your personal choice (no offense), it's up to you !

>How do you describe Malaysian Mandarin accent?

Here is a brief list of Malaysian Mandarin:
- Pronunciation(This also applies to other Southern Chinese): Lack of sh, ch, zh. Lack of these is called "sharp sound" or jian1 yin1, basically levels 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 ! See it saves me time by using level numbering system otherwise I have to repeat writing every time !
- Pronunciation(This also applies to other Southern Chinese): When it should be s, c, z etc, they will make it sound like between s & sh, c & ch, z & zh. The reason: They are not sure if it should be s or sh, c & ch, z or zh, so they pick the 'mid point' :) Again, no offence !
- Sentence structure: Lack of er2 when it should be appropriately used as in standard Chinese such as 'hua1 er', 'men2 er2", "yang2 er2", "niao3 er2" etc ! You can learn these standard er2 from reading books that use proper er2 (but not from native Beijinghua that throws in er2 EVERY WHERE AND THAT'S WHY IT'S NOT PUTONGHUA)
- Speed on indivual words in a conversation (This is a big topic and it took me years of learning, listening, reading, asking to move from a lower level to a higher level, in fact level 7. It is very difficult for non native Beijing speakers or North Easterners to achieve level 8. I did try but unsuccessful)
- Mix of local Malay words & dialect words unconsciously !
- Lack of raising tone in a sentence (I did not mention this): This is also a big topic and it takes time to move from lower levels to higher level so that it sounds more like Northern Mandarin or Zheng4 Gui1 Guo2 Yu3
- Perhaps other reasons that I am not aware of !

Remember: It takes years to pick up a language without accent through learning, listening, reading, asking etc !

Language learner

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Language learner » Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:00 pm

To make it clear:
>It is very difficult for non native Beijing speakers or North Easterners to achieve level 8.
Should be phrased:
It is very difficult for non-native Beijing speakers AND non-North Easterners to achieve level 8. It is relatively easier for Northerners (Non native Beijing & non native North Easterners) to achieve level 8 though !
i.e. Southerners: level 7 max; Northerners: level 8 achievable because standard Chinese is based on bei fang hua !

I hope I don't offend people but if it sounds like it, I offer my apology in advance !

Eng Wai

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Eng Wai » Wed Dec 15, 2004 3:06 am

Well it is interesting you mention the difference between bei jing people speaking bei jing hua and bei jing people peaking pu tong hua with bei jing qiang.

Someone explained to me a few weeks ago about the variety of English in England. The Geordies (native newcastle, north east) could speak Geordie and Geordie accent English. The Geordie itself is considered as an English dialect and a Geordie accent English simply an accent. Londoners will have to make some effort to understand Geordie accent English but will struggle long time to understand Geordie.

Same thing applies to Bei Jing hua and bei jing accent Mandarin (pu tong hua). Bei Jing hua is a dialect of Mandarin language and Bei Jing accent Mandarin (grammar n vocab standardised) is the authorised official version of Mandarin, ie Pu Tong Hua.

You say you can speak languages without accents. I beg to differ. I guess what you mean is you can speak standard accent languages. Accent is always there, just whether it is standard accent or non-standard acent.

Eng Wai

Language learner

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Language learner » Wed Dec 15, 2004 3:51 am

Hi Eng Wai,

>Well it is interesting you mention the difference between bei jing people speaking bei jing hua and bei jing people peaking pu tong hua with bei jing qiang.

I just talked to my daughter's Mandarin teacher who is native Beijing speaker today. The teach told me, as exactly I knew before, that if they speak Beijing qiang, it would be very fast and people would have hard time understand them and it is not Mandarin, but they would try to accomodate non Beijing native and merge with non Beijing native so that non Beijing native could understand Beijing native's Mandarin.

>You say you can speak languages without accents. I beg to differ. I guess what you mean is you can speak standard accent languages. Accent is always there, just whether it is standard accent or non-standard acent.

When I said 'without accent' in Mandarin, I meant 'level 7' or 'zheng4 gui1 guo2 yu3' for me ! There are so many different accents in Mandarin we somehow have to narrow it down to several (levels 7, 8 & 9) and use these 3 levels to teach Mandarin in schools !
You definitely don't want to teach levels 1 or 2 in schools, do you ?

>Bei Jing hua is a dialect of Mandarin language
It is true although Beijing residents may not agree !

>Bei Jing accent Mandarin (grammar n vocab standardised) is the authorised official version of Mandarin, ie Pu Tong Hua.
Well, yes and no ! I would rephrase it this way, this is a tricky one: Mandarin is the collection of usages of Bei Fang Fang Yan including MOST Beijing hua (but not ALL beijing hua) with ALL individual words is pronounced according to Beijing accent.
Collection of usages of Bei Fang Fang Yan may include: Usages not used in Beijing but commonly used elsewhere; Usages used in Beijing but not used elsewhere; Usages used in North East but not used elsewhere

Eng Wai

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Eng Wai » Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:50 am

Ok, so bei jing hua is not pu tong hua, bei jing qiang pu tong hua is not pu tong hua, then what is the relationship between pu tong hua and bei jing?

"When I said 'without accent' in Mandarin, I meant 'level 7' or 'zheng4 gui1 guo2 yu3' for me ! There are so many different accents in Mandarin we somehow have to narrow it down to several (levels 7, 8 & 9) and use these 3 levels to teach Mandarin in schools !
You definitely don't want to teach levels 1 or 2 in schools, do you ?"

Don't deviate from the original point. To teach which level of pu tong hua is not my issue here. Now do you admit zheng gui pu tong hua is a pu tong hua with zheng gui qiang?? If it is, i make a point. If it is not, I wonder how you coud pronounce a language without any accent !!?

And "ALL individual words is pronounced according to Beijing accent". So if pu tong hua isnot spoken with bei jing accent, then why pu tong hua vocabs should be pronounced in bei jing accent???

Ok anyway, sorry if the discussions topic deviates from the forum topic. If you still want to comment on Malaysian accent mandarin, feel free to continue. If you want to talk about Mandarin in mandarin, please let us continue it in the other thread.

Eng Wai

Language learner

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Language learner » Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:51 pm

Hi Eng Wai,

It gets to the point where I have to ask if you would like to learn and obtain more knowledge about Mandarin or not ?
Because you have been 'beating the bush' and I am submerged in the different 'terminologies' you used and they means the same thing, they were just used at different time to mean the same thing, that's it !

I will try to comment one more time and hope you will get what I mean:

Eng Wai wrote:

>so bei jing hua is not pu tong hua

Correct

>bei jing qiang pu tong hua is not pu tong hua

-Beijing people pronounce individual words correctly (because INDIVIDUAL WORDS in Mandarin is based on Beijing pronunciation and RECORDED in Pinyin in the DICTIONARY)
-IF Beijing people eliminates MOST/ALL LOCAL WORDS (only understood by native Beijing) in their conversation/writing, then it is standard Mandarin !

>then what is the relationship between pu tong hua and bei jing?

This is a million dollar question and I will not answer until you absorb all I said from previous emails ! THIS IS A BIG TOPIC to move from level 7 to level 8 which I am NOT in level 8, I tried but unsuccessful !

>Now do you admit zheng gui pu tong hua is a pu tong hua with zheng gui qiang?? If it is, i make a point. If it is not, I wonder how you coud pronounce a language without any accent !!?

I already answered this question along the line, whatever answer is up to you, you may say levels 1-9 all have accents, it's fine with me, it is just a matter of (a) treating different levels as accent or (b) We treat levels 7, 8 & 9 without accent ( It does not matter to me, it's just a personal opinion, do you know what I mean ?)
Example: (a) I may say English from London does not have accent (b) You may say English from London has London accent ( It does not matter to me AT ALL, Please do not go around this topic anymore ) (c) You may say English from NYC has accent

The idea is as follows: When people say 'no accent' (you say 'with accent'), it means it is generally agreed 'the way people speak in that area where their pronunciation is used as 'standard' and recorded in dictionary !

In English, London 'accent (this is your method)' is used to enter into the dictionary (British English)
In American English, Chicago(? or other cities) 'accent' is used to enter into Webster American dictionary
In Mandarin, Beijing 'accent (this is your method)' is used to enter into the dictionary (INDIVIDUAL WORDS' PRONUNCIATION)


>So if pu tong hua isnot spoken with bei jing accent, then why pu tong hua vocabs should be pronounced in bei jing accent???

Please see 'definition' from other topic; This definition is defined by the Chinese government for you information !
The ROC gov agreed to use Beijing pronunciation on INDIVIDUAL WORDS and ENTER IT INTO THE DICTIONARY even the sentence structure/usages are based on Bei Fang Hua, DO YOU GET IT ? I DON'T WANT TO REPEAT THIS ANYMORE !

If the ROC gov picked Nanjing accent on individual words, then Mandarin would be based on Nanjing accent in the dictionary ! BUT IT IS NOT THE CASE !

I DON'T WANT TO REPEAT THE DEFINITION ANYMORE ! YOU DECIDE FOR YOURSELF

I already commented on the Malaysian/Singaporean Mandarin. Just one more:
-If they are Hokien origin, they may substitute Mandarin F with Hokien H such as Mandarin "Fujian" they will say "Hujian/Hokien" because lots of Hokien (Fujian) H is Mandarin F
-Listen to Southern Taiwanese (Chen Shui Bian), he would say "Hua3 yuan4" instead of Mandarin "Fa3 yuan4法院", "Hua3 lu:4" instead of "Fa3 lu:4 (law)"

Eng Wai

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Eng Wai » Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:50 am

Well language learner,

No no no, the different terminologies I used definitely mean different thing, because they are different things, we can't simply use one term to describe all. You think I have beaten around the bush too much, because you consider everything the same thing, which is not true.

Mandarin -- language group
-- equivalent to min, cantonese, wu, english, french etc
Pu tong hua -- artificial standard mandarin
-- equivalent to BBC english
Bei Jing Hua -- a dialect of mandarin
-- equivalent to he nan hua, si chuan hua
Bei Jing qiang pu tong hua -- Pu tong hua spoken with influence of bei jing hua
-- equivalent to Malaysian pu tong hua, Hong Kong pu tong hua, pu tong hua spoken by foreigners

And just for your information, London english is not standard english. It is sdimply the capital english.

So now you admit pu tong hua is spoken with an accent, a standardf accent.

And it is interesting to read your posts, though I might not agree with you. Don't think you are always correct, and don't treat people who disagree with you as not intereseted in learning the correct thing. Futhermore I was intending to talk about Malaysian accent mandarin, it doensn't mean that I am not intereseted in learning proper accent pu tong hua. Lastly if you desire to promote the prevalence of standard pu tong hua, first thing you need to equip yourself is the knowledge of pu tong hua language. You should be able to distinguish accent, dialect, language in order to give the others a clear account of Putong hua being standard mandarin. Just like a religion preacher, not only he should know the knowledge of his religion, he has to know the others so that he can brand the others' wrong, and his right.

It is very true about your observation of Hokkien accent mandarin. This is a normal situation among the old. Chen sui bian purposely speak hua instead of fa simply because he wants to show the taiwanese characteristic and stress the need of localisation. Among the middle age and young taiwanese, they won't say hua for fa if they are speaking mandarin, putong hua, or guo yu.

Another charecteristic of Malaysian accent mandarin is the sentence endings. We like to pronounce la, na, a with a definite tone and stress it as hard as we can, for fun or unconciously, due to influence of malay, hokkien and cantonese.

Eng Wai

Eng Wai

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Eng Wai » Thu Dec 16, 2004 11:21 am

Let me add another thing. Chen Shui Bian is a Hakka, I think in Hakka F sound doesn't exist. So Chen Shui Bian pronounce huang hua instead of fang fa, more probably due to the influence of Hakka rather than influence of Hokkien.

Eng Wai

Dylan Sung

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Dylan Sung » Thu Dec 16, 2004 3:04 pm

Eng Wai, it looks as though you don't know any Hakka. Hakka has plenty of f- initial words.

fui1 fly,
fui2 fat,
fa1 flower,
fap5 law,
fong2 room,
fiu2 float,
fai4 bad,
fet6 or,

etc.....

Dyl.

Eng Wai

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Eng Wai » Thu Dec 16, 2004 4:13 pm

Ya, I don't know any Hakka at all. I just came across a website saying there is no f word in Hakka before I wrote that post. Weird.. Too wrong..

Eng Wai

Dylan Sung

Re: Malaysian Mandarin Accent

Postby Dylan Sung » Thu Dec 16, 2004 6:46 pm

Eng Wai > Ya, I don't know any Hakka at all. I just came across
Eng Wai > a website saying there is no f word in Hakka before
Eng Wai > I wrote that post. Weird.. Too wrong..



Really? The following has example of Hakka f- intial words and character pronunciations, just to satisfy your curiosity. Chiew Lee Yih says Hakka has no f- initial words in that link you gave elsewhere. He is clearly wrong, and not a reliable source of information.

http://www.sungwh.freeserve.co.uk/chinese/meixian.htm
http://www.sungwh.freeserve.co.uk/hakga/zengong.htm
http://www.sungwh.freeserve.co.uk/sapienti/hd_f.htm
http://www.sungwh.freeserve.co.uk/sapienti/howtplay.htm
http://www.sungwh.freeserve.co.uk/sapienti/jhimiko.htm
http://www.sungwh.freeserve.co.uk/sapienti/hagfa99b.htm

My other site
http://www.dylanwhs.ukgateway.net/dict/index.html
You may also like some dialect information too,
http://www.dylanwhs.ukgateway.net/download/doc.htm

Dyl.


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