https://www.duolingo.com/LavethWolf

Is this text in Hokkien or Mandarin?

( drawing because reasons )

I decided to begin studying Chinese in order to finally understand these weird Chinese bootleg games that I've had an interest in for a long time. But I just found out that most of these games aren’t Chinese, they’re Taiwanese.

So I thought “Ok, easy, I’ll just learn Taiwanese instead”, only to find out that there are two completely different languages often labeled Taiwanese ( much like how Mandarin and Cantonese are both called Chinese ). One being a slight variation of Mandarin Chinese, and the other being Hokkien, another language mostly unintelligible with Mandarin.

Since they both use Chinese Characters, I’ve no idea how to tell them apart when written down. I wouldn’t want to begin the difficult task of learning Mandarin, only to find out I should’ve been learning Hokkien, or vice-versa. So I put some images below of some Taiwanese bootleg games, and would like to ask if the images are in Mandarin or Hokkien :

Hopefully someone can help me with my rather specific problem.

September 6, 2017

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/WallLi1

Dear LavethWolf,

I am a Mandarin native speaker. I will try to explain this problem to you.

Mandarin is official language of both Mainland China and Taiwan. For the vocal part, the slight difference is solely about accent, like the difference between New England accent and Southern accent. People can understand each other without any difficulties. Hokkien is a dialect of Chinese (according to some of the scholars, some others consider as a separate language), and it is also used by Southeastern Chinese folks. The pronunciation is quite different from mandarin, and it is more like a spoken language rather than a written language.

There are two writing systems of Chinese, one of which is simplified Chinese (used by mainland), another one being traditional Chinese (used by Taiwan, Hongkong and Macau). These two are quite similar to each other (at least for me). Except for seeming simpler, the characters of simplified Chinese are almost identical. Mandarin and dialects in Mainland are using simplified system, and all languages in Taiwan (Mandarin and Hokkien) use traditional system.

To sum up and answer your question, the characters shown on the pictures are traditional Chinese, and it should be Mandarin, since Hokkien is more a spoken language nowadays.

Hope above answers your question.

Best, Wall Li

September 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LavethWolf

Thank you very much, that was quite the informative answer. I guess It's time to study some Mandarin.

September 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/seelian

As WalLi said, hokkien consider as a dialect, there are many kind of dialect like teochew, hakka, cantonese, hainan etc.

For Taiwanese dialect we call min nan (闽南语) which is also call as hokkien at our place.

September 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BarbaraCha360905

The language in your examples is Mandarin Chinese. They are written with traditional characters. Mandarin Chinese is spoken in both China and Taiwan. Other languages are spoken there as well. Usually if a Chinese dialect or Chinese-related language is written down, they won't use Chinese characters. If you see writing like the examples above, it will almost always be Mandarin Chinese (Japanese looks similar, but with a bit of study you can easily tell the difference.) So if you want to be able to read that, you should study Mandarin Chinese. Either the mainland style or the Taiwanese style would be fine. If a course is specifically called 'Taiwanese' then they are not teaching Mandarin Chinese; nor are they teaching the type of Mandarin Chinese spoken in Taiwan. They will be teaching the separate language called Taiwanese. The Mandarin spoken in Taiwan has a slight accent. They also use traditional characters there. In China they use simplified characters. After studying for a long time, you should be able to handle both.

September 6, 2017
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