Chinese for English: More Dialects? + Missing Dialect Name in Chinese for English Course
[DISCLAIMER] -- I do not speak any dialects of Chinese (at least not fully), I am only learning Mandarin on Duolingo. If I make any wrong judgment or some mistakes about the Chinese dialects, I am sorry.
I think Duolingo should have more dialects for Chinese. I would like to learn Cantonese, the dialect of Hong-Kong. Mandarin and Cantonese are very different. One of many examples, Mandarin has 4 basic tones and 1 neutral tone, however, Cantonese has up to 9 tones. What would the community like to see for additional Chinese dialects? I vote for Cantonese.
In addition, I think the Chinese for English course should be titled Chinese (Mandarin), specifying the dialect so you don't have to go to the description of the course to make sure. Duolingo has done this with Norwegian (Bokmål), & Guarani (Jopará), why not Chinese?
P.S, Please upvote this so others can voice their opinion! :)
Then we should suggest those to Duolingo, so that we can learn different writings and speaking!
Thank you for your recent hard work in getting a lot of xps. You are really pushing me to work hard practicing my Chinese.
I agree that the Chinese now on Duolingo should be titled Chinese Mandarin. In addition, I agree that there is a need to develop courses for the dialects of Cantonese and Minnan (Taiwanese) which are spoken by many people around the world.
It would be nice if Duolingo taught us more Chinese dialects/languages and used unambiguous terms. But I am not fond of the usage of the term Mandarin.
To quote myself:
"Personally, I dislike the name "Mandarin" for Standard Chinese/普通话/国语. There used to be a Mandarin in the past (the language the Chinese mandarins used) but the official language today is not descended from that Mandarin but is based on the Beijing dialect. "
I completely agree on this. Important dialects other than Cantonese should include Shanghainese (Wu), Taiwanese Hokkien (Min), Hakka, and Xiang and Gan dialects. They have very few learning resources and aren't very known.
I have written an article about Chinese dialects on Hubpages. The link to it is https://hubpages.com/education/Varieties-of-Spoken-Chinese-Top-5-Dialects-Worth-Learning .
Other than Cantonese, I have not found many learning materials for other dialects on the web. Perhaps authorities in China and on Taiwan are trying to suppress the learning of dialects because they want everyone to learn Mandarin. There probably are other political reasons.
Cantonese is only prominent because of Hong Kong and it's former status as a gateway to China to the West when it was a former British colony and grew into a major economic and developed hub while China was underdeveloped. I don't like that dialects are being suppressed in favour of Mandarin as it would homogenize most of China and lose the cultures that these dialects are part of. Some places in China had mass protests as a way to protect their unique dialects when the government tried to get rid of them in education and media.
You make a good point about the suppression of dialects. Are you aware that up until the late 1990s when the Democratic Progressive Party won the Presidency in Taiwan, the ruling Nationalist Party of Chiang Kai-Shek and his son suppressed Taiwanese in the schools of Taiwan? Children were forbidden to speak it and there were no Taiwanese language TV stations. It was very difficult to find books and magazines written in Taiwanese. Things have changed in Taiwan and there are now stations broadcasting Taiwanese and you can find Taiwanese language materials in bookstores. The Democratic Progressive Party or DPP which is sympathetic to the native Taiwanese as opposed to the desendants to people born on the mainland will not, however, use Taiwanese as a national language. The DPP is afraid to do this because it will upset mainland China which still regards Taiwan as one of its provinces.
There is a proposal by the DPP government to make English an official language of Taiwan. I don't think this is a good idea because I think it will further exacerbate the situation Taiwanese and Hakka face, or at worse displace Mandarin or damage the culture. Also it would worsen the situation you mentioned about China regarding Taiwan as it's province.
I agree that it is not a good idea for the DPP to make English an official language of Taiwan.
Yes, I agree. I would like to learn Cantonese, Shanghainese, and Hainanese.
中国各地的 方言 只有 文字的书写 是相通的。
简体 和 繁体 有区别，但互相之间 都能看懂一些。所以主要是 词汇 和 读音。
I agree. Although Mandarin and Cantonese are probably the most important, other dialects would be nice. The only problem might be people getting confused that the writing system is the same and pronunciation is different, but that already happens with Japanese anyway, so it shouldn't be an issue.
Because Mandarin and Cantonese are not dialects of the same language they are distinct languages with little to no intelligibility in speech, although they use the same character set so can be understood when written down. The course is called "Chinese" because Mandarin (apart from Uyghur) is the only official language in China and is officially known as Standard Chinese, not Mandarin.
According to Wikipedia, "Cantonese is a variety of Chinese". It's classification is: Sino-Tibetan; Chinese; Yue; Yuehai; Cantonese.
Yes, you could argue on a technicality such as whether a dialect is the same thing as a variety, on whether a lingua franca is enough to be taught on Duolingo, but regardless of all that, I think Cantonese should be taught on Duolingo.
That's not entirely true. Although they're not mutually intelligible, they're still dialects of Chinese. Also, Standard Chinese is the writing system, not the dialect. Furthermore, even though Mandarin is the only official language of China, it's wrong to say the other dialects aren't important because some other dialects, like Cantonese, are important, too.
Does Cantonese use simplified Chinese writing, as well, or only traditional?
Archaic traditional Chinese characters from the Tang Dynasty, I believe, have traditionally been used to write everyday Cantonese without Romanization. The same has been true for the Minnan/Hokkien/Taiwanese, and Hakka dialects.