https://www.duolingo.com/Camilyon

"Chinese" vs. "Mandarin" and "Cantonese"

I believe that in the case of Chinese language courses, they should not be called "Chinese," but rather Cantonese or Mandarin for clarity and for the purpose of being able to expand Duolingo to offer both.

May 19, 2014

14 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Guangsheng

There are several dialect groups in China, such as Mandarin, Wu, Gan, Xiang, Min, Hakka, Yue (including Cantonese). And Mandarin is also called standard Chinese, which is spoken by most of Chinese people. So if duolingo offers Chinese course in the future, it would be probably Mandarin. There are more information on wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_language

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/RuslanSiva

Maybe in mainland china, but most Chinese people I know speak Cantonese and only some speak speak mandarin.

May 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Guangsheng

Oh you are right. That is because most of the parents or grandparents or great grandparents of overseas Chinese people were originally from southern China, such as Hong Kong, Guangdong Province, Fujian Province, etc. :-)

May 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/johaquila

I don't think it's a problem so long as the course is clear about what it's teaching. There is a general expectation that "Chinese", in the context of a language course, refers to Mandarin. It may help to see the point if you consider that there are people who insist Spanish courses should be called Castilian courses because there is also Catalan. (I am not saying it's the same thing. Obviously there is a lot more justification to be explicit about Mandarin than about Castilian.)

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Setsuko670458

catalan is its own language,not a dialect of spanish. catalan is the official language of andorra.

February 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/drigoro2000

I get that. I think people are stupid when they say it should be called Castillian, because you will always hear people say "Spanish" while meaning "Castillian". But will NEVER hear anyone say "Spanish" referring to Catalan, Basque or Galician. It's just pretentious. However, when it comes to Chinese, I can totally get why they say it should be explicit which language they're teaching, beacuse people do use the term "Chinese" interchangeably to mean both.

July 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/drigoro2000

Per si de cas hi ha algun català que se senti ofès, només vull dir-li que que no he dit això amb l'objectiu d'ofendre ningú. Només volia remarcar la realitat.

July 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/angel194462

Hi camilyon! Although this may be true, Cantonese and Mandarin characters are the same, only differing in the way to use them. For now, I don't see it as a problem, but when they make a Cantonese course, then it would make much more sense to change the course name. :)

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Camilyon

But don't they differ with regard to pronunciation and semantics?

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/angel194462

Yes, that's true! I only simply meant to make a small statement about their similarties and differences. My main point is that I don't think there is any specific need to change the course title until necessary to point out the differences because there are two Chinese courses. :)

May 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/RuslanSiva

I'm very interested in learning Cantonese in particular. For some stupid reason, Rosetta stone doesn't offer Cantonese, only Mandarin.

May 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JacobMatth978790

my friend from Hong Kong living in the US told me this is probably because cantonese has a much bigger variety of slang while mandarin is often more formal and mandarin is typically used in commerce

May 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/JacobMatth978790

still, it would be nice for more resources on how to study cantonese

May 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/seelian

Mandarin and Chinese is same, for cantonese it is consider kind of dialect at our place.

May 21, 2014
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.