Is Cantonese a harsh language?

Discussions on the Cantonese language.
Ben

Is Cantonese a harsh language?

Postby Ben » Tue Aug 14, 2001 5:06 am

Do people have any opinions on this subject?
I think Cantonese is one of the harshest languages around, unlike, say, Mandarin or other East Asian languages. Cantonese is simply very cacophonous and displeasing to the ear.
As someone who speaks both Cantonese & English fluently (but not Mandarin), I find these two languages are not entirely compatible. I've heard of many anecdoctal reports of how people from HK who speak Cantonese who cannot adjust to NOrth American culture because of this linguistic barrier, as opposed to someone who speaks Mandarin who nonethless could acculturate relatively easier in spite of a greater cultural gulf between mainland China and NOrth America.
Thoughts? Is linguistics/language playing a role here?
Ben

Nancy

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language?

Postby Nancy » Thu Aug 16, 2001 12:39 am

Wow. It must be great to know two languages fluently. Are you from Hong Kong?
Nancy

Anonymous

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language?

Postby Anonymous » Fri Aug 17, 2001 6:26 am

And as someone who does speak, Mandarin, Cantonese, and English, I think you're correct. Whenever Cantonese people speak the language, it sounds like they're fighting (especially the old guys). However, I'm still proud of this language. In fact, I think Cantonese is a "language of rage". It fits perfectly with that song from Beyond ("I am anger")

Eugene Morrow

The sound of Cantonese

Postby Eugene Morrow » Fri Aug 17, 2001 6:37 am

Hey guys,
I stunned that fluent Cantonese speakers are saying this. I speak only English and am learning Cantonese, and I totally disagree that Cantonese sounds harsh.
To me, it depends on how you say it. My learning tapes are spoken deliberately slowly, and I find the highs, lows, risings and fallings quite elegant and playful. One of the reasons I am enjoying learning Cantonese is the sound of the language.
I think I know what you are referring to: most fluent speakers speak very FAST. To me, fluent Cantonese speakers sound like they're in an Olympic event: the 100 words final. On that score, Cantonese would have to be a contender because if you try hard you can really compress things into grunts. I think it has something to do with the fast lane life in Hong Kong and the traditional jobs in Business: everyone is always behind and rushing.
So the solution, to me, is for Cantonese speakers to take their watches off, smell the roses and try talking slow enough so that each word is clear. The tones come across more like R2D2 then rather than a fight with light sabers.
Eugene Morrow

Anonymous

Re: The sound of Cantonese

Postby Anonymous » Fri Aug 17, 2001 6:31 pm

Well, if you look at certain circumstances, answers will differ. Such as, if you say "I love you", to someone using the Japanese "Ai Shiteru" (the "i" in "Shiteru" is silent), it sounds better than the Cantonese "Ngoh Oi Nei"

Mak Zai 麥仔

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language?粵語粗魯嗎?

Postby Mak Zai 麥仔 » Fri Aug 17, 2001 8:33 pm

Hello everybody,
What an interesting subject to discuss. I've pondered over this before and talked about it to several friends of mine. My friends, many of them being Taiwanese feel that Cantonese is a harsh language. They expressed that they Cantonese is actually quite cacophonous in it's nature. They often think that the Cantonese people are engaging in some kind of dispute or argument, while their just having a normal conversation. The Min3nan2/man5nam4 閩南language or what Taiwanese people call tai2yu5/toi4yu5 台語,actually doesn't differ much in terms of loudness. Henceforth, I wonder why Taiwanese people would call it a noisy language.
I personally love Cantonese. Cantonese is a energetic, colorful, vigiorous language, animated
by it's tones. It's a language with spirit. Other languages in Northern China sometimes lack that liveliness that is found in Cantonese.
Another reason that it is so loud is perhaps it's geographical location. Take a moment to consider my following statement. The closer you get to the equator in most continents and countries, the more lively the people and language they speak become. Take for example the Europe. In the North you have the Swedish, Finnish, English, Dutch, German, French etc... As you head south, you'll notice as the climate changes so does the temperament and bearing of the people. The Italians, Spanish and Portuguese all seem to be more enthusiastic in manner. They also speak loud and they seem to be all fired up all the time.
I don't know if what I just shared carries any truth, but it seems to be pretty logical.
Harsh or not, Cantonese is still my most keen language. I hope it lives on as the wonderful language it is in all it's uniqueness.
Keep up the hard work all you who are studying Cantonese.
       甚願粵語傳流萬世

施培忠 Michael


: Do people have any opinions on this subject?
: I think Cantonese is one of the harshest languages around, unlike, say, Mandarin or other East Asian languages. Cantonese is simply very cacophonous and displeasing to the ear.
: As someone who speaks both Cantonese & English fluently (but not Mandarin), I find these two languages are not entirely compatible. I've heard of many anecdoctal reports of how people from HK who speak Cantonese who cannot adjust to NOrth American culture because of this linguistic barrier, as opposed to someone who speaks Mandarin who nonethless could acculturate relatively easier in spite of a greater cultural gulf between mainland China and NOrth America.
: Thoughts? Is linguistics/language playing a role here?
: Ben

canto
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:53 pm

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language?粵語粗魯嗎?

Postby canto » Mon Aug 20, 2001 4:59 pm

well. may i say 50/50? frankly, cantonese is not a harsh language, but it could be.
as i recall... when i was a little boy, mom used to remind me to speak clearly but not to "shout" it out. so i think cantonese has its potential to become a harsh language but it all depends on the speaker whether he/she can handle it well.

: Hello everybody,
: What an interesting subject to discuss. I've pondered over this before and talked about it to several friends of mine. My friends, many of them being Taiwanese feel that Cantonese is a harsh language. They expressed that they Cantonese is actually quite cacophonous in it's nature. They often think that the Cantonese people are engaging in some kind of dispute or argument, while their just having a normal conversation. The Min3nan2/man5nam4 閩南language or what Taiwanese people call tai2yu5/toi4yu5 台語,actually doesn't differ much in terms of loudness. Henceforth, I wonder why Taiwanese people would call it a noisy language.
: I personally love Cantonese. Cantonese is a energetic, colorful, vigiorous language, animated
: by it's tones. It's a language with spirit. Other languages in Northern China sometimes lack that liveliness that is found in Cantonese.
: Another reason that it is so loud is perhaps it's geographical location. Take a moment to consider my following statement. The closer you get to the equator in most continents and countries, the more lively the people and language they speak become. Take for example the Europe. In the North you have the Swedish, Finnish, English, Dutch, German, French etc... As you head south, you'll notice as the climate changes so does the temperament and bearing of the people. The Italians, Spanish and Portuguese all seem to be more enthusiastic in manner. They also speak loud and they seem to be all fired up all the time.
: I don't know if what I just shared carries any truth, but it seems to be pretty logical.
: Harsh or not, Cantonese is still my most keen language. I hope it lives on as the wonderful language it is in all it's uniqueness.
: Keep up the hard work all you who are studying Cantonese.
:        甚願粵語傳流萬世
:
: 施培忠 Michael

: : Do people have any opinions on this subject?
: : I think Cantonese is one of the harshest languages around, unlike, say, Mandarin or other East Asian languages. Cantonese is simply very cacophonous and displeasing to the ear.
: : As someone who speaks both Cantonese & English fluently (but not Mandarin), I find these two languages are not entirely compatible. I've heard of many anecdoctal reports of how people from HK who speak Cantonese who cannot adjust to NOrth American culture because of this linguistic barrier, as opposed to someone who speaks Mandarin who nonethless could acculturate relatively easier in spite of a greater cultural gulf between mainland China and NOrth America.
: : Thoughts? Is linguistics/language playing a role here?
: : Ben

Anonymous

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language?粵語粗魯嗎?

Postby Anonymous » Tue Aug 21, 2001 9:50 pm

Hey, you know what?
I think you're abosolutely right about the "equator" issue. The Vietnamese are also loud people (traditionally). I think the sun "gets to us", and we all begin to 發雞瘟 or something, which makes us talk so loud.
Who knows?
*Note: the "發雞瘟" thing, is only a joke, don't take it seriously*

eatsee

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language?

Postby eatsee » Wed Aug 22, 2001 9:36 am

: Do people have any opinions on this subject?
: I think Cantonese is one of the harshest languages around, unlike, say, Mandarin or other East Asian languages. Cantonese is simply very cacophonous and displeasing to the ear.
: As someone who speaks both Cantonese & English fluently (but not Mandarin), I find these two languages are not entirely compatible. I've heard of many anecdoctal reports of how people from HK who speak Cantonese who cannot adjust to NOrth American culture because of this linguistic barrier, as opposed to someone who speaks Mandarin who nonethless could acculturate relatively easier in spite of a greater cultural gulf between mainland China and NOrth America.
: Thoughts? Is linguistics/language playing a role here?
: Ben
:I think Cantonese is not as refined as Mandarin, in a sense, the daily speaking cantonese words, but if you dig deep into the verses of operas, you'll find it more than elegant. trust me. cantonese is harsh because the people who employ it has to tackle with harsh people. so, it can be gentle and elegant, as well. depends on whom do you learn and what do you learn and how well you learnt.

eatsee

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language?

Postby eatsee » Wed Aug 22, 2001 9:36 am

: Do people have any opinions on this subject?
: I think Cantonese is one of the harshest languages around, unlike, say, Mandarin or other East Asian languages. Cantonese is simply very cacophonous and displeasing to the ear.
: As someone who speaks both Cantonese & English fluently (but not Mandarin), I find these two languages are not entirely compatible. I've heard of many anecdoctal reports of how people from HK who speak Cantonese who cannot adjust to NOrth American culture because of this linguistic barrier, as opposed to someone who speaks Mandarin who nonethless could acculturate relatively easier in spite of a greater cultural gulf between mainland China and NOrth America.
: Thoughts? Is linguistics/language playing a role here?
: Ben
:I think Cantonese is not as refined as Mandarin, in a sense, the daily speaking cantonese words, but if you dig deep into the verses of operas, you'll find it more than elegant. trust me. cantonese is harsh because the people who employ it has to tackle with harsh people. so, it can be gentle and elegant, as well. depends on whom do you learn and what do you learn and how well you learnt.

Mike

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language?

Postby Mike » Wed Aug 22, 2001 6:39 pm

I don´t think that Cantonese is harsh.
Although someone who doesn´t know it, could think
that Cantonese people are arguing all the time.
This could be because Cantonese are speaking preety loud ( compared to Thai people).
In my ears Cantonese sounds very "cool" and I like it a lot.
Actually I cannot stand Mandarin, with its
"sh" sounds.
I have many friends who see a lot of HK movies
on DVD. Although nobody speaks any Chinese,
everybody tells me, that they choose the Cantonese audio channel, never the Mandarin one.
Actually , Cantonese has a lot of vowels, especially on the endings ( la or ma or a ), which makes it very smooth and especially older
( male ) HK people are stretching the words extremly, I don´t know why.






: Do people have any opinions on this subject?
: I think Cantonese is one of the harshest languages around, unlike, say, Mandarin or other East Asian languages. Cantonese is simply very cacophonous and displeasing to the ear.
: As someone who speaks both Cantonese & English fluently (but not Mandarin), I find these two languages are not entirely compatible. I've heard of many anecdoctal reports of how people from HK who speak Cantonese who cannot adjust to NOrth American culture because of this linguistic barrier, as opposed to someone who speaks Mandarin who nonethless could acculturate relatively easier in spite of a greater cultural gulf between mainland China and NOrth America.
: Thoughts? Is linguistics/language playing a role here?
: Ben

Julian

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language?

Postby Julian » Tue Sep 18, 2001 3:38 pm

I'm often struck by the range of 'styles' Cantonese can take on. Sometimes it can sound a bit disjointed as when some newsreaders are obviously reading and it tends to break the flow...There's a street haggling style that can admittedly sound raucous... and other times it's just smooth & dead sexy!
I've heard some conversations on the radio where one party is speaking very fast, yet flowingly while the other is contrastingly slow but somehow stacatto.
Overall I couldn't call it harsh - it's a beautiful language.

: Do people have any opinions on this subject?
: I think Cantonese is one of the harshest languages around, unlike, say, Mandarin or other East Asian languages. Cantonese is simply very cacophonous and displeasing to the ear.
: As someone who speaks both Cantonese & English fluently (but not Mandarin), I find these two languages are not entirely compatible. I've heard of many anecdoctal reports of how people from HK who speak Cantonese who cannot adjust to NOrth American culture because of this linguistic barrier, as opposed to someone who speaks Mandarin who nonethless could acculturate relatively easier in spite of a greater cultural gulf between mainland China and NOrth America.
: Thoughts? Is linguistics/language playing a role here?
: Ben

Cain

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language?

Postby Cain » Mon Oct 15, 2001 6:01 am

Cantonese is a totally foriegn and wierd sounding language to the English speaking only ear. If you speak Cantonese, you can say that it may not be harsh, because you have an intimate understanding of the language.
It's not exactly German, but a sexy language it is not! In my opinion, Cantonese goes against every English grammer rule I know. I have been studying it for three years, and the only way I can grasp at anything is to suspend all knowledge of English class, from middle school and beyond.
Cantonese is an attitude. You can memorize a phrase or a sentance, but it means soo much more if you actually know what you are saying.

Sum Won

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language?粵語粗魯嗎?

Postby Sum Won » Mon Mar 11, 2002 6:36 pm

I formerly go under "Anonymous", but have now taken up the alias "Sum Won". I'm also the person who doesn't think Cantonese were originally Chinese. (Yeah, it sounds like "Someone", which would be synonymous with a person who wants to stay anonymous)
Anyways, after I wrote my follow-up on this topic, I came to realize that Cantonese isn't a harsh language, rather than it is the people being very rowdy. People always say it sounds harsh, and that we sound loud. But it's not necessarily so. I think, that we Cantonese are just naturally rowdy. Like, we have a tad bit of alcohol in us, that's probably why Cantonese in America with horrible diets easily get diabetes compared to other nationalities.
*If you'd like to reply to me through e-mail, you'd probably have to send it twice, because my mail server's pretty screwed up.*

HKcantonese

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language?

Postby HKcantonese » Thu Apr 25, 2002 12:20 am

Re: Is Cantonese a harsh language? ??????

li lo mo cu he


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