Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing to

Discussions on the Hakka dialects.
chungkuo jen

Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing to

Postby chungkuo jen » Fri Oct 19, 2001 10:33 pm

Hi,
I speak Shanghainese and Mandarin Chinese. My situation also puts me in contact with a lot of Cantonese speakers as well. My question is which of these three main dialects do you think is the most aesthetically pleasing to the ear?
My personal opinion is that of the three, Cantonese seems to be the most cacophonous. Each Cantonese syllable seems to be against the previous syllable in sound, and often leads to this blur of groaning noises. For example the phrase, "I love you" in Cantonese is "Ngo Oi Ney", compared to Mandarin's Wo Ai Ni or Shanghainese's "u ei non."
Most people probably will argue against me that each dialect/language is beautiful in its own way. I disagree however, in that in terms of aesthetically pleasing or not, Cantonese certainly loses.
So, what about Shanghainese? Perhaps the most vague of the three dialects, it is often caricatured as a bargaining language: fast, businesslike and emotionless. What do you guys think? To me Shanghainese seems the smoothest of the three, for it is free of the nuissance of dealing with tones. Shanghainese is essentially a toneless language, it focuses more on emphasis/deemphasis of a syllable (similar to English or Japanese). This makes Shanghainese sound natural, not countering against human vocal limitations.
Mandarin is of course the most lyrical and "civilized" of the three. But, it's four-tonal system often creates an artifical, mechanical feeling. Additionally Mandarin seems to lack much energy and liveliness found in say Shanghainese or Cantonese.
To me Shanghainese seems to be the best balance. Please input your thoughts and perhaps introduce other dialects not mentioned.
Thanks.
Will

Aloy

Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby Aloy » Wed Oct 24, 2001 5:34 pm

How about Hakka? I think Hakka is a great language. Many people belive Hakka is the oldest form of Chinese languages that still exist today. Hakka languange serves as the connection between ancient and modern Chinese languages.

ppk

Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby ppk » Mon May 27, 2002 2:04 pm

chungkuo jen, i think if i'm not wrong, 'chungkuo jen' is a rascist way of addressing chinese during meiji/taiho/showa era in japan among the japanese, like 'chinks' for chinese in america or 'red hair barbarian' for westerners in china. i hope u didnt mean to insult anyone here.

Kobo-Daishi

Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby Kobo-Daishi » Mon May 27, 2002 7:51 pm

Dear PPK,

I don't think the poster meant anything racist. Since Chungkuo Jen speaks Shanghainese and Mandarin, he or she is probably Chinese.

The words chungkuo jen is just the Wade-Giles romanisation for the characters 中國人 (Mand: zhong1 guo2 ren2, Cant: zung1 gwok3 jan4) meaning Chinese person. In pinyin it would be written zhongguo ren. I don't see anything racist in this.

Though Wade-Giles used to be the most popular romanisation system for Mandarin among the academic community, it has now lost out to pinyin.

Go to this web page to see a chart comparing Wade-Giles, Pinyin and Yale romanisations:

http://www.chinese-outpost.com/pronnorp ... lesmap.asp

This posting is in GB-encoding, since you are in S'pore. Hope you can see
the characters. :-)

The characters used on mainland China and Singapore would be 中国人.

Sorry, I don't have the romanisation for the characters in Hakka; especially since this is the Hakka Language forum. But, you can find them easily using the on-line dictionary at this site. They have 9 romanisation schemes for Hakka here, covering several of the Hakka sub-dialects.

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

P.S. I think the characters would be pronounced chugoku jin in Japanese.

Kobo-Daishi

test

Postby Kobo-Daishi » Mon May 27, 2002 7:58 pm

Dear PPK,

I am sure I posted in GB-encoding but it came out in Big-5. This is a test in GB-encoding.

中國人
中国人

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

ppk

Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby ppk » Tue May 28, 2002 1:49 am

i understand that in japanese the official pronouciation now is 'chugoku jin'. and 'chung kuo jen' used to be a proper romanisation. i meant during the early 20th century in japan. anyway i was surprised to find this but i came across this in writings by miyazaki torazo, a prominent figure helping kmt during the 1911 revolution, describing how chinese were treated badly in japan during that time, and 'chung kuo jen' was a mocking way to address the chinese. i felt uncomfortable since forum user chung kuo jen is obvious a chinese, i think he should understand some background when using certain terms.

innitra

Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby innitra » Tue May 28, 2002 7:41 pm

dont know how to spell it, but hokien (hok yen) sounds really funny.

James Campbell

Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby James Campbell » Sat Jun 01, 2002 7:36 am

Hi, I'm a foreigner and I speak Mandarin, Wu and S. Min.

Shanghaiese has lots of tones. I had to learn the tones in order to speak it correctly. Also, I agree that it is the best sounding to the ear.

Tones in the Wu language are extremely complicated because of the
tone sandhi involved. I'm even pushed to conclude that there is not
just tone, but also accent in this language. I feel that the accent
falls on the penultimate syllable (because it's usually higher), but
the accent may actually belong to the initial syllable as that's what
controls the whole phrasing. In Min (and even Mandarin) I would say
that if there was such a thing as accent, it falls on the last
syllable as that's what keeps its original tone--tones ahead of it
undergo sandhi.

You'll find tone sandhi in Mandarin in the following case: when two
3rd tone syllables come together, the first one is read as 2nd tone.

However in Wu, if two 1st tones come together, BOTH tones change into
completely different contours, and it's a different rule for each and
every combination. So 1+1 is different from 1+2 and 1+3 and 2+2 and
3+4 and 4+3: they're all different. But that's just for 2-syllable
combinations. There's different tone sandhi for 3-syllable
combinations (and thus more variables involved), and even for 4- and
5-syllable combinations. Sounds complicated, right? Yeah, especially
when you see a chart that looks like trying to memorize
multiplication tables. The Shanghaiese dialect has some areas that
can be simplified so it is not as bad as some other dialects.

I figured out a way to simplify the process though and make it a lot
easier to remember. I haven't read anything anywhere about trying to
make the process simpler, but it works. However, it still involves a
lot of tone changes.

One good thing about Shanghaiese Wu, is that the voiced and unvoiced
consonants are regular, meaning they haven't changed in thousands of
years from their ancient counterparts. This makes it a lot easier in
dealing with tones, because like I mentioned above, the initial
consonant in a word has a strong relationship with tones.

Basically, the Shanghaiese (I use this name instead of Wu because
every Wu dialect is different) can be mapped out with 5 tones. (1)
Yin Ping--high falling 53, (2) Yin Shang and Qu together--mid rising
34, (3) Yang Ping-Shang-Qu together--low rising 13, (4) Yin Ru--high
5, (5) Yang Ru--low rising 12.

For Shanghaiese tone sandhi, the following combinations are possible:
55-53, 55-31, 55-53, 33-53, 3-53, 55-55, 55-31, 11-33, 11-53, 11-55,
11-13, 1-3, but I have found a way to simplify it. Notice that these
can be divided into two groups: those that start high or mid, and
those that start low--basically the same division of fem and masc
tones.

When the 1st in a pair is 1st tone, they will be read 55-21, unless
the second is Ru, it is 55-2.

For all other pairs, the second character tone will end higher than
the first.

If the first character is unvoiced (2nd tone), read it as contour 33,
if voiced (3rd tone) read it as contour 11
If the second character starts with an unvoiced consonant, the second
character will be read with contour 44, if voiced--33.

Two character sandhi then yield the following combinations: 55-2(1), 3
(3)-4(4), 3(3)-3(3), 1(1)-4(4), 1(1)-3(3), so 1-4 is possible if both
tones are Ru tones with glottal stop endings, 11-44 if neither are Ru
tones. It also makes it easier for me to remember that a 34 + 34 tone
are then read as 33-44.

The above is easier to read when written like this: 5-21, 3-4, 3-3, 1-
4, 1-3.

For three character combinations:
If beginning with first tone: read as 55-3(3)-2(1).
Starting with any other tone with a unvoiced consonant: 3(3)-4(4)-2
(1).
Starting with any other tone with a voiced consonant (second is
unv.): 1(1)-4(4)-2(1)
Starting with any other tone with a voiced consonant (second is vd.):
1(1)-1(1)-(1)3.

Easier to read as: 5-3-21, 3-4-21, 1-4-21, 1-1-13.

The fourth and fifth character combinations are easier as you just
add a middle 33 contour:

Starting with first tone: 5-3-3-21
First tone unvoiced: 3-4-3-21
First tone voiced: 1-4-3-21

...

One thing to remember is when to apply tone sandhi and when not. For
example, compound words and phrases use it, but sandhi doesn't
usually happen over word boundaries. For example, to comb out knots,
sI deufa' doe (comb hair-knots), the first character would not have
tone sandhi, but the next three would as a group (compound noun). So
this would have the following contours: 53 11-1-13. Notice that HEAD
starts with a D, a voiced consonant, so this 3-syllable compound has
to start with a 11 tone contour.

James Campbell
Glossika, Inc.

Mark
Posts: 134
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Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby Mark » Sun Sep 22, 2002 8:07 am

No, ppk, you are very very VERY wrong.

"i understand that in japanese the official pronouciation now is 'chugoku jin'. and 'chung kuo jen' used to be a proper romanisation. i meant during the early 20th century in japan."

Not in Japanese was the proper romanisation of 中&#22269;人 <&#12385;&#12421; &#12372;&#12367; &#12376;&#12435;> (without correct morphophonology it would be written <&#12385;&#12421; &#12371;&#12367; &#12376;&#12435;>) ever chung kuo jen! in any romanisation ever used for Japanese that would essentially not be valid, unless you Japanisised the words from Mandarin, which would probably be written as &#12481;&#12517;&#12531; &#12463;&#12457; &#12472;&#12455;&#12531; (in most modern Japanese romanisations this would be chun kwo jen, however when Katakana are used to write Chinese words, the final consonant <ng> is written &#12531; (n), whereas the final/medial/initial <n> is written as &#12492; (nu) when no vowel proceeds it or when the vowel proceeding is a <u>)

"anyway i was surprised to find this but i came across this in writings by miyazaki torazo, a prominent figure helping kmt during the 1911 revolution, describing how chinese were treated badly in japan during that time, and 'chung kuo jen' was a mocking way to address the chinese. i felt uncomfortable since forum user chung kuo jen is obvious a chinese, i think he should understand some background when using certain terms."

Indeed the words "zhong guo ren" were used as a way for Japanese to mock the Chinese, this was what the Chinese called themselves and of course inferior to the "chugokujin" used by the Japanese (you know what I mean, I don't really think it's superior)

PPK

Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby PPK » Mon Sep 23, 2002 6:49 am

no mark, i am not talking about using katagana on a chinese word. during and after the meiji revolution japanese had adopted a lot of western vocabs, to show that they have advanced in the western way, or modernised. they started using 'chin-na' to address china and used the wade giles romanisation 'Chungkuo Jen' for chinese. but it later became a mocking term cos china was weak then. just like the neutral word 'chin-na' later became the mocking 'chee-na', the japs at that time had came up with their version of 'Chungkuo Jen', which was, just like 'chinks' or 'chinaman', meant to be a rascist word among themselves.

Mark
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:53 pm
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Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby Mark » Wed Sep 25, 2002 4:56 pm

I never said you were talking about that, PPK. If you'd actually read my post you'd know that.

"zhong guo ren" and "chung kuo jen" are one and the same.

The reason I brought up Katakana is because you said "Chungkuo Jen" was Japanese, and I was pointing out that the "ng" sound can't occur in Japanese unless you consider n' the same thing as ng.

I still don't see why it's so hard hard for you to get through your head that Chung Kuo Jen is the same thing as Zhong Guo Ren!

And no, Chung Kuo Jen was NEVER a proper romanisation for the Japanese readings of "zhong guo ren" (can't type Chinese on this computer), that has been "chu goku jin" as long as anybody can remember. With a more... mechanically correct romanisation system, it would be "tyu goku zin", and with a very mechanically correct system it would be "tixyu goku zinnn"

PPK

Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby PPK » Thu Sep 26, 2002 1:39 am

never disagree that its the same thing, just that one of its japanese variations has once degraded into a mocking/rascist term so i suggest ppl take precaution in using it.

James Campbell

Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby James Campbell » Thu Sep 26, 2002 2:05 am

Referring back a few posts to what PPK wrote,

1) if you called a Chinese person a chink, I would say that 99.9% of Chinese people would have no clue what you said. That's more than 1 billion people.

2) if you called a Chinese person chung kuo jen (zhong guo ren 中國人), I would say 99.9% of Chinese people would take it as a compliment, and would not argue that claim, save a few minorities who feel they are not.

3) if you called a Chinese person a China man, I would say that if they could understand English, they would not argue with that fact and say yes, they are a China man, or a man of China. In fact, I believe many have been known to call themselves this.

In conclusion, my belief is that the terms you are thinking of that sound racist to Chinese only exist in certain communities of people. And if chung kuo jen (zhong guo ren 中國人) is racist, then a small minority of Chinese people are allowing this term to be racist for them, because the majority of Chinese would agree that this is indeed the name of their people.

UNLESS, they were hearing it wrong and assumed the foreigners were calling them a kind of fruit people, that is 種果人. But I guess that's a little stretch of the imagination.

James

PPK

Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby PPK » Thu Sep 26, 2002 5:56 am

no james, still dun get wad i meant. there is nothing wrong with 'zhong guo ren' or '中&#22269;人‘, they are neutral and they meant 'chinese', so did 'chung kuo jen'. wad i am saying is there are mocking terms derived from wade giles 'chung kuo jen' romanisation, thou not in used commonly anymore. check out some japanese literature work early last century and u might come across them. so i suggest avoiding that particular romanisation.

James Campbell

Re: Which Chinese dialect sounds most aesthetically pleasing

Postby James Campbell » Sat Sep 28, 2002 5:19 pm

You can't force people not to use a certain romanization or spelling of something that was mocking over a century ago and that nobody knows about anymore except you. Who cares? As far as we all know it means Chinese, and it doesn't mean that mocking term anymore, except to you. You're the only one who has taken offense, only because you're letting it get to you. Let it go, and take a deep breath and realize that the world is not the same place it used to be...


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