Difference between Mandarin & Chinese

Discuss the Chinese language.
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Difference between Mandarin & Chinese

Post by JacksonLee »

nice forum here. When I lived in the US I worked with many Chinese immigrants and this is the first time I found out that there are two different chinese languages, cantonese and mandarin. I remember asking them about the differences of the two languages but nothing seems to have stuck in my mind. (I dont think they were satisfactory explanations) So may I ask this question here? With difference I dont mean grammar, words, etc but how these two languages actually came about. Were they always separate languages or did both come from one unified chinese language, some long time ago? From the dynasties perhaps? Also, do the two languages reflect cultural and ethnic differences, or is it just a matter of region? Are there other separate, chinese languages? I am wondering which one would be best/easiest to learn. Thanks for all your feedback!

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Re: Difference between Mandarin & Chinese

Post by papen »

actually they're officially approved as different languages but well, cantonese is a dialect and madarin is a lingual language. When you hear they speak, Cantonese and mandarin sound differently. However both share the same writing as well as grammar structure.

For historical period, Cantonese came out before Mandarin like thousand years
Both are the same people Chinese. I advice you to learn Mandarin. First it's easier 4 tones, Cantonese 6 tones (9 tones). Secondly, Cantonese uses traditional Chinese. Thirdly, it's only used in Southern area: Guang Dong area, Macau, Hong Kong and oversea Chinese while Mandarin is used in the whole China and internation

ken tao
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Re: Difference between Mandarin & Chinese

Post by ken tao »

My take on the more general topic of Chinese as Mandarin spoken in the Beijing pronunciation and sound. There are actually many dialects, and variations within dialects in Chinese, both within Mainland China, and in all of Greater China.
The movement to regionalism has always been a theme in Chinese culture. History indicates that the civil service, written Chinese, military conscription, tax system, Confuscian and Taoist doctrines were the only nationally binding aspect of Chinese civilization. For thousands of years language dispersion in the form of dialects was a way of keeping the imperial officials out of local society, as a means of distancing from the power of the Imperial Dynasties. This secretiveness was tolerated by the imperial government, because the theory was that since many communities were mutually unintelligible to each other, they would not be able to form a civil rebellion against the emperor. It may be very well be true that this conflict continues to this day with the government in Beijing trying to control the mother tongue, and of course the internet!

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Re: Difference between Mandarin & Chinese

Post by bluereg133 »

Thanks to understand Difference between Mandarin & Chinese. I am happy to earn knowledge.


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Re: Difference between Mandarin & Chinese

Post by hane »

Cool to know about the difference between Mandarin & Chinese.


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Re: Difference between Mandarin & Chinese

Post by Browny »

The terms 'Chinese' and 'Mandarin' are usually used interchangeably. There isn't really much difference. However, Mandarin strictly refers to the most commonly spoken dialect in China while Chinese can also be used to refer to the other dialects spoken (i.e. Cantonese).