This is a reply to one of our visitors, James S., a 1st year business student from Australia and am looking to study a language to further my eventual business career.
James, please send us your email address using this form at http://chinesebay.com/blog/contact-us/contact-chinesebay/
These questions and answers may be interested to him:
Mandarin or Cantonese?
1.Which is the hardest? Cantonese: more tones to master, less learning materials, too many phonetic systems to pick from.
2. Which is more common? Mandarin: more speakers, and it is the standard or official Chinese and even people in Hong Kong and other Cantonese speakers are learning it.
3. Which should I learn first? If you have a choice, choose Mandarin. If you have Cantonese girl friend and her parents speak Cantonese only. Then you have no choice but Cantonese
The major differences between Mandarin and Cantonese
The differences between Mandarin & Cantonese
Althought Mandarin and Cantonese may share many Chinese characters, we can find
the following major differences between these two languages:
Mandarin 師時史是 shī shí shĭ shì
Cantonese 師史試時市是 si1 si2 si3 si4 si5 si6
Mandarin 湯糖躺燙 tāng táng tăng tàng
Cantonese 湯躺燙糖 tong1 tong2 tong3 tong4
3. different characters or words are used
e.g. Engligh: I like him
4. different word order
e.g. Engligh: I need to go first.
If you are serious about learning Chinese, you need to learn Chinese characters. However, what if you don’t know how to pronounce the new Chinese characters that you encounter? Pinyin is the official Chinese pronunciation system.
You can find this definition from Wikipedia
Pinyin (Chinese: 拼音; pinyin: pīnyīn; Mandarin pronunciation: [pʰɪ́n jɪ́n]) is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet to teach Mandarin Chinese in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters (汉字 / 漢字, hànzì) into computers.
This article is also an answer to a question from one of our visitors: “Is there a manderin alphabet? How do you find out the four tones written about, what significance are tones.” So Pinyin is the “Mandarin alphabet” he is asking for.
Then what are the four tones of Mandarin? You may also find the definition of “tones” from Wikipedia
The pinyin system also uses diacritics to mark the four tones of Mandarin. The diacritic is placed over the letter that represents the syllable nucleus, unless that letter is missing (see below). Many books printed in China use a mix of fonts, with vowels and tone marks rendered in a different font from the surrounding text, tending to give such pinyin texts a typographically ungainly appearance. This style, most likely rooted in early technical limitations, has led many to believe that pinyin’s rules call for this practice and also for the use of a Latin alpha (“ɑ”) rather than the standard style of the letter (“a”) found in most fonts. The official rules of Hanyu Pinyin, however, specify no such practice.
- The first tone (Flat or High Level Tone) is represented by a macron (ˉ) added to the pinyin vowel:
- ā (ɑ̄) ē ī ō ū ǖ Ā Ē Ī Ō Ū Ǖ
- The second tone (Rising or High-Rising Tone) is denoted by an acute accent (ˊ):
- á (ɑ́) é í ó ú ǘ Á É Í Ó Ú Ǘ
- The third tone (Falling-Rising or Low Tone) is marked by a caron/háček (ˇ). It is not the rounded breve (˘), though a breve is sometimes substituted due to font limitations.
- ǎ (ɑ̌) ě ǐ ǒ ǔ ǚ Ǎ Ě Ǐ Ǒ Ǔ Ǚ
- The fourth tone (Falling or High-Falling Tone) is represented by a grave accent (ˋ):
- à (ɑ̀) è ì ò ù ǜ À È Ì Ò Ù Ǜ
- The fifth tone (Neutral Tone) is represented by a normal vowel without any accent mark:
- a (ɑ) e i o u ü A E I O U Ü
So what significance are tones?
With different tones, the same initial and final combination may have different or even opposite meanings. For example, mai2 with the 2nd tone means “buy”, but mai4 with the 4th tone means “sell”. tang1 means “soup”, tang2 “sugar”, tong3 “lie” and tang4 “hot”
A great way to help yourself to get familiar with Pinyin is to start with following:
CASEC (Chinese Association of Science, Education and Culture), a non-profit organization established in 1994 by local Chinese American professionals in South Florida.
Today CASEC has grown and become the largest Chinese American organization in South Florida with its membership of 1200 from Jupiter to Homestead. CASEC members are from many fields and of a variety of backgrounds, from professionals in academic teaching and research, industrial R&D and management, finance, law practice, to successful business entrepreneur. Members also include Chinese students and local Americans in the greater South Florida area.
If you want to contact CASEC members, you may go to this page. If you do want to find out the real South Florida Chinatown, you definitely need to join them or just ask CASEC members. From their party, Chinese schools and other activities, you can feel Chinatown is there!
The following are among the Best Chinese Restaurants in Miami:
- Chinese Restaurant – Tropical Chinese Restaurant274
reviews - Place pagewww.tropicalchinesemiami.com – 7991 Southwest 40th Street, Miami - (305) 262-1552
- Yum Yum Chinese Restaurant
33 reviews - Place page maps.google.com – 3104 Coral Way, Coral Gables - (305) 441-1900
- East Ocean Chinese Cuisine
- 28 reviews - Place pagewww.eastoceanon71st.com – 325 71st Street, Miami Beach - (305) 865-8000
- Canton Chinese Restaurant
- 52 reviews - Place page www.coralgables.com – 2614 Ponce De Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables
They should be found in “Chinatown” in Miami, if there were one.
Many people have been expecting a nice Chinatown in South Florida. The question “where is Chinatown in Miami?” seems a tough one to answer or “Is there a Chinatown in Miami”?
Miami Herald reports: “Chinatown” coming to Miami Shores is some great news for those people with this question. No doubt that you can enjoy the best of Chinese culture and Chinese food in Miami. It says “Chinese tradition, various foods and a Dragon parade will be among the highlights of Chinatown Miami in Miami Shores ” from May 7 through May 27, 2011.
Although we don’t have a China in Miami yet, we can find many Chinese supermarkets and grocery stores where you can buy all the Chinese groceries to make great Chinese food at home while you can also go to some great Chinese restaurants there too.
Good Chinese grocery stores or Chinese Supermarkets (not in particular order):
- T K Chinese Groceries: 7992 Southwest 8th Street, Miami, FL 33144-4268 (305) 264-9001
- 百佳 P K Oriental Mart:
- 鴻運超市 Lucky Oriental Mart:
- If you are new in Miami, you may want to meet lots of friendly Chinese and join http://cbcmiami.org/miami.htm
You may be interested in these articles too: <a href=http://khuang.com/learnchineseblog/chinatown-miami-shores/>”Chinatown at Miami Shores</a>
and <a href=http://khuang.com/learnchineseblog/chinese-restaurants-miami/>Best Chinese Restaurants in Miami</a>
To learn a new language, it is great to learn to write or type the new words when you learn them.
You may see some programs name “Type and Learn Chinese ( or the language you learn”. I highly recommend them. Because this was how I learn English too. It was hard for me to learn the single English words one by one, I learned them in the article or conversation. I also used a pen and paper to write the whole sentences or paragraphs where the new words are used.
To begin something useful, here’s the 1st example. How to type “明天就是中国新年了” (Tomorrow is Chinese New Year)
Mandarin word of the day: http://chinesebay.com/blog/chinese-tools/mandarin-word-of-the-day/mandarin-word-of-the-day-archive/?cday=20101125
Is it a war between Cantonese and Mandarin or Cantnoese-speakers and Mandarin-speakers? Haha, no. This column is more of a bridge between.
As a fluent Cantonese and Mandarin speaker, I love both languages and the people who speak either or both. So often that I found lots of inefficient communication between the two native speakers who use the wrong pronunciation or expressions (different Chinese characters) that leads to misunderstanding.
I can help them, with my articles here, in a series. I wrote an articles about Cantonese and Mandarin more than 10 years and published here, which has made khuang.com the #1 site about Mandarin and Cantonese differences in Google and other major search engines. If you are one of those searchers, I hope you will find my new articles or free lessons helpful. If you still have questions or request for new contents, please contact us.
My main purpose is to help beginners to choose the right Chinese language to begin with, or help Mandarin-speakers to learn Cantonese or Cantonese-speakers to learn Mandarin.
A great TTS (Text to Speech) tool may help you to learn Chinese with ease and fun.
ChineseBay.com is brewing this kind of language learning tool for Chinese learners. Try out their Mandarin version.
Maybe you don’t even have to know how to type the Chinese characters. For example, want to say “Please tell me how to do it” in Chinese (click the link here.)? They show you how to read the characters aloud one after another. You are right, it is not quite natural or sound just like a robot. Sometimes the tones are not quite correct because of the rules for tone Sandhi, but it is still a good way to practice Mandarin pronunciation.
Need to learn the natural way to speak that sentence too? Try the Mandarin Word/Sentence of the Day: The Natural Mandarin Speaking Version for Please tell me how to do it. Sure it sounds better than Google Translate’s version.
I know that Google translate now give the sound of Chinese characters as well, but ChineseBay’s version sound much better for Chinese learners.
We hope that we’ll have a version for Cantonese characters too.