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How to tell the Difference between Cantonese and Mandarin

#1
.... series on D-Addicts.

Anyone know?

Is it based on country? That seems like the simplest way, but I also see programs that are joint productions. Also, not all mention the language on their forum pages.
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#2
Good question. I've noticed that they have cdrama and hkdrama categories. Presumably the later is all Cantonese but I'm not sure if just because a show is a cdrama, it's necessarily in Mandarin.
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#3
They ***** everything up. I've seen many dramas that were originally in cantonese but dubbed in mandarin, and vise versa.

But it has been a long time since I've used D-Addicts, their torrents rae all too high quality for my shit house Australian internet connection.
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#4
So anyone know any easily identifiable auditory difference between the two? I saw that Russel Peters comedy special, I wonder how accurate it though.

I plan on doing a lot of listening to the language before I start it next year.
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#5
Well I don't know D-addicts, I assume it's an online drama streaming site, won't it just be obvious if you click it and listen the first minutes...?
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#6
Musashi Wrote:Well I don't know D-addicts, I assume it's an online drama streaming site, won't it just be obvious if you click it and listen the first minutes...?
If only life were so simple.... sigh...
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#7
kazelee Wrote:
Musashi Wrote:Well I don't know D-addicts, I assume it's an online drama streaming site, won't it just be obvious if you click it and listen the first minutes...?
If only life were so simple.... sigh...
Aww...
But thats no easy feat. tackling cantonese for obviously more tones but also since study material is not as abundant as mandarin. And spoken is quite different from written language. Good luck though.
Edited: 2009-07-07, 5:15 pm
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#8
Shoot! Lost another one to lack of study material.

Screw this, I'm learning Spanish.
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#9
You can tell by the tones. The sound and the flow of the two languages are quite different, thanks to the tones. Another easy way is by learning the numbers 1-10 in both Cantonese and Mandarin, then try and identify when they're spoken. But if you can't tell the difference by now, then you're gonna need a lot of listening practice.
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#10
stehr Wrote:But if you can't tell the difference by now, then you're gonna need a lot of listening practice.
By now? I haven't even started. LOL. I was just watching a Jackie Chan flick and wondering which language he was speaking.

Just got the idea to hit up the first few iKnow chinese lessons. That'll help for sure.... I think.
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#11
The easiest way IMO, is... to look at the Hanzi subtitles if available. Mandarin is in simplified Hanzi, and if you're studying them (traditional or not) then you should be able to tell which is which.(of course unless the Audio is Cantonese or Mandaring and the subs are in the other, then haha, I have no easy way to tell you, but just go to youtube and listen to each language eventually you can pick them out rather easily, I promise, haha)
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#12
Cantonese sounds like a record played backwards.
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#13
Yonosa Wrote:The easiest way IMO, is... to look at the Hanzi subtitles if available. Mandarin is in simplified Hanzi, and if you're studying them (traditional or not) then you should be able to tell which is which.(of course unless the Audio is Cantonese or Mandaring and the subs are in the other, then haha, I have no easy way to tell you, but just go to youtube and listen to each language eventually you can pick them out rather easily, I promise, haha)
This is not accurate. Mandarin is written using Simplified Chinese if it's from the Mainland or Singapore. It's written in Traditional in Taiwan. And yes, sometimes you will have something that gives you the choice of Simplified or Traditional.

The real way to tell is this: Cantonese sounds like fighting cats, and Mandarin sounds pleasant. Smile

Really, if you can't tell by the difference in intonation, listen to the syllables. Mandarin syllables will only end with a vowel, -n, or -ng. Cantonese has these plus -p, -t, -k, and -m. And they say aaaaaah a lot at the end of sentencesaaaaaah.
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#14
bflatnine Wrote:
Yonosa Wrote:The easiest way IMO, is... to look at the Hanzi subtitles if available. Mandarin is in simplified Hanzi, and if you're studying them (traditional or not) then you should be able to tell which is which.(of course unless the Audio is Cantonese or Mandaring and the subs are in the other, then haha, I have no easy way to tell you, but just go to youtube and listen to each language eventually you can pick them out rather easily, I promise, haha)
This is not accurate. Mandarin is written using Simplified Chinese if it's from the Mainland or Singapore. It's written in Traditional in Taiwan. And yes, sometimes you will have something that gives you the choice of Simplified or Traditional.

The real way to tell is this: Cantonese sounds like fighting cats, and Mandarin sounds pleasant. Smile

Really, if you can't tell by the difference in intonation, listen to the syllables. Mandarin syllables will only end with a vowel, -n, or -ng. Cantonese has these plus -p, -t, -k, and -m. And they say aaaaaah a lot at the end of sentencesaaaaaah.
I was generally speaking of only Mainland China, but that is true because an awful lot more taiwanese media seems to be available easily over their Mainland counterparts. So in fact it really might be more common to see Taiwanese Mandarin unless one specifically goes looking for the simplified stuff, as far as media goes anyways, then again I'm probably just completely incorrect.
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#15
bflatnine Wrote:The real way to tell is this: Cantonese sounds like fighting cats, and Mandarin sounds pleasant. Smile

Really, if you can't tell by the difference in intonation, listen to the syllables. Mandarin syllables will only end with a vowel, -n, or -ng. Cantonese has these plus -p, -t, -k, and -m. And they say aaaaaah a lot at the end of sentencesaaaaaah.
You've got it backwards ! Heh, imo Cantonese sounds better than Mandarin. There's so much more character to the language. I love that aaaaahh sound !
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#16
I like the sound of Mandarin better. It's a lot more elegant to my ears and seems to roll off the tongue easily. But maybe the harshness of Cantonese reminds me too much of Vietnamese which I speak at home -_-.
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#17
stehr Wrote:
bflatnine Wrote:The real way to tell is this: Cantonese sounds like fighting cats, and Mandarin sounds pleasant. Smile

Really, if you can't tell by the difference in intonation, listen to the syllables. Mandarin syllables will only end with a vowel, -n, or -ng. Cantonese has these plus -p, -t, -k, and -m. And they say aaaaaah a lot at the end of sentencesaaaaaah.
You've got it backwards ! Heh, imo Cantonese sounds better than Mandarin. There's so much more character to the language. I love that aaaaahh sound !
I actually really like Cantonese too, I was just having some fun. Smile
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#18
Nii87 Wrote:I like the sound of Mandarin better. It's a lot more elegant to my ears and seems to roll off the tongue easily. But maybe the harshness of Cantonese reminds me too much of Vietnamese which I speak at home -_-.
Strange, I speak Vietnamese at home too (giong xi gon), but I find Cantonese sounds much more pleasing than Mandarin. For me, it's more entertaining to listen to. I also like that the numbers are nearly identical in Cantonese and Vietnamese; nhat, nhi, tam, tu.. Although, I also agree with you that Mandarin sounds more elegant.
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#19
The Difference between Cantonese and Mandarin? 

They are two SPOKEN styles/dialects of Chinese language. As an official spoken “dialect”, Mandarin is widely used in Mainland China, Taiwan area and Singapore. Cantonese is specifically for Hong Kong and some overseas Chinese communities
 
Mandarin is the official state language of China and is the lingua franca of the country. It is in many areas the primary spoken language, including Beijing and Shanghai, although many provinces still retain their own local dialect (like the Sichuanese in Sichuan Province). Mandarin is also the main spoken dialect in Taiwan and Singapore. Cantonese is spoken by the people of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong province, including Guangzhou (previously Canton in English). Most foreign Chinese communities, such as those in London and San Francisco, also speak Cantonese thanks to emigration from Guangdong. 
 
So why didn't other Chinese dialects gain the same or similar importance in western world? Why don't we hear much of "Shanghainese", "Shandongnese" or "Sichuanese". This is because the Grangdong (Canton) province was the earliest in China to start its communication and economic exchange with the western world more than one hundred years ago (Hong Kong was then a small village lying on the south coast of Guangdong). Many Chinese people nowadays living in the United States are of Canton (Guangdong) origin, and their accent (Cantonese) is much more heard by western people than any other Chinese dialect was.  

BTW, we CAN'T say Mandarin is Simplified Chinese or Cantonese is the Traditional. No, it's not so certain and accurate. 
 
Hope you will find this brief explanation on the difference between the Cantonese and Mandarin helpful. :-)
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#20
Very accurate and well-researched post by lingocooki. To sum up his post, ethnic Chinese are a plethora of people belonging to different dialect groups such as Hokkien and Cantonese. It's not really bound by geographic limitations either because of emigration between provinces or overseas. As he mentioned Mandarin is the lingua franca, but it can differ hugely from region to region due to loanwords and influences from other dialects. For example, Singaporean Mandarin may be linguistically closer to Taiwanese Mandarin due to the shared loanwords from Hokkien (both countries' Chinese populations have a Hokkien majority), but it might be completely different with some province in China speaking a different dialect.

On the practical side of recognising the difference between the two: The easiest way is to note where the film is set in. If it's Hong Kong, it's Cantonese unless it was dubbed over. If it's a Chinese production, it's definitely Mandarin. If not, you can try to listen for the tonal differences in the two -- Mandarin has only 4 tones, while Cantonese has 6, which leads to way more ups and downs; Many Chinese hold the opinion that Cantonese is harsher to the ears than Mandarin, and the abundance of tones makes it extremely challenging for a foreigner to speak accurately.

Interestingly, Hong Kong has been using Cantonese as a means of solidifying their national identity and keeping out the mainlanders, but Mainland China has been trying to erode that influence by teaching the new generation of Hong Kongers Mandarin instead of Cantonese (everyone still speak it colloquially of course) as well as allowing immigration of non-Cantonese-speaking Chinese into HK. As these people form a larger portion of the HK consumer base, I think HK will give in and adopt Mandarin Chinese ofr daily use due to economic considerations, symbolically beginning the cultural assimilation into China.

Just goes to show how powerful language is, doesn't it?
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#21
Reminding everyone that we've rez'ed a thread from the previous decade.

@lingocookie
Quote:BTW, we CAN'T say Mandarin is Simplified Chinese or Cantonese is the Traditional. No, it's not so certain and accurate.
The simplified vs traditional is referring to the character sets. The Chinese government (PRC) introduced the simplified set of characters in the 1950s. Hong Kong, Taiwan, and a few other areas (most of whom would like to stay separate from the PRC) continue to use the 'traditional' (a.k.a. not suddenly simplified by the government) characters. Apparently the use of traditional vs simplified characters is also a huge political thing (from two minutes of Google searching).
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#22
This Japanese guy once told me that he could VISUALLY tell whether someone was Chinese, Japanese or Korean.  I don't know if I believe him or not.  After all, I know of a TV show about a Korean family where at least one of the Korean characters is played by a Chinese actor.
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