我們學漢語 / 我们学汉语 (Chinese Study Group)

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Querneus
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Re: 我們學漢語 / 我们学汉语 (Chinese Study Group)

Postby Querneus » Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:17 pm

Last year I made this post listing some tone correspondences between Mandarin and Cantonese. I have a bit more experience with Cantonese now, and now I'd like to post a more elaborate version of that.

So, first, the useful tone correspondences between Mandarin and Cantonese, when a Cantonese syllable ends in a vowel, -m, -n or -ng. Judging very informally from my experience learning pronunciations, I estimate they're reliable perhaps 93%-95% of the time (alternatively read: the correspondence doesn't work for about 1 in 14 syllables or perhaps 1 in 20 syllables).

Mandarin 1st tone ~ Cantonese 1st tone
Mandarin 2nd tone ~ Cantonese 4th tone
Mandarin 3rd tone ~ Cantonese 2nd or 5th tone
Mandarin 4th tone ~ Cantonese 3rd or 6th tone

Examples:

Mandarin 1st tone ~ Cantonese 1st tone
開心 kai1xin1 ~ hoi1sam1 'happy'
分鐘 fen1zhong1 ~ fan1jung1 'minute'

Mandarin 2nd tone ~ Cantonese 4th tone
成為 cheng2wei2 ~ sing4wai4 'to become'
人員 ren2yuan2 ~ yan4yun4 'staff, staff member'

Mandarin 3rd tone ~ Cantonese 2nd or 5th tone
跑錶 pao3biao3 ~ paau2biu2 'stopwatch'
永遠 yong3yuan3 ~ wing5yun5 'forever'
可以 ke3yi3 ~ ho2yi5 'can, be allowed to'
軟體 ruan3ti3 ~ yun5tai2 'software'

Mandarin 4th tone ~ Cantonese 3rd or 6th tone
世界 shi4jie4 ~ sai3gaai3 'world'
互動 hu4dong4 ~ wu6dung6 'interaction'
教授 jiao4shou4 ~ gaau3sau6 'professor'
大眾 da4zhong4 ~ daai6jung3 'the masses'


However, if the Cantonese syllable ends in -p, -t or -k, then the Mandarin tone is a lot more unpredictable. A very large proportion (I very informally estimate 55%-65% from experience) has a 4th tone in Mandarin, and when that's not the case they tend to have 2nd tone (I very informally estimate 25%-30%). Instances of corresponding Mandarin 1st tone and 3rd tone are a lot less common, but do happen, including a few common morphemes (切 qie1 ~ chit3, used in 一切 yi4qie1 ~ yat1chit3 'everything; all Xs'). There are ultimately no highly reliable correspondences between Mandarin and Cantonese for -p/-t/-k syllables.

Example syllable morphemes with all possible combinations of correspondence:

出 chu1 ~ cheut1, 貼 tie1 ~ tip3, 夕 xi1 ~ jik6
得 de2 ~ dak1, 察 cha2 ~ chaat3, 獨 du2 ~ duk6
北 bei3 ~ bak1, 百 bai3 ~ baak3, 蜀 shu3 ~ suk6
必 bi4 ~ bit1, 各 ge4 ~ gok3, 辣 la4 ~ laat6


Also, an aside note on that old post:

In that same post from a year ago, I also mentioned 於 (simplified character: 于) as an exception of the tone correspondences for words ending in a vowel or -m/n/ng:
Ser wrote:There are some exceptions such as 於 (simplified 于) which is yu2 in Mandarin and yu1 in Cantonese, but these are thankfully few!

However, since then, I've learned the reason why this exception exists: the two characters used to represent two entirely separate words as recently as the Yuan Dynasty (Mongol conquest 1234, proclaimed 1271, fallen 1368 after Emperor's flight). It was some time after that they began being considered the same word because of their similar sound and and very similar meanings, and it seems Mandarin and Cantonese ended up with non-corresponding tones due to this.

In the Qieyun, published in 601 AD, 於 appears listed with a pronunciation that would've been similar to [ʔiɔ], and 于 with [ɦio], both with the medieval level tone (平聲). According to Edwin Pulleyblank in his Outline of Classical Chinese Grammar, the Zhongyuan Yinyun (a dictionary of Old Mandarin pronunciations made by 1324 under Mongol rule) lists them as [ʔy] but still bearing different tones, with 於 being in a different tone register (light level tone, 陰平聲, "light" like typical voiceless-initial syllables with e.g. [ʔ] in Qieyun) than the reading of 于 (dark level tone, 陽平聲, "dark" like typical voiced-initial syllables with e.g. [ɦ] in Qieyun). Their expected descendants by regular changes should in fact still be different: 於 = Mandarin yu1 and Cantonese yu1, and 于 = Mandarin yu2 and Cantonese yu4.

However, the problem is that besides having very similar pronunciations, 于 had been an obsolete word for a long time. From the very shapes of the characters (the "phonetic series"), we know that around 1000 BC 於 sounded something like [ʔa] and 于 like [ɢʷa] later [ɦʷa] (Zhengzhang Shangfang's reconstructions). The early pre-classical Chinese around and a little after this time distinguished 於 'be at [a place]; in, at, on' and 于 'go to [a place]; to(ward), into', but within classical times 於 took over the uses of 于, relegating 于 to a life as an uncommon character of not much use aside from very old texts.

Interestingly, when both started being used with the same pronunciation, it appears that Mandarin and Cantonese kept the opposite choices. Mandarin retains the reading of 于 (yu2), but Cantonese seems to retain that of 於 (yu1)! Then when the Traditional Chinese standard was established in late Qing, 于 was deemed a mere character variant of 於 under a lack of awareness of the old distinction. Later on the People's Republic of China specified 于 as the Simplified form of Traditional 於... 於 and 于 are now widely considered the same "word", but they still weren't as recently as ~800 years ago.
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Querneus
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Re: 我們學漢語 / 我们学汉语 (Chinese Study Group)

Postby Querneus » Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:01 am

I have been informed elsewhere that in Jerry Norman's Chinese (1988), there is the observation that Middle Chinese syllables with voiced initials ending in -p/-t/-k get either 2nd tone or 4th tone in Mandarin, which explains the bulk of such syllables in my observation about -p/-t/-k syllables in the previous post.
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Re: 我們學漢語 / 我们学汉语 (Chinese Study Group)

Postby Flickserve » Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:30 am

Ser wrote:Last year I made [url=https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=10491&p=141003#p141003]....

So, first, the useful tone correspondences between Mandarin and Cantonese, when a Cantonese syllable ends in a vowel, -m, -n or -ng. Judging very informally from my experience learning pronunciations, I estimate they're reliable perhaps 93%-95% of the time (alternatively read: the correspondence doesn't work for about 1 in 14 syllables or perhaps 1 in 20 syllables).

Mandarin 1st tone ~ Cantonese 1st tone
Mandarin 2nd tone ~ Cantonese 4th tone
Mandarin 3rd tone ~ Cantonese 2nd or 5th tone
Mandarin 4th tone ~ Cantonese 3rd or 6th tone

Examples:

Mandarin 1st tone ~ Cantonese 1st tone
開心 kai1xin1 ~ hoi1sam1 'happy'
分鐘 fen1zhong1 ~ fan1jung1 'minute'

Mandarin 2nd tone ~ Cantonese 4th tone
成為 cheng2wei2 ~ sing4wai4 'to become'
人員 ren2yuan2 ~ yan4yun4 'staff, staff member'

Mandarin 3rd tone ~ Cantonese 2nd or 5th tone
跑錶 pao3biao3 ~ paau2biu2 'stopwatch'
永遠 yong3yuan3 ~ wing5yun5 'forever'
可以 ke3yi3 ~ ho2yi5 'can, be allowed to'
軟體 ruan3ti3 ~ yun5tai2 'software'

Mandarin 4th tone ~ Cantonese 3rd or 6th tone
世界 shi4jie4 ~ sai3gaai3 'world'
互動 hu4dong4 ~ wu6dung6 'interaction'
教授 jiao4shou4 ~ gaau3sau6 'professor'
大眾 da4zhong4 ~ daai6jung3 'the masses'


However, if the Cantonese syllable ends in -p, -t or -k, then the Mandarin tone is a lot more unpredictable. A very large proportion (I very informally estimate 55%-65% from experience) has a 4th tone in Mandarin, and when that's not the case they tend to have 2nd tone (I very informally estimate 25%-30%). Instances of corresponding Mandarin 1st tone and 3rd tone are a lot less common, but do happen, including a few common morphemes (切 qie1 ~ chit3, used in 一切 yi4qie1 ~ yat1chit3 'everything; all Xs'). There are ultimately no highly reliable correspondences between Mandarin and Cantonese for -p/-t/-k syllables.

Example syllable morphemes with all possible combinations of correspondence:

出 chu1 ~ cheut1, 貼 tie1 ~ tip3, 夕 xi1 ~ jik6
得 de2 ~ dak1, 察 cha2 ~ chaat3, 獨 du2 ~ duk6
北 bei3 ~ bak1, 百 bai3 ~ baak3, 蜀 shu3 ~ suk6
必 bi4 ~ bit1, 各 ge4 ~ gok3, 辣 la4 ~ laat6


......


How much are you able to utilise this during speaking either Mandarin or Cantonese? I did use the tone numbering system when I first started cantonese (a long time ago) but I found my reproduction of words was quite off. In the end, I found more accuracy by trying to follow the sounds of how a native speaker would speak the sentence (and probably without realising it at the time, building up through phrases). That meant taking my textbook into work and asking a colleague to read a sentence during a quiet moment and then I would try to repeat after them.

Now that I try to learn Mandarin, I find having to make a very concious effort with the first tone in Mandarin - have been told many times it's not high enough. That's one example.
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Querneus
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Re: 我們學漢語 / 我们学汉语 (Chinese Study Group)

Postby Querneus » Thu Apr 09, 2020 9:56 pm

Flickserve wrote:How much are you able to utilise this during speaking either Mandarin or Cantonese? I did use the tone numbering system when I first started cantonese (a long time ago) but I found my reproduction of words was quite off. In the end, I found more accuracy by trying to follow the sounds of how a native speaker would speak the sentence (and probably without realising it at the time, building up through phrases). That meant taking my textbook into work and asking a colleague to read a sentence during a quiet moment and then I would try to repeat after them.

Now that I try to learn Mandarin, I find having to make a very concious effort with the first tone in Mandarin - have been told many times it's not high enough. That's one example.

I use them to save some mental effort when learning tones. I mentioned above it's not comfortably reliable though, instead it is more like a collection of high probabilities, so I need to check what tone a syllable has all the time anyway, one way or another (dictionaries, people, YouTube videos if I have the patience to keep watching related videos until the word I want occurs, on occasion the Forvo website helps).

I'm not sure what you meant with your comment about the Mandarin first tone, because, I mean, there is no choice but to listen to people speaking if you want to know what words actually sound like. My tone correspondences are about patterns in the mental models of Mandarin and Cantonese because of their close historical relationship, but the exact sounds of consonants, vowels and tones of Mandarin (or any other language) have to be learned by hearing them and getting feedback for your attempts. In linguistics, people talk about this as the distinction of "phonemes" (the mental models in the brain) vs. "phones" (the actual realizations in the mouth, nose and throat).

Consider that as a Spanish speaker I have some trouble distinguishing the English vowel sounds/phonemes "butt" and "bot", as they both sound "like a Spanish o" to my brain. Spanish only has five vowel sounds (sounds, not letters), a e i o u, and since I didn't grow up listening to English my brain hasn't been able to adapt adequately to the more detailed vowel sound distinctions of English (beet bit bet bat boot put butt bot etc.). Most of the time (actually about 99% the time), I don't need to actually hear them though, I just look up in a dictionary whether a word has this vowel or that other vowel. "Clutch" has the "butt" vowel, but "butch" has the "put" vowel; "monkey" has the "butt" vowel too, but "donkey" has the "bot" vowel. Sure, long time ago I needed to listen to the sound to know what it really is like (for one, the "butt" vowel in southern England has a "lower" range in the vowel space, closer to the Spanish a-sound, than in Vancouver English), but if you have a good enough mental model you don't exactly need to re-learn the phones every time for every word.

Now, if you wanted to criticize Cantonese dictionaries for often having inadequate pronunciations, I would totally agree with you. Very sadly, the larger lot of them tends to be ultra-conservative and reflect some kind of early 20th century accent for the consonants, with some artificiality thrown in. I'd love a dictionary that actually mentions that 今日 gam1yat6 is often gam1mat6, that 好好 hou2hou2 is sometimes hou2ou2, that 乜嘢 mat1ye5 / 咩嘢 me1ye5 can be me1e5, that 愛 oi3 is ngoi3 and 啱啱 aam1aam1 is ngaam1ngaam1 more often than not when a "correct" pronunciation is aimed at (regardless of what Cantonese-speaking school teachers might say)...
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Re: 我們學漢語 / 我们学汉语 (Chinese Study Group)

Postby Flickserve » Fri Apr 10, 2020 3:21 am

Ser wrote:Now, if you wanted to criticize Cantonese dictionaries for often having inadequate pronunciations, I would totally agree with you. Very sadly, the larger lot of them tends to be ultra-conservative and reflect some kind of early 20th century accent for the consonants, with some artificiality thrown in. I'd love a dictionary that actually mentions that 今日 gam1yat6 is often gam1mat6, that 好好 hou2hou2 is sometimes hou2ou2, that 乜嘢 mat1ye5 / 咩嘢 me1ye5 can be me1e5, that 愛 oi3 is ngoi3 and 啱啱 aam1aam1 is ngaam1ngaam1 more often than not when a "correct" pronunciation is aimed at (regardless of what Cantonese-speaking school teachers might say)...


I haven't tried any Cantonese dictionaries. In fact, I don't know of any. I would agree if a dictionary had those variations it would be good. One for Mandarin would be good as well.

What Cantonese dictionaries do you use? I'd like to browse through.


I made some anki cards from the Growing up in Chinese series. I liked the way the actors used ordinary speech (Mandarin) and then the presenter says some of the sentences again slightly slower and clearer. Quite helpful to compare.
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Re: 我們學漢語 / 我们学汉语 (Chinese Study Group)

Postby Querneus » Sat Apr 11, 2020 6:27 pm

Flickserve wrote:I haven't tried any Cantonese dictionaries. In fact, I don't know of any. I would agree if a dictionary had those variations it would be good. One for Mandarin would be good as well.

Sadly, I don't think there is any Cantonese dictionary in existence that is actually realistic about all these consonant changes. This is not to say that 今日 isn't pronounced gam1yat6, by all means it sometimes is, but the pronunciation gam1mat6 is prominent enough that dictionary makers should include it, yet no one does.

What Cantonese dictionaries do you use? I'd like to browse through.

Typically Bauer's ABC Cantonese Dictionary on Pleco (a paid dictionary there), and the free CantoDict on sheik.co.uk. They both have generally good, interesting data, but they're both bad in terms of design choices, which I find really sad.

Bauer and/or the publishers of the ABC dictionary decided to not print out physical copies of it in books, but provide that massive dictionary as only a Mediawiki-based website and a Pleco paid add-on. Which I find unfortunate because not only do we have to rely on electronic stability (it'd be better to have physical copies too), the electronic interfaces are inadequate: on Pleco you can't search anything except the lemmata (like "今日") or their Jyutping equivalent ("gamjat", "gam1jat6"), but it'd be so wonderful if you could search the examples and definitions within only that dictionary. The "SENT[ences]" tab shows you all example sentences that include a lemma, but you can't search anything that's not an existing Cantonese lemma. Considering what Mediawiki is usually like, I doubt that service is much better. It's unfortunate because its large corpus of examples would be a goldmine of well-translated bilingual Cantonese-English examples if it could be searched (Anki-lovers could mine it for decks to learn Cantonese, and people like me could find lots of incidental grammatical properties of words as well; such a wasted opportunity...).

CantoDict simply has a relatively strange interface to get used to. It's great for its comments on homographs/heteronyms (多音字), although sometimes there's mistakes about their judgements because of a lack of awareness of Cantonese grammar. For example, the entry for 話 says it's waa2 when it means 'language', but what actually happens is that that morpheme undergoes 6*2 sandhi as a suffix for names of languages and some compounds about speech. It is especially strange because they do get it right in the entries for languages themselves (e.g. 廣東話 'Cantonese' and 廢話 'non-sense, "trash-talk"' appear as gwong2dung1waa6*2 and fai3waa6*2, not "gwong2dung1waa2" and "fai3waa2"). I have less complaints about this dictionary than Bauer's, but it does have less data available in it than Bauer's.
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Re: 我們學漢語 / 我们学汉语 (Chinese Study Group)

Postby davidchoward » Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:48 pm

我最近看不停的一系列视频:故宫100。这是讨论北京紫禁城不同建筑的历史和意义,我很热情地推荐!
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Re: 我們學漢語 / 我们学汉语 (Chinese Study Group)

Postby Gordafarin2 » Thu Jul 16, 2020 3:41 pm

I wonder if anyone has tried WordSwing? I tried out one of their easiest stories and I really like the idea of using a text adventure game to learn. However, I was looking up reviews and came across a Reddit thread where a user criticises the grammar and says it sounds quite awkward (here is the criticism in particular). My level isn't high enough to tell, and I don't want to be learning from something with mistakes or non-native phrasing. (There is some gameplay footage on Youtube, if you don't want to make an account to the WordSwing site) Does anyone have any thoughts?
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