What to study? Cantonese or Mandarin?

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  1. #31

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    interesting stuffs:

    1. HK ppl are all trying to learn mandarin and english...
    2. Foreigners are here arguing which language to learn...
    3. of cos, the starting point is different so let that be..

    anyway, regardless of the bashfulness in Lowlight's comment, it is in fact not untrue.
    China is a big unknown animal in the making. The sheer number of people means there are always business and money to be made, but at the same time the attitude, the ah-Q-ness, the communist party's way of handling external relationship/issues, etc.etc....

    Read abit more of history, some of chinese literature.. and one can see through more of the country to realize how much value each of the unquantifiable aspect of life the chinese people place...


  2. #32

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    prior to moving back to the US.. I was fluent in both mandarin and canto... but after moving to US.. I pretty much lost my ability to speak cantonese due to the fact that nobdoy here speaks it.. and my family doesn't speak it either.. I spoke canto fluently when I lived in HK and my mom was okay with it.. but we spoke eng or mandarin at home. English and Mandarin were my first languages.. I learned them at the same time, oddly.

    But now that I barely speak Mandarin I feel as if my skills are decreasing.. it might also have to do with the fact that my vocabulary has not grown with me as I've gotten older considering I stopped learning new things since moving here..

    So like many people I'm looking to "learn" and improve myself in both languages. I understand canto but as far as responding goes. . . it takes me a while.. mandarin i'm good to go I just need to brush up on my skills and expand my vocab.. which is what i plan on doing when I return to HK this year....

    I think that it's a really smart things to do for others who want to learn the language.. it can only beh elfpful for them.. no matter what their reason is in wanting to learn.. it's all good for them


  3. #33

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    Just a few comments...

    1) there are more people that speak cantonese in the US than speak mandarin, although these numbers are changing. I'm from california and the only chinese i had heard until college was cantonese. Even in college its pretty split between mandarin speakers and cantonese speakers, so I'm curious as to why its hard to find cantonese speakers here.

    2) I'm applying for work in HK and no one there cares if i know any cantonese or not, but they jump out of their seats when I mention that im fluent in mandarin (I'm a white guy). In terms of doing business, mandarin and english are the languages needed in China / HK / Taiwan. There may be some jobs that require cantonese, but im sure there are more that require mandarin and are far more lucrative (for an english speaker, i somehow doubt if u speak only mandarin u will go far in HK).

    3) I've done a lot of traveling through the mainland and while not everyone speaks perfect mandarin, it is the common language and everywhere u go it will get the job done. EVERYONE learns mandarin in school, including those in canton (as a matter of fact i spent about a month in canton living with a chinese family and we communicated just fine in mandarin). While the further you get from the cities and the farther down you get on the income scale the mandarin in general gets worse and harder to understand, it is true that mandarin basically opens up all of the mainland to you.

    A side note: I'm learning cantonese. Learning to speak what most people in the place you live speaks seems like a no brainer to me


  4. #34

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    Before I came to HK everyone I spoke with told me to learn Mandarin. When I got here people told me to learn Mandarin.

    Now after taking many Mandarin courses and self study I find it almost impossible to progress much further. I hear Canto everyday all the time yet I am learning Mandarin? I find it frustrating not being able to speak w/ coworkers and friends when they launch into Cantonese. So I am now turning my full attention to Cantonese.

    If you are going to be here a long time and don't have mainland China ambitions then I say learn Cantonese. It will help immensely here.


  5. #35

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    If you live in HK then i would said learn cantonese is better, unless you will travelling to china always...

    HK people is bad for mandarine ;-P may be you speak better than some of them ;-) I can speak well for both because i am working in china ....

    Quote Originally Posted by smelly:
    Before I came to HK everyone I spoke with told me to learn Mandarin. When I got here people told me to learn Mandarin.

    Now after taking many Mandarin courses and self study I find it almost impossible to progress much further. I hear Canto everyday all the time yet I am learning Mandarin? I find it frustrating not being able to speak w/ coworkers and friends when they launch into Cantonese. So I am now turning my full attention to Cantonese.

    If you are going to be here a long time and don't have mainland China ambitions then I say learn Cantonese. It will help immensely here.
    Last edited by Cat_Lau; 31-05-2007 at 01:25 PM.

  6. #36

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    Cantonese or Mandarin?!

    Before making your decision, why not answer the following question first? Try to answer with one word only so that you can tell your own priority :-)

    1) Why are you learning?
    2) How much time you can afford?
    3) How is your budget?

    For 1), people may say, "I want to learn the language for my work". Then you have to think twice: Are you going to settle down in HK, and your main customers will be all locals? In fact most of time people come to HK to work are pass-by of HK, and will travel all over Asia Pacific / China for business. In such case, Mandarin will sure be more useful. You may say that "People in HK or even in South area of China don't really speak Mandarin!" but at least they "know" Mandarin, the official language.
    But also there are people who came to HK with passion and love for the special culture and environment of this little island. Then in order to be part of HK, there is no reason not to learn Cantonese.

    If you have a clear idea about 1), more or less you can make your decision already. 2) and 3) are for help only. For 2) and 3), in the environment of HK, Cantonese is much widely used and you will have more chances to practices. So if you can only afford a little time and money for revision and for searching of practice chances, Cantonese will be easier as chances will knock your door.


  7. #37

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    I know this topic is a bit old now, but I just want to add the following.

    - Although English is an official language, for 99% of locals it is a second language. The main one is Cantonese.

    - If your work deals mostly with locals, then Cantonese is best. Mandarin is only useful if you plan to go to China. Most Chinese within 100km of Hong Kong Harbour will also speak Cantonese (even the Shenzen and GuongDuong people).

    - Hong Kong and China is a little like going to one of the smaller European countries for work. Do you really want to learn Dutch/Danish/Portugese when most Europeans have some grasp of English? If you deal 99% with locals, then hell yeah, learn the national langauge. If you need to go away all the time, then English is better. Is my analogy ok?

    For me, if I had time and money, I'd do an intense Cantonese course

    Hope this helps!


  8. #38

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    Apr 2007
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    Why We Need A Language?

    For communication!

    How a language born?

    From Communication!


    Urgent vs Important???

    Everybody have different balance point for urgent vs important. Find your own balance point, then you will know what you have to learn.


    Maybe at the end, you find out neither Cantonese nor Mandarin.
    Last edited by erictby; 24-06-2007 at 09:54 PM. Reason: Change font size

  9. #39

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    Jun 2007
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    Cool hello

    According to me you have to learn both....

    catrina

    http://www.soulcast.com/post/show/62...rapy-bracelets


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