Talk:Chinese language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"ZhongWen, (Chinese) is the language of the people of ZhongGuo"

The regular English Wikipedia has a rule "this is the English language Wikipedia -- we should try to use English here". Don't we want to have a rule like that here?

Kanji[change source]

I'm quite sure that Japanese uses Chinese characters and call it Kanji. Took it up in basic Japanese. Not sure about the Korean using Hanja. I'm thinking of reverting it. Can anyone confirm the Korean version? zephyr2k 18:02, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Hanja is still used in South Korea, but usage appeared to be on the decline when I visited. Japanese kanji did originate in China and are sufficiently similar or unchanged that you can use them to communicate with Chinese tourists in a pinch. --James Chenery (talk) 13:01, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Dialect Names[change source]

Should it be noted that the dialect names given are in Mandarin? The people who speak those dialects do not necessarily know the Mandarin name for their own dialect (my friend's didn't). How about adding the dialect's own name for itself? --James Chenery (talk) 13:03, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

I think we would have to depend on Chinese speakers like your friend unless the Chinese Wikipedia has already listed this information. The last time I looked was just in regard to how to conceptualize the language differences that in English are rather unsystematically or irrationally lumped together as "dialects." Unfortunately, the Chinese do not have an entirely consistent way of naming their own languages.
One of the things that is likely to happen is that people will use an informal term when they are speaking, e.g., Taiwanese. They very well may not know the linguistic term that best describes Taiwanese. So the average Taiwanese may tell you that s/he speaks dai-wan-uei, which is their way of pronouncing tai2 wan1 hua4. Linguistically, the better term is probably min2 nan2 yu3, which is a name that basically means "the language prevalent in the southern part of (Min =) Fujian Province. Scholars in Fujian and Taiwan will know this term, but I am not sure how many average people will know it. With the appropriate dictionary I could look up the way Taiwanese would pronounce Minnan Yu so, theoretically, that ought to be one way to get the "right" way to say it. But there are differences in "right" pronunciations just between the Taipei area and the Tainan area, and even greater differences between Taiwan and Fujian.
I think it is a can of worms.
If people want to spend time, a better approach would be to adapt the Chinese way of looking at "dialects" and see the Chinese language (family) as having a structure like a tree -- with the main trunk probably lost in history, but with main limbs, branches, twigs, and leaves. Get things sorted out that way first. (The Chinese Wikipedia has the charts and tables. The main problem is that what some areas term twigs, other areas call branches, and vice-versa, but you can still see the organization and subordination or differentiation from the charts.
People could get all tangled up over nothing. For instance, children in Taiwan will often tell you that they speak "Tai yu hua." They should say just "Tai yu," but every other language name they are familiar with ends with "hua" so that add that by analogy and end up saying something "Tai Language-ese."
Even if we managed to find some romanization that could take care of things like the initial consonant "n" in words like "ngua" (I, me) that are hard for English speakers to produce because we have "ng" sounds only at the ends of words, and that would take care of the obligatory nasalization of some words (to distinguish the word for do-do from the word for cooked rice, for instance) the average reader would probably botch it if s/he tried to use it to communicate with a speaker of whatever regional language it named. So what would be the point? (To be extra clear, even if you write things out in NPA and you have somebody who knows how to produce all the sounds in NPA the result still may not sound right.)
Maybe what we need to do is to give the Chinese characters and then to note that we provide only the Mandarin pronunciation and then only for the convenience of the English speaker. Patrick0Moran (talk) 22:13, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Basically, wrong![change source]

This article seems to me to be basically wrong. The main problem is that Chinese is not one language, it is more like the languages of Europe being unified under a banner such as "European". The basis of this is that many of these languages are not mutually intelligible. It is not like dialects of English, which are mutually intelligible. Got the idea? If you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe Wikipedia... [1] The Varieties of Chinese article seems to have got it more or less right, so why not copy that? Macdonald-ross (talk) 10:58, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

You are right, it should be "Chinese languages" or "Chinese language family". -- Yejianfei (talk) 07:50, 21 December 2014 (UTC)