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Only half [of] Chinese speak Mandarin
BBC ^ | Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Posted on 03/07/2007 4:00:43 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu

A child carries a toy bear and a flag on Beijing's Tiananmen Square

There are hundreds of dialects among China's 1.3bn people

Only about half of China's population can speak the national language, Mandarin, according to the state news agency Xinhua.

More men speak Mandarin than women, and more urbanites speak the language than those in rural areas, Xinhua said.

For many years now, the government has tried to increase the use of Mandarin, to promote social cohesion.

But China has hundreds of dialects, some of which - such as Cantonese and Hokkien - have strong regional support.

In a survey of 500,000 people around the country, the Ministry of Education found that only 53% of people could "effectively communicate" in Mandarin, Xinhua reported.

In urban areas, 66% of residents spoke fluent Mandarin, while in rural areas only 45% of those surveyed could "effectively communicate orally" in the language, said Xinhua.

Only 31% of those aged between 60 and 69 were able to speak it, compared to 70% of people aged between 15 and 29, the survey found.

Vice-Minister of Education Zhao Qinping has recently announced that the government will focus on promoting Mandarin in the countryside this year, Xinhua said.

"Lessons in [Mandarin] will be included in skills training for farmers wanting to migrate to cities to find work," it said.





TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: asia; beijing; china; chinese; easia; eastasia; language; liguistics; lingafranca; linguistics; mandarin; neasia; northeastasia; officiallanguage; prc; putonghua

1 posted on 03/07/2007 4:00:44 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu
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To: All
Some of the people at Wikipedia will be "shocked.....shocked."

According to Wikipedia, at least in the past, Mandarin is the number one native language of all people. Furthermore, and more offensive to Americans, the number one country for most native English users is listed as India, not the United States. Apparently Indian Wikipedians (probably with the consent of the many anti-American Wikipedians who frequent that site) have difficulties with the term native. A native language is not a secondary language, and all native users of English should be fluent in it (not only use a few catch phrases here and there).

2 posted on 03/07/2007 4:05:02 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu
For many years now, the government has tried to increase the use of Mandarin, to promote social cohesion.

My cat refuses to learn it as well, he must be "re-educated" I guess.
:)
3 posted on 03/07/2007 4:06:28 AM PST by kinoxi
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

Mandarin, eh?

Taste like chicken, don't it?


4 posted on 03/07/2007 4:06:32 AM PST by Bender2 (A gerbil is a rat that passed the CNN smell test...)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

At least the United States has not gotten that far with Spanish, though in some areas Spanish is more widely used than English (usually in border areas, though there are exceptions, such as Miami--which is a sort of border area, but not a land border). Then again, the Chinese have millennia of ethnic cohesion (at least in the east of the country), while the United States is far more reliant on a common language to keep the nation together.


5 posted on 03/07/2007 4:09:58 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

Most Chinese in the USA are from a Cantonese speaking background.


6 posted on 03/07/2007 4:14:45 AM PST by PJ-Comix (Join the DUmmie FUnnies PING List for the FUNNIEST Blog on the Web)
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To: PJ-Comix
Yep.

As for Mandarin, stopped after difficulty distinguishing between shominder and shominder (transliterating there) one which apparently is over, the other which apparently is under (the software used pictures instead of word definitions).

7 posted on 03/07/2007 4:16:55 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

All you need to know about speaking Chinese can be found on the menu...........I'll have the #23, please.................


8 posted on 03/07/2007 4:53:07 AM PST by Red Badger (Britney Spears shaved her head............Well, that's one way of getting rid of headlice.........)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

Yeah, but how many Greeks speak Urdu?


9 posted on 03/07/2007 4:56:18 AM PST by LIConFem (Thompson/Hunter 2008!)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

I don't know about Acts 15:20, but my wife and I have been vegetarians for years. How can your learn mercy when your mouth is filled with blood?


10 posted on 03/07/2007 5:14:03 AM PST by Savage Beast (MESSAGE TO BUSH: Free U.S. Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean NOW!!!)
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To: Savage Beast
You are the first to have that opinion.

While Man is supposed to be steward of this Earth (thus humans should try to be environmentally friendly and not support animal cruelty--as long as those policies are not detrimental to humans and are feasible), animals are not on the level of humans, and the Bible is pretty clear that eating animals after the Flood was acceptable. The Passover lamb was even required, and Christ probably ate lamb (as one of the kind freepers who gave an opinion stated).

The question is what constitutes blood in that verse (Acts 15:20). Is there some way to get rid of every last red blood cell, piece of hemoglobin, even blood plasma from meat?

P.S. Using the scientific (currently scientific) definition of blood, meat juices are not blood. Such juices are produced in the muscle tissue and while it serves a similar purpose to blood in transporting oxygen, it doesn't use hemoglobin, but rather myoglobin.

Another helpful freeper typed how that freeper prayed and asked God to make that freeper's food pure before eating, along with giving a useful verse in Colossians 2.

11 posted on 03/07/2007 5:52:03 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Savage Beast
P.P.S. While the question is about eating meat, it is also about eating what would normally be considered vegetarian foods which could have become contiminated with trace amounts of blood, such as honey (bee body parts), shellac (used to wax fruit and vegetables--and Mike and Ikes (candy fanatic), gelatin (this usually isn't considered vegetarian), cheese made with rennet, and even foods which could have touched those foods or could have been in the vicinity where air drafts could disperse a few blood cells onto the food (cells from either meat or non-meat products akin to the aforementioned), even omnivorous family members' spit/expectorant which could go into the air via coughing or vigorous yelling, shouting, etc.).
12 posted on 03/07/2007 6:00:28 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

Well, that is only 550,000,000 people. A mere drop in the bucket.


13 posted on 03/07/2007 6:02:44 AM PST by Phlap (REDNECK@LIBARTS.EDU)
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To: Bender2

So the Mandarin half doesn't know what the other half is saying about them?


14 posted on 03/07/2007 6:03:57 AM PST by Domicile of Doom
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Request that freepers willing to give their take on Acts 15:20 in the tagline freepmail. While it can also be generally posted for others to see, having a freepmail is personally useful and helpful in keeping a record of freepers' opinions, which can be gone back to and read over again.


15 posted on 03/07/2007 6:04:36 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Domicile of Doom
The read the same language, so it isn't as if they are totally in the dark (so to type).
16 posted on 03/07/2007 6:06:23 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu
In urban areas, 66% of residents spoke fluent Mandarin, while in rural areas only 45%.... Only 31% of those aged between 60 and 69 were able to speak it, compared to 70% of people aged between 15 and 29

What are they worried about. It is clear things will work themselves out naturally.

17 posted on 03/07/2007 6:17:02 AM PST by montag813
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

I am considering learning and haveing my young children learn Mandarin (along w Spanish). Two questions: Is it difficult to learn? And is it important to learn? Or will all these Chinese speak English anyway?


18 posted on 03/07/2007 6:18:37 AM PST by montag813
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To: montag813
For you (unless you're linguist genius), Spanish will be MUCH, MUCH easier. It's an Indo-European, Satem (or Centum?) language which uses a very similar alphabet. It's a Romance language, but 60% of English is supposed to be of Latin origin (though basic English is largely Germanic, which is why English is a Germanic language). It's phonetic, to boot.

For your children, they could have it easier, for both languages. If they are under ten years old, the chances of them becoming fluent are higher than if they were adults.

Mandarin does seem to be a very organized language--one advantage. However, it is also tonal, something not very common in English or other Western languages.

Those who are trying to take up English deserve sympathy. English is an amalgamation of primarily Germanic, Latin, and French languages, with sundry others tossed in. Even the grammar is supposed to be a mix. And it isn't very phonetic, and verb conjugation is convoluted. Since it is normal for native Anglophones, Anglophones might consider it easy. According to non-native Anglophones, it isn't.

19 posted on 03/07/2007 6:30:00 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: montag813
So, type, for a native Swahili user, of the three main languages (Mandarin is a guess, while the PRC is growing at a very rapid pace, its area of distribution is concentrated in East and Southeast Asia), from easiest to most difficult might be: Mandarin/Spanish and then English. (Not an expert on Swahili, hence Mandarin and Spanish being put together). However, if one of the Indo-European languages is a native language, then the other would obviously be easier to take up.

Even if pronouncing an aveolar trill is extremely difficult (Spanish r trill). Personally could use the uvular trill instead for Spanish r. Apparently it has to do with where in the mouth the r sound in made. In English, there are two ways, one around the aveolar ridge (the plateau between the top teeth and the palate) and the other near the bottom of the mouth. If you use the former, you could have more success with the aveolar trill. Guessing this is also why Japanese attempting to pronounce l make an r sound (l is also around the aveolar ridge).

Sorry for rambling.

20 posted on 03/07/2007 6:38:14 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu

Cantonese is a much nicer sounding language. Both Cantonese and Mandarin are tonal but Mandarin sounds harsh and it seems that a speaker cannot help sounding officious. Cantonese makes for a much more pleasant sounding speech and the speaker necessarily sounds much less like he is spouting the official line.


21 posted on 03/07/2007 6:38:53 AM PST by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: Jedi Master Pikachu
You are mistaken; I am not the first to as that question (I didn't state an opinion). It was asked me by a very wise Hindu man, and the question did not originate with him.

You gave me considerable information, but you did not answer the question.

22 posted on 03/08/2007 5:15:59 AM PST by Savage Beast (MESSAGE TO BUSH: Free U.S. Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean NOW!!!)
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To: Savage Beast
So the Hindu man asked you? Or did you ask the Hindu man?

Personally respect your opinion on the topic, but was actually looking for more of a Christian (or even Judeo-Christian) opinion about the verses.

As for your question about mercy, again, practically a HYPER-vegetarian. Eat vegetable products, milk, yogurt, rennetless cheese, and eggs (white). Animals should be [considered] humanely, but shouldn't be considered human. A vegetarian can be every bit as unmerciful as a carnivore (meatarian--because of herbivore/vegetarian so carnivore/meatarian), and even more so. Whether some guy eats meat or doesn't doesn't make him particularly merciful or unmerciful either way.

23 posted on 03/08/2007 6:30:08 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( What is your take on Acts 15:20 (abstaining from blood) about eating meat? Could you freepmail?)
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To: montag813
I am considering learning and haveing my young children learn Mandarin (along w Spanish). Two questions: Is it difficult to learn? And is it important to learn? Or will all these Chinese speak English anyway?

If you're thinking in practical terms, it is probably better to have your kids learn the language of a country that has a significant population *and* has a comparable salary to that of the US. From that standpoint, it's pointless to learn either Spanish or Chinese, since they can hire lower-paid locals with English skills. Think French, German or Italian.

24 posted on 03/09/2007 12:47:11 AM PST by Zhang Fei
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To: Zhang Fei
If you're thinking in practical terms, it is probably better to have your kids learn the language of a country that has a significant population *and* has a comparable salary to that of the US. From that standpoint, it's pointless to learn either Spanish or Chinese, since they can hire lower-paid locals with English skills.

But as Americans, there are significant business opportunities in Latin America and China. I am an entrepreneur and I would want my kids to explore that as well.

25 posted on 03/09/2007 4:39:54 AM PST by montag813
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To: montag813
But as Americans, there are significant business opportunities in Latin America and China. I am an entrepreneur and I would want my kids to explore that as well.

Europe is a far bigger market than either Latin America or China will be, for probably the next 50 years. Besides, you don't need to speak the language - you just need business savvy and a local translator. Europe is a far easier place to do business than China - it's got bigger markets and fewer protectionistic regulations. I personally know several people who have gotten ripped off in China - and they are native Chinese speakers. I don't know anything about Latin America, but have heard that doing business there is even tougher than China.

If you're an importer, buying stuff from Chinese suppliers makes sense. But that requires no Chinese. You only really need Chinese if you intend to sell into the Chinese market - without going through distributors. And if you're going that route, you're gonna need business skills more than you need a command of spoken Chinese.

26 posted on 03/09/2007 6:02:21 AM PST by Zhang Fei
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To: Zhang Fei
If you're an importer, buying stuff from Chinese suppliers makes sense. But that requires no Chinese. You only really need Chinese if you intend to sell into the Chinese market - without going through distributors. And if you're going that route, you're gonna need business skills more than you need a command of spoken Chinese.

Great points. Thank you very much. Do you do business at all in China?

27 posted on 03/09/2007 7:14:28 AM PST by montag813
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To: montag813
Great points. Thank you very much. Do you do business at all in China?I don't personally do any business in China. I do personally know people - both Chinese and non-Chinese - who do business there.

I just thought of an interesting example of someone who did a lot of business with foreigners without knowing the language - Michael Dell. He imported a heck of a lot of PC parts from Taiwan back in the days of PC's Limited in the late '80's (before it became Dell Computer, and before all the production moved to China). I bet he speaks little or no Chinese. The guy was just business-minded from an early age.

28 posted on 03/09/2007 7:34:53 AM PST by Zhang Fei
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To: Zhang Fei
I just returned from Shanghai last Sunday and I think the city, country and culture are fabulous. My two young daughters are learning Mandarin, Polish and Spanish and it will only be a plus in their development as a human being. The more languages a person learns the wiser he/she becomes.
29 posted on 04/13/2007 11:08:36 AM PDT by chicagopolish (P.E.T.A. ----- People for eating tasty animals...........................)
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