"Chinese language" in Chinese

Moderator: OldBoring

What do you think "Chinese" should be called in Chinese?

漢語 Hanyu (Han language)
13
45%
普通話 Putonghua (Common speech)
1
3%
國語 Guoyu (National language)
0
No votes
華語 Huayu (Hua language)
4
14%
中國話 Zhongguohua (Chinese speech)
1
3%
中國語 Zhongguoyu (Chinese language)
3
10%
中文 Zhongwen (Chinese script)
5
17%
Others (Please share)
2
7%
 
Total votes: 29

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Re: What do you think "Chinese" should be called in Chinese?

Postby linguoboy » 2012-10-22, 21:59

Guillermo wrote:
Pangu wrote:I believe most people would want that but the problem arises as soon as we try to implement any solid solutions as we have all just witnessed. So pointing out a problem that majority of people are aware of isn't doing anything good if there are no solutions provided.
Well, we don't know that all those problems will happen because we haven't tried it yet. I think a good solution would be to standardize the written form of languages that don't already have one, like Wu, Minnan, Gan, etc.

Of course, the issue with this approach is that it reproduces the same problem on a smaller scale. Is it really an improvement for someone in Xianning to be told that, in addition to Putonghua, they have to master Nanchang dialect as well? Either way, the message they're getting is that their native speech isn't good enough.
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Re: What do you think "Chinese" should be called in Chinese?

Postby Guillermo » 2012-10-22, 22:02

What else could we do, though? Sichuanese Mandarin is pretty different from Beijinghua and they're expected to master it.
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Re: What do you think "Chinese" should be called in Chinese?

Postby linguoboy » 2012-10-22, 22:11

Guillermo wrote:What else could we do, though? Sichuanese Mandarin is pretty different from Beijinghua and they're expected to master it.

There are plenty of other alternatives. For starters, why is it necessary to teach a written form of the dialect/sublanguage at all? As far as I know, this isn't done in Switzerland, yet everyone goes on speaking their local dialect while learning to write in Standard German. To the extant that there are written forms of the dialects used informally (e.g. in online chat), they're community-specific rather than reflecting some attempt to construct a High Alemannic koiné.
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Re: Discussion group / 杂谈 / 雜談

Postby DannyAlex » 2016-03-07, 8:47

mod

From the Discussion group thread.

OldBoring wrote:I don't think a pro-communist textbook is necessarily a bad thing.
I used to learn Chinese in weekend schools using textbooks from primary schools in China smuggled taken to Italy by the headmaster in his luggage.
It gives a perspective on the political and social situation of China, that helped me understand more about current Mainland China.
Of course, it's a good thing only if your focus is Mainland China.

While me, I always said to myself that I want to learn languages spoken here in my country to be able to converse, including Mandarin (need to put dialects away). But any resources I found in internet is China's Mandarin. I am afraid that Mandarin spoken here is different.

For example. Zhongwen, Huayu, Huawen, Putonghua. what are the differences? When I learnt it in academic class, my textbook said Huayu. In internet it's Zhongwen. While in China, it's Putonghua. I'm dizzy~
Last edited by OldBoring on 2016-07-10, 15:20, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: added quote from the previous thread

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Re: Discussion group / 杂谈 / 雜談

Postby Marah » 2016-03-28, 13:36

This link sums it up pretty well I guess
http://www.yoyochinese.com/blog/Learn-M ... -and-huayu
Par exemple, l'enfant croit au Père Noël. L'adulte non. L'adulte ne croit pas au Père Noël. Il vote.

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Re: Discussion group / 杂谈 / 雜談

Postby OldBoring » 2016-03-29, 12:08

Oops, I forget to reply earlier.
This has already been discussed before: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=38467
Pangu and Serafín below explained the matter very well.

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Re: Discussion group / 杂谈 / 雜談

Postby DannyAlex » 2016-04-04, 3:10

Thank you for helping to find the explaination. Then if I speak Huayu (referring to the Mandarin spoken here in my country), will Chinese people in Mainland China understand it?

For example: in the textbook, when speaking about money, I saw "liang kuai qian". But I often heard people here use only "liang kuai". Is it in Mainland China, the "qian" is not present as well?

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Re: "Chinese language" in Chinese

Postby OldBoring » 2016-04-04, 9:17

Yes. The differences are comparable to American and British English. Usually Chinese Malaysians living in China try to adapt to the Mainland China's speech.

I think the Chinese Malaysians consider themselves both Malaysians (thus belonging to the country Malaysia), and to the Chinese ethnicity at the same time, but not to the country "China".
They call Chinese language Huayu, because Hua implies "the Chinese culture, the Chinese ethnicity", as opposed to Zhongwen, where Zhongguo implies "China" the country.

It's similar to how Malay language is called Bahasa Malaysia in Malaysia (the language of Malaysia the country) but Bahasa Melayu (the Malay ethnicity) in Singapore and Brunei.

Guoyu would be even a worse choice, since it means "national language", they could as well consider Malay their guoyu.

"qian" is optional when telling prices.

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Re: "Chinese language" in Chinese

Postby sennacherib » 2016-07-09, 8:28

It is a very interesting topic. :)

Below are the actual usage in my opinion.

汉语: Firstly, it is a less colloquial word than 中文. Secondly, I think it can not well represent the ethnic minorities in China who also speak Mandarin.

普通话: It is usually used when compared with other Chinese dialects or correct someone's pronunciation if they speak with a strong dialectal accent.

国语: It is not such a frequently used word in mainland China. Maybe more frequent in HK, Macau, Taiwan? Not sure.

华语: The similar case as 国语.

中国话: Very rare to hear people say it.

中国语: Never heard of it.

中文: The most used word for Mandarin or the Chinese language in certain context. I use it very often, either in daily speech or written language. If I ask someone if they can speak Chinese, I'd use this word.

When talking about foreign languages, we usually say XXX+语 instead of XXX+文. For example, 德语, 法语, 俄语, etc. 德文, 法文, 俄文 are also comprehensible but not often used in mainland China. Perhaps people in HK, Taiwan prefer to use 文.
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Re: "Chinese language" in Chinese

Postby Ser » 2016-07-09, 17:45

What would you say is the register of 官话? Is it basically jargon from linguistics to refer to Mandarin?

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Re: "Chinese language" in Chinese

Postby sennacherib » 2016-07-10, 4:53

Serafín wrote:What would you say is the register of 官话? Is it basically jargon from linguistics to refer to Mandarin?

I think it used to refer to Mandarin but now this term is out-dated.
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Re: "Chinese language" in Chinese

Postby OldBoring » 2016-07-17, 15:29

sennacherib wrote:汉语: Firstly, it is a less colloquial word than 中文. Secondly, I think it can not well represent the ethnic minorities in China who also speak Mandarin.

Quite the opposite. 汉语 implies that it's the language of the Han ethnicity, and acknowledges that the ethnic minorities of China speak other languages. It's also true that the minorities are Han-ized nowadays. Or are you implying that the minorities should all switch to Chinese language and forget about their native languages?

普通话: It is usually used when compared with other Chinese dialects or correct someone's pronunciation if they speak with a strong dialectal accent.

This is a perfect explanation.
This reminds me that the 普通话水平测试 is translated as "Proficient test of Spoken Mandarin". Many foreigners confuse it with HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Ceshi "Chinese language proficiency test").
They are two completely different things. The latter tests the foreigners' level of Chinese.
The former is aimed at native Chinese speakers, to test how "standard / free of regional accent" their pronunciation of Standard Mandarin is. High score means close to the standard accent. Low score means a strong regional accent. Maybe a better translation would be "Proficient test of Standard Mandarin"?

I would add that 普通话 also implies standard vocabulary and standard grammar.
When a Zhejianger says 馒头 for meat-filled steamed bun (instead 包子) or 讲不来 instead of 不会讲, for me that's non-standard 普通话.

国语: It is not such a frequently used word in mainland China. Maybe more frequent in HK, Macau, Taiwan? Not sure.

国语 was the standard term in China during the Republic of China (pre-communist, 中华民国) and is still the term used in Taiwan.
国语 is also used by the Chinese people when they travel. When Chinese tourists meet other Chinese people, they often say 会讲国语吗?
I think when abroad, the feeling that Mandarin is "our national language" is stronger.

华语: The similar case as 国语.

I already said that 华语 is used in Malaysia and Singapore, because they consider themselves 中国人 (Chinese from China) but 华人 (ethnic Chinese people).
华语 is also used in music, to refer to Chinese songs. I think it feels like a more neutral term for Chinese songs, no matter if the songs are from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia or Singapore.

In more official contexts, 华文 is used generally when referring to the Chinese language used abroad, such as 华文媒体 (Chinese language media), 华文报纸 (Chinese language newspaper); or by organisations that aim at teaching Chinese language globally, such as 华文教育基金会.
Although in other contexts it's more common to refer to the teaching of Chinese to foreigners as 对外汉语教学.

中国话: Very rare to hear people say it.

Really?
“全世界都在说中国话,孔夫子的话越来越国际化”

In my neck of woods it's common to say 中国话 and 外国话.

I think 中国话 has a more explicit reference to China and to Chinese people, such as when implying one is a Chinese person who speaks 中国话, or when talking about a foreigner who learned 中国话, the "language of China".

中国语: Never heard of it.

I've seen it... in Japanese.

When talking about foreign languages, we usually say XXX+语 instead of XXX+文. For example, 德语, 法语, 俄语, etc. 德文, 法文, 俄文 are also comprehensible but not often used in mainland China. Perhaps people in HK, Taiwan prefer to use 文.

No. When talking about the written languages you use 文. If you choose your language in your iPhone they are all -文. And Chinese is 中文.

In Southern Zhejiang dialects we do say 文 more commonly, like Fujian (the basis of Taiwanese dialect and Taiwanese Mandarin) and Guangdong.
英语 and 英文 are rqually common in our dialect.
While we call Japanese 日本话... probably because the writing looks like Chinese? :mrgreen:

Serafín wrote:What would you say is the register of 官话? Is it basically jargon from linguistics to refer to Mandarin?

You were right in your previous post.
官话 aka 北方话 refers to one of the 10 (or 7) Sinitic languages (or Chinese dialect groups) of China: 官话、吴、闽、客家、粤、湘、赣 plus the newly classified 晋、徽、平话。
官话 is further divided into 东北官话、北京官话、冀鲁官话、胶辽官话、中原官话、兰银官话、江淮官话、西南官话, or in non-linguistic term: 东北话、北京话、河北话、山东话、青岛话、大连话、甘肃话、苏北话、四川话、湖北话, etc. etc.
It always refers to the dialect group, never to Standard Mandarin.
Standard Mandarin is instead named 现代标准汉语.

These academic words are never used in daily life outside linguists, so that could be why Pangu and sennacherib are not aware of. In real life we name dialects geographically, according to provinces, cities or villages.
Standard Mandarin is 普通话 in Mainland China, 国语 in Taiwan, 华语 in Malaysia and Singapore.

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Re: "Chinese language" in Chinese

Postby ling » 2016-07-18, 5:17

In Taiwan, 國語 and 中文 are the most common terms colloquially. However, 華語 is catching on, particularly since 國語, meaning "national language", implies that Taiwan is part of China, a sentiment distasteful to a large and growing proportion of Taiwan's populace.

Though 中文, strictly speaking, refers to the written language, in Taiwan it's commonly used to refer to the spoken language as well. It's not uncommon to hear people asking if you can speak 中文.

In the above poll, I can't say I've ever heard anyone say 中國語.
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Re: "Chinese language" in Chinese

Postby OldBoring » 2016-07-19, 16:35

ling wrote:Though 中文, strictly speaking, refers to the written language, in Taiwan it's commonly used to refer to the spoken language as well. It's not uncommon to hear people asking if you can speak 中文.

Same in Mainland China.

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Re: "Chinese language" in Chinese

Postby sennacherib » 2016-07-21, 5:52

OldBoring wrote:
sennacherib wrote:汉语: Firstly, it is a less colloquial word than 中文. Secondly, I think it can not well represent the ethnic minorities in China who also speak Mandarin.

Quite the opposite. 汉语 implies that it's the language of the Han ethnicity, and acknowledges that the ethnic minorities of China speak other languages. It's also true that the minorities are Han-ized nowadays. Or are you implying that the minorities should all switch to Chinese language and forget about their native languages?

Sorry if I wasn't clear before.

I meant to say that the term 汉语 itself focuses on the Han ethnicity while other minorities who ALSO speak 汉语 do not have their minority's name reflected on the language name. Maybe that sounds a bit stupid since the language has evolved out of its origin from the Han dynasty long long time ago...

To add just in case above is not clear, literally 汉语 means the language spoken by Han ethnicity, while 中文 refers to the language spoken by the Chinese. So I think it can include everyone who speak Chinese in China.

Hope it's clearer now... :?
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Re: "Chinese language" in Chinese

Postby Pangu » 2016-10-01, 15:08

sennacherib wrote:I meant to say that the term 汉语 itself focuses on the Han ethnicity while other minorities who ALSO speak 汉语 do not have their minority's name reflected on the language name. Maybe that sounds a bit stupid since the language has evolved out of its origin from the Han dynasty long long time ago...

To add just in case above is not clear, literally 汉语 means the language spoken by Han ethnicity, while 中文 refers to the language spoken by the Chinese. So I think it can include everyone who speak Chinese in China.

But why do ethnic minorities who may speak 漢語 must be "represented" in the name of the language? In the U.S., we speak English because the language came from England. We don't speak American, although you may find some who disagree in the South.

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Re: "Chinese language" in Chinese

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-01-28, 23:37

I seem to call it 普通话 by default, but I'm okay with 汉语, I guess. Sometimes I say 中文, but I guess there's actually been a relatively good case made here for 华语.

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Re: "Chinese language" in Chinese

Postby linguoboy » 2017-01-29, 17:09

Pangu wrote:In the U.S., we speak English because the language came from England. We don't speak American, although you may find some who disagree in the South.

Why pick on the South? I live in Illinois and for many years the official language here was--according to statute--"the American language". Linguistic bigotry is everywhere in this country.
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