Taiwan-Specific Mandarin Accents

I’ll use Pinyin first if I can, and then I’ll resort to IPA if I must.

I’m catching a lot of interesting accent pieces as I listen to people here.

The first is that apparently, we’re allowed to pronounce 那裏 (na4li3) as ‘ne4li3’ when speaking at a conversational speed, and I’m curious if there are other interesting exceptions like this one.

But the more Taiwan-specific one that I continue hearing is with the ‘eng’ final.
Usually, people here are pronouncing words like 等 ‘dəŋ’, which I gather is Beijing standard. However, some Taiwanese people are pronouncing them ‘dɛŋ.’
Does Taiwan allow this switch for every ‘~eng#’ final? I’ve only heard it with three or so words, so my guess is that I can’t, but it never hurts to ask.

I live in 大坑 dakeng…if I say “dakeng” no one knows wtf I mean, if I drop the “g”, they understand me.

吃is sometimes pronounced like “chu”

of course you have probably noticed 是 is often pronounced “si”

台中=tai Zong (no zh sound), same for 只有, ziyou!

Oh, my favorite are the Taiwanese speakers who cannot pronounce the letter “f”, so 佛法 becomes “hoha” when trying to say it in Mandarin
or 沒辦法=meibanWa, because of the f. One of my corporate classes actually has a running joke about this…but for Taiwanese speakers learning to count in English, “one two three ho hibe!” (12345)

Sure there are plenty more, but these were off the top of my head.

[quote=“Confuzius”]I live in 大坑 dakeng…if I say “dakeng” no one knows wtf I mean, if I drop the “g”, they understand me.

吃is sometimes pronounced like “chu”

of course you have probably noticed 是 is often pronounced “si”

台中=tai Zong (no zh sound), same for 只有, ziyou!

Oh, my favorite are the Taiwanese speakers who cannot pronounce the letter “f”, so 佛法 becomes “hoha” when trying to say it in Mandarin
or 沒辦法=meibanWa, because of the f. One of my corporate classes actually has a running joke about this…but for Taiwanese speakers learning to count in English, “one two three ho hibe!” (12345)

Sure there are plenty more, but these were off the top of my head.[/quote]
Goodness, this is really making me question whether Taiwan is a good place to learn Chinese or not, I’m thinking of going there next year. It almost seems they can’t prononounce anything standard. I knew about the zhi-zi and shi-si thing they have, and that I can live with, but can’t they pronounce “F”? And “ng”?

[quote=“Sko”][quote=“Confuzius”]I live in 大坑 dakeng…if I say “dakeng” no one knows wtf I mean, if I drop the “g”, they understand me.

吃is sometimes pronounced like “chu”

of course you have probably noticed 是 is often pronounced “si”

台中=tai Zong (no zh sound), same for 只有, ziyou!

Oh, my favorite are the Taiwanese speakers who cannot pronounce the letter “f”, so 佛法 becomes “hoha” when trying to say it in Mandarin
or 沒辦法=meibanWa, because of the f. One of my corporate classes actually has a running joke about this…but for Taiwanese speakers learning to count in English, “one two three ho hibe!” (12345)

Sure there are plenty more, but these were off the top of my head.[/quote]
Goodness, this is really making me question whether Taiwan is a good place to learn Chinese or not, I’m thinking of going there next year. It almost seems they can’t prononounce anything standard. I knew about the zhi-zi and shi-si thing they have, and that I can live with, but can’t they pronounce “F”? And “ng”?[/quote]

What’s standard?

If standard is rhotacization (nar3 opposed to na3li3) and neutral tones to you, than Taiwan is definitely not the place you want to go to. If you want to learn tones that are the same as your textbook (qi1dai4 VS qi2dai4), Taiwan is not the place to go. If you want to have a really solid second and third tone, I wouldn’t recommend Taiwan, either. There are issues that the above poster brought up as well. But if you don’t really care about these kinds of things and you are interested in Taiwan, Taiwan is a fine choice.

[quote=“archylgp”][quote=“Sko”]
Goodness, this is really making me question whether Taiwan is a good place to learn Chinese or not, I’m thinking of going there next year. It almost seems they can’t prononounce anything standard. I knew about the zhi-zi and shi-si thing they have, and that I can live with, but can’t they pronounce “F”? And “ng”?[/quote]

What’s standard?

If standard is rhotacization (nar3 opposed to na3li3) and neutral tones to you, than Taiwan is definitely not the place you want to go to. If you want to learn tones that are the same as your textbook (qi1dai4 VS qi2dai4), Taiwan is not the place to go. If you want to have a really solid second and third tone, I wouldn’t recommend Taiwan, either. There are issues that the above poster brought up as well. But if you don’t really care about these kinds of things and you are interested in Taiwan, Taiwan is a fine choice.[/quote]
Well, I want to be able to make myself understood to anyone fluent in Mandarin. Between nar3 or na3li3, I actually prefer the latter. But if the differences mean that I won’t be able to make myself understood outside of Taiwan, which seems to be the case if they lose so much of the information in their words, I don’t want to speak that dialect. Otherwise, Taiwan is basically perfect for me. I don’t like the Beijing 儿化, I don’t like their cold winters, and I don’t want to need a paid-for program to get on Facebook illegally.

But in the end, I’m going there to learn Mandarin, so if I in Taiwan learn a Mandarin that I will be made fun of for on the Mainland or even get misunderstood, I don’t want to go to Taiwan.

Taiwanese people speaking mandarin have no trouble being understood in China or anywhere. Even ex President Chen (who speaks a rather pronounced Taiwan Mando) had no trouble being understood by any mando speaker anywhere.

I speak Taiwan mando and i interact with people from China all the time, no problems at all.

People from HK speak a canto mando and they have no trouble being understood anywhere either.

I dont think anyone speaking good mando, and everyone has some sort of accent, be they beijing, shanghai, etc etc, has any trouble being understood by other good mando speakers.

Your fears are unfounded.

Mando as a whole is far more accented then say English in America.

Accents vary wildly all across China so it doesn’t matter if you choose the most standard Beijing-hua, some people won’t understand what you are saying. Vocabulary also varies even for common things (pork is “da rou”, or “big meat” in some places). Learn the Mandarin of the area you want to live in. When you travel you will have problems but the variations are fairly easy enough to pick up after a while.

In Gansu “shi” becomes “zhi” or “zi”, which makes everyone sound like a zip line. :laughing:

Not everyone speaks good Mandarin, tommy. I have problems in many areas where the local accent is thick. My ex-wife who is Taiwanese could barely understand or be understood on the phone when I would ask her to call hotels for information.

[quote=“tommy525”]Taiwanese people speaking Mandarin have no trouble being understood in China or anywhere. Even ex President Chen (who speaks a rather pronounced Taiwan Mando) had no trouble being understood by any mando speaker anywhere.

I speak Taiwan mando and i interact with people from China all the time, no problems at all.

People from HK speak a canto mando and they have no trouble being understood anywhere either.

I don’t think anyone speaking good mando, and everyone has some sort of accent, be they beijing, shanghai, etc etc, has any trouble being understood by other good mando speakers.

Your fears are unfounded.

Mando as a whole is far more accented then say English in America.[/quote]
Alright, I’m so sorry for hijacking the thread but may I ask one more thing? If I understand correctly, they don’t use “ng”, they use “n” instead, right? Since the vowel often changes a bit between these sounds, if we think “fang4” and “fan4”, will the change from “ng” to “n” include a change of the vowel? Will I say 放 the exact same way that I say 饭 or will there be a difference in the vowel?

Thanks!

[quote=“Mucha Man”]Accents vary wildly all across China so it doesn’t matter if you choose the most standard Beijing-hua, some people won’t understand what you are saying. Vocabulary also varies even for common things (pork is “da rou”, or “big meat” in some places). Learn the Mandarin of the area you want to live in. When you travel you will have problems but the variations are fairly easy enough to pick up after a while.

In Gansu “shi” becomes “zhi” or “zi”, which makes everyone sound like a zip line. :laughing:[/quote]
Yea, learn the Mandarin of the area you want to live in is probably a really good advice. I’d much rather live in Taiwan than in Beijing, I can’t stand the cold.

Once again, I feel your fears are unfounded. You can learn mando anywhere and you will be understood by the majority provided you become a fluent speaker. I personally have trouble understanding people from shichuan (couldnt understand ex wife’s dad too well) but thats something similar to understanding Scotsmen speaking english.

Chinese people laugh at each others accent all over China, but Taiwan mando is still far more mando then some foreign language. Its not like Taiwan mando is equivalent to portueguese while China mando is spanish ya know.

The older TW mando speakers who mainly speak Taiwanese have thickly accented mando, but even so I doubt they have any real problems being understood in China.

All the younger generation who mainly speak mandarin have no trouble being understood by other mando speakers.

Once again, where-ever you learn it, you are going to have a regional accent, and you will find yourself being laughed at by someone, somewhere.

Mostly you are going to have the “foreigner” accent for some time, and that is going to be pretty amusing to most mando speakers.

I “laugh” at chinese mando speakers all the time, especially people speaking with that thick beijing accent.

[/quote]
Goodness, this is really making me question whether Taiwan is a good place to learn Chinese or not, I’m thinking of going there next year. It almost seems they can’t prononounce anything standard. I knew about the zhi-zi and shi-si thing they have, and that I can live with, but can’t they pronounce “F”? And “ng”?[/quote]

This is as ridiculous as for me to criticize how people in NY speak vs how English pronounced in Houston. Shoul I go to California or Mississippi to learn English? What is this “y’all” businese in Texas? Come to think of it, I should speak like a upper class from England. Let me go to London. I bet I will speak like the Queen in no time. Yeah, right.

Let me tell you a secret. You westerners do not know how to pronounce the third tone.

[quote=“tommy525”]Once again, I feel your fears are unfounded. You can learn mando anywhere and you will be understood by the majority provided you become a fluent speaker. I personally have trouble understanding people from shichuan (couldnt understand ex wife’s dad too well) but thats something similar to understanding Scotsmen speaking english.

Chinese people laugh at each others accent all over China, but Taiwan mando is still far more mando then some foreign language. Its not like Taiwan mando is equivalent to portueguese while China mando is spanish ya know.

The older TW mando speakers who mainly speak Taiwanese have thickly accented mando, but even so I doubt they have any real problems being understood in China.

All the younger generation who mainly speak Mandarin have no trouble being understood by other mando speakers.

Once again, where-ever you learn it, you are going to have a regional accent, and you will find yourself being laughed at by someone, somewhere.

Mostly you are going to have the “foreigner” accent for some time, and that is going to be pretty amusing to most mando speakers.

I “laugh” at chinese mando speakers all the time, especially people speaking with that thick beijing accent.[/quote]
Alright, thanks! Feeling good about Taiwan again!

[quote=“jmcd”]This is as ridiculous as for me to criticize how people in NY speak vs how English pronounced in Houston. Shoul I go to California or Mississippi to learn English? What is this “y’all” businese in Texas? Come to think of it, I should speak like a upper class from England. Let me go to London. I bet I will speak like the Queen in no time. Yeah, right.

Let me tell you a secret. You westerners do not know how to pronounce the third tone.[/quote]
Sorry if I offended you. Someone always gets offended when I post about accents, I should probably stop doing it.

I think they are just put off by your fear of a Taiwanese accent. Theres nothing to fear little grasshopper.

However, dont fall into the trap of speaking like your taiwanese girlfriend though. Thats a no no.

Tommy is really right. As long as you’re speaking correctly in whatever accent you have, you’ll be understood. I only speak in Beijing-hua with all my ‘rrrrrrs’ in the end, coz that’s where I learnt to speak. But I understand other mandarin even Taiwanese Mandarin with its lisp and also I’ve never had issues being understood. Mandarin is pretty standardized that way and with all the TV these guys watch, they’re used to all sorts of accents anyways.

[quote=“Sko”][quote=“tommy525”]Taiwanese people speaking Mandarin have no trouble being understood in China or anywhere. Even ex President Chen (who speaks a rather pronounced Taiwan Mando) had no trouble being understood by any mando speaker anywhere.

I speak Taiwan mando and i interact with people from China all the time, no problems at all.

People from HK speak a canto mando and they have no trouble being understood anywhere either.

I don’t think anyone speaking good mando, and everyone has some sort of accent, be they beijing, shanghai, etc etc, has any trouble being understood by other good mando speakers.

Your fears are unfounded.

Mando as a whole is far more accented then say English in America.[/quote]
Alright, I’m so sorry for hijacking the thread but may I ask one more thing? If I understand correctly, they don’t use “ng”, they use “n” instead, right? Since the vowel often changes a bit between these sounds, if we think “fang4” and “fan4”, will the change from “ng” to “n” include a change of the vowel? Will I say 放 the exact same way that I say 饭 or will there be a difference in the vowel?

Thanks![/quote]

Don’t think too much. Follow your heart.

Accents vary not only according to regional variations, but also education and social class. There are rare occasions when one gets a taxi driver who can’t decipher the difference between Shihlin and Shulin, but you get the same kind of problem in New York and most other capital cities.

While your teachers in Taiwan may not use a Beijing accent (thank God), I’m sure they won’t assume a thick Taiwanese accent either.

[quote=“tommy525”]I think they are just put off by your fear of a Taiwanese accent. Theres nothing to fear little grasshopper.

However, dont fall into the trap of speaking like your taiwanese girlfriend though. Thats a no no.[/quote]
Haha, is her accent too thick?

[quote=“Charlie Phillips”]
Don’t think too much. Follow your heart.

Accents vary not only according to regional variations, but also education and social class. There are rare occasions when one gets a taxi driver who can’t decipher the difference between Shilin and Shulin, but you get the same kind of problem in New York and most other capital cities.

While your teachers in Taiwan may not use a Beijing accent (thank God), I’m sure they won’t assume a thick Taiwanese accent either.[/quote]
Yea, I always get like this when I do something. I think about small little details that don’t really matter and make them hens. I have a certain desire for things to be as perfect as they can be, I suppose.

My friend today didn’t really make it better either when I said I might be going to Taiwan.

“But their accent is really thick”
“Yea, but I’ve heard most Mandarin speaking cities have their own thick accents”
“They do, but the Taiwan one is much worse”

Sigh… I’ll never be able to make this decision

So heres something confusing. When you fellas say “Taiwanese accent,” do you mean the accent of actual Taiwanese - the native, Austronesian-speaking folks; or the accent of Chinese Taiwanese you know the population who come from chinese immigrants. :ponder:

What I’ve been meaning in this thread is their Mandarin accent.