The Taipei Accent


Actually, not really. Your childhood environment has a decisive influence on your lifelong language habits. Many parents who are both native Taiwanese speakers talk exclusively in Mandarin to their kids. This is one of the main reasons that Taiwanese is slowly dying out.


Canadians, and Australians from the far northern regions of the country, tend to add “ㄟ” to the end of a statement.

That’s how you can root those provincial accents out.

Real Americans often add “ㄙㄟ” to the beginning of statements; as in, “Say, ain’t that neat.”

You can always root people out by the way they talks, acts, and writes.


Maybe from your generation. :sunglasses:


Have a cow, dude: I’m young.


OK, maybe I’m not a real American…


Say…you don’t say?


Mandarin i am not so sure the accents are really separated by north , south , east taiwan but rather as you said more by immediately family. To me its more of how much taiwanese bent is added to it in a particular family. But on the whole Taipei people tend to speak more correct taiwan mandarin.
in Taiwanese however, and taiwanese is my first language and i was hatched on the rock many moons ago.

There were distinct north taiwan, central taiwan, south taiwan and eastern taiwan , taiwanese accents. That is to say TAipei people speak different taiwanese then taichung people who speak different then kaoshiung/tainan taiwanese who speak different from Ilan taiwanese. There were distinct differences.

These may have become less pronounced nowadays because taiwan is small and now its very easy to move about.


For you , or for them ?


for my native language, I can tell differences between north and south parts of a town in some cases. They mostly speak in the same way, but there are specific accents to distinct them for some phrases, and they tend to use words in slightly different ways.


While foreigners may not be able to tell the difference among the Mandarin accents spoken by young people, I can tell you for sure there IS indeed a difference, however slight. The major distinctions that are most noticeable would be people from Taipei versus the central, southern and eastern parts of Taiwan. And, not to be discriminatory, but yes, the Taipei accent is more “accurate,” based on the education books.

I have cousins in southern Taiwan, and their Mandarin isn’t as correct. This is especially true for the ones who speak Taiwanese better than Mandarin. It definitely creates a “Taiwan guoyu” effect, even for young people (though it may not be as bad as an A-Ma grandmother).

English is my native language, which is better than my Mandarin. I selected the “root out” term intentionally, not to discriminate, but to let people know that Taipei’ers will discriminate. When they hear you talking in another accent, they will treat you differently and immediately conclude that you are from the countryside. That’s why my male cousins from outside of Taipei have struggled to go on dates with the locals there. They can only date non-Taipei’ers. Example: my Tainan male cousin finds a Tainan girl, though both attended school in Northern Taiwan.


Dude, I’m beginning to feel that the problem here is with your cousins, not some great linguistic north-south divide.


Um, you’re still not using “root out” correctly. Are you sure you learned English before you learned Chinese?


your whole family has some big problems.
maybe first stop with the kissing cousins activity that looks to be afflicting you


Is there really a correct mandarin accent?

Malaysian Chinese speak in completely different tones it’s hard to understand.


accent no but pronunciation of words yes.
1912 commission on the unification of pronunciation officially summarized its findings here:

Introduction of pinyin didn’t change the sounds. Just the symbols.


On the other hand I’ve no trouble dating Taichung girls and kaohsiung girls with their cute accents


It drives me mad when Malay Chinese don’t pronounce things correctly ahhhhhh. And more ridiculously one person asked why I’m pronoucing thins weird!


For the life of me I can’t understand what’s going on in this thread.

The way I see it, there’s the proper(ish) Taiwanese Mandarin accent, which I think everyone native to the island has to some extent. I assume that’s what OP is talking about. There’s the waishengren accent, which sounds somewhat more lilting, mouthfullish, and overall kinda mainlandy to my ear. And there’s the “dai wan gou yee” accent, which is heavily affected by the Taiwanese language and more lax about pronouncing certain phonemes.

I don’t think Taiwanese accents are coveted, generally. People might think it’s cute, if they have an opinion at all. It’s normal and expected for most Chinese speakers to have some kind of local accent anyway since there’s just so many of us spread out all over.

Isn’t Beijing’s putonghua considered the gold standard? The most 標準?



The Beijing accent actually isn’t one of the clearer ones (they sound like they’re swallowing their tongue). The prestige accent is a Northeastern accent.


Beijing is technically northeast, isn’t it?