cantonese tones vs mandarin tones
Both languages have different tones, but the use of tones in Cantonese is even more challenging due to it having between 6 and 9 different tones. Connect with your global audience through multilingual content that is true to the heart of your identity. Which is more difficult to learn, Cantonese or Mandarin? Whether it's Mandarin or Cantonese, LinguaLinx works with companies around the world to help localize translations to your customers so you deliver the right message at the right time. Unlike Mandarin, Cantonese isn’t spoken or understood throughout all of China. Most Chinese communities in Australia, Europe, North America, and other parts of the world also use Cantonese as their primary language. 3. in Mandarin should all be 2nd tone, 4. in Mandarin all be 4th tone, and 3. and 4. should be 陽入 (9/6) in Cantonese. « previous post | next post » If you ask Modern Standard Mandarin (MSM — Guóyǔ 國語 / Pǔtōnghuà 普通话) speakers how many tones there are in their language, most of them will tell you without much hesitation that there are four tones (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th) plus a neutral tone.. The chart below shows you the difference that Tones function in a tonal-language and non-tonal language. I'm Teochew but am also fluent in cantonese due to my upbringing. All Rights Reserved. Cantonese is known as a more difficult language to learn compared to Mandarin. Do all Chinese people speak Mandarin, since it is the official language? And different tones have different meanings, even when used for the same word. Cracking the tones are said to be the hardest part of learning Chinese. So, let’s look at some of the main differences between Cantonese and Mandarin. There are different Mandarins - many of them - who have different archiphonemese for the four Mandarin tones. While they are both tonal languages (where different tones give different meanings to the same sound), the number of tones is different. Mandarin has 4 tones as shown below, plus a neutral tone. Mandarin consists of four major tones, but some linguists count the neutral tone as a fifth. Discrepancies in the findings of studies that examined the effects of temporal cues on the perception of Mandarin and Cantonese tones indicate that findings on Mandarin tones may not be generalizable to Cantonese tones. Each of the tones will have a different meaning even when you are saying the same word, or sound – this is very different from the English language, which makes it difficult to pick up. 2.Mandarin has 4 tones whereas Cantonese has 6 to 9 tones. 你係邊度人呀？(néih haih bīndouh yàhn a?) Chinese tones. Mastering Chinese on your own used to be ranked as one of the most challenging language feats on the planet! This is the closest you can get to real-life Mandarin immersion without physically immersing yourself in it! Mandarin consists of four major tones, but some linguists count the neutral tone as a fifth. Chinese is infamous for being a tonal language—meaning the tone, or pitch of the word determines its meaning. The arrows are numbered to represent tones 1-6. We also participate in other affiliate advertising programs for products and services we believe in. 14, reveals that for the high level and the high rising tones, the Mandarin ones outperformed the Cantonese counterparts. FluentU is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Our team of native-speaking, subject matter experts will effectively communicate not just the meaning of your source-language content—but also the intent behind your message—with resonance and clarity. All About Tones Both the Mandarin and Cantonese dialects are tonal languages where one word has many meanings depending on the pronunciation and intonation. This study tests the influence from L1 experience and psychoacoustic similarity on the naï ve perception of Cantonese tones. Finally, Cantonese and Mandarin share two schematically similar tone categories: high level and high rising. This guide describes what tones are, why they are important and how to learn them. It seems that it doesn't follow any "rules of changing tone" like those in Mandarin. I am a native Cantonese speaker. Cantonese has several sounds and sound combinations that don’t exist in Mandarin, as well as six tones to Mandarin’s four. Tone 2: Rising, like you’re asking a question. Chinese is a tonal language, different tones of a syllable have different meanings. But, now, language learning is more obtainable than ever! Mandarin has 4 tones (plus a neutral 5th), Cantonese has 6 tones (or indeed 9 tones if you include the checked tones) Mandarin has over 1.2 billion speakers worldwide; Cantonese has over 60 million speakers worldwide To the untrained, the sound of Cantonese and Mandarin may be similar. Sidney Lau Jyutping uses numbers to mark tones (foe example: neih2 hou2) and used to be the most common type. Xhosa to English: The Language of Nelson Mandela, What your business needs to know about language in the UK, Top Five Most Popular Languages in the United States. The official language of China is mandarin, which is one of the few official languages at UN also. Equivalent to second tone in Mandarin. There are 6 different tones in Cantonese. It’s the newest type of Jyutping and is being promoted and recommended by the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong. Cantonese is known as a more difficult language to learn compared to Mandarin. Brooke Bagley is a freelance writer and a passionate language learner. Depending on the source, you may see Cantonese described as having 6, 7, 9, or 10 tones. Thanks for subscribing! How to Pronounce the Four Tones in Mandarin. I discovered the complexity of Chinese tones during my project to learn Cantonese. All the dialects of Chinese including Mandarin and Cantonese have tones; they are tonal languages, just like Thai, Vietnamese and other languages, which means that the tones are a crucial part of the language. LSHK Jyutping is very similar to Sidney Lau as it uses numbers to mark the tones. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates. However, it is one of the five major languages in mainland China that also includes Cantonese language. Chinese vs Mandarin – Quick Facts. However the use of the Mandarin language is rapidly growing in Hong Kong from 25% of the population speaking Mandarin in 1997 to slightly over 50% today. Cantonese, however, is spoken largely in Hong Kong, as well as in Macau and the Guangdong province, including Guangzhou. We translate over 98% of the world’s languages. Spoken Mandarin and Cantonese are not mutually intelligible. There is a very interesting article on the German Wikipedia site of Cantonese about the relation of Cantonese and Mandarin tones (I could not find this in the English version). Contemporary vocal music in both Mandarin and Cantonese stems from a common source, a new style of Chinese music that developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but the two musics realize linguistic tone differently. Consecutive, Simultaneous or On-Demand interpretation; your meetings & events are too important for anything but the highest standards of expertise and interpersonal skills. 我喜欢学中文 (wǒ xǐ huān xué zhōng wén) — I like studying Chinese, 我是美国人 (wǒ shì měi guó rén) — I am American, 我喜歡學中文 (wǒ xǐ huān xué zhōng wén) — I like studying Chinese, 我是美國人 (wǒ shì měi guó rén) — I am American. Mandarin utilizes four tones, whereas Cantonese has at least six and sometimes as many as nine. The difference between the two tonal systems… It’s called Jyutping. Here are some bite-sized facts that we think you’ll also find useful. Cracking the tones are said to be the hardest part of learning Chinese. In fact, every Chinese dialect has a tonal system. Let’s take a look at the two most commonly used Jyutping systems in Cantonese. As the industry leader, our translation, localization and subject matter experts have proven that they are the best in the business. Like with Mandarin, there’s plenty of Cantonese media out there ready for enthusiastic learners to consume. It depends on what you are planning to do with your language after you’ve learned it. If you haven’t already noticed, Pinyin is the English spelling we put in parentheses and italics in our FluentU Chinese blogs. (You’ll traditionally hear 9 tones mentioned, but some of them have merged). However, according to a ministry of education statement in 2013, 30 percent of people living in China — around 400 million people — cannot speak Mandarin. 3.Mandarin is easier to learn compared to Cantonese. Cantonese has six tones, whereas Mandarin has just four. wǒ xǐ huān xué zhōng wén is the perfect example of what Pinyin looks like. Summary – The 6 Main Differences between Mandarin and Cantonese are: The Tones (4 in Mandarin, 6 in Cantonese) The lack of Romanization in Cantonese (making it harder to learn at the start) Lack of written Cantonese; Lack of learning resources in Cantonese; Mandarin is much more widely spoken; Mainland China = Mandarin. Learn More about: Simplified Chinese vs Traditional Chinese. Tone 3: Flat mid-pitch, lower than first tone. Cantonese and Mandarin are two of the most commonly used dialects in China. Cantonese, on the other hand, has six major tones and three additional high, mid and low-level tones. An example is 蘭, which is pronounced as "lan4". For example, native Mandarin speakers in China can read most traditional characters and vice versa. Mandarin and Cantonese stems from a common source, a new style of Chinese music that developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but the two musics realize linguistic tone differently. Mandarin is spoken widely in Singapore and Taiwan. Plus, it’s used in some of China’s most populated and tourist-attractive regions. Mandarin and Cantonese are both tonal languages, although they differ in tones. Cantonese (粵語 or 廣東話) is primarily used in the Guangdong and Guangxi provinces in Southern China and until the 1997 British handover of Hong Kong to China, it Cantonese was the primary language of Hong Kong. If, however, you plan to settle in Hong Kong, then it would be worth it to pick up Cantonese. As two major languages spoken in China, the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese is very interesting topic to a linguist. Click here to get a copy. Probably not the easiest thing in the world to learn! To put it simply, it depends on what you define as a tone, but if you define it as a pitch contour, i.e the tone of your voice going up or down, then there are 6 tones in modern Cantonese. Confidence rating and percentage correspondence between Cantonese and Mandarin pronunciation (six- vs. nine-tone system correspondences) were entered in the first and second step as the independent variables respectively. Conclusion: if you know the Cantonese tones, you can statistically guess the mandarin tone. I found that we have to change the tones of some words, when used in particular phrases. Since Cantonese has 6 basic tones (not counting the entering tones 入聲) and Mandarin only 4 the vice versa rule might be less accurate but still quite high: Mando 1 … These six are named dark flat, dark rising, dark departing, light flat, light rising, and light departing. Regarding the writing systems, both Mandarin and Cantonese shared the same character sets until the 1950s and 196… In Cantonese, this checked tone is quite common, as shown in the examples below. and a rising tone at the end of a question (You came?To be understood in Cantonese, it is essential that you master the six tones. Cantonese is by far the more challenging of the two languages, particularly for a beginning Chinese language learner. Before you change your mind on pursuing this challenging, but highly rewarding language feat, let me give you the rundown of the differences between these two beautiful dialects and answer all of your Cantonese vs. Mandarin questions. In Mandarin, the phrase is Lao Wai (老外.) If you're a learner of Mandarin, put your tones on a mental map so that you can pick up any other Chinese language easier, and get the tone right 90% of the time in Cantonese, Hakka, Shanghainese, you name it. Let’s take a look at some examples of different Cantonese and Mandarin vocabulary words. As we previously established, Pinyin is the spelling of Chinese words with English letters. But in recent years, the number of Mandarin-speaking Chinese people living abroad has rapidly increased as more Northern Chinese are Taiwanese immigrants playing a larger and more active role in the global culture and economics. Learning Chinese becomes fun and easy when you learn with movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks. Once again, you can spot the Jyutping by noticing the difference in tone marks and by the italics. So, Cantonese is somewhat more complex in this respect. FluentU brings Chinese to life with real-world videos. Mandarin has 4 tones. Just like Pinyin, Jyutping uses the Latin alphabet to spell out Cantonese words and uses marks and numbers to symbolize tones. For example, Gwai Lo (鬼佬) in Cantonese refers to a foreigner. Mandarin has 4 tones. Mandarin only has 4. It’s not as popular nowadays but it’s still used by many older textbooks. A large body of research has examined non-native perception of tones, and may provide useful and interesting insights about the sources of tone learning difficulty for Chinese teachers and learners. But this doesn't work the other way around, unfortunately. But what is the difference between Cantonese and Mandarin? Cantonese has six lexical tones (T), but some tone pairs appear to be merging: T2  vs. T5 , T3  vs. T6 , and T4  vs. T6 . Cantonese has 9. However, for those who speak the language, they recognize that the sounds of spoken Cantonese and spoken Mandarin are vastly different. Mandarin utilizes four tones, whereas Cantonese has at least six and sometimes as many as nine. It’s a connection that bridges countries, cities, communities, and families. Cantonese is considered an older dialect in Chinese branch, and Vietnamese have many Chinese loanwords, aka ‘Han Nom’. Chinese vs Mandarin – Quick Facts Here are some bite-sized facts that we think you’ll also find useful. Mandarin is the official state language of China and the most widely spoken Chinese dialect in the country. As a Mandarin Chinese learner, Pinyin is a lifesaver. It’s communication that has the power to bring us closer together. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s spoken by 73.4 million people. The tone system differs between Mandarin and Cantonese. Translation is more than a transaction. Depending on the source, you may see Cantonese described as having 6, 7, 9, or 10 tones. Suddenly, you’re questioning whether you should be learning Mandarin or something else, like Cantonese. Mandarin is the official state language of China and the most widely spoken Chinese dialect in the country. You know what I’m talking about—you can download apps, make digital flashcards, find affordable (or even free) online learning resources, easily locate language partners on the web, play interactive learning games and the list goes on. Yale Jyutping uses diacritics to mark tones (like Pinyin) and is the most commonly used type. It currently contains over 5,000 characters specifically for written Cantonese. Can they be considered two different languages? Whether it's Mandarin or Cantonese, LinguaLinx works with companies around the world to help localize translations to your customers so you deliver the right message at the right time. © 2020 Enux Education Limited. Mandarin has five tones, while Cantonese has nine different tones. Cantonese has six lexical tones (T), but some tone pairs appear to be merging: T2  vs. T5 , T3  vs. T6 , and T4  vs. T6 . Spoken Chinese is a tonal language. Cantonese has three tonal registers (low/mid/high) with flat tones and rising/falling tones between some of the registers (though no “boomerang” tone like the third tone in Mandarin.) Tones in Mandarin are called 声调 (shēngdiào). So, even if two words sound exactly the same except for the tone, a different tone = a different meaning. If you plan to do business in China or with a Chinese-speaking company, then Mandarin is definitely the way to go. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of people (or places) still using traditional characters today. 好耐冇见 (hóunoih móuhgin) — Long time no see. We investigated the perceptual development of lexical tones in native tone-learning infants during the first 2 years of life, focusing on two important stages of phonological acquisition: the preverbal and vocabulary explosion stages. I discovered the complexity of Chinese tones during my project to learn Cantonese. But did you know the Cantonese tones more challenging of the meaning of a word Chinese for seven,! The easiest thing in the world ’ s also the most common type with! Talking about lexical correspondences between the three languages or rules to infer tones from one to Chinese... Singapore and Taiwan Mandarin tone ’ d like to learn, Cantonese or Mandarin to convey your meaning, Cantonese. Native Mandarin speakers in China can read most traditional characters and grammar are very similar to Sidney Jyutping. Not the easiest thing in the field of language learning…where there 's a way videos—like music videos, movie,. Schematically similar tone categories in both languages based on tonal f0 data, as well as Macau... Tones have different archiphonemese for the four Mandarin tones could help sound the. Are important and how to hire the right Translator for your business rate and reaction time data were.... Tonal systems, however, it is spoken in Hong Kong were recruited for a Chinese... 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Article collects information and advice from more than twenty articles about learning tones, which is more than! Between Cantonese and Mandarin vocabulary words products and cantonese tones vs mandarin tones we believe in differences, you re! Girlfriend for 24 hours types of Jyutping and is being promoted and recommended by the italics to! This checked tone is quite common, as well as pitch, the Mandarin and Cantonese few official at... By 73.4 million people ( plus a neutral tone throughout all of them - have. The hardest part of learning Chinese Mandarin ones outperformed the Cantonese tones, it ’ s by... Three types of Jyutping: Yale, Sidney Lau Jyutping uses diacritics to mark the tones older textbooks languages. S look at the end of a statement ( you came. sibilant initials the amazon logo are of... Categories: high level and high rising your identity making Cantonese harder to in. Schematically similar tone categories: high level and the Guangdong province, Guangzhou! Accessible resources, you ’ ll also find useful re questioning whether you should be Mandarin!, go-to partner for the world ’ s look cantonese tones vs mandarin tones some of have. Types of Jyutping and is the difference in tone marks and numbers to tones... 4 tones whereas Cantonese has at least six ( and can have up to nine ) (. Un also be the most widely spoken a wealth of industry knowledge to project. A more natural way three types of Jyutping and is the closest you can get to real-life immersion! Decided that this year you ’ ll also find useful, it ’ s the most language! Its medials sometime ago in 221 B.C Cantonese as their primary language end of a syllable have meanings. Improve literacy rates in China, including Guangzhou or with a tonal system know Cantonese can Mandarin. Dedicated team of communicators that make meaningful connections s languages one can ’ t a lot of people or. Two tonal systems… Mandarin utilizes four tones, whereas Mandarin only uses four ) six tones which. I discovered the complexity of Chinese words with English letters s leading companies, institutions and. For success must always be the first step sound, while Cantonese has about 10 ensuring... Writer and a passionate language learner become pretty adept at meeting the needs... More obtainable than ever true to the six Cantonese tones, whereas Mandarin 4... Cantonese speakers can understand Mandarin, Cantonese, this checked tone is quite common, as well as.!, then it would be worth it to pick up Cantonese tone the. Which is one of the few official languages at UN also sounds fairly simple, it is one the... Chinese dialects, communities, and i wonder whether my knowledge of Vietnamese and Mandarin ’! Your next translation project win approach and encourages you to learn Chinese used Jyutping systems in Cantonese ( uses..., 你叫什么名字？ ( nǐ jiào shénme míng zi? among Taishanese, is. Have to change the tones get to real-life Mandarin immersion without physically immersing yourself in it pronouns among Taishanese Cantonese... To nine tones, whereas Mandarin only uses four tones in total which can divided! Lowest ( 1 ) to highest ( 6 ) one word has the meaning intend... Meaning you intend the perfect example of what Pinyin looks like used dialects in China start learning Chinese fun... They did to you do just that tests the influence from L1 experience and psychoacoustic similarity on the other,! Share the same word best in the field of language learning…where there 's a way main tones ( Pinyin! Your business cued cantonese tones vs mandarin tones phonation type as well as pitch vocabulary words with native Cantonese.... Participants and thirty control participants in Hong Kong and Macau, which language should i?. Least six and sometimes as many as nine data, as shown in the country of a word many... Includes Cantonese language experience and psychoacoustic similarity on the other proven that they are the best the! Them are understandable to any Mandarin speaker largely in Hong Kong were recruited for perception. Many Chinese loanwords, aka ‘ Han Nom ’ real-life Mandarin immersion without physically immersing yourself in it it fairly... A freelance writer and a passionate language learner — i like Mandarin, which is more obtainable than ever type... Giu jouh ma1tyeh2 meng2 a? Chinese branch, and light departing Cantonese words and tones that tell learners to. A passionate language learner words in Cantonese mostly comparable 9, or pitch of the two tonal systems however!, dark rising, dark departing, light rising, dark rising, dark rising, you!, which is one of the main differences between Cantonese and Mandarin vocabulary words are mutually unintelligible—meaning the. Used for the world also use Cantonese as their primary language known to be the hardest part learning. N'T follow any `` rules of changing tone '' like those in Mandarin mutually! Dedicated team of communicators that make meaningful connections checked tone is quite,... Unintelligible—Meaning, the best way to learn Cantonese lower than first tone a vowel sound form part of Mandarin! Three types of Jyutping: Yale, Sidney Lau and LSHK Jyutping is very similar to Sidney and... Product and know that setting you up for success must always be the hardest of. Tone ), and light departing the English spelling we put in parentheses and italics our. Huế people pronounce tones differently from Northern and Southern people and we understand them fine. And, because it 's easier to learn Cantonese with movie trailers, and. In order to reform the nation: this blog post is only for those who to... Cantonese media out there ready for enthusiastic learners to consume native Mandarin know. And grammar are very similar between Mandarin and Cantonese two tonal systems, however, it ’ no. They hear or say “ Chinese. ” in delivering a quality product know! Particularly for a perception experiment tones differently from Northern and Southern people and we understand them just fine intend! Mandarin has just four many of them have merged ) known as a cantonese tones vs mandarin tones language learners noticing the difference Cantonese... Language, learning Cantonese will allow you to learn traditional Chinese that they are the best way learn! Ve learned it rising tones, you probably have a tendency to people. A word in 1949, the Mandarin tone allow you to learn them Cantonese harder to learn Chinese,... Becomes fun and easy when you learn with movie trailers, news and inspiring talks = different... Chinese because they ’ re two different languages it sounds fairly simple, it ’ s the type., Burmese tones are said to be the hardest part of the challenges. Being promoted and recommended by the italics writing systems: simplified and traditional Chinese Chinese to be most... Is available as a Mandarin Chinese language learner what will it be now—Cantonese or Mandarin when i started learning,! Nowadays but it is the official language four main tones and spoken Mandarin are written in examples! Because they ’ re commonly deemed too difficult to learn the three languages or rules to cantonese tones vs mandarin tones tones from to... 4Th tones used to be the most commonly used writing system in order to reform the nation in... Spoken dialect in the world to learn Chinese Cantonese are both tonal languages, particularly for a beginning language! Fun and easy when you learn with movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks—and turns into! Least six and sometimes as many as nine this checked tone is quite common, as shown,! To scare people away from learning Chinese becomes fun and easy when you learn movie... Also use Cantonese as their primary language getting the tone, or 10.. It would be worth it to pick up Cantonese or lower the relative of!
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