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Hokkien and other Chinese dialects

I refer to The Independent Singapore’s article, “Hokkien and other Chinese dialects: Listen to Ong Ye Kung’s daughter” (Dec 18)

A language is generally perceived as an effective communication tool, it also bridges the mental and emotional interactions among large groups of people. Therefore it has a string of sentimental attachments and values too. Similarly, it applies to any local Chinese dialects.

Although respective Chinese dialects have their own uniqueness due to different pronunciation with different meanings of certain vocabulary. For examples, some vocabularies in Teochew. And, it is quite time consuming to master the specific dialect well. Similarly, it applies to other dialects as well.

Undoubtedly, speaking or using any Chinese dialects have their pros and cons:

Pros
As any local dialects are perceived and signified as a continuity of their ancestral roots. It fosters a sense of cordiality and establishes closer relationship, cohesion, synergy, supports or cooperations among people who speak the same dialect.

Cons
It has its limitations in the usage. It could pose unnecessary misunderstanding and suspicion among different dialect speaking clans/circles, as people from the different dialect groups might not be able to understand and grasp the contents and meanings of one specific dialect used.

In acute contrast, Mandarin Chinese alone is the most widely spoken native language in the world: nearly a billion within China alone and 1.2 billion worldwide. That is why Mandarin Chinese or (Pǔtōnghuà), the “common speech,” is officially adopted as one of the official languages in Singapore during its independence.

Despite all the pros and cons, the most key thing we should do is to find commonality and preserve the insignificant differences between the Mandarin Chinese and the respective Chinese dialects. As, it only does more good than harm.

The relevant authority should seriously weigh in the overall situation now and then, and making bold decision by allowing/permitting more local operas, films and dramas of respective Chinese dialects be broadcasted and performed in the mainstream media.

 

Teo Kueh Liang (Mr)

 

 

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READER COMMENTS BELOW

16 Responses to “Hokkien and other Chinese dialects”

  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    Despite all the pros and cons, the most key thing we should do is to find commonality and preserve the insignificant differences between the Mandarin Chinese and the respective Chinese dialects. As, it only does more good than harm.
    ==========================================================================
    Dear Mr Teo,
    Nobody is stopping you from speaking dialects.

    Only those who are brainwashed by
    1. Anglo Saxon “crusader mentality” no half half or
    2. “me vs them” Chinese mentality

    embrace fully their respective mas$ter language.

    I converse with my parent in their dialects.
    No problem at all.

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  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    Whatever language we used, we must make sure we communicate effectively in whatever language that best make people understand and comfortable.

    Why US invite Zelensky to the Congress?
    Effective communication you can’t get anywhere!!!
    22.12.26【觀點│亮點交鋒】美國反覆無常
    https://bit.ly/3veChRI

    Selfish Americunt In God We Tru$t do not want the Ukraine War to stop.

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  • Master:

    Ley our young master English and Mandarin first…more critical skill.
    If they can they can learn their dialect ,especially from their parents.

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  • Zhenzidan:

    Excuse me, “putonghua”, meaning “common Language” for China and Taiwan is Mandarin because everyone can speak that language. In Singapore, we don’t call Mandarin “putong hua” because we have non-Chinese here and our “putonghua” is actually English but we don’t officially acknowledge that just like many younger generations still don’t know that Malay is our National Language.

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  • Zhenzidan:

    Master:
    Ley our young master English and Mandarin first…more critical skill.
    If they can they can learn their dialect ,especially from their parents.

    Hello, dialects can be picked up if the govt reintroduce dialect programs back into our MSM. My generation grew up speaking at least three dialects and English and Mandarin and a little Malay. Parents who were born in the 80s now speak very little dialects. They can hardly hold a conversation in dialects for one hour. Only a handful group of youngster can do that especially getai singers because the organisers strongly hold on to the heritage that was killed off by the Old Bastard who banned dialects 40 years ago!

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  • Light The Way:

    Even when speaking fluent English can also get retrenched or replaced by non-native English speakers with a horrible accent that is hard to comprehend.

    Promoting dialects won’t save your children’s future other than scoring a few more brownie points when closer to GE.

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  • Light The Way:

    In short, when hiring new talent many local companies much prefer a candidate whose speaks English as a second language over a Singaporean educated in English.

    It is also cheaper. Dialects be damned.

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  • TRex:

    It is the people’s right to speak the language of their mother tongue. PAPigs have been instructive and destructive here by implicitly enforcing people to slowly abandon their identity. Many Malays speak bugis, boyanese, Javanese. Chinese speak hokkien, Cantonese. Indians speak Malayalam, Hindi and gujarati. All these are made to be abandon for PAPigs’ vision. They robbed Singaporeans of their full identity. Disgusting.

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    As it STANDS today Chinese or mandarin is compulsory in schools for Chinese not as a mother tongur but A Stand Alone subject…with That Locked in in perpetuity…why deny dialects

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  • Light The Way:

    If Mandarin truly is a second language in SG, then why was $25,900 spent sometime in 2014 on English language lessons for a visiting People’s Liberation Army officer from China?

    Aren’t the local military scholars able to speak and/or write Mandarin?

    Mai sia suay

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  • xoxo:

    Mandarin is not one of the chinese dialect groups here.
    We basically are Hokkien,Teochew,Cantonese,Hainanese n Hakka.
    Mandarin /putonghua hails from Beijing mostly.
    But in $g,we prefer to *chian chua-ji* more than *chian hua-ee*???
    MONEY IS THE DIALECT OF OUR gahmen.

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  • Light The Way:

    Everyday Singaporean Dialects Made Simple:
    qián (Mandarin)
    lui1 (Hokkien)
    zin5 (Teochew)
    cien2 (Hakka)
    cin (Cantonese)
    renminbi (Standard Chinese)

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  • GreatChina:

    Language is a political tool to politician.
    A tool to manage and control the people.

    For the common, language is basic survival tool.

    In democracy, when your electorate cannot understand you, your political career ended.

    Language is not important for conquerer, the Qing and Yuan dynasties as examples, showed us. But Qing did not destroy the language which was foreign to them and instead painstakingly learned them.

    The simplified chinese character practically destroyed large amount of information. Dialects are mostly spoken and usually passes on from mothers. With a society of working females, the amount of time the next generation picking up Dialects is almost non existence. Just two generations will be sufficient to destroy a language.

    Once it’s gone, it will never be the same again.

    A sea of Chinese running away from China, those with nothing else but money goes to Singapore, those with good cultural backgrounds and sophisticated intellects goes anywhere but Singapore.

    Old-lee destroyed a generation just like cultural revolution did, ironically.

    Many see him with wisdom. But he was just another shrewd lawyer controlling a nation of lowly educated peasants with ballot papers in hands.

    These peasants, mostly create next generations of educated peasants. Most passing on their peasant skills and mentally. We see plenty of those commenting in TRE, they may be highly educated, but the peasant DNA is rooted within. It took courage and determination to unlearn the invisible doctrine coded in them. Or at least have the courage to enable their next generation to grow beyond this fake reality.

    A government can’t rob you off your language. Instead we gave it up ourselves for pactical conveniences.

    The song Bella Ciao kept ringing in my ears.
    And singaporean actually insulted it by playing it for their belly dances.

    That is literacy deficiencies.

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  • Light The Way:

    It is not meaningful to promote dialects, when the English language itself has a wide selection of bombastic words which an arrogant bureaucrat could throw at tax payers and political opponenta alike as an insult.

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  • Gerrard:

    Whatever dialect we used! First we must translate accurately what the commoners understand the following to them : 1) Affordability 2) Meaningful 3)Land Cost 4) Construction Cost !

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  • Dialect:

    Let the olds enjoy some dialect .
    It will die a natural death with our youngs.Reality.

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