[Wikipedia-l] Re: One Chinese Wikipedia

Mark Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Wed Sep 15 08:10:40 UTC 2004

On Wed, 15 Sep 2004 13:31:56 +0800, Lorenzarius <lorenzarius at gmail.com> wrote:
> I am no opinion on zh-min-nan but I have a few things to say about your message.
> On Tue, 14 Sep 2004 17:09:43 -0700, Mark Williamson <node.ue at gmail.com> wrote:
> > First and foremost this problem could be looked at in terms of Cantonese.
> >
> > Modern Cantonese actually has two different versions, one that is just
> > reading text written for Mandarin speakers but with Cantonese
> > readings, the other being using Cantonese grammar and vocabulary words
> > that Cantonese has but Mandarin doesn't.
> >
> > Until very recently the latter had the higher status in Hong Kong and
> > Macau, however upon reunification the former gained the higher status.
> >
> > Most Cantonese speakers, even if they don't know Mandarin, can read
> > texts written by a Mandarin speaker with little difficulty, but much
> > of the sentences are not how they would say them in everyday speech.
> I am a Hongkonger and I speak Cantonese. And I think what you're
> talking is really messed up. We write "written Chinese" (書面語) not what
> you called "reading text written for Mandarin speakers". And this
> "written Chinese" is the same "written Chinese" in Beijing or in
> Shanghai or in any part of China. Chinese people write Chinese in its
> common form: before the New Written Language Movement (AD 192x - 193x)
> this common form is "wenyian" (or Classical Chinese), and after the
> movement this common form is "baihua" (Modern Chinese).

Exactly. And Baihua is based on Mandarin.

> It is true that what we speak is not what we write. But no one
> actually write "Cantonese" except in very vulgar or very casual
> occasions, like when I'm IM-ing with my friends. We don't teach how to
> write Cantonese in school, and I think that not much people really
> know how to write correct Cantonese.
> > Then there is also an issue with Classical Chinese which is very
> > different from modern Mandarin. Until very recently any sort of
> > reference work like an encyclopedia would've been written in Classical
> > Chinese which was the literary language.
> Perhaps you're right if "until very recently" means several decades ago.
> <snip>

Yes, that could be considered "very recently".

--Jin Junshu/Mark

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