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Core 100 List pronunciations

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Core 100 List pronunciations

Postby deoncui6129 » August 30th, 2011 2:58 pm

I'm going through the list and I'm coming across a few words which don't sit well with me.

Like number 19 for "can", with the suggested pronunciation nang4. In fact the example 能吃 nang4 hek3 sounds like some rural guangdong dialect my great grandmother would use!

I asked my mother to explain these words to me and she clarified that the pronunciations are how they are supposed to be pronounced given the characters used for writing them. She said to me that you would not normally use those pronunciations in HK or GZ.

It would be great in my opinion to add another column for the cantonese alternative for the word in the cases where the written form is not the same as the spoken form.

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Postby oc6549847 » August 31st, 2011 4:56 pm

Thank you very much for your comments!!
That's right, Cantonese can be very formal and informal at the same time.
We'll put your comments into consideration in our next update, so please stay tuned. :)

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Postby simon4883 » January 5th, 2012 4:37 am

The reason the pronunciations seem nonstandard is because they're not Cantonese! The Core100 list (and the other lists as well) are not lists of Cantonese words, plain and simple. They're Mandarin vocab lists. I was very excited to read that there would be these sorts of lists for Cantonese, since they're generally not availible on the web. Vocab lists for Mandarin are all over the place, however.

The example 能吃 sounds weird simply because it's not a Cantonese word. It's the Mandarin expression neng2 chi1. The corresponding Cantonese expression would be 食得, sik6 dak1 (Jyutping). "Nang4 hek3" is what you get when you write down the Mandarin word and then say it with Cantonese pronunciation, but of course saying it with a Cantonese pronunciation doesn't make it Cantonese, any more than reading German with English pronunciation makes it English.

Now, because of the diglossia that is common in Cantonese-speaking areas, Mandarin is generally used for most formal writing. One will encounter situations where Mandarin is read with Cantonese pronunciation (for example in most cantopop songs), so a list like this one is certainly useful (albeit to a student of Cantonese, probably much less useful than a corresponding list of Cantonese words). It is also a lot easier to get such a list for Mandarin, since this work has already been done by others. So I understand why this list is here. However, I think it's wrong to promote it as a "core" list of "Cantonese" words, since many aren't Cantonese at all, and even if they're useful to learn, they're certainly not "core" vocabulary.

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Postby andyhaith2581 » April 11th, 2012 10:02 pm

Agreed. I'm currently not interested personally in learning the words used in formal/written Chinese/Mandarin. It would be useful at the very least to indicate on the flashcards if a word is used in spoken Cantonese, and which aren't.

As things stand I've learned quite a lot of the words, but I've no idea which ones would be normal to use in conversation, and which would get me laughed at! I'll have to go and search outside of this site to find out, which is a shame.

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Postby oc6549847 » April 12th, 2012 2:14 pm

Hi guys,

Thank you very much for your input!
At the beginning of building this site, we were also having the dilemma of using written Cantonese or spoken Cantonese in this site.
Our decision is torn between learners who want to read HK newspaper or books, and those who want to learn conversational Cantonese.

And deoncui6129, thanks for your suggestion! Adding a column for spoken Cantonese could be the solution.
Hopefully this site will be updated soon providing all the info you need!! :wink:

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