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Questions Regarding Chinese Language

bdalton

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Moderator's note: This post is derived from the following thread.

Simplified: 花园里的战士好过战场上的园丁
Traditional: 花園裡的戰士好過戰場上的園丁

Two questions: 1. Are Mandarin and Cantonese different dialects or languages and is this related to simplified and traditional in any way or does simplified and traditional only refer to Mandarin?
2. Since (as far as I know) all Chinese is written vertically and read right to left, how would I split the traditional phrase into two lines? I don't want to split it in the wrong spot and end up with the end of one part at the beginning of the next.
 
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nice gaijin

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Two questions: 1. Are Mandarin and Cantonese different dialects or languages and is this related to simplified and traditional in any way or does simplified and traditional only refer to Mandarin?
2. Since (as far as I know) all Chinese is written vertically and read right to left, how would I split the traditional phrase into two lines? I don't want to split it in the wrong spot and end up with the end of one part at the beginning of the next.
Hi @bdalton, thanks for your questions. I'm no expert but I'll try to answer as best I can.

1. this question has almost become a political one, and some people are really opinionated on how "close" they are to each other. I think they're just considered different dialects, which share the same grammar structure and written system, but are pronounced according to their own rules. They are written using the same characters, but mainland China (which uses putonghua or "standard" mandarin) will use the simplified set, while Hong Kong (which uses guangdonghua or Cantonese) still uses the traditional set, for the most part. Meanwhile Taiwan, who uses a traditional set of hanzi, also speaks mandarin. You can read simplified and traditional hanzi in either dialect, so I don't think it matters so much.

2. Modern Chinese is more commonly found written horizontally, left to right. As for breaking the phrase up, I think you just want to avoid splitting compound words like 戰士 and 戰場. So I guess, somewhere near the middle? like:

SimplifiedTraditional
花园里的战士好过
战场上的园丁
花園裡的戰士好過
戰場上的園丁

I don't think you'd put 好过 at the beginning of a line, but my Chinese isn't good.
 

bdalton

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Hi @bdalton, thanks for your questions. I'm no expert but I'll try to answer as best I can.

1. this question has almost become a political one, and some people are really opinionated on how "close" they are to each other. I think they're just considered different dialects, which share the same grammar structure and written system, but are pronounced according to their own rules. They are written using the same characters, but mainland China (which uses putonghua or "standard" mandarin) will use the simplified set, while Hong Kong (which uses guangdonghua or Cantonese) still uses the traditional set, for the most part. Meanwhile Taiwan, who uses a traditional set of hanzi, also speaks mandarin. You can read simplified and traditional hanzi in either dialect, so I don't think it matters so much.

2. Modern Chinese is more commonly found written horizontally, left to right. As for breaking the phrase up, I think you just want to avoid splitting compound words like 戰士 and 戰場. So I guess, somewhere near the middle? like:

SimplifiedTraditional
花园里的战士好过
战场上的园丁
花園裡的戰士好過
戰場上的園丁

I don't think you'd put 好过 at the beginning of a line, but my Chinese isn't good.

Thank you for help, you know more Chinese than me. I learnt a little about the culture and customs when I was teaching Chinese international students in Auckland NZ. Very respectful people, as their teacher I experienced that first hand. Especially when they took me out for lunch after graduation to one of their restaurants, not the watered down Westernised version of their beautiful food. Some of the best food I've ever had, including a really ugly but amazing fish.
 

nice gaijin

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Shared meals, the international language of hospitality! I've had some lovely memories of the generosity of Chinese folks, especially when it comes to food.
 
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