Originally Posted by grampngram
The difference in China is that someone that speaks Cantonese would probably not be able to understand or converse with someone that only spoke Mandarin. There are 7 main regions. They all speak Chinese of some variation. Within each region are subdialects of each regions variation of the Chinese language. Now if you want to really toss a wrench into the mix, toss in Nepalese and Mongol. Your analogy works with the spanish language. Chinese is unique and the exception to that.
I dont speak Chinese, but I really want to, and hope to learn some someday.
I just had to take part in this conversation, I find Chinese culture (including the languages) so interesting. I just have to add something funny from my experience with Chinese. I went to China with some fellow Antropology student (a sort of study trip, travelled quite a lot around China, but stayed most of the time in Yunnan, a real anthropological heaven), and of course we tried to learn some words and frazes (I tried specially hard, even bought a fraze book for tripple price, and did a lot of talking to people on Chinese, and got laught at by my friends
One of the frazed we all had learned was "I dont understand", a fraze often used by us over there
. Anyway, one we were buying something, and the sales persons were trying to get us to understand something and spoke a lot - in Chinese of course, and we kept telling him "I dont understand", using our language stills. In the end he wrote a whole page and gave to us. A whole page with Chinese signs! We thought, how does he expect a few pale European people to understand all those complicated signs, when we cant even understand what he is saying, we found that kindof funny, well, and silly. When I arrived at hotel again, and told our guide about this, we found out that having all thouse very different dialects, it was quite commom for people not to understand the each others spoken language, even though they have the same written language. So apparently, there are 2 different phrases, one saying "I dont understand what you say" and "I dont understand the written language"....and apparently, we only knew the phraze of not understanding the spoken language, so this must have been this salespersonÂ´s thought when writing this whole page for us....
Sorry how long this post got.....I have so many stories of our language problems, they really still make me laugh
Like going to the lobby and asking where the tea was, and at dinner, asking the waiter to please have more toilet....(I kept mixing the "toilet" and "tea" words)
Oh my I think IÂ´ll stop now before I keep on writing for the rest of the night