Dominant style of Cantonese spoken in Vancouver/British Columbia?
Thread poster: xxxvwkl
xxxvwkl
Canada
Local time: 08:12
Chinese to English
+ ...
Sep 19, 2010

(I first posted this in the Chinese forum and then realize this is also relevant here. Please advise if I should post a link to the original post instead.)

Hi fellow translators,

I am currently working on a project that involves providing localized transcripts in Cantonese, for a client in Vancouver. It has already been decided that Cantonese, out of all the Chinese dialects, will be used, and I agree with it that part because IMO, in that locale, the Chinese speaking population is currently dominated by Cantonese, with the majority of these speakers originating from Hong Kong. And thus I have been using the dialect of Hong Kong Cantonese (广东话) for the project so far.

However, suddenly a conflict occurred, where another person working on the project (from the client's side) introduced what appears to be another Cantonese dialect used possibly elsewhere in the province of Guangdong. I am not expert in all these various dialects but it appears that part of it comes from the Mandarin vocabulary. The body of the project now contains a grating mix of vocabulary from distinctively different locales (there is a good reason why even though we say "Cantonese" in English, we sub-categorize it into 粤语、广东话、广州/广府话 etc.in Chinese!)

I understand that most non-Chinese or even Chinese speakers would say these sub-dialects are almost the same, but in the context of this project, the results are quite bad. And mind you, I am not talking about the very colloquial, spoken style of Cantonese here. I am talking about the style you would find in newspapers and government publications.

I was hoping to find some references that show that the dominant flavour of Cantonese spoken in Vancouver/Greater Vancouver Area is the Hong Kong-style Cantonese, but there is not much online data available. The 2006 Canadian population census has data that actually distinguishes Hong Kong from the rest of China for ethnicity, and Cantonese from Taiwanese, Mandarin etc. for mother tongue. However there is simply no information that pinpoints what I need. For example:

http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/topics/RetrieveProductTable.cfm?ALEVEL=3&APATH=3&CATNO=&DETAIL=0&DIM=&DS=99&FL=0&FREE=0&GAL=0&GC=99&GK=NA&GRP=1&IPS=&METH=0&ORDER=1&PID=89272&PTYPE=88971&RL=0&S=1&ShowAll=No&StartRow=1&SUB=702&Temporal=2006&Theme=70&VID=0&VNAMEE=&VNAMEF=&GID=838071

I would appreciate if anyone can give advice on where to find this data or how to deal with this, to get the project running again.

Oh, and I understand that this topic can be subject to some very heated debates, so I would like to request that the discussion be kept on topic. Thanks in advance for your input!

Cheers.


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Michael Barnett
Local time: 08:12
English
+ ...
Dominant Chinese dialect in Vancouver? Sep 20, 2010

It seems I am seeing more and more Mandarin speaking patients these days, mostly from the PRC, but they were preceded by immigrants from HK.

I am sure you can obtain all the information you need from this source:
http://www.cbavancouver.ca/

Regards,

Michael

[Edited at 2010-09-20 01:50 GMT]


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:12
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Why bother yourself? Jan 24, 2011

Vikki Leung wrote:

The body of the project now contains a grating mix of vocabulary from distinctively different locales (there is a good reason why even though we say "Cantonese" in English, we sub-categorize it into 粤语、广东话、广州/广府话 etc.in Chinese!)

Cheers.


I guess you are making things too complcated. There is practically no need to categorize Cantonese into all these variations as you mentioned.

Use the logic you have used, you can sub-categorize Mandarin into a couple of thousand "dialects", because the Mandarin that is spoken varies a little bit from county to county. There are more than 2000 counties in China. There is practically no need to do such a sub-categorization.


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Mako Ruan
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:12
English to Chinese
+ ...
BC stats Mar 19, 2011

Hi Vikki,

Here's the stat from 2006:
http://www.welcomebc.ca/local/wbc/docs/diversity/2006/Mainland-Southwest%20DR%20(2).pdf

Though personally I would say Mandarin speaking population could have caught up with the Cantonese by now, with "Unspecified Chinese" remains about the same percentage. In Cantonese language in general, I don't find people usually getting heated up about the different variations, at least not as much as in Mandarin.

I would suggest you to go ahead with the HK dialect, I'm pretty sure that's the widely used "official" Cantonese variation in BC.

Hope this helps.


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Ambrose Li  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:12
Chinese to English
+ ...
Cantonese in government publications? Mar 19, 2011

Vikki Leung wrote:

However, suddenly a conflict occurred, where another person working on the project (from the client's side) introduced what appears to be another Cantonese dialect used possibly elsewhere in the province of Guangdong. I am not expert in all these various dialects but it appears that part of it comes from the Mandarin vocabulary. The body of the project now contains a grating mix of vocabulary from distinctively different locales (there is a good reason why even though we say "Cantonese" in English, we sub-categorize it into 粤语、广东话、广州/广府话 etc.in Chinese!)

I understand that most non-Chinese or even Chinese speakers would say these sub-dialects are almost the same, but in the context of this project, the results are quite bad. And mind you, I am not talking about the very colloquial, spoken style of Cantonese here. I am talking about the style you would find in newspapers and government publications.


Do you actually mean Cantonese (colloquial speech put into writing)? I am under the impression that it is rare to have actual Cantonese (that is more than just a few words here and there) in newspapers and government publications.

As far as I know, 粤语、广东话、广州/广府话 really are the same, and/because they all are imprecise terms—except that 粤语/广东话 could be considered more general and some might use these to refer to a different dialect (and by dialect I don’t mean just a different locale but an actual different dialect like Chiu Chao or Taishan).

[Edited at 2011-03-19 22:35 GMT]


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