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Thread: Cantonese pronunciation

  1. #21
    Senior Member mawguy's Avatar
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    oh, no worries, kidd -- i was as curious as you! i've seen the word in subtitles too, but i never really bothered to look into pronounciation! yeah, the pronounciation key can be really confusing when you use the dictionaries sometimes -- it's like trying to understand wade-giles when you don't have a linguistics background.

    my mom's come across several instances where a pronounciation key is misleading because a lot of people don't know to take into consideration the "exceptions" that result in the change of tonality/pitch. and she says the other major problem with using dictionaries, even the kang-hsi is that they are still based on mandarin (for obvious reasons), so the canto isn't always pronounced that way.
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  2. #22
    Senior Member mawguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidd View Post
    Furthermore, I was not sure if the pronunciation rule that applies for 女 applies to 囡 or not. They are after all, 2 different characters.
    oh yeah, just to be absolutely clear -- i was thinking and writing, so it may not have come across properly: 囡囡 is said exactly the same, no change in tonality. it's just 女女 that has the low to high structure. i swear cantos were french in a previous life. :P
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  3. #23
    Senior Member mawguy's Avatar
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    i just wanted to share this story 'cause it's funny, but it says a lot about the complexity of canto pronounciation, with it's 9 pitches, versus mandarin. this is not meant to be disparaging to mandarin in any way, so please don't take offense, mando-speakers. just facts.

    there was a student going for the beginner levels of the imperial exam, and a guy was there to take attendance. he came across this name: 樂樂樂. puzzled, he tried saying a few combos: lok lok lok, ngok ngok ngok, lok ngok lok, ngok ngok lok, etc. no one responded. it was getting embarrassing. so, he went to the inner room, and one of the examiners came out. he looked at the name, and shouted, "ngao ngok lok", and someone answered to it.

    i believe in mandarin, the word as surname is pronounced the same was as music, so the equivalent in canto would be ngok ngok lok. but cantonese adds a third sound, ngao (same pitch as 教). and in the hierarchy of meanings, music comes before happiness, so it's ngok then lok.

    another instance where mando and canto differ when it comes to distinguishing how surnames are pronounced is the case with the taiwanese singer 費玉清. the mando is fei yuching, but the canto is bei yuk-ching, bei with the pitch of 氣.

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  4. #24
    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mawguy View Post
    oh yeah, just to be absolutely clear -- i was thinking and writing, so it may not have come across properly: 囡囡 is said exactly the same, no change in tonality. it's just 女女 that has the low to high structure. i swear cantos were french in a previous life. :P
    So,

    囡囡 - neui1 neui1
    女女 - neui4 neui2

    Am I right?
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

  5. #25
    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mawguy View Post
    i just wanted to share this story 'cause it's funny, but it says a lot about the complexity of canto pronounciation, with it's 9 pitches, versus mandarin. this is not meant to be disparaging to mandarin in any way, so please don't take offense, mando-speakers. just facts.

    there was a student going for the beginner levels of the imperial exam, and a guy was there to take attendance. he came across this name: 樂樂樂. puzzled, he tried saying a few combos: lok lok lok, ngok ngok ngok, lok ngok lok, ngok ngok lok, etc. no one responded. it was getting embarrassing. so, he went to the inner room, and one of the examiners came out. he looked at the name, and shouted, "ngao ngok lok", and someone answered to it.

    i believe in mandarin, the word as surname is pronounced the same was as music, so the equivalent in canto would be ngok ngok lok. but cantonese adds a third sound, ngao (same pitch as 教). and in the hierarchy of meanings, music comes before happiness, so it's ngok then lok.

    another instance where mando and canto differ when it comes to distinguishing how surnames are pronounced is the case with the taiwanese singer 費玉清. the mando is fei yuching, but the canto is bei yuk-ching, bei with the pitch of 氣.

    the wonders and complexities of chinese!
    This reminds me of the name 酈食其. At the end every episode of 'The Conqueror's Story' and actor will tell a bit of info related to Chu-Han history. In one episode he talk about 酈食其 and he actually tell viewers don't mispronounce. His name is 'Lik Yi Gei' even though the characters are usually read 'Lik Sik Kei'

    Btw, I check dictionary. The pitch for 樂 is not the same as 教 but 校.

    I can never differentiate pitch 4 and pitch 6. I listen to them a number of times in mdbg.net, but, can never catch the difference.
    Last edited by kidd; 11-03-10 at 12:33 PM.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mawguy View Post
    there was a student going for the beginner levels of the imperial exam, and a guy was there to take attendance. he came across this name: 樂樂樂. puzzled, he tried saying a few combos: lok lok lok, ngok ngok ngok, lok ngok lok, ngok ngok lok, etc. no one responded. it was getting embarrassing. so, he went to the inner room, and one of the examiners came out. he looked at the name, and shouted, "ngao ngok lok", and someone answered to it.

    i believe in mandarin, the word as surname is pronounced the same was as music, so the equivalent in canto would be ngok ngok lok. but cantonese adds a third sound, ngao (same pitch as 教). and in the hierarchy of meanings, music comes before happiness, so it's ngok then lok.
    CUHK gives the surname as "Lok" - http://humanum.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/Lexi...h.php?q=%BC%D6

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidd View Post
    So,

    囡囡 - neui1 neui1

    Am I right?
    The second 囡 has a rising tone - at least when I have heard it colloquially. Mawguy has it right IMO but the tone on the 2nd char. is higher than 許 more like 推 but again he pointed this out too:

    Quote Originally Posted by mawguy View Post
    it's "nui nui", but the pitch is like 雷 then 許
    Quote Originally Posted by mawguy View Post
    囡 is pronounced "neui/nui" with the pitch being the same as 推 and 雖.

  8. #28
    Senior Member mawguy's Avatar
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    hi kidd! i could never figure out the pitches by numbers that are used, so i really don't know how to answer -- CFT probably has it right!

    CFT: for the pronounciation of the surname, that's what i was told -- my gran went through the old private tutor system, and that's what she told me was the correct way to say the surname. so, can't argue what's right/wrong since i don't know!
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  9. #29
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    No problem.

    I can't do the tone numbers either. I have to have a commonly used char. that does not have ambiguities like multiple tones etc.

    I'm sure I've read somewhere that when you have a repeating character then frequently there is a tonal change on the 2nd char.

  10. #30
    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CFT View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kidd
    So,

    囡囡 - neui1 neui1

    Am I right?
    The second 囡 has a rising tone - at least when I have heard it colloquially. Mawguy has it right IMO but the tone on the 2nd char. is higher than 許 more like 推 but again he pointed this out too:
    Quote Originally Posted by mawguy
    it's "nui nui", but the pitch is like 雷 then 許
    Quote Originally Posted by mawguy
    囡 is pronounced "neui/nui" with the pitch being the same as 推 and 雖.
    Thanks, but what you said is different from mawguy. The first sentence of hers you quoted, the 'nui nui' in that sentence refers to 女女. The second sentence you quoted, she explained that 囡 is pronounced with the same pitch as 推 and 雖 which has the same pitch.

    Also, neui1 is same tone/pitch as 推. I'm using the Yale romanisation.

    The 囡囡 - neui1 neui1 conclusion comes from mawguy's explanation below.
    Quote Originally Posted by mawguy
    oh yeah, just to be absolutely clear -- i was thinking and writing, so it may not have come across properly: 囡囡 is said exactly the same, no change in tonality. it's just 女女 that has the low to high structure. i swear cantos were french in a previous life. :P
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

  11. #31
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    ^^
    Read her post again. If 囡 is indeed the character people use colloquially for a little girl then the 1st + 2nd chars. are pronounced differently. 1st tone is like "thunder", 2nd tone is like "push".

  12. #32
    Senior Member mawguy's Avatar
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    canto is my 2nd language, haha, so i was just going on what my mom said. i think for 囡囡, it's best to check with someone who speaks mando, since it's their term of endearment. CFT is absolutely correct that for repeating words, the pitches change, but i wonder if that applies to only canto or to mando as well.
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  13. #33
    Senior Member mawguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CFT View Post
    I can't do the tone numbers either. I have to have a commonly used char. that does not have ambiguities like multiple tones etc.
    yes, i use the same system of finding a common character with no tone ambiguities -- but that's still hard because sometimes you do say those words with a different tone in certain sentences, depending on context. or worse, sometimes there's no commonly used character for some pitches, so you're left wondering how exactly you're to write the pronounciation for yourself! tonal languages can get so complicated!
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  14. #34
    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CFT View Post
    ^^
    Read her post again. If 囡 is indeed the character people use colloquially for a little girl then the 1st + 2nd chars. are pronounced differently. 1st tone is like "thunder", 2nd tone is like "push".
    Yes, I read all hers posts carefully. I did not say you were wrong. I said you read mawguy wrongly because what you and her were saying were different.

    You wrote
    but again he pointed this out too
    which mean you think mawguy and you have the same idea. But, what you and her said were actually different. When you explain about the first and second tone being different she was talk about 女女. She explicitly said 囡囡 has same those for first and 2nd character.

    I repeat. I did not say you were wrong in your explanation of the pronunciation. I just pointed out that you and mawguy have different ideas.

    You can read all her posts in sequence again and see, and pay attention to this sentence.
    囡囡 is said exactly the same, no change in tonality. it's just 女女 that has the low to high structure.
    Anyway, thanks for helping.
    Last edited by kidd; 11-03-10 at 01:03 PM.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

  15. #35
    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mawguy View Post
    CFT: for the pronounciation of the surname, that's what i was told -- my gran went through the old private tutor system, and that's what she told me was the correct way to say the surname. so, can't argue what's right/wrong since i don't know!
    CUHK also give the pronunciation of 囡 as 'naam4'.
    So, CUHK seems to have different concept than what your mom and gran learn. Maybe on is old system, one is new.

    This site, on the other hand, said 樂 for surname is pronounced as 'ngok'

    http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dic...298/?full=true

    This site use both
    http://www.hm68.com/dictionary.php?pid=2&word=%E4%B9%90
    Last edited by kidd; 11-03-10 at 01:14 PM.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

  16. #36
    Moderator kidd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mawguy View Post
    canto is my 2nd language, haha, so i was just going on what my mom said. i think for 囡囡, it's best to check with someone who speaks mando, since it's their term of endearment. CFT is absolutely correct that for repeating words, the pitches change, but i wonder if that applies to only canto or to mando as well.
    Cantonese is my first language. I grow up speaking it. But, I'm just not well versed with written cantonese because of the following reasons
    1) I'm not a Hong Ker and my country's formal chinese education teach mandarin
    2) I'm not chinese educated. I self learn most of the chinese characters. So, I can read but cannot write chinese.

    So, I know how words are pronounced in Cantonese. I'm just not sure about the writing. My question came about because I was looking for the correct character for the word 'neui neui' or 'leui leui'.
    什麼是朋友?朋友永遠是在你犯下不可原諒錯誤的時候,仍舊站在你那邊的笨蛋。~ 王亞瑟

    和諧唔係一百個人講同一番話,係一百個人有一百句唔同嘅說話,而又互相尊重 ~ - 葉梓恩

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