Where did the negative connotation come from? Isn't the accent spoken on the mainland closer to how most mandarin speakers were speaking prior to the civil war?
Jonathan Chen Immigrated to the U.S. at 12 went back where I came from at 27
upxed Oct 29
Isn't the accent spoken on the mainland closer to how most mandarin speakers were speaking prior to the civil war?
First of all understand that prior to the civil war there was no such term as “Putonghua”. Depending on where people are from they spoke the local dialects that are mutual unintelligible to one another. The term “Putonghua” was coined to set a national standard the same way the KMT government coined the term “Guo-Yu” – both denote “Standard Chinese”.
You might be surprised to learn that Sun Yat Sen only spoke Cantonese and Japanese. They unearthed these recordings of him speaking Mandarin which kind of sounds like a Japanese guy trying to speak a foreign language:
As for Taiwan no one spoke Mandarin before the KMT government only the Min Nan dialect (today referred to as “Taiwanese”) and Hakka. The KMT forbid the Min Nan dialect in both schools and media for years in order to push Standard Chinese. The ban was still in place when I was in junior high in 1986. Interesting anecdote because my 1st/2nd grade homeroom teacher was from Beijing I was criticized by the older people in the family for speaking with the “er” sound. Even though technically I was learning the “standard” or “superior” accent.
Where did the negative connotation come from?
As Lawrence Chiou pointed out whatever so-called negative connotation comes from the Taiwanese person’s own biases against China. As of 2016 numerous Mainland Chinese TV programs have been hugely popular in Taiwan including their version of “The Voice” historical soaps and variety shows. There’s certainly a pocket of Taiwanese people generally older (>55?) that have a strong preference to the Min Nan dialect and there are at least 2 TV stations that cater to that niche. Generally speaking however I’ll be shocked if I see two guys under the age of 30 speak to each other in Min Nan.
正如 Lawrence Chiou 指出的那样：这些所谓的负面印象来自于台湾人自身对于中国的偏见。截止2016年，无数大陆的中文节目在台湾广受欢迎，包括大陆版的“好声音”、古装肥皂剧以及各种综艺节目。当然，台湾也仍然还有一部分人 （通常是55岁以上）仍然偏好于讲闽南语。台湾目前至少还有两个电视台（使用闽南语）来满足这部分人的需求。但是，总的来说，如果看到两个30岁下的年轻人在一起用闽南语交谈，会让我感到很震惊。
On a semi-related note whenever I see news reports interviewing “man on the street” in China I’m always astonished at how well-spoken people are. They are able to form a coherent opinion that is relevant and succinct (maybe there’s a lot of editing who knows?). Compared that to the typical Taiwanese person who will “Hm” “Ah” “like” “I don’t know” as if they’re being waterboarded. The exasperated reporter literally has to ask a yes or no questions just to get a response they can use.
So no I don’t think the OP’s experience with his “Taiwanese friends” are representative of what’s going on. In fact I would say it’s more of a non-issue.
Lawrence Chiou Biophysics PhD student at Stanford
Written May 14 2015
Lawrence Chiou 斯坦福生物物理学博士
The bias some Taiwanese may have against the general mainland accent is at least partly due to general Taiwanese prejudices against the mainland and their perception of the mainland as being less developed and well educated.
Another reason is perhaps linguistic. While a Chinese television broadcaster who perhaps represents the most "standard" pronunciation would likely be easily understood by all (and thus perceived as "educated") many mainland Chinese have certain accents and regionalisms that may be difficult for Taiwanese or even other mainlanders to understand. In many cultures thicker or regional accents are associated with lower social status and less education. (Consider for instance the stigma against even well-educated Americans with a Southern accent or Britons with an Irish accent; I have difficulty understanding some of the more exotic British accents.)
In all there seem to be some similarities with what happened between the US and Britain. It turns out actually that the English spoken by Americans is closer in pronunciation to what was spoken by both the British and American colonists prior to the American Revolutionary War. It was actually only after the War that the British elite took it upon themselves to mispronounce "r" sounds thereby emphasizing their social class. Nowadays British English is often perceived to be more educated than American English even though it is undoubtedly less "original."
I definitely have the impression that to a certain extent many well-educated Taiwanese are somewhat self-smug with their lack of retroflex (zh ch sh r) sounds even though they're well cognizant of the fact that it is less "proper."
我一直有一种印象，许多受过良好教育的台湾人在某种程度上都有点自鸣得意，发音都缺乏翘舌音（zh ch sh r），虽然他们也意识到了这样做并不“适当”。
Roger Do lived in Taiwan
Written May 14 2015
Part of it comes from the vocabulary. Part of it is the mandarin spoken in China are heavily accented by regional accents (China after all has a few provinces.) Some are no doubt simple prejudices. And others are due to the syntactical construction of the many tourists who are not highly educated.
Also Taiwanese have this view of mandarin as being a pure and lovely movie quality language. It's not. Most of the mandarin spoken in Taiwan professional society is a variant of the court-mandarin (This is what mandarin really means.) and it's a refined speech like court English. Not something American would ever have worry about except in the South.
Feifei Wang I spend about the same amount of my life in China and in the US.
Written May 15 2015 R26; Upvoted by Eric Lim Used to work at Taipei Economic and Cultural Center Office.
I'm from Beijing. Mandarin is primarily based on Beijing dialect. When you're talking about Mandarin in its truest form we're talking about Beijing dialect. It is the court dialect used by many Manchu emperors and noblemen. Beijing dialect was what originally called “官话" (literally means official dialect). Beijing dialect has more "er" sound that's not present in standard Mandarin but that's just original Mandarin being watered down so people from other regions has an easier time to pronounce it.
My experience with Taiwan people regarding my dialect is nothing but praises. I get the comments like "Oh you're from Beijing? No wonder your 国语* sound so good". *国语 national language Taiwan's name for standard mandarin.
So it's not that Taiwan people look down upon people who speak mandarin. They probably look down upon people who can't speak mandarin the way they expect mandarin should be spoken as in "like a Beijing person".
Mandarin especially Beijing dialect is a beautiful and expressive dialect with very tonal pronunciation and when speaking well and fluently has a rhythmic singing quality.
Written May 17 2015
Nobody has mentioned vocabulary that was proletarianized in the PRC. 厕所 for was normal on the mainland but sounds vulgar in Taiwan. 爱人 was normal for "spouse" but outside the PRC still sounds like "lover". Some of these choices have tended to go bougie-fied on the mainland in recent decades but the impression may have stuck.
KW Lu know something about China
Written Jan 6 2016
The Mandarin is based on Beijing dialect so the Beijingers can proudly claim that the Mandarin they speak is nearly perfect.
The Mandarin spoken in Taiwan has an accent of Fujianese ( a southern dialect ) so to the ears of mainlanders the Taiwanese version of Mandarin is very feminine with that southern accent. A guy from Beijing probable will frown upon the way and certain words their counterpart in Taiwan would prefer to use as it appears so sissy. On the other hand the Taiwanese who get used to the Mandarin they speak with certain softness would find the mainland version rough or 'uneducated' as they described.
There are a lot of sounds Taiwanese Mandarin speakers DO NOT use which are required in putonghua. For example they do not
produce “curled tongue” sounds such as ch zh sh ri (in pinyin romanization a system that IS uniquely used on the Mainland).
Putonghua is also very clear about the distinction between “sh” and “s” “r” and “l” and “l” and “n” which is not
always the case in Taiwan. These differences might help explain why putonghua can sound harsher and more clipped that
Taiwanese Mandarin and also why many people feel that the Taiwanese accent is softer and more feminine than anything you
would hear in northern China. (People in southern China very often have many of the same pronunciation struggles that
Taiwanese people do.)
有很多在普通话中必须要用的音，这是说台湾话的人一定不会使用的。比如，他们不会发像：“ch zh sh ri”（唯独在大陆使用的罗马字符的
The question of education doesn’t really factor into any of this and somewhat ironically I believe these differences also mean
putonghua is actually a more complicated language phonemically. (***Real linguists please feel free to correct me here.)
Of course there are other factors such as volume (it would not be an inaccurate generalization to say Mainlanders speak much
more loudly on average) vocabulary (the differences are similar to those between “British” English and “American” English)
and then subject matters (doors to thoughts obviously) discussed by speakers (in real life or in the media) but I don’t know
how one would measure the sophistication of the same “level” of different forms of the same language bias removed.
Rainnie Tang 23 years as a Chinese
Written Dec 16 2015
The most standard Mandarin is spoken in Beijing.
Taiwanese have a strong accent.
While Beijing people is seldon heard to say that people in the rest part of China sounds uneducated Taiwanese do. LOL what makes them have such a high opinion of themselves.
Besides a wise man never belittle the others to build himself up.
Well last year a vedio became popular in which a Taiwanese said that people in mainland are all poor because they cannot afford trea eggs which can only be seen on the table of a rich family. It's already become a big joke in the Internet of Mainland China. How do they come up with so many ridiculous bias? They are genius!
Chara Chan born and raised in Sichuan China
Written Oct 29
Mandarin is based on Beijing dialect but not equal to it. This is what I copied from the Internet
For more info please refer to the lix: 官话（语言） - 搜狗百科
更多信息请点击官话（语言） - 搜狗百科
So it’s a combination of Nanking and Beijing dialects which means that Taiwanese specially those highly educated scholars who migrated from mainland to Taiwan have a higher chance to speak more standard Mandarin.
2. I think “uneducated” might refer to the choice of the words and phrases we use not our accent.
3. You don’t spend time reflecting on Taiwanese’s remarks which are less reliable than those made by HKers. My Taiwan friend uses vulgar languages as well especially when he calls me from the US when he’d even discuss the differences between the mainland and Taiwan dirty languages but you can only find his Confucius quotations or fluent English on the current issues on Facebook which fits his background as an engineer who received his degree in 台湾交大. So he can be both educated and uneducated at the same time.
My principle of dealing with the Taiwanese: I only buy half of what they told me.
Eric Lim Used to work at Taipei Economic and Cultural Center Office.
Written May 14 2015
Well I'm not from China but I do not agree with those who think that Mainland's accent sounds uneducated. Actually Mainland's accent sounds more mature and official than Taiwanese's accent in my mind. Anyway Taiwanese accent sounds smoother and cuter in some way. And what make people think that Mainland's mandarin sounds uneducated is maybe becuase the mainlanders speak or talk to each other so loud in public which sounds uncomfortable sometimes(but some Chinese's mandarin sounds really annoying in some way).
Paul Denlinger Have lived in China Taiwan and Hong Kong; fluent in Mandarin (written spoken)
Paul Denlinger 曾在中国，台湾及香港居住，汉语流利（书面及口语）
Written Oct 27
There are too many media companies in Taiwan and many of them are owned by pro-independence businesses which want to stir up contempt for mainlanders.
The cheapest shows to produce for television are talk shows and more often than not these talk show hosts talk about how unreliable untrustworthy and uncivilized mainlanders are.
Extreme examples are cited and because no context is offered many Taiwanese assume that this is normal in the PRC. Repeat this an infinite number of times and you understand why most Taiwanese have a bad impression of mainland Chinese including the Mandarin they speak.