Intercultural Communication

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Archive for November 28th, 2006

Taiwanese VS. Mandarin Chinese

Posted by winniepan on November 28, 2006

My article is about Language of Taiwan, and it is focus on the difference from Taiwanese and Mandarin Chinese or so-called Standard Mandarin of Republic of China. It separates the topic into three parts, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. In pronunciation part, it indicates that the main difference between Taiwanese and Mandarin Chinese is the tone. The second part uses some examples to explain how people speak differently with the different grammar. Last, the article indicates the cause of people using different vocabulary are different from loaning words from different countries, technological words, idioms, and words specific to living in Taiwan.

Examining the history of this article, I found out that there are not many big changes in the content and the biggest change is that people add more examples to help readers to understand the text.

After reading this article, I have some pro and con about the text. First, the article mentions after Kuomintang took over the government from Japan, they started to make Mandarin Chinese as the official language of Taiwan and forbad people using different language than Mandarin Chinese. This action produces people’s aversion and they think Kuamintang sees them as secondary citizen. But without this action, people in Taiwan would speak different languages and that would probably cause many misunderstanding. Moreover, how should we educate our children, separate them into different languages schools? I think it is not right that people in Taiwan often examine an issue only on one side (often bad side) instead of to examining in different view. Second, I think it is interesting to look at an article that uses analyzing way to introduce the difference between Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese. As native speakers, we probably wouldn’t find out the reason why it causes different between these two languages. Through this article, I actually learn something which I never pay attention before. For example, people using 有沒有 differently to express the same sentence. Taiwanese would say 你有汽車沒有? (Do you have a car or not?) while Mandarin Chinese would say 你有沒有汽車? (Do you have or not have a car?) However, I think the example is explained a general idea about different styles of speaking but when people speak, they’ve already mixed up the two speaking style. In other words, I think people using language they prefer and not really matter about which style they use. Also, they speak different styles would probably because they speak to different person. People use Taiwanese style would probably talking to grandparents who speak Taiwanese. Nevertheless, by those examples in the article, I think the non-Chinese and non-Taiwanese speakers would at least learn briefly about the two languages as I do. (Nov. 23 2006)

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Wikipedia project: Music of Taiwan

Posted by lucyhuang on November 28, 2006

Since music is an important living necessity for me and background of local music is common sense that we need to have. Consequently, I decide to choose the article “Music of Taiwan” as my topic.

There are four parts in this article, including Hoklo (or Holo), Hakka, aboriginal music, and pop& rock. “Taiwan is densely-populated and culturally diverse, including a majority of Han Chinese.” As a result, most features of music in Taiwan are transcended by Han Chinese. At the beginning, we know that main groups in Taiwan are Holo, Hakka and aboriginals. Instrumental music (like beiguan and nanguan), Taiwanese puppetry, Taiwanese opera and Holo folk music are music genres that the Holo brought to Taiwan. And “mountain songs” is the most distinctive form of Hakka. It might relate to their living style. In the aboriginal part, although aboriginals are just minority compared to Holo and Hakka, it has more significant place because of its special and delicate creativity in music. As to the pop & rock part, it mentions, “Until the 1987 lifting of martial law, Taiwanese pop fell into two distinct categories.” That is, Taiwanese pop and Mandarin pop. I think the time stands for when music industry has been set free. As time goes by, more and more different kinds of pop music emerge. And present music culture in Taiwan is various and changeable.

For those who use Wikipedia to realize music of Taiwan, my suggestion is that they could pay more attention to Aboriginal music. Recently, aboriginal culture has been promoted and emphasized more and more. This article does mention several successful examples. However, plenty of aboriginal singers have brought much more influences on pop music than those mentioned in the article. Some of those singers insist to sing and compose only aboriginal songs instead of following the pop music trend, like Hon-yen Wang (王宏恩); some sing pop music with aboriginal elements or styles, like A-mei (張惠妹); some go into the pop music field even without being known as aboriginals, like Vivian Hsu (徐若瑄). Each kind of these aboriginal singers influences Taiwan pop music. Since pop music is the mainstream now in Taiwan, I think it’s important to observe the phenomena how aboriginal has to do with pop music.

On the other hand, there is a confusing part for me– the Roman phonetic transcription, especially those music instruments and genres. It might also confuse people who use Wikipedia to know more about music of Taiwan. My suggestion is that the transcribed words of specific music terms should be all added with clear interpretation altogether but not just some of them.

Overall, I did gain general impression of early development from the article, especially Holo and Hakka parts which I was not very familiar with. That helps me realize where those traditional music forms appear. Besides, the article doesn’t change a lot through history. Most of the changes are mainly about the unspecific terms used.

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