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Speaking Like a Pop Star February 21, 2007

Posted by Edwin in Mandarin, Speaking.

I have been talking to a lot of Mandarin speakers on Skype in the past few weeks. Many of them have no problem identifying my ‘Hong Kong Mandarin’ accent (港腔) right away.

One Mandarin speaker kindly pointed out that I tend to mix up the first and forth tones. I realize that it is a common problem for Cantonese speakers learning Mandarin. Many cannot distinguish between the 2 tones. I can tell which tones when they are spoken to me. But when I speak, I tend to mix them up.

Incidentally, there have been more than one person who claimed to like the way I speak, and suggested me to keep the accent. One of them even thinks that I speak like one of the Hong Kong pop stars! Does this imply that pop star speaks bad Mandarin or something?

I have heard that today in Beijing, many youngsters try to imitate that Taiwanese Mandarin accent because they think it is trendy. As for me, I don’t care about which accent to adopt for now. I just want to get rid of my ‘港腔’.



1. Danling - February 21, 2007

I listened to too many HK pop stars when I was in college. They sang in beautiful Cantonese, but usually failed miserably when trying to greet the mainland audience in Madarin. That might actually have changed after I left China. There are more and more movies and music now produced in a joint effort by artists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland, even Korea.

Btw, your Hong Kong accent is fine. It doesn’t impede your communication or my understanding of it. 🙂

2. edwinlaw - February 21, 2007

Danling, thanks for your encouragement!

I find it rather strange that Hong Kong people are very judgemental when they hear people or themselves speaking English. But they usually find it very funny when speaking in broken Mandarin. They would laugh at each other and even themselves.

I am not aiming to perfect my accent. But at least I need to fix my problem with the tones.

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