Main Site Blog Help

Are Mandarin speakers from Taiwan more strict on tones?

I try my best to practice my Mandarin to my friends from Mainland and Taiwan.

My Mainland friends say my tones are fine (not perfect, but fine), but my Taiwanese friends always point out how my third and fourth tones are not sharp enough…

Also, my Mainland friends seem to have a more relaxed attitude when it comes to tones (i.e. tones are different in every region you go to anyway or it’s all about the context because no one pronounces the tones the way they are in the dictionary in real life conversations, etc.) but my Taiwanese friends insist that I have to be very precise.

My Taiwanese friends that 大陆腔 is very… 很土 and my Mainland friends say 台湾腔 is 很嗲.

I feel like Mainland speech flows smoothly, never really starting, never really ending but Taiwan speech is pronounced clearly syllable by syllable (ta-ta-ta-ta-ta).

I don’t know. What do you guys think?

1 Like

Maybe you just happen to have mainland friends who are overly patronizing and Taiwan friends who are overly pedantic. You definitely don’t want to be lazy about mastering the tones, but do try to understand tone change rules and be aware that the classic textbook “V-shaped” tone contour of the third tone is probably seldom enunciated other than by teachers in the classroom in most contexts.

I also probably don’t have “sharp” third and fourth tones. And my first and second tones are not great either. Other than that I get by with waving my hands around a lot . . . :relaxed:

I agree with the @podster here. Most likely it’s just your friends. I have friends from Taipei and they never really correct me, unless I’m way off or I ask them to. I also think the more comfortable someone is with you then they will be more open to correcting your mistakes.

In my opinion the most important thing is to understand and be understood. Everything else is secondary. Personally I prefer the 福建 style of speaking mandarin, but that’s just me. All that 很嗲 很土 talk is bigotry.