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Taiwan Vocabulary


I’ve been using Chinesepod for a while now, and generally every bit of vocab I’ve learned I’ve tried to use as much as possible. The girlfriend is from Beijing and has what I would say is pretty standard Mandarin so I was a little confused when a few of the words I used she simply didn’t recognize. So I get out the ole’ Chinesepod app, and I’m stunned to discover that some of the words are Taiwan specific vocabulary! When you guys moved to Taiwan I was slightly worried this might happen, and although I can accept it I would rather you provide notice when words will be Taiwan only, and provide the standard Mandarin word as well.




I have a hunch that many people in Taiwan aren’t aware which parts of their own active vocabulary are Taiwan specific. Including the CPod team. Perhaps they could get a mainland-based editor to review the content. I don’t think this will happen though. It seems that there are not even any mainland-based teachers for subscribers willing to pay for on-line tuition. It seems they have made a clean break with Shanghai and the mainland, for whatever reason. That said, I think some users have gone a bit overboard in criticizing this shortcoming of the “new” ChinesePod. Its still a pretty small percentage of the overall vocabulary, and if your girlfriend hasn’t broken up with you over it yet maybe it shouldn’t be a deal breaker for the rest of us.




As much as you’re entitled to that opinion, and linguists will argue it until the end of time, it’s simply not the reality of communicating. And I think the vast majority of us on this site are trying to learn standard Mandarin, which like it or not the Taiwanese version is not. Even Beijinghua is not standard Mandarin. It might just be me, but if it isn’t good enough for CCTV it shouldn’t be on a Chinese lesson for people learning Standard Mandarin. But hey it won’t change, and frankly this site is still quality so I’ll keep giving them my money! Still have lots of older episodes with John and Jenny in the good old days :wink:


She’s tempted… :no_mouth:



“Not the reality of communicating”

I seem to have no problem communicating with native speakers from the mainland and taiwan. I use what I learn, if they tell me I said something that’s specific to a certain region that’s fine, I take a mental note, and don’t lose any sleep after.

I’m not sure if I’ve seen or heard linguists actually bring this up as a issue. That being said, I don’t care what linguists debate about anyways. I am not a linguist.

Anyways, if you want some really standard learning material try “hanban new practical chinese reader” with cd.


But the very fact that it’s been brought up is itself an issue. I lived in Taiwan for sometime and picked up quite a few parts of their Mandarin and they are most certainly different. Even words which are the same are occasionally pronounced differently(France being one). The difference between American and British English is extremely minor and clearly mutually intelligible but I doubt people would appreciate being sold American English when they’ve paid for British English. Also there’s no comparison between a podcast and book learning. What made this website so great was that it was both entertaining and worthwhile; at this point I’m less confident I can trust what I’m learning is accurate. Anyway I sincerely am glad the distinction does not bother you, but I find the idea of speaking a non-standard variety of Mandarin unappealing and I’d just hope that Chinesepod would rectify this issue in some way as it is advertised as a method of learning standard Mandarin.


I was concerned about this as well, however, I also subscribe to the classroom package so I have several tutors available to me. Some of the instructors are from Taiwan, but several of them are also based out of mainland China. I was considering mixing things up by scheduling lessons from both, which will expose me to the different nuances for Taiwanese Mandarin and Mainland Mandarin. I know that this approach may be cost prohibitive for some, but there is no replacement for one-on-one conversations in the language you are trying to learn.

Best of luck,



I think of it this way- as an American, do I have ever have any problems communicating with British people? No. Do I sometimes not understand their crazy words? Yes, but I have the ability to have a conversation about it and ask what it means.

Fiona and Gwilym use English words that I don’t use. That does not prohibit me from understanding and I’m fairly certain we would be able to have a conversation. Mainlanders and Taiwanese tend to listen to and watch media from both places, and while they may say a few words differently and have different accents, they have little problems understanding each other. To the user that says that France is pronounced differently in China, I didn’t know that, but I am certain that that would not interfere in a conversation.

If your goal is communication in Chinese, this will help get you there if you put in the time to learn it. It’s definitely not going to hold you back. Maybe you’ll say 礼拜 instead of 星期,or you’ll be confused in Beijing and the 儿化, but once you start speaking to people, you’ll figure it out.


I have had the same issue and I’ve only studied a few lessons on the new Cpod. When I visited some friends in Xiamen recently they pointed out that I was using some Taiwanese vocabulary (learned from this site). I’ve been learning Mandarin for several years and don’t really want to start learning the Taiwanese dialect of Mandarin as I have no intention of living in Taiwan. I would have thought it would be easy enough just to put (TW) after vocab that’s more specific to that province. However, It would be interesting to see what the equivalent vocabulary is, so hopefully they will consider that as an option.


Interesting point, I find it to be the opposite. All the vocab I learn seems to be for Beijing and not for Taiwan. This is a problem since I aim to learn Taiwanese-Mandarin.

As many people have pointed out about Mandarin. It varies even within China and other Mandarin speaking countries. I try to get the basics and then work out the bugs with my girlfriend in Taiwan. Figure out what the locals like to say.

Best of luck!


You are correct that Mandarin differs from province to province and country to country. The benefit of learning standard Mandarin is that it is understood everywhere by educated speakers. If you learn a provincial variant like that spoken in Anhui, Taiwan or Guangzhou you are slightly restricting your usage. My Ayi is from Hefei and her pronunciation is far from standard and not one that I would like to learn or adopt. It would be useful if they simply noted vocabulary that is in common usage in Taiwan and offered standard equivalents. I have dictionaries that mark words if they are in more common usage in specific regions of China.

I can’t complain too much as I get a free subscription, but I used to be a paying subscriber, and subscribed for Mandarin Chinese. If they advertised as Taiwanese-Mandarin it would allow new subscribers to make an informed choice. I frequently travel for work in China and I’m often complemented on speaking standard Mandarin and would like to continue to focus on improving that. I will stick to the archives :slight_smile:


To suggest that they are teaching “Taiwanese mandarin” here is a gross exaggeration. If you spoke to enough people from taiwan or southern china you would know the differences in pronunciation and wouldn’t make that comment for the fact it displays you really don’t know what your talking about.

If you studied enough lessons you would also know that they do mention when some vocabulary is regionally specific. From my experience, the people who nit pick about this topic are usually beginners that are way ahead of themselves. Please provide facts not useless conjecture. Show me some vocabulary or grammar taught here that anyone who speaks mandarin won’t understand. Otherwise this thread is worthless and is only confusing those who don’t really know.


Another thing that no one seems to mention ever, is if you can read hanyu pinyin then you automatically know the “standard” pronunciation of the characters since thats what its based on. :rocket:


You missed my point and I didn’t say that people wouldn’t understand the vocabulary. If they have started to note when certain vocabulary is regionally specific then that is great news!! I’ve been using John&Jenny lessons so didn’t realise they started doing that. When I subscribed to the new Chinesepod I listened to a couple of lessons on my flight down to Xiamen (where they obviously have a good understanding of Taiwanese Mandarin) and over dinner my friends pointed out that few words and expressions that I used (taken from the lessons on my flight down) were more commonly used in Taiwan and so I decided to just focus on archived lessons.

I’m not sure why you feel so impassioned about this and why you think I’m making this up - seems very strange. I think requesting that regional specific vocabulary be marked as such is a reasonable request and as you stated (I won’t ask you to post examples as I can’t see why you would make that up) they have started doing that - that’s great news, so, what’s your problem? why the ‘way ahead of themselves’, ‘useless facts’, ‘worthless and confusing’, ‘really don’t know what you’re talking about’ - isn’t that slightly rude and perhaps fanatical?



Is this image from a movie?


Yea it’s from Kung fu wing chun. Actress name “bai jing”. Kinda fit the mood lol.


You’re both wrong and rude. (BTW, the person writing this is from Guangxi, and has lived in Beijing for the last 20 years - do you think you know Mandarin better than me?)



Why resurrect a dead thread to inject a pissing contest.

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