Comparison of national standards of Chinese

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The Chinese language enjoys the status as official language in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Taiwan. However, the language shows a high degree of regional variation among these territories.

Written standards[edit]

There are currently two writing systems for the Chinese language, namely the traditional Chinese characters and the simplified Chinese characters.

Before 1949, the traditional Chinese characters were the writing system used by the entire Chinese-speaking world. The simplified Chinese characters were prescribed by the authority in mainland China in the 1950s and were promoted in mainland China since then.

Nowadays, the traditional Chinese characters are used in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and most overseas Chinese communities, while the simplified Chinese characters are used in mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore.

Jurisdiction Writing system Standardization
 China simplified Chinese characters List of Commonly Used Characters in Modern Chinese, Xin Zixing
 Hong Kong traditional Chinese characters List of Forms of Frequently Used Characters
 Macau traditional Chinese characters none
 Malaysia simplified Chinese characters character set promulgated by the Malaysian Ministry of Education
 Singapore simplified Chinese characters character set promulgated by the Singaporean Ministry of Education
 Taiwan traditional Chinese characters Standard Form of National Characters

Spoken standards[edit]

In mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore, the standard spoken form is based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin Chinese.

In Hong Kong and Macau, the standard spoken form is based on the dialect of Cantonese Chinese that originated from the city of Canton (also known as Guangzhou) in mainland China.

These two spoken forms are mutually unintelligible.

Vocabulary differences[edit]

In many cases, Chinese speakers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan use different words to convey the same meaning. This difference is analogous to that between pavement in British English, sidewalk in American English and footpath in Australian English.

This section seeks to illustrate the differences in vocabularies by some selected examples. Note that the Malaysian vocabulary is pretty much identical to the Singaporean vocabulary.

Meaning  China  Hong Kong  Macau  Malaysia /  Singapore  Taiwan
(Traditional) Simplified Traditional (Simplified) Traditional (Simplified) (Traditional) Simplified Traditional (Simplified)
bus 公交車/大巴 公交车/大巴 巴士 巴士 巴士 巴士 巴士 巴士 公車 公车
taxi 出租車 出租车 的士 的士 的士 的士 德士 德士 計程車 计程车
police 公安 公安 差人/警察 差人/警察 差人/治安警/司警 差人/治安警/司警 警察 警察 警察 / 員警 警察 / 员警
town square 廣場 广场 廣場 广场 前地 前地 廣場 广场 廣場 广场
laser 激光 激光 鐳射 镭射 鐳射 镭射 激光 激光 雷射 雷射
rapid transit 軌道交通/地鐵 轨道交通/地铁 地鐵 地铁 地鐵 地铁 地鐵 地铁 捷運 捷运
light rail 輕軌 轻轨 輕鐵 轻铁 輕軌 轻轨 輕軌 轻轨 輕軌 轻轨
instant noodles 方便麵 方便面 即食麵 即食面 即食麵 即食面 快熟麵 快熟面 泡麵 泡面
Standard Chinese 普通話 普通话 普通話/國語 普通话/国语 普通話 普通话 華語 华语 國語 国语
potato 土豆 土豆 薯仔 薯仔 薯仔 薯仔 馬鈴薯 马铃薯 馬鈴薯 马铃薯
pineapple 菠蘿 菠萝 菠蘿 菠萝 菠蘿 菠萝 黃梨 黄梨 鳳梨 凤梨
lorry/truck 卡車 卡车 貨櫃車 货柜车 貨櫃車 货柜车 羅里 罗里 貨車 货车
tights/pantyhose[1] 連褲襪 连裤袜 襪褲 袜裤 襪褲 袜裤 褲襪 裤袜 褲襪 裤袜
lunch box/bento[1] 盒飯 盒饭 飯盒 饭盒 飯盒 饭盒 盒飯 盒饭 便當 便当
butter 黃油 黃油 牛油 牛油 牛油 牛油 牛油 牛油 奶油 奶油
air-conditioner 空調 空调 冷氣機 冷气机 冷氣機 冷气机 冷氣機 冷气机 空調/冷氣機 空调/冷气机

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 港人光大倒裝 詞彙自成一格

External links[edit]