Lao Zhao on Beijing accents

LÇŽo Zhào took us out tonight for dinner at a friend’s restaurant. His family’s restaurant is halfway between our apartment and work, so over the year we had some fun hanging out, exchanging gifts, learning má jiàng, sharing food, and stuff. In this video clip we were talking about going to China where the national standard Mandarin is the “common speech” (普通话) a.k.a. Beijing Mandarin (北京话). Taiwan’s “National Language” (國語) has a different accent, and our Taiwan friends sometimes like to poke fun at the Beijing accent, which drowns the end of every word in an “r” sound. The sentence LÇŽo Zhào uses as an example near the end is 你是美女, which means “You are a beautiful woman.”

The restaurant was noisy, so you have to lean in to hear him, but mostly we put this video up because it’s a nice example of what LÇŽo Zhào is like. We’ll miss this guy.

5 thoughts on “Lao Zhao on Beijing accents”

  1. Nimen hao — you know, Lao Zhao’s imitation of the Beijing accent “r’s” reminds me of the main character Fugui in the movie “To Live.” Do you remember it? For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out hardly anything that guy was saying, for the very reason that Lao Zhao imitated so well …

  2. One funny thing I forgot to add – they hated the Mexican food we shared that was leftover from the ma jiang night. His wife wouldn’t touch it after she smelled it, and he only managed one small bite. It was really funny to see him tell it: “Oh! It was horrible!” Mingdaw said that they are good examples of typical, traditional/older locals when it comes what they like and don’t like and how they respond to different foreign things. Some of the young people seemed to love it, though (don’t worry Brian and Leslie!).

  3. I watched HERO in chinese (I’m so ignorant I don’t know if it was Cantonese or Mandarin) and Jet Li had a lot of that ‘hurrrr’ sound at the ends of his words. Is that the same thing?

  4. I don’t know… it’s been so long since we watched Hero, though we also opted for the Chinese. There are 8 major Mandarin dialects, apparently. Here’s a nice colourful map. I’ve heard our friends talk about how they can tell the different accents of various actors, and how sometimes their accent can be really noticeable. I don’t remember about Hero, though.

    The young people’s group also had fun making Beijing accents when they were over last for ma jiang.

Leave a Reply!