Do you consider erhua (儿化) standard?

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by Anatoli, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English


    我有一个问题。 你觉得说汉语的时候用儿化是标准的发音吗?用儿化好不好吗?为什么?

    R-colouring (aka erisation, erhua) - do you consider it standard in mainland China? The reason I am asking is the 'r endings are increasingly used in textbooks, audio courses, these endings are used in standard dictionaries (e.g. ABC). Many Northern Chinese speakers say without 'r endings the words sound weird. I understand if you go South or Taiwan and speak Mandarin, you need to try to get rid of this pattern but what is considered standard. I heard people say, R-Coloring is not used by TV anchors. Is this true. What is your opinion about it?

    My Chinese is not so great, I prefer an answer in English but I can also read some short articles/references if you can provide something :).

    Please correct any errors in my Chinese you spot.
  2. samanthalee

    samanthalee Senior Member

    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    This is just my opinion. Since I am a descendant of Southern Chinese, so I may be mistaken about the Northern Chinese.

    The only time the “baby ” is standard is when used in ""
    (Eg "一会","等会"). It should be written in half the size of other words like the Japanese "baby っ".

    Other than that, it is non-standard and is used as a verbal short form by the Northern Chinese.
    Instead of 明天 míngtiān, they say  míng'er.
    Rather than 这里 zhèlǐ, they say 儿 zhè'er.
    And in place of 事情 shìqing, they say 儿 shì'er.

    I don't think I have heard TV anchors using it, but then again the Chinese in Singapore are mostly descendants of Southern Chinese. I believe it shouldn't appear in formal speech.
  3. quesaisje New Member

    R-colouring is only used by the people in Northern China.Almost every Chinese in Southern China,like me,never use it,while there is still no problem in communication.:)
  4. NextNoName

    NextNoName Member

    Baby 儿 sounds very natural. Maybe because I am used to watching TV dramas from the Mainland. 儿 does give a gentle feeling. Without it a sentence may also be interpreted as a command.

    I would use 明儿 and 这儿 but not 事儿. 事儿 sounds rather frivolous. Well perhaps in the right place.
  5. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Thanks for your answers, guys. I just asked some native Chinese colleagues about R-coloring. They said it sounds weird without it. In some cases it sounds dialectal or local but in many cases it sounds pretty standard to them. Yeah, you guessed it right, they are from North of China. :)
  6. Kwunlam

    Kwunlam Senior Member

    Cantonese, Mandarin, English
    From what I learn from those "standarisation" stuffs, the officials (let say, the examination board of 普通話水平測試) in China have specified which words will require the diminutive-兒, and which words does not require. Likewise, they will specify which words must speak in 輕聲, which one can (optionally).

    Anyway, I think that, at least for the case in Mainland China, 普通話 itself is an artificial language. This artificial language is derived from the local language uses, so it may contain more northern elements. But NOT every northern elements are immediately 普通話 .

    Coming back to the topic on diminutive-兒 here, I would say that 普通話 contain less diminutive-兒 words than the local BEIJING dialect.
  7. kareno999 Senior Member

    Columbus, OH
    Hi Anatoli,

    You don't have to use ErHua. But if you can, that's great.
    You have to know how to pronouce the sound er(二 而 耳 儿). The ErHua in this sound is indispensable.
    If you cannot do that either, that's OK, just like people from GuangDong province or Hong Kong. They make a very funny sound similar to "a".
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2014
  8. Dalian

    Dalian Senior Member

    Shanghai, China
    Well, apart from the R-colouring showing a sense of gentle feeling or diminution, there are some characters in Mandarin containing r-colouring by nature, such as 儿,而,耳,二... Your pronunciation will never be considered correct or standard unless you use r-colouring for these words.
  9. Kwunlam

    Kwunlam Senior Member

    Cantonese, Mandarin, English
    Yes. 兒 is itself a normal word as such. It could attach to certain other words (in particular, monosyllabic words) to create a feeling of diminution or affection. But it is a normal word as such.
  10. Kwunlam

    Kwunlam Senior Member

    Cantonese, Mandarin, English
    But we search "兒" in the Chinese Dictionary published by the Taiwanese Ministry of Education (sorry, I don't know the proper official name):

    We still see many entries ending with "兒".

    So I suppose that "兒" as diminutive is not merely a northern phenomena. In other words, "兒" as diminutive entered into the general usage of Chinese in all parts of Chinese-speaking ("sinophone" ?) regions. The debate is only to what extent and how many words require it.
  11. Anatoli Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    I agree with Kwunlam, that was my opinion as well.

    Kareno999, I have no trouble pronouncing 'er-suffix, in fact, I got used to them - for the words that are usually given in the dictionary - 这儿、玩儿、花儿, etc.

    Dalian, in words 儿子,而,耳朵,二 the sound er is not a suffix, I am aware of this.

    Thanks again all :)
  12. kareno999 Senior Member

    Columbus, OH
    I'm from North China and it does not sound wierd to me if there are few r-coloring in one's speech, but it does sound wierd when there are two much.
    To be frank, many guys from North of China or other Mandarin district(like Sichuan or Guizhou) speak verrrrrrry baaaaadvery bad standard Chinese, if you know what i mean.
  13. jianinjin5 New Member

    The other day, while talking with native Chinese, I used the word "一点儿". So, he said "your Chinese is like 北京话". Actually, in 普通话, people more often use "一点点" than "一点儿". I wondered the end of words "儿" is the feature of 北京话.
    So, are "一会儿" and "一块儿" also 北京话?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2014
  14. stellari Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    Using “儿” is not an exclusive feature of the Beijing dialect, but a wide-spread phenomenon across a vast area of China. As such, it is also an indispensible part of 普通话 as spoken in mainland China.
    However, it is often not used in varieties of Mandarin spoken elsewhere. Many people from southern China may also prefer to not use it. So I presume the 'native Chinese' you talked to is from these regions.

    一会儿 and 一块儿 is definitely standard Mandarin. You may argue that they have Beijingese roots, but the alternative without 儿 is generally NOT acceptable in standard 普通话. 一点儿 can be replaced by 一点点 in some contexts, but I believe 一点儿 is generally preferred, unless you are really talking about a 'very TINY little bit'.
  15. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    Beijing dialect is known for its r-coloring (儿化音). Beijing people speak with r-coloring quite clearly and frequently. That's why some people would get such a feeling.
    Although there are other dialects favor r-coloring, "Beijing dialect" is the most remarkable because, well, it's the Capital's language, hence it's more influential.
    Most Southern Chinese people are not very comfortable with r-coloring.
    When the government constructed 普通话, they deliberately reduced the requirements of r-coloring, for the convenience of other speakers.
    That's why in 普通话, 一点儿 is not strictly required. You can use 一点 instead.

    However, 儿 in 一会儿 and 一块儿 seem to be more necessary.

    After all, even if we all speak 儿, some people could make the sound very prominent, some do not.
    If you pronounce it prominently, some people would "feel like 北京话".
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
  16. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    Southerners do use 一会儿 (as samanthaless said), but the er is not pronounced clearly: usually it's not retroflex, so it sounds more like "hué" (胡+鹅 linked together), rather than "huér". Some may prefer alternatives that don't require the erhua such as 一下(子),一段时间,etc.

    一块 is used without the erhua, but 一起 is more common.
    In Northern China 一块儿 is distinct from 一块 (1 RMB or a slice of cake), while in the South they are distinguished only by context.

Share This Page