Do you consider erhua (儿化) standard?

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

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  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.
    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.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2015
  10. 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 :)
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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'.
  14. 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
  15. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    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.
  16. James Bates Banned

    English America
    What about 哪里,那里,and 这里?Are they considered standard Mandarin like 哪儿,那儿,and 这儿?
  17. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    Both 哪里, 那里, 这里 and 哪儿, 那儿, 这儿 are considered "standard" in both Mainland China and Taiwan. However, 哪儿, 那儿, 这儿 are more colloquial than 哪里, 那里, 这里. And, when a Southerner says 哪儿, 那儿, 这儿, the r sound will not be as clear as Northerner's, like the difference between American English and British English.
  18. James Bates Banned

    English America
    So would 我会说一点点英语 be acceptable as standard 普通话? What about 我会说一点英语?
  19. Yujan Chou

    Yujan Chou Senior Member

    Both are grammatically correct, but strictly speaking, 一点点 suggests a less amount than 一点 does, thus 我会说一点英语 sounds a little more confident than 我(只)会说一点点英语 does. Similarly, 我想吃一点你的蛋糕(I want to have a taste of your cake) suggests a little more amount of cake than 我想吃一点点你的蛋糕 does. I would say 一点点 is less used than 一点 unless you tend to emphasize the small amount or extent.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  20. James Bates Banned

    English America
  21. James Bates Banned

    English America
    What about in ”没事儿。“ (meaning "No problem.")? Is it necessary there?
  22. Jamshed Aslam Banned

    Toba Tek Singh
    Mewati - Pakistan
    I don't know about that, but I do know that it is supposed to be "没有事(儿)". You forgot the 有!
  23. brofeelgood

    brofeelgood Senior Member

    Zürich, Switzerland
    English, 中文
    It's fine to leave out the 有. The meaning remains the same.

    没事, 没问题, 没关系 etc. are all idiomatic.
  24. Jamshed Aslam Banned

    Toba Tek Singh
    Mewati - Pakistan
    Thanks! But you didn't answer James Bates' question.
  25. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    No. 兒 is not mandatory in 沒事(兒). Bro already gave his answer. Didn't you notice 沒事 in his post without an 兒?
  26. Asadullah Banned

    Pashto - Pakistan
    Skatinginbc: Are you from Taiwan? You're using traditional Chinese! By the way, do you Taiwanese people use erhua in 没事, 一会, 一块, etc.?
  27. StargazerT3

    StargazerT3 Member

    Chinese - China
    My hometown is Beijing, and we do "er" a lot.

    No, 儿化 is a characteristic of some Northern Dialects (北方方言), for example the Beijing Dialect (京片子), and it is NOT standard at all.

    没事 is more "Standard" than 没事儿.
  28. Jamshed Aslam Banned

    Toba Tek Singh
    Mewati - Pakistan
    There are, however, a few words where 儿化 is standard (and not doing 儿化 is substandard), e.g. 一会儿 and 一块儿 and 一点儿.
  29. Charsaddawi Banned

    Pashto - Pakistan
    The first two examples you gave are correct but not the third.
    一点儿 can be pronounced 一点 too, and both are equally standard in 普通话. Neither is preferable, as far as I know. They mean exactly the same thing too.
  30. April fool Banned

    Punjabi - West Punjab
    In 普通话 what are the contexts in which you canNOT replace 一点儿 with 一点?
    In other words, in what contexts would 一点 not be considered standard Mandarin?
  31. CWings60 New Member

    [off-topic comments removed by moderator]
    About you puzzles:
    Don't use them in Chinese unless you can master them.
    I'm from the south. I hardly used it when I was in the south.
    But I came to northern China, and I started to use them sometimes.
    And I still can't master it.
    But of course, using it can help you sound more native.
    Even southern Chinese cannot master it, why you consider trying this?
    And I'm for sure, they never occur on our textbooks (except transcripts).

    Never use it on formal occasions.
    You're never allowed/supposed to use it on formal occasions unless you're repeating or rewriting someone's words (like wanna and gotta in English).
    It's totally OK for you to use them in daily life, but when you're being interviewed by language testers or speaking formally you may be judged speaking with accent or using dialects.
    I never used it when in southern China, but use it a lot after coming to northern China. LOL.
    I never think speaking without it is strange, I had spoken without it for over 18 years. No one pointed out I was speaking strangely.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2016
  32. James Bates Banned

    English America
    But you do agree that in some words you have to have 儿化, don't you?
    For example, 一会儿 and 一块儿 and 一点儿. Without 儿化 these words would not be acceptable in 普通话, I believe.
  33. CWings60 New Member

    Yes, but they are really really rare, and I know that all of them have substitutes, which are no doubt recognized as standardised Chinese words.
    Like these: 一会儿→一下(子),一块儿→一块,一点儿→一点。
    I'm for sure it's absolutely not strange to say 一块 or 一点。
    I want to emphasize it again that you can totally speak without 儿化. Every southerner does this. It's not strange at all. Just a way of your speaking.
    But sometimes even when you say 一会儿,that can be regarded as informal. On any occasions, you can use their substitutes. They're informal at no circumstance.
    I really wonder why your teachers would require you to 儿化。I would say as CSL, you never need to 儿化, and we southerners never do that. You just need to know what they're saying if 儿化音 occur.
    All in all, very few words need 儿化; they can be regarded as informal, and substituted by standardised words. There is absolutely no need for you to speak with 儿化音。 You just need to know and understand it.

    Some northerners might tell you it's strange to speak without 儿化音,but that's because they're northerners and they just speak to other northerners.
    It's strange for them to speak without 儿化音 in daily conversations, but that doesn't mean all people must speak with 儿化音。
    On formal occasions and as southerner, you should never use 儿化音。
    Does this help?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2016
  34. James Bates Banned

    English America
    stellari seems to agree that 一会,一块,and 一点 are not acceptable without 儿化 in formal speech.
  35. Ashley0414

    Ashley0414 New Member

    There is no exact standard for 儿化音. Many Chinese from southern area cannot tell where to put the 儿话音, either.
    It will be weird to put 儿 in wrong position. Accumulation from daily conversation is a good way to know more about 儿化音
    Hope this help you.
  36. darren8221 Member

    Mandarin - Taiwanese
    I'm from Taiwan. People here seldom use 兒化音. 一點兒 would be 一點點, 等會兒 would be 等一下, 沒事兒 would be 沒事. People have no problem understanding 兒化音, though.
  37. James Bates Banned

    English America
    What about 没门儿 and 一会儿 and 一块儿?
    And wouldn't you say 一点 instead of 一点儿?
  38. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    一会儿 yì huěr (ㄧˋ ㄏㄨㄜˇㄦ) = 一會 yī huǐ (ㄧ ㄏㄨㄟˇ, e.g., 三國演義: 一會不見動靜; 文明小史: 瞧了一會, 忽然瓜子臉上含著微笑)
    等一会儿 yì huěr = 等一會 yī huǐ "Wait a moment".
  39. James Bates Banned

    English America
    Isn't 一会 pronounced yíhuì (as opposed to yìhuǐ)?
  40. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    一会 yíhuì refers to a "group" (as in 醒世恆言: 今日夏德有采,遭際這一會員外) or "meeting" (as in 会一会).
  41. darren8221 Member

    Mandarin - Taiwanese
    沒門兒 = 不行、不能、不可能。
    一會兒 = 一下 as in 等一下。
    一塊兒 = 一起。
    We say either 一點、一點點、一丁點 for 一點兒。

    I personally just don't use 兒 at all, haha.
  42. Ashley0414

    Ashley0414 New Member

    Both of yí huìer and yì huěr can be used in oral Chinese.
  43. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    yí huìer ==> The result is that some people like me would not be able to understand it--a complete loss of intelligibility.
  44. James Bates Banned

    English America
    So in Taiwan you guys say 一会 (meaning "soon") and 一块 (meaning "together") without 儿化?
  45. Asadullah Banned

    Pashto - Pakistan
    Correct. Also, add 玩意儿 ("thing") to your list of words that MUST have 儿化 (otherwise they will not be considered 普通话).
  46. Ghabi

    Ghabi AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod

    Hong Kong
    Moderator's Note: Please open different threads for different expressions you want to discuss (and search the forum for previous discussions). This thread is now closed to prevent it from becoming multi-topic. Thank you for your understanding.
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