er (儿化) represented in writing

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by avagacchāmi, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. avagacchāmi New Member

    I know a guy who worked at a dumpling truck called Chirba Chirba, and we got into a debate about whether 'chirba' would be written as two characters or three. If a person is from Beijing and pronounces the er, would it be written like this: 吃儿吧 or this: 吃吧 or are both possible and acceptable for someone who pronounces the er?
  2. yuechu Senior Member

    Canada, English
    When I saw the characters 吃吧 at first, I thought that maybe he was telling you to eat :p

    Although I used to always include 儿话音 when I type/write, a friend in Beijing told me that people usually say it but don't type it (I evidently type Chinese more often than I write it!). I suspect this might be true a lot of the time (even though I have seen it written sometimes).
    上班儿 vs 上班; 事儿 vs 事

    We'll see the native speakers say!

    PS. Just to confirm (since this is a bit of a confusing point which I myself didn't understand for years): are you talking about the Beijing pronunciation of "chi" which has an "r" sound and sounds like "chirp"? In that case, it is not 儿话音 even though it sounds like it--it is simply a Northern pronunciation of the syllable "chi" (which contains an "r" sound and would not be written "chir", as confusing/counterintuitive as that is). The syllable "chir" in pinyin, however (which is 儿话音), sounds like the English word "char" (in a rhotic accent) and can indeed be written as a separate character for emphasis。

    EDIT: Oh sorry, avagacchami, I think I misunderstood your original post. I thought you were talking about the dumpling seller's name but you're talking about what he was 'calling out'/saying to you, right? In that case, I can tell you the answer, since I asked the exact same question about a zhi/shi/chi syllable once: the answer is no (for the reason mentioned in the PS above). [Chinese speakers: Do correct me if I am wrong, however!]

    PPS: Ah, I must be a bit slow tonight.. "Chirba Chirba" is the name of the dumpling truck, right?
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013
  3. tarlou Senior Member

    There are two possibilities:
    1. "Chir" is just the sound of 吃 instead of Pinyin+儿化. You know the vowel of 吃 is quite different from "i", so probably "chir" is just an approximation of the sound of 吃. In this case the word does not have 儿.
    2. "Chir" is 儿化 indeed. In this case, 儿 may be written and may be not. There are too many 儿化 syllables in oral speech and we can't write all the 儿's out.

    I'm also living in the rhotic region, but the verb 吃 is never er-ized in my dialect. So I suspect whether "chir" actually means erization. But let's wait for a Beijinger to tell if 吃 can be er-ized in Beijing dialect.
  4. yuechu Senior Member

    Canada, English
  5. stellari Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    Although I speak with a great amount of er's, I usually don't write them out. UNLESS you intend to explicitly show the accent of the speaker, or want to add a colloquial feel to what you write. For the name of the truck, if you are going to write '吃(儿)吧' twice, then 吃吧吃吧 is definitely better than 吃儿吧吃儿吧; A good name usually consists of two to four characters. Six would be too long. The repetitive use of 儿 makes it even worse.

    On the other hand, if you prefer to write it only once, then 吃儿吧 might be better than 吃吧; The latter is the just too short and too general, which wouldn't make an strong impression on customers.
  6. avagacchāmi New Member

    Aaaah! Now I understand! Thank you for the great answers. Your knowledge is much appreciated!
  7. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    I find it very odd to see an 兒 between 吃 and 吧. I accept "北京的吃兒", in which 吃兒 is a noun, and I also accept "他吃兒飯後就上班去了", in which 吃兒飯 means 吃了飯, but "吃兒吧, 吃兒吧" can only mean "Eat your son! Eat your son!" to me. So my answer to OP's question is: NO. Only "吃吧, 吃吧" is appropriate in writing.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016
  8. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Funny... cause I interpreted the 吧 in 吃儿吧 as "bar" so ba1 and not ba0.
  9. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    Interesting! So 吃儿吧 means "Food Bar", in which 吃儿 is a noun meaning "food".
  10. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    I think the English name is Chirba Chirba because if we use Pinyin to name it Chiba Chiba, English speakers would pronounce it very differently.
    A Beijnger usually only writes 吃吧吃吧, as technically chirba/吃儿吧 doesn't exist as a word in Beijing dialect or in standard Mandarin, unless someone deliberately wants a stylish brand name (can be a good name for a bar).
    The retroflex consonant "ch" in Beijing-style Mandarin requires curling the tongue much more than the English "ch", that's why "r" is added in the name.

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