Putonghua used by police in Hong Kong

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Police giving orders to fire tear gas at protesters, Kowloon Bay, August 24:

I hear the main leader say what sounds like this in Mandarin:  "Nǐ gāngcái XX(?) fàng xiàlái 你刚才XX(?)放下来" ("You just now XX [?] put down") (some people hear the last three syllables as fàng cuīlèi 放催淚 ["shoot tear gas"]), then they begin to fire volleys of tear gas, after which they put up a banner reading:  "Warning  Tear Smoke".

At least one other leader among the police also speaks what sounds like Mandarin.  Because their voices are muffled by their masks, it's difficult to hear exactly what they are saying, but judging from the cadence and tones, it is Mandarin or other topolect well to the north of Cantonese.  None of what can be heard spoken in this 1:41 minute clip, and there is quite a bit, sounds like Cantonese.



"'Come, comrades, over there!'" (8/9/19)

[h.t. Anders Corr]


  1. Kelvin Chan said,

    August 29, 2019 @ 8:47 pm

    The initial orders sounds vaguely Mandarin, mostly from the 来 sound at the end.

    At 0:27 and 0:54, the leader uses the megaphone to speak Cantonese to warn protestors. The lines are almost identical, but the latter version is more intelligible, so latter is transcribed below.


    ?? protestors
    This is a verbal warning from the police.
    You are participating in an illegal gathering.
    The police order you to immediately leave.
    Or else, the police will use force to disperse you
    And arrest you.

  2. B.Ma said,

    August 30, 2019 @ 3:11 am

    The bit that sounds like "放下来" in Mandarin is just them saying "form check line" again, exactly like in the last post about this.

  3. Fluxor said,

    September 4, 2019 @ 11:53 am

    OP: None of what can be heard spoken in this 1:41 minute clip, and there is quite a bit, sounds like Cantonese.

    It's obvious the OP is mistaken as Kelvin Chan has clearly demonstrated in his transcription. Similarly, a guest post (https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=43437) stated that the phrase "我撐您" is a "dead giveaway" for Mandarin, which is also false.

    Perhaps readers would be interested in a post on how political biases affect one's detection of languages. Obviously, this phenomenon goes beyond just LL authors.

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