"Hong Kong police" speaking Mandarin

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Click on the 1:26 image to start the video:

I asked a number of graduate students from the PRC, who are generally not sympathetic to the Hong Kong protesters (or do not feel free to admit that they feel sympathetic to the protesters), for their opinion about the nature of the language being spoken.  Here are their replies:

1. MANDARIN SPEAKER:  Yes, I believe they were speaking Mandarin, rather than Cantonese, and the subtitle is correct ("趕緊走了嘿!走了,走了,趕緊的!")  [VHM:  "Let's go right away, hey!  Let's go, let's go, right away!"]

2. MANDARIN SPEAKER:  Yes, that is Mandarin. I am curious when the Hong Kong protests will stop, almost all my friends who were there a few months ago already left now. And even some Ph.D. students quit. No matter what they were arguing for or arguing against, now Hong Kong has been seriously damaged and I'm afraid that Hong Kong is not likely to recover in a short time. Capital is turning to Shenzhen.

BTW, I watched a Hong Kong documentary movie Yellowing 亂世備忘, it's about the Umbrella Revolution. Really interesting, I highly recommend it if you are interested.

3. CANTONESE SPEAKER (ALSO KNOWS MANDARIN):  I think he says two sentences which are both Mandarin!

a. 趕緊走了喂。
b. 走了,走了,趕緊的。
The second one sounds like a northern topolect since southern people prefer to say 快點. However, in the first sentence, the modal particle "了喂" really sounds like Cantonese.

4. CANTONESE SPEAKER (ALSO KNOWS MANDARIN):  Cantonese speakers do not say things like 趕緊的, but 趕緊走了喂 has a Cantonese ring to it. I may say the speaker is not a Cantonese but he has lived in an area full of Cantonese speakers. [VHM:  That might mean a northerner who was garrisoned in Shenzhen.]

5. BOB BAUER (SPECIALIST ON CANTONESE):  In their natural, spontaneous speech Cantonese speakers don't say 了liao5 as a marker of completed action

I think they would say it only when reading a text of standard Chinese in which it occurred.

6. CANTONESE SPEAKER (ALSO KNOWS MANDARIN):  The soldiers are speaking a kind of Mandarin from Northern China, and they don’t sound like to have any accent of Cantonese.

Cantonese would never say “趕緊的”.

We would say ”行啦”. And “走啦” is natural too. Sometimes “走” means “跑” [VHM: "run"], which is the same as Classical Chinese. e.g. “今次算你走得快”.

[VHM:  #4 and #6 are both from Guangzhou.]


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

"Putonghua used by police in Hong Kong" (8/29/19)

"Simplified characters in Hong Kong police newsletter" (8/15/19)

[H.t. Anders Corr; thanks to Yijie Zhang, Zeyao Wu, Lin Zhang, and Buyun Chen]

1 Comment

  1. Si Jiu said,

    October 13, 2019 @ 3:50 am

    On the basis of this and similar bits of evidence many of us in Hong Kong have suspected for weeks that the Hong Kong Paramilitary Force is recruiting from across the border.

    But what's even more concerning in this clip is that, for no tactical reason whatsoever, these masked, unidentifiable storm troopers fire several rubber bullets and about two dozen pepperball rounds at eye level toward unseen demonstrators who pretty obviously pose no threat to them.

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