Cantonese Pronounciation Causing Outrage in Toronto's Chinese Community

Cantonese Pronounciation Causing Outrage in Toronto's Chinese Community

News readers face dispute over Cantonese pronunciation
Group says OMNI, Fairchild usage ‘differs’ from the language that most viewers speak
JAMES RUSK, Globe and Mail

A dispute over the form of Cantonese spoken by announcers on Toronto-based television news broadcasts that has been quietly simmering in the Chinese community is breaking out publicly just in time for the Chinese New Year.

At this weekend’s Toronto Lunar New Year festival, the Cantonese Culture Promotion Society will be seeking signatures for a petition urging Fairchild and OMNI Television anchors to change the way they speak Cantonese, Vivian Tsang, spokeswoman for the group, said yesterday.

Ms. Tsang said the group was set up last year to try to persuade the two stations to reverse a move, begun in the late 1990s, to use a pronunciation standard “that differs from what regular Cantonese speakers would use.”

The stations now use a form of Cantonese that grew out of a movement, which started in Hong Kong in the late 1980s, to improve pronunciation. At that time, many intellectuals were promoting a unique Hong Kong culture before the former British colony reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, she said.

The languages rectification movement has been driven by one man, Richard Ho of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who bases his rules about the correct pronunciation of Cantonese primarily on his interpretation of a 1,000-year-old dictionary of Chinese rhymes, she said.

The changes to Cantonese pronunciation that he has proposed have been adopted by the public broadcaster, Radio Television Hong Kong and by Hong Kong’s education authorities, she noted.

But the changes have not been taken up in China’s Guangdong province, where most of the 200 million Cantonese speakers in the world live, and many Cantonese intellectuals and scholars take issue with them, she said.

Prof. Ho’s version of Cantonese was brought to Canadian Cantonese-language broadcasting by a number of prominent journalists who moved here from Hong Kong in the late 1990s and early this decade, she added.

Two problems crop up when this version is used here, Ms. Tsang said. Younger Chinese-Canadians learn to pronounce words in a way that most Cantonese speakers, including those in their own family, cannot follow, and viewers of the news programs are often confused by what they hear.

She said, for instance, that during the height of the native occupation in Caledonia, Ont., the broadcasters used a pronunciation of the word “dispute” that most of their viewers would have interpreted as dog fighting.

She said her organization wants the two stations to adopt the form of the language most Cantonese speakers in the Toronto area actually use in their daily lives, but neither station has responded in a way that appears to open a discussion of the issue.

Connie Sephton, assistant manager of Fairchild Television, said the company realizes that there are different schools of thought on how Cantonese should be pronounced, but added, “We don’t want to take any positions on that.”

She said what is important to the company is that it is consistent and uniform in the language it uses and that it uses the form most people understand.

OMNI Television did not respond to a call yesterday.

In the 2001 census, Statistics Canada reported that there were 145,490 people whose mother tongue was Cantonese in the Toronto area.

This probably underestimates the number, as the agency also found that there were 165,120 people whose mother tongue was an unspecified Chinese dialect. Given the pattern of migration from China to Canada, the majority of this group would be expected to speak Cantonese.

www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ ... ational/Television/

Source: Globe and Mail, 16 February 2007.

正音運動 - 是否日常用語

糾紛 = '糾' 字讀成 '狗'
報刊 = '刊' 字讀成 '看更' 的 '看'
渥太華 = '渥' 字讀成 '握手' 的 '握'
購物 = '購' 字讀成 '內疚' 的 '疚'
任劍煇/任達華 = '任' 字讀成 '淫'

這些所謂 '正音' 絕對不是加拿大廣東話華人的日常用語,
At least I myself do not talk like this.
溫哥華好像沒有這個問題。
please find below link, 王亭之 is one of the canadian chinese who is against the 正音 propaganda initiated by 何文匯.
the propaganda was quickly adopted by rthk in the 90s, and in my opinion, is to create more soundbites amid losing ground to commercial channels.

http://www.kankanwoo.com/masterjournal/journals.asp
想起李天命提及的語文古董主義及語文暴民主義
我想我是屬於後者
本人不認識多市或溫市的華人結構
但既然已離開廣東人的地方
何不自創一套當地的華文
何苦拘泥於"正統"

在香港, 新移民入侵令懶音變成主流, ng 音續漸消失
為了不做古董, 本人開始無奈地接受了