|Question:||Mandarin or Cantonese|
Is learning Cantonese and interest or necessity to you? Because basically everyone you will need to communicate with in HK speaks English anyway.
July 6, 2012, 10:38 a.m.
The languages have about 90% or more the same vocabulary and are mostly written the same way. However, the words used in colloquial every day speech can be quite different in the two languages, and the pronunciation of the common vocabulary is quite different.
I would learn Mandarin for now, since this is the most useful language in the long run. In any case this gives you a good based for Cantonese. Once you are in Hong Kong you will find which language you are most motivated to learn, and then you should go for it.
July 7, 2012, 12:36 a.m.
If English, French, German, Dutch, etc, were written with the same characters (Chinese style), would we say that the vocabulary is the same but with different pronunciation? (for those words which match in meaning) Well, having experienced those languages as they are, our answer would have to be no. However, because the languages of Chinese share the same script and it's the script which unifies them, the languages there are, in a way, seen as deriving from the writing system. Also, the fact that they are considered by most as 'dialects' of the same language, which isn't true at all, contributes to this perception.
The writing system within China, has been far more influential on languages in East Asia (and part of SE-Asia) than other scripts around the world.
"If English, French, German, Dutch, etc, were written with the same characters (Chinese style), would we say that the vocabulary is the same but with different pronunciation? "
I think we could do so with the German/Dutch pair, or the Spanish/Portuguese pair.
And aren't the numbers 1, 2, 3, .... 10 sort of "ideograms" with different pronunciations ?