Lara Goes Local ⑨: Speaking Hainanese with Friends

By By Cai Rong&Lara Netherlands&Chen Mingfu / HICN / Updated: 15:18,07-October-2021

Anywhere in China, for a non-native to learn, not only Modern Standard Mandarin, but also the local lingo - that’s a whole new level of linguistics. From the slightly different pronunciations or vocabulary choices of a local idiolect to the completely different sounds of a regional dialect, they say they're all the same language, but there can be times that this is hard to believe.

In this episode of Lara Goes Local, Lara visits a little market street near Dongmentang Fresh Produce Market in Haikou where the names of all the different fruit and vegetable stalls nearly all start with the same Chinese character. In Mandarin, the first character of your name is your family name (as opposed to the Western way of writing surnames after your name). But this is not the case at this market. The first character, 阿 (pronounced as “ah”), is actually a way of addressing someone close to you in the Hainan dialect and it is followed by the last character of your Chinese name. After having a chat with a shop owner to gain a deeper understanding behind this local habit, Lara was inspired to ask some non-Chinese if there are similar "rules" for addressing close friends in their countries’ native languages.

Click on the video above and learn from Lara how to address your close friends from other countries in their native languages!

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