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China, Culture, Language

Chinese poems


If you know just Mandarin, you cannot fully appreciate the beauty of Chinese poetry. All rules for poems refer to pronunciation in one of the traditional (read: Cantonese) languages, which have 8 tones. Remember, all Chinese is written the same way, so you can read and pronounce it in any of the dialects you fancy. It wouldn’t sound nearly as good if it’s not Cantonese or at least some other 8-tone variation. The flow is disrupted, rhymes may vanish. But you’ll get the sense. You’ll be able to tell that a waterfall was pretty, but
wouldn’t get why no one but that poet could say that for all these years. And I don’t even know Mandarin. You can tell how far I am from fully appreciating the beauty of Chinese poetry.

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