Difference between 咱們 and 我們?

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Difference between 咱們 and 我們?

Postby headhonchoII » 05 Aug 2012, 07:27

Rotalsnart wrote:
fh2000 wrote:
Rotalsnart wrote:This is an interesting example of the potential hazard of relying blindly on "native informants" in interpreting written language. :lol: (no offense to yuping1624). But it also goes to show how some older Mandarin terms have fallen out of use or never really established themselves in Taiwan, even some terms that have close counterparts in Taiwanese as Tempo Gain pointed out.


To this native speaker of Chinese growing up in Taiwan, Yuping is correct in how they are used in Taiwan today. Both terms are still used in China though, including my friends from Beijing. The former is more colloquial, and the latter is more formal, among other explanations.


Yes, in a sense Yuping is not incorrect. Her answer gives a part of the picture! I think the issue is that the term 咱們 is barely "used" in Taiwan today -- though it can still be read, or very occasionally heard, in various contexts. Those who grow up occasionally hearing or reading a term without adequate context don't have a grasp of its original uses, just as many English speakers cannot explain the uses of terms like "thee," "thou," "thy," "thine," or the recently disappearing distinctions in the uses of the word "shall" in English -- except perhaps to say that they are old-fashioned ways of speaking.


In the context of Taiwan yuping is 100% correct. As almost nobody knows or uses it as on the mainland. It's all about context.
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Re: Difference between 咱們 and 我們?

Postby Rotalsnart » 06 Aug 2012, 22:41

headhonchoII wrote:In the context of Taiwan yuping is 100% correct. As almost nobody knows or uses it as on the mainland. It's all about context.


Not exactly, though you're right that context is key. The Mandarin term 咱們 is essentially foreign to Mandarin as spoken today in Taiwan, so a Taiwan speaker attempting to answer this question purely based on their "sense" of it, without bringing in some broader contextual knowledge is fundamentally going out on a limb, rather like a native speaker of American English attempting to answer a question about British usage that they have vaguely encountered before. (Of course many Taiwanese will have this broader contextual knowledge from reading or other avenues.)
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Re: Difference between 咱們 and 我們?

Postby ehophi » 29 Aug 2012, 02:43

I think DragonBones answered it in the second post. The linguistic fancy-pants term for it is clusivity.
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Re: Difference between 咱們 and 我們?

Postby fh2000 » 29 Aug 2012, 04:05

I do not know where you folks learned the definition, can you provide your source? There are 2 Taiwanese (myself and Yuping) and a Chinese (suray) in this thread. I do not see any of us acknowledging your definition.
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Re: Difference between 咱們 and 我們?

Postby niaoahgin » 29 Aug 2012, 04:25

fh2000 wrote:I do not know where you folks learned the definition, can you provide your source? There are 2 Taiwanese (myself and Yuping) and a Chinese (suray) in this thread. I do not see any of us acknowledging your definition.


1. "Your" definition? "You folks"? Could you be a bit more specific?
2. Please check ehophi's recent post. By clicking on the underlined term "clusivity" you will find one or two sources.
3. I believe that the OP was very clear in stating that this distinction is not commonly recognized in Taiwan and, as such, was inquiring of those who had knowledge of the distinction rather than those who would simply deny any knowledge of such a distinction.
4. How would the acknowledgement of three individuals (Taiwanese, Chinese, or otherwise) in any way undermine the definitions or explanations provided by other contributors?
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Re: Difference between 咱們 and 我們?

Postby ironlady » 29 Aug 2012, 04:52

Well, we're talking about a linguistic definition of something that is not commonly used in Taiwan. Rotalsnart's posts have explained it very well, including the basis for judgments about what something does or does not mean.

There are all sorts of native speakers, remember. My mother is a native speaker of English, but while she can identify a sentence that "just isn't grammatical" in English, she would be of no use whatsoever to explain any aspect of English grammar or usage. I'm an educated native speaker with Linguistics training, so I can go a bit farther in explaining certain aspects of English usage. But, as Rotalsnart indicated, I would not be able to analyze the finer points of when to use a particular British or Australian word -- unless I had a corpus of data to analyze. In that situation, I could analyze the data as well as the next person (trained in Linguistics).

A single native speaker is always using a very idiosyncratic "micro-corpus" -- his own experience with the language -- as the basis for judgments. What we're trying to do in this thread is bring in other sources. Those sources will very likely contradict the micro-corpus of a person who was born and grew up in Taiwan.
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Re: Difference between 咱們 and 我們?

Postby fh2000 » 29 Aug 2012, 07:44

niaoahgin wrote:
fh2000 wrote:I do not know where you folks learned the definition, can you provide your source? There are 2 Taiwanese (myself and Yuping) and a Chinese (suray) in this thread. I do not see any of us acknowledging your definition.


1. "Your" definition? "You folks"? Could you be a bit more specific?
2. Please check ehophi's recent post. By clicking on the underlined term "clusivity" you will find one or two sources.
3. I believe that the OP was very clear in stating that this distinction is not commonly recognized in Taiwan and, as such, was inquiring of those who had knowledge of the distinction rather than those who would simply deny any knowledge of such a distinction.
4. How would the acknowledgement of three individuals (Taiwanese, Chinese, or otherwise) in any way undermine the definitions or explanations provided by other contributors?


I went thru the thread again, and all I see is someone heard this from a teacher or a class, but no link or book cited. I am interested in seeing where this actually came from:
"I was taught that zanmen (we) specifically includes the listener, whereas women (we) is not clear on this."

Only because some other language has this feature: "clusivity", it does not mean that it also exists in Chinese.

I am interested because though I am a computer scientist living in US for 30 years, I also have a higher degree in Linguistics. In all of my studies, I have not been exposed to this feature for Chinese in the examples cited so far. My family and friends came from all parts of China and no one seem to use it that way.
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Re: Difference between 咱們 and 我們?

Postby hansioux » 29 Aug 2012, 08:01

In Taiwan, 咱們 is more like Y'all
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Re: Difference between 咱們 and 我們?

Postby ironlady » 29 Aug 2012, 09:00

On its Web site, the City University of Hong Kong wrote:“咱們”是北方人常用的一個代詞,“咱們”和“我們”有什麼不同?這是香港學生常問的一個問題。先說“我們”,“我們”是包括說話人自己在內的若干人。例如:一年級的老師對一年級的同學們說:“我們明天去海洋公園,大家說好嗎?”這裏的“我們”包括說話者和全體一年級同學。但如果是一、二年級在一起,一年級老師對二年級老師和同學說:“我們明天去海洋公園,你們呢?”這裏的“我們”只包括一年級的老師和同學,而不包括聽話的二年級老師和同學。

So, "women" could be inclusive and could not be inclusive.

“咱們”則不同,“咱們”是說話人和聽話人的總稱。同樣是上面的情景,不論是一年級老師或二年級的老師對全體同學說:“咱們明天去海洋公園”,“咱們”都表示一、二年級全體同學和老師。那就是說:如果包括談話的對方,就用“咱們”,不包括談話的對方則用“我們”。例如:“明天我們去爬山,你有沒有空兒,咱們一塊兒去。”

And "zanmen" is the speaker plus those listening to him/her.

“咱們”除是說話人和聽話人的總稱外,還可以借指“你、你們或我”,例如:鼓勵一個碰到困難的人時,說:“咱們不怕,只要努力,一定能成功。”這裏的“咱們”對碰到困難的人說,指“你”。又如:“咱們沒上過大學,不懂那麼多道理。”這裏的“咱們”指的是“我”。

And it could also be "you" or "Y'all" or "I". Weird stuff.
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Re: Difference between 咱們 and 我們?

Postby hansioux » 29 Aug 2012, 09:49

The best Chinese pronoun system for inclusive/exclusive we/us/ours can be found in Taiwanese (Holo).

i - guá (我)
we (inclusive) - lán (sometimes written as 咱)
we (exclusive) - gún (阮)
you (singular) - lí (汝)
you (plural) - lín (恁)
he/she - i (伊)
they - in (怹)
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