I can understand more than I could three years ago.
Part of it’s from listening to my wife talk to our daughter. Sometimes it’s just easy to predict what’s someone’s saying and another part might be “attention to detail”, that old military teaching tool.
I still can’t follow every word. Mealtime conversations quickly turn into trainwrecks of sounds, the wreckage rising in direct proportion to the amount of baijiu consumed. Another problem is this place. This dialect.
The local dialect.
It’s easy to hear the difference between the local Hubei-bred Hua and the CCP-approved brand, easier than it was three years ago. The local dialect sounds faster — when people know each other, for whose benefit would they slow down? Also, it’s louder, naturally, here in the home of the “nine-headed birds”. The number of tones are the same.
Here’s a short list of differences between Mandarin and the local dialect. This is spoken in a small Hubei town. Suggestions and corrections are welcome:
hē 喝 “to drink” = huǒ
xué 学 “to study” = xuó
gěi 给 ”to give” = gě
ne = ni (as in: Baba ne? becomes Baba ni?)
bào 抱 “to hug” = pào
chī 吃 “to eat” = qī
zāng 脏 “dirty” = āo zòu
yī diǎn dian 一点点 = yī kār
And everyone’s favorite:
Shoes = Children