You might have a strong accent, depending on where you come from, but why do people in Beijing have such a strong R accent? Understanding this can help you communicate and break barriers.

Traveling around countries you don’t know well is always fun. Whether you’re doing it for business or pleasure, there are people to meet, things to see and foods to sample. Our world has so much to offer, and traveling the planet to experience these things can be a truly thrilling and rewarding experience. You may travel the world with a briefcase and a decision to get a lot of work done, or you may travel with friends and family hoping for the time of your life. Whatever your reasons, you will see, feel, taste and hear things you might never have experienced before. And variety is the spice of life!

people in Beijing

Why Beijing?

One of the places that might on your travel wish list is Beijing. If you’re looking for a place that has a fantastic mix of modern architecture and ancient historical landmarks, few places in have this combination in the way Beijing does. The city is the capital of China and is over three millennia old. The population is massive and is home to a mind-blowing 11.51 million people. Beijing culture is rich, varied and fascinating. You can visit sites such as the imperial palace that was the regal center at the time of the Qing and Ming dynasties, Tian’anmen Square, Mao Zedong’s mausoleum and the National Museum of China! With so many things to experience in a single city, it’s no wonder Beijing is one of the world’s hottest travel destinations for work and play.

Because of its unique history, many people in Beijing have an accent and use certain slang words that are different from Standard Chinese and Chinese spoken further south.

Beijing’s Dialect

The dialect of the city of Beijing goes by the name of Pekingese. Pekingese is a Mandarin variation spoken by the majority of people in the highly crowded city. Pekingese is very much like a combination of Standard Chinese and one of the official languages spoken in the county of Singapore. It’s an incredibly fascinating dialect and, as with any foreign language, it comes with its own unique set of grammatical rules and vocabulary.

If you go anywhere in Beijing, you can expect Pekingese to be the standard language spoken by the people you meet. But since the city is so diverse there is a chance that you’ll run into people who speak a slightly different version of Pekingese or another language entirely. Some consider these variations to be more posh while others find them unappealing.

people in Beijing

Why do people in Beijing have such a strong R accent?

If you’ve ever met someone from Beijing, or have traveled around the city, the chances are you have noticed the distinct accent. Urbanites from Beijing speak Pekingese and many are proud of their strong accent. It can sometimes make conversation a bit difficult and you might struggle a little to understand it. Technically the accent includes what is called ‘erization’ which means adding an ‘r’ sound to the end of words. The strong R accent is simply the way people in Beijing speak, just like cockneys from London have an accent, New Yorkers have an accent, and so on.

Everyone around the world has their own local accent and phrases which can be looked upon with prejudice or admiration. While it can be difficult for your ear if you have never encountered it before, it’s important to recognize that this is part of their history and culture. After all, if everyone spoke in the same way it would be pretty boring. While adapting your ear to new sounds might be tricky at first, trying to imitate it can be tricky! If you erize the wrong words you could come across as a try hard by people in Beijing!

You have a different accent from some and they have a different accent from you. With just a little practice, communication with people from different regions, cities and countries won’t be tricky at all!

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