Does the title give you a clue of where this language is from? You might guess "China". That's correct, more precisely, Sichuan province in southern China which capital city is Chengdu. I had neither clue at all about this language, nor clue about languages they speak in Sichuan province. Having the opportunity to learn Sichuanese language is completely a whole new experience for me, like discovering long lost treasure.
While I was scrolling up and down in Italki's “Find A Teacher” page one day, I noticed a language category of "Chinese (Other)" were stated in one profile of a Mandarin tutor from China. I have actually seen this category many times before but I have never question anything until that day. Then, I sent a message to the tutor whose name is Ye Zi or Jenny in English. Later, Jenny replied me saying that the "Chinese (Other)" means Sichuanese language.
Jenny is a native of Sichuan province in China, where this place is famous for its super spicy hotpot. Its taste makes your tongue numb, seriously! I was very happy to have the opportunity to know Jenny, and to learn many things about Sichuan, especially Sichuanese language. Jenny is currently studying in Japan and she also teaches Japanese, besides Mandarin and Sichuanese.
Why Didn't I Know This Earlier?I am sure any Mandarin speakers can understand Sichuanese language quite well even without learning it if they listen carefully. I realized that Sichuanese tones are the opposite of those in Mandarin. For example, the third tone in Mandarin becomes the fourth tone in Sichuanese, and the fourth tone becomes the third. Then, -an ending in Mandarin becomes -e (pronounced like "air") ending in Sichuanese.
Apart from that, the sentence structure is the same with that in Mandarin. So, if you know how to say "你吃飯了沒有? (Have you eaten?)" in Mandarin, saying it in Sichuanese is not a big deal. Roughly speaking, Sichuanese is how a beginner in Mandarin sounds like when speaking. I really hope that I had encountered Sichuanese earlier, but sometimes to be late is better than never.
Just in case if you wonder, listen to the story below which I found by random search from YouTube, and get ready to be surprised of how well you would understand it with the knowledge of Mandarin.
Do you speak Sichuanese? Or are you learning Sichuanese? Share your experience with us.