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The Chinese Thread

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by danqi, Nov 19, 2003.


  1. danqi

    danqi

    May 21, 2001
    Germany
    Are any of you from China, live in China or learn Chinese?
    I have been studying it for about a month now and I'd just like to make it a topic around here.
     
  2. Aussie Mark

    Aussie Mark I come from a land down under Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2002
    Sydney, Oz
    Endorsing Artist: Fender; O'Neill Amps; Cave Passive Pedals
    Putonghua or Cantonese? I learned a little Putonghua (Mandarin) a few years back when I backpacked in China 3 times.
     
  3. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I lived in China for a year in 2001-2002 (Changchun, Jilin province - the friggin arctic north) and for six weeks in the summer of 1996 (Hefei, Anhui province). I really enjoyed my time there and picked up enough Chinese to get around. As far as the spoken language goes (and I assume your talking about mandarin/pu tong hua) the hardest part is learning how to correctly use tones. It gets easier the more you hear it and it can also be made easier if you have a good teacher. Don't overthink the tones and listen to as much native speaking as you can.

    I feel Chinese is really the language to learn now. It's ripe for the picking as far as business goes. One could go there and make a lot of money if that was the goal. You should try and visit there at least...fun place with fascinating history and sights.

    brad cook
     
  4. There's a China Town in the city.....
    ok I'll go now.

    :D:D

    Merls
     
  5. I am learning to use chop sticks :meh:
     
  6. *raises hand*
     
  7. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    DC
    I lived in Hong Kong for two years back when I was a baby. Don't remember a damn thing. My dad used to speak a good bit of cantonese, but he's forgotten most of it.
     
  8. danqi

    danqi

    May 21, 2001
    Germany
    Yep, I am learning mandarin.

    The tones are a bitch. I can get it right word for word, but when I try to speak a sentence at a normal speed they get all messed up. Especially the 2. (rising) and 4. (falling) ones.

    BTW, is it right that in cantonese there are even more different tones or variations of tones?
     
  9. danqi

    danqi

    May 21, 2001
    Germany
    Also, I must still look extremely funny when talking chinese, though I think it has gotten better.
    This is, because my facial expressions still match those of my native language (german). That means, that when I speak a word in the second tone, which is the rising one, I make a face as if I was asking a question. In western languages a rising tone is just always used for questions, but in Chinese it has nothing to do with it. Similar, less dramatic, things happen when I speak the other tones. This must look so extremely silly to a Chinese or basically anybody.:D

    BTW, is it normal to suffer physical pain from speaking Chinese? Sometimes I get slime in my throat, other times the muscles below my jaw hurt, my tongue gets exhausted, I get eye pain (left one) and headaches.
     
  10. Hman

    Hman

    Jan 8, 2002
    San Francisco, CA
    Go find yourself a chinese girl friend...that will do it!:D
     
  11. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Yes, that's correct. There are six tones in cantonese/guang dong hua.

    I think pretty much everyone goes through that of being able to say the tones individually but not when you put all the words together in a sentence. That's why it's important to hear a lot of Chinese so you can kind of pick up how they use the rhythm and how the tones really aren't that important on some words but are way important on others. The first time I went for that six weeks I study Chinese intently and attended classes for three hours a day. The second time I was teaching at a college so I wasn't too focused on learning language so instead of vocab words I focused mainly on learning phrases and the tonal rhythm of each phrase and sometimes I'd take em apart and mix em around to learn how to say other things and whatnot. The initial trip had laid a good foundation for that. I know what you mean about applying your native faces to the tones. The hardest habit for me to break was to not put a rising tone at the end of every question.

    Btw, if your face is hurting you definitely need to take a break!

    brad cook
     
  12. Ah...now that's where you're wrong.
    There are actually nine tones in Cantonese, as opposed to the four (arguably 4.5 or 5) in Mandarin.
    ;)
     
  13. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Oh my bad. I don't speak it, that's just what I was told.

    brad cook
     
  14. danqi

    danqi

    May 21, 2001
    Germany
    This makes me kinda happy I only gotta learn mandarin. Cantonese must be hell on earth.

    Whats's a little weird is that I am learning mandarin and long charachters.
    That means I can't really understand any part of the country completely, only either the spoken language or the written one.
    As far as I understand it I am going to learn the short charachters in a year.
    But till then I can't even try to understand chinese movies, since they seem to be mostly cantonese with short charachter subtitles. Damn!:bawl:
     
  15. I'm assuming by "long" and "short" character's you're talking about traditional and simplified writing?

    From what I remember, most of mainland China uses simplified writing, whereas Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other countries with predominantly/influential Chinese populations use traditional.
    In fact, all you ever really need to learn is traditional, because with that you will have few problems, if any, deciphering what simplified characters are.

    But if you think about it, people who grew up speaking Chinese also have an incredibly hard time learning English, since there are no set tones for the spoken language, and the written language is phonetic rather than pictographic (?).

    And yes, Cantonese is significantly harder to learn, but if you grew up speaking it on a daily basis then it's really nothing to you, but you can hear when other people have learned to speak it, like native mandarin speakers have heavily accented cantonese, and vice versa.

    And fwiw, my dad went to one of the best Cantonese high schools in Hong Kong, and he only recently managed to figure out all nine tones in Cantonese. He can speak it with no problem, but to sit down and think about what all the tones are is pretty hard unless you're a phoneticist. Phonetician. You know, one of those "phonetics" people. :p
     
  16. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    DC
    Aren't the Cantonese tones basically all the Mandarin tones, but repeated in two different registers?
     
  17. Honestly, I'm not too sure. My Cantonese is pretty heavily accented because I didn't speak it a whole lot, despite having grown up in Hong Kong.
     
  18. jade

    jade

    Mar 8, 2002
    YYC
    I always thought mandarin was hard to learn, but my parents both speak cantonese and I've been speaking it since I was small. I learned to write traditional chinese, but since then I lost interest. I'm curently trying to learn spanish but i cant roll my "r"'s. :bawl:

    btw, sub-titled movies are the funniest things in the world. They make no sence at all. I't's good to be bilingual. ;) :D
     
  19. danqi

    danqi

    May 21, 2001
    Germany
    And the chinese "r" (as in rén = human) is killing me. They say it should be somewhere between the french "j" and the deep english "r". Don't forget I am German.
     
  20. danqi

    danqi

    May 21, 2001
    Germany
    Exactly. In german they are called "long- and short-signs". My fault.