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Old 03-20-2011, 04:26 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I was raised in a french-english family for most of my life, so I could pretty much comfortably live in Quebec for many years (I already have, anyways)

My mom's determined to keep me bilingual. That's why I've lived in french/bilingual communities all of my life.
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:28 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burning Down View Post

I heard that Mandarin Chinese is the hardest language to learn if English is your first language. I'm assuming it's because it's a tone-based language and a word can mean 5 different things depending on the tone used.


No, Chinese is rather easy. The tones are not critical to conversation. I have a friend here who has a big Chinese vocabulary, but he mispronounces every tone. The people here still understand him. Mandarin has 4 tones: 1. mā 2. má 3. mǎ 4. mà

The differences in these tones is rather emphatic, so it makes it easier to pronounce words correctly.

If you devote a moderate effort into a 6 month course, you would certainly be able to talk to anybody. You'd be able to take your Chinese friends out for dinner; charm pretty women when they walk by you; order food, whatever.

Once you get accustomed to the tones, Chinese is very easy to speak well. I can speak Mandarin better than many GuangZhou natives. My girlfriend is from here in GuangZhou, but my pronunciation of Mandarin is better than hers, although she knows many more words.


Writing Chinese is not too difficult either. The characters follow a combinatorial system of strokes. It seems daunting at first, and then it becomes clear quite soon thereafter.

There seem to be quite a few myths regarding Mandarin. Indeed, languages over here are actually quite easy to learn. Korean? Soooo easy. SImple alphabet. Japanese? Well, half of Japanese is Chinese. Thai? Very similar to Cantonese (my favourite)
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:36 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Thom Yorke View Post
That's why I put Mandarin in quotation marks. Taking into account population projections it looks like a massive part of the world's population will be speaking Mandarin (as in even much more than today). Who knows what the benefits to being able to speak Mandarin then will be? IF it becomes like what english is today to the rest of the world, I'll probably try to learn it.


I see.

That there are more Chinese speakers than speakers of other languages is a myth. There are more native speakers of Chinese than any other mother-tongue, but English is far more widely spoken. Actually, there are many words in Chinese borrowed from English.

Why does it look like a massive part of the world's population will be speaking Putonghua?
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:56 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I can speak or know:

French (first language until I was 5 or so)
English
Latin
Ancient Greek
Modern Greek (not brilliantly...I'd get by on holiday)
Arabic (learning it, getting there slowly)
Swedish (learning it still, getting better)
Japanese (basic)
Portuguese (basic stuff, want to get better)
British sign language (200 signs or so)
American Sign Language (100 signs)
Koine Greek (pretty much the same as ancient Greek, but has some forms unique. Found in the Bible)
Italian (REALLY rusty now, can't speak it at all without revision)
Serbian

Yeah, I'm good at languages. Anyone who wants help learning languages can PM me.
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:56 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Schranz bass View Post
I see.

That there are more Chinese speakers than speakers of other languages is a myth. There are more native speakers of Chinese than any other mother-tongue, but English is far more widely spoken. Actually, there are many words in Chinese borrowed from English.

Why does it look like a massive part of the world's population will be speaking Putonghua?
I'm not saying it will become a wide-spread language, I was only saying that if it does, I'd make an attempt to learn it.

I'm not claiming to be an expert on Chinese demographics either. It's just my general understanding based on what I've heard in my lifetime that the Chinese population will hold a greater share of the world's population in the near future.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:07 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Gah, that's my problem. I always felt I knew English very well without really having to try (I never paid attention to grammar in class, it always came by ear). And now that I'm actually having to work on learning a new language it seems like a freakin' bitch. Especially because I don't want to just learn the basics, I want to be as good at it as I am with English and I'm not sure if that's possible given that no other language is so dominant and ubiquitous these days. Spanish is the only one that comes close, at least in these parts.

In order to become really proficient in a new language I think it's essential to immerse yourself in the culture of that language. But unless you actually move to that country, it's very very difficult.
That's so true. It's possible for English, at least easier, without moving to some English speaking country, because, as you said, it's a dominant language and culture. As for Spanish, haha, we have these telenovelas too, but they're slowly being replaced by Turkish telenovelas. I hear they're a big hit. :/ Eh, there are already enough Turkish words in Serbian, we really don't need to be exposed to more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeddyBass2112 View Post
I can speak or know:

French (first language until I was 5 or so)
English
Latin
Ancient Greek
Modern Greek (not brilliantly...I'd get by on holiday)
Arabic (learning it, getting there slowly)
Swedish (learning it still, getting better)
Japanese (basic)
Portuguese (basic stuff, want to get better)
British sign language (200 signs or so)
American Sign Language (100 signs)
Koine Greek (pretty much the same as ancient Greek, but has some forms unique. Found in the Bible)
Italian (REALLY rusty now, can't speak it at all without revision)
Serbian

Yeah, I'm good at languages. Anyone who wants help learning languages can PM me.
I'm curious, where did you learn Serbian? I'm assuming that's not your native language going by your location, or is it?
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:03 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Schranz bass View Post
smattering! Good word. It is okay if your smattering lies in PutongHua (it sounds ugly)

I speak Mandarin and Cantonese. I have been living in China for three years.

I love Cantonese. I think, depending on who is speaking, Cantonese sounds so exotic and elegant.
my Mandarin has a heavy Cantonese accent
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:53 PM   #28 (permalink)
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In our country, I speak two native languages (Filipino & Bisaya) and of course, English. I would love to learn Japanese and German.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:29 AM   #29 (permalink)
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In our country, I speak two native languages (Filipino & Bisaya) and of course, English. I would love to learn Japanese and German.
could you explain Bisaya? I haven't heard that one before.
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Old 03-21-2011, 03:48 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dankrsta View Post
I'm curious, where did you learn Serbian? I'm assuming that's not your native language going by your location, or is it?

A combo of a Teach Yourself book and a few Croatian/Serbian friends at uni, and I just learnt it.


те волим!
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