Help me learn Mandarin Chinese

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Ni hao! I'm moving there in August, so I'm starting to learn a few phrases. Also, I need to know how to make the pictograms show up in IE on Windows ME, how do I do this?

Gatinha (rwillmsen), Sunday, 21 March 2004 18:07 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Ni hao! Zemma yang? Zhong guo hua hen hao war!!

Skottie, Sunday, 21 March 2004 18:11 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

wai u hai ding?

Eisbär (llamasfur), Sunday, 21 March 2004 18:11 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Have a rummage around the IE website, for language plug-ins. You'll probably need to download the one for simplified Chinese (they usually use that on the mainland) as well as Big5 (for the full words)

jellybean (jellybean), Sunday, 21 March 2004 18:13 (fifteen years ago) Permalink


Ni shuo Yingwen ma?

Gatinha (rwillmsen), Sunday, 21 March 2004 18:13 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

teh ma deh

ken c (ken c), Sunday, 21 March 2004 19:13 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Gahn ni deh mah mah.

O.Leee.B. (Leee), Sunday, 21 March 2004 20:29 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

ni ze ge huen zhang! you bastard!

gwun kai. piss off.

chu ni de. feck you.

lid, Sunday, 21 March 2004 21:17 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Tseh suoh zhai na li?

O.Leee.B. (Leee), Sunday, 21 March 2004 21:22 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

First door on the left. And flush, please.

Skottie, Sunday, 21 March 2004 21:44 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

ahhhh do you see-beek engar leesh?

ken c (ken c), Monday, 22 March 2004 00:43 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

six years pass...

So I am doing this formally. Week three and we are already asking one another what our mobile numbers are ffs. Blitzing the characters but fuck a pinyin.

shit shit shit shit shit (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 16 March 2011 09:37 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh and when Lætitia out of the Stereolab does her 'ba-ba-ba-ba' thing she is essentially saying 'eight-'eight-'eight-'eight'.

shit shit shit shit shit (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 16 March 2011 09:39 (eight years ago) Permalink

yah but what tone is she using? she could also be saying dad, pluck, shit...

dayo, Wednesday, 16 March 2011 09:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

yah i was being silly

shit shit shit shit shit (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 16 March 2011 10:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Busting for the Chinese dude across the way to ask me where his boss is (while she's running a meeting) so I can say "她在会议室开会"

finish with a fast piston pump (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:03 (eight years ago) Permalink

:D more please!

VegemiteGrrl, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:08 (eight years ago) Permalink

If she is eating DUMPLINGS! I can say "她喝饺子"

If she has been arrested I can say "她在警察局"

finish with a fast piston pump (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:17 (eight years ago) Permalink

one of my few, few, few real talents or whatever is being near native-level functional in written chinese and spoken mandarin, able to struggle thru a conversation in cantonese. whenever i reveal this, it's met with shock and surprise and "why don't you... get a real job, then?" it's weird since it's like the language that biz students and the guy on desperate housewives want to learn and it's going to be the international language of business (well not really but) and for all the people that profess to be learning mandarin, very few get beyond a very rudimentary level.

i encourage people to learn it, though. i just wish it wasn't mostly dicky commerce students. i'd love to hear people tell me they were learning chinese so they could read can xue or something. i guess i'm sort of jealous of japanese or french or whatever.... nobody really learns mandarin for romantic or whimsical or whatever reasons, do they?

happy may 4th.

dylannn, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:17 (eight years ago) Permalink

dude's going to wonder why his boss is drinking DUMPLINGS!.

dylannn, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:18 (eight years ago) Permalink

oh god now there's a lolgag on the word "dump1ings", brilliant

finish with a fast piston pump (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:20 (eight years ago) Permalink

o fuc i confused 喝 and 吃 again

finish with a fast piston pump (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

but 饺子汤 is 喝able and is my favorite part of the meal: the starchy floating meat fat bedazzled soup produced by boiling jiaozi. so let's say she was enjoying a bowl of that.

dylannn, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:28 (eight years ago) Permalink

您好請小籠包。

it's time for the fish in the perculator (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:28 (eight years ago) Permalink

謝謝謝謝

it's time for the fish in the perculator (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:29 (eight years ago) Permalink

Re your long post: some people in my class are learning it so they can talk to their in-laws, which is nice. "Career prospects" is my ~excuse~ but really I'm doing it for a load of reasons, only one of them job-related.

finish with a fast piston pump (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

ni de pengyou, wo yao yi bing pijiu

jj n° fad (Stevie D(eux)), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

i mean WO de pengyou

jj n° fad (Stevie D(eux)), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

one time I was on the Chinatown bus and I called my friend T1ff4ny Ch3ng and told her really excitedly and loudly "WO ZAI GONGGONGQICHE!!!" in, like, perfect tonage and everying. She was like "whoa, that was really good pronunciation, hen hao!" and I looked around to see if anyone was like "whoa, crazy white boy speakin' our tongue!" but nobody noticed or cared :(

jj n° fad (Stevie D(eux)), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:33 (eight years ago) Permalink

xp oh and it's four certificates over four years and I think most will pull out after one year. Learning options for Mandarin (here, at least) are unacceptably limited.

finish with a fast piston pump (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

This is my favorite thread and I have NO idea what you're all saying. So great,

VegemiteGrrl, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

aww stevie d ;_; xp

finish with a fast piston pump (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:36 (eight years ago) Permalink

sorry stevie, I've stopped batting an eye at white dudes speaking chinese

dayo, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:37 (eight years ago) Permalink

when I was little I had this travel book about China that had some pages of Chinese characters..someone told me that Chinese letters were pictures, so Imade up this whole elaborate story about what it all meant....most of the story revolving around rows of houses because that's what I thought they looked like. Was bummed later to find out that it wasnt quite so simple, lol.

(hence why I love this thread)

VegemiteGrrl, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:39 (eight years ago) Permalink

omg that's so cute

finish with a fast piston pump (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:39 (eight years ago) Permalink

lol most chinese characters are pretty amenable to having stories made up about them to help you remember their meanings (especially traditional characters)

dayo, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:40 (eight years ago) Permalink

yeah, that's how I learn them

finish with a fast piston pump (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:41 (eight years ago) Permalink

yeah i mean in china, they're a dime a dozen tryna get that 大山 money.

dylannn, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:41 (eight years ago) Permalink

i mean with fucken 8,000+ of the things you need to have some sort of mnemonic system xp

finish with a fast piston pump (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:42 (eight years ago) Permalink

big mountain?

it's time for the fish in the perculator (Steve Shasta), Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

chinese is rife with spurious folk etymologies. 安, man was i bummed out when i found out 女 was just a phonetic element.

dylannn, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashan

dylannn, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

this is the chinese word for family/home, you can remember it easily because the top part with the little lid and the little dot is like the chinese radical for buildings or something, and the bottom one with all the lines is the chinese radical for pig, so naturally a house is where you keep your pig, right, yeah!

dayo, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

yeah a lot of chinese characters, one radical is to give the sound & the other one(s) are for the meaning, it's tricky, but once you crack the code it's cool

dayo, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

i've always thought of him as a sort of buffoonish stooge for the party and whatnot, but maybe that's a bit childish on my part.

dylannn, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:45 (eight years ago) Permalink

yeah, it's a beautiful thing. chinese etymology is actually sort of an undeveloped field of inquiry or whatever. what an amazing language.

i get depressed as shit by the pinyin.info gang and their eliminate characters rhetoric.

dylannn, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:46 (eight years ago) Permalink

http://www.chineseetymology.org/CharacterImages/Bronze/B10000/b11100/b11194.gif

yo what you got at your house

a pig

oh cool, me too. you gonna eat it soon?

yeah

neat

dayo, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

I actually kinda lol that mandarin was chosen as the national language of china, it's actually got some pretty major defects, like being very sound poor compared to some of the other dialects

dayo, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:49 (eight years ago) Permalink

Anyway, so ages ago, some Warring States period Einstein decides that what the world needs is another 22-stroke character, and so he goes and smacks 粥 into 鬲 and produces 鬻. He writes it down and goes to show it off to all his literatus friends, all, “Yo Scholar Danqiu, you know how you and Master Cen thought that you were pretty cool with that seven-stroke expansion of 畺 the other week? Well, check this out, bi-atch!” And then Scholar Danqiu was like, “Yo, only losers still say ‘bi-atch,’ so why don’t you get your loser ass and your loser new character out of my face?” And so the scholar goes home, tail between his legs, and vows to find a use for this awesome new character that he’s created.

And he finds one! See, today, 粥 and 鬻 are pronounced pretty differently – zhōu and yù respectively — but back in the day, they sounded the same, or more or less the same. (Karlgren reconstructs the pronunciations as *tiuk and *diuk respectively.) Over time, the pronunciations and meanings diverged, and so the meaning of 鬻 evolves from “tasteless glop with the consistency of snot that nobody with functioning tastebuds could ever conceivably enjoy eating” to “to nourish” to “to sell food” to “to sell, particularly as an act of desperation in trying times” to “to sell one’s own child.”

That’s right, there is a single-syllable word in Chinese that means “to sell e.g. one’s own child during e.g. a famine,” and in a delicious little irony, it’s derived from 粥 “gruel” which makes it cognate to 育, “bear/raise children.” It occurs in words like 鬻子 “a trader in children,” 卖妻鬻子 “to sell off one’s wife and son [in a famine],” and, most interestingly to me for personal reasons, 鬻文, or “to write for pay.”

Man, I love Chinese.

dylannn, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:49 (eight years ago) Permalink

it's weird... you know, being able to speak "chinese" better than chinese people is a reasonable goal. since, like you said, mandarin is still the 2nd language of millions (hundred of millions, maybe!) of chinese people (shit, look at how many speaker wu has!!!)

dylannn, Wednesday, 4 May 2011 05:51 (eight years ago) Permalink

i think it's mostly just living in city with 40 million people shoved into a small space. you have to have respect for privacy and personal space if you spend your entire day never more than a few feet from and often even closer to other people. there's something else, though. maybe a professional japan cultural expert can step in and speak on it. it's a big cold city but it feels colder than most big cities i've lived in or visited.

but. i've turned things around. i've started making progress the last few weeks as, 1) i've started taking regular classes. heavy motivation to not suck in class and try to keep up with the 90% chinese students in class who are starting out at a higher level than me. competitiveness has driven me to dedicate time and effort to mastering japanese. and, 2) i started going to a bjj gym where everyone speaks japanese (or portugese) and i have somebody to talk to now.

dylannn, Friday, 15 April 2016 06:51 (three years ago) Permalink

oh brilliant.

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 15 April 2016 07:38 (three years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/search-soul-mainland/

, Monday, 2 May 2016 13:07 (three years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

i'm three days off my last exam before graduation and the material is the most boring garbage i have ever seen in my life. it's 100% about bonsai trees and folk music and taiji sword and folk dancing. there's a whole section which is just some people talking about some other people who are watching a load of old retirees who meet under an expressway overpass and sing opera songs, badly, because they're old and they don't care. that went on for two weeks and we're being examined on it. fuck, the most recent thing i needed to do in chinese was call a bank and ask why an atm ate my money. there is not a single thing here that i will ever need to use. i'm at risk of getting a crap grade because i cannot stay focused without wanting to hack myself to death with a biro.

Autumn Almanac, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 08:14 (two years ago) Permalink

and every character likes everything. at no point does one person say "do you like doing the yangge dance?" and the other says "no i really hate it it's really boring". they always say "yes! i love it! i do it all the time!" there's no light and shade. every person in every dialogue really really loves every ancient folk dance, every ancient folk music, every ancient martial arts everything.

this is exactly like if an english textbook had two blokes standing around watching other people who are watching other people who are watching other people who are watching other people who are watching some morris dancing, and one says "do you like morris dancing?" and the other says "yes! why i love morris dancing! it's the most famous ancient english-colonial activity! everyone loves morris dancing! it's very good for the health of septuagenarians" and then they wank each other to sleep.

Autumn Almanac, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 08:45 (two years ago) Permalink

A few years ago, a few other translators and I were talking with employees of a Chinese publishing house who said that they had some books that they wanted to translate into English — things that they said would show foreigners the real China. There was a brief and intense period of excitement, until the publishers said that these were coffee-table books about Peking Opera masks and different varieties of tea. Ever since then, I’ve used “Peking Opera masks” as mental shorthand for the Chinese habit of attempting to interest the world in aspects of itself that most Chinese people don’t give two-tenths of a rat’s ass about. (This same thing affects Chinese-language instruction, but I’ll save that rant for another post.) Even just a couple of years ago, almost all officially backed Chinese cultural offerings were of this sort — books about tea and opera masks, yes, or Foreign Languages Press translations by non-native English speakers, or poorly subtitled documentaries about the Potato Festival in some godforsaken corner of the Shandong peninsula. (“Since late Ming dynasty, the town of Pirang is acclaimed as ‘hometown of potato!’”)

dylannn, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 12:15 (two years ago) Permalink

what textbook are you using now with all this in it?

dylannn, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 12:26 (two years ago) Permalink

loooove pasden's writing, and that piece was absolutely bang on (he had loads to do with chinesepod, which still prides itself on covering topics that are useful and properly interesting)

xp npcr3, which is fine for grammar but shithouse for scenarios

Autumn Almanac, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 12:29 (two years ago) Permalink

this one

Autumn Almanac, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 12:33 (two years ago) Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gESEBfMZjY

that's not how i pictured ma dawei at all!

dylannn, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 12:41 (two years ago) Permalink

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlUhWQyXREw

peking opera masks make an appearance and we learn important differences between western and chinese culture-- foreigners rip open their presents and chinese people open them later!

dylannn, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 12:45 (two years ago) Permalink

that lesson in particular is so inspid

"here's a small gift for you"
"oh, it's a calligraphy brush! and it's a famous brand! thank you! here's a small gift for you"
"oh it's a fresh shit in a sock! why thank you!"
"it's just a small token"

x 373638352782

Autumn Almanac, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 12:52 (two years ago) Permalink

In the meantime the word for alley and prostitute are almost exactly the same

Daithi Bowsie (darraghmac), Tuesday, 24 May 2016 20:15 (two years ago) Permalink

Been brought to three alleys today already ffs

Daithi Bowsie (darraghmac), Tuesday, 24 May 2016 20:16 (two years ago) Permalink

小姐 v 小街

the importance of tones

Autumn Almanac, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 23:30 (two years ago) Permalink

five months pass...

in a year of crazy bleakness i've come ahead in leaps and bounds with this. i graduated from the aforementioned uni course (and won an achievement award!), i can now read 95% of everyday traditional script, and my listening comprehension is coming together rapidly.

i've stopped going to language exchange meetups altogether because it's always the same questions again and again ("why do you want to learn chinese?", "wow you can write a whole character???") from people who have an upcoming ielts exam and insist on speaking english. instead i've started going to groups that skip the formalities and jump straight to hardcore analysis and translation.

as a learner i think you need to regularly step back and assess whether what you're doing is still relevant — you can make sudden leaps that render your current routine totally useless, but you're so knee-deep that you don't always notice the change.

the most important thing is that i love it as much as i did when i started. you've got to love chinese if you want to become good at it.

Autumn Almanac, Tuesday, 8 November 2016 03:39 (two years ago) Permalink

long term would be brilliant but the work would have to be spot on. plenty of opportunities at home for now, but i'm strictly taking short contracts so i'm ready to jump if/when something comes up.

every part of this was a total fizzer btw

Autumn Almanac, Tuesday, 8 November 2016 03:42 (two years ago) Permalink

you've got to love chinese...

This is my big problem now. I was doing pretty good at self-study for awhile but now I've pretty much lost all motivation to keep going with it. Sounds like you've really excelled though. Jia you and all.

viborg, Tuesday, 8 November 2016 10:25 (two years ago) Permalink

how do you find groups that focus on analysis and translation? do they actually exist on meetup.com?

F♯ A♯ (∞), Tuesday, 8 November 2016 17:00 (two years ago) Permalink

a lot of them are closed groups that have a minimum standard for entry (e.g. "must be chinese intermediate or higher", "must not repeatedly vocalise their amazement that an english speaker can read chinese"). i've been invited to a couple because i take the study aspect super-seriously or have a skill they need (e.g. converting traditional to simplified for an event run by taiwanese people). some are on meetup but the groups have obscure names that don't always come up in searches; it also helps that i live in a city with at least a dozen separate chinese-english meetups every week.

This is my big problem now. I was doing pretty good at self-study for awhile but now I've pretty much lost all motivation to keep going with it. Sounds like you've really excelled though. Jia you and all.

― viborg, Tuesday, 8 November 2016 21:25 (three days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this is why i encourage every prospective chinese learner to think about whether they see it as a short-term hobby or as a means to proficiency.

in order to be proficient (as a second language) you need to love the hell out of it and have a solid reason to keep going, because for many it's a decade-long slog and the plateaus alone can destroy you. it's only through sheer luck that i cared about this long enough to be able to negotiate travel plans and read books.

if you do it as a hobby for its own sake, the most important skill is to not beat yourself up for the limited amount you can achieve. i'd argue that being able to write 10 characters from memory is itself an achievement.

Autumn Almanac, Friday, 11 November 2016 02:49 (two years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

i'm now hitting the hsk5 vocabulary and working on the traditional forms as well. this is because i'm tired of flicking through a dictionary every time i want to read something with any complexity. it's also because characters are what got me interested in chinese in the first place.

daily listening is paying off, too. there's still plenty of gaps but i have far less trouble understanding speech, and recently i've noticed how much i'm processing subconsciously, to the point where sometimes i can't remember which language something was said in. chinesepod is making a huge difference here, i think because i can pick the right level for where my head is (elementary for when i'm tired or distracted, upper intermediate for when i'm in the zone).

大山 is here for the comedy festival and doing chinese-only gigs, so i'm going. not sure whether i'll cope but nothing ventured nothing etc etc.

because my life went to shit in 2016 i don't know when i'll get to go back to china or in what capacity. which sucks. i'm still aiming to spend a lot more time there but fuck knows how.

fucking pop records (Autumn Almanac), Thursday, 30 March 2017 01:06 (two years ago) Permalink

on a separate note, demand for chinese tuition is going backwards in australia: tertiary graduations are low and declining by the year, and non-华人 students are dropping out of high school chinese because they can't compete. in general the whole country is coasting on right-wing entitlement and ideological posturing, and one day we'll realise china's super-important and we never bothered to skill up properly (either just before or just after we become literally mad max). i do not understand this.

fucking pop records (Autumn Almanac), Thursday, 30 March 2017 01:30 (two years ago) Permalink

An Adam Ant classic comes to mind when you describe situations like that:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVWWtqa9-7M

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 30 March 2017 01:35 (two years ago) Permalink

I was wondering about 大山. I am languishing around HSK2 but was thinking I should go for the experience of the thing.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Thursday, 30 March 2017 01:43 (two years ago) Permalink

ned otm

I was wondering about 大山. I am languishing around HSK2 but was thinking I should go for the experience of the thing.

it'd be cool if you're resilient enough to not be demoralised. i don't expect to get much out of it apart from just trying tbh, but if i pick up the gist of a handful of anecdotes i'll be happy.

here's a clip from the same show (大山侃大山) in beijing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9KLjy47eu0

fucking pop records (Autumn Almanac), Thursday, 30 March 2017 02:00 (two years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

daily listening is paying off, too. there's still plenty of gaps but i have far less trouble understanding speech, and recently i've noticed how much i'm processing subconsciously, to the point where sometimes i can't remember which language something was said in. chinesepod is making a huge difference here, i think because i can pick the right level for where my head is (elementary for when i'm tired or distracted, upper intermediate for when i'm in the zone).

yesterday i spent 3+ hours speaking only chinese with a load of people with a load of accents and understood nearly everything. fucking years, that took me. fucking years.

this is the sort of language where as an english speaker you go "i think it would be fun to speak mandarin" and the best part of a decade later you eventually can.

my grammar sucks though, but eh.

rove mcmanus island (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 14 January 2018 11:13 (one year ago) Permalink

hell yeah. you stuck with it unlike 99.9% of people that say they're learning chinese. a decade or so into it, i would still hesitate to say i speak fluently and i still have the vocabulary of a precocious child when speaking about most topics.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Sunday, 14 January 2018 16:40 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah, there's no way i'll ever hit native fluency. that's madness. i can read a lot of stuff though.

rove mcmanus island (Autumn Almanac), Monday, 15 January 2018 09:23 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

fuck this shitty language

karl wallogina (Autumn Almanac), Friday, 6 April 2018 12:43 (one year ago) Permalink

I manage and train English teachers, and every time I had actual Mandarin classes I was very unimpressed by how fond of severely-outdated teaching methods the teachers were, and would quit soon after. So now I can speak pretty well (especially about food!) due to living with my wife's family for three or four years, but my reading is still stuck on the set of 300 or so characters I learned using Anki, and my writing is non-existent. I know very few people who managed to get anywhere near fluency.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 6 April 2018 12:52 (one year ago) Permalink

i'm of the belief that the cruelest and "outdated" methods are appropriate for learning to read and write chinese: writing by hand, copying out texts, laboring over novels with a real dictionary.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Friday, 6 April 2018 13:11 (one year ago) Permalink

not necessarily rote learning though but i think
writing by hand: really grinds things into your memory
copying out texts: means you build vocabulary + study useful common written language and if a good novel then useful spoken language, and it gives you something to think about while writing things out
real dictionary: looking things up by stroke order and radical helps you understand how characters are built

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Friday, 6 April 2018 13:17 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah, I kind of agree with you as far as reading and writing are concerned but they didn't do much of that either - more explaining Chinese grammar in English, going through exercises in an awful textbook (one apparently modeled on the dreaded New Concept English which is still a mainstay of Chinese schools) - I guess they thought we could practice writing / reading at home, and a couple of the teachers were transparently using it as an opportunity to do some speaking practice in English.

I just remembered my first teacher who was fantastic actually, so I shouldn't be quite so fundamentalist about it maybe.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 6 April 2018 14:11 (one year ago) Permalink

i see what you mean. i was picturing something more austere. i had my share of bad textbooks, horrible exercises and materials on beijing opera masks.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Friday, 6 April 2018 15:02 (one year ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

Hi, if you want to learn the Chinese language then you should start with some basic words like greeting and all. You have to follow steps to learn this language. If you know English well then you can easily understand this language. You have to start seeing Chinese movies with subtitles which helps you a lot to learn this language. Listening is the best practice. After that, you can continue with speaking and writing.
I am a tutor of English & French language. I always try to learn different languages, because I like to learn languages. I am also learning Chinese from https://nativemonks.com/mandarin-classes, which helping me a lot. The tutors are also really good. You can also refer this website to for your learning process.

Helen12, Thursday, 6 December 2018 13:16 (five months ago) Permalink

THANK YOU HELEN12 FOR YOUR EXTREMELY HELPFUL NOT-SPAM POST

calamity gammon (Autumn Almanac), Friday, 7 December 2018 00:38 (five months ago) Permalink

谢谢

What Do I Blecch? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 7 December 2018 00:45 (five months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

hhh is the new hahaha

seedy ron (Autumn Almanac), Monday, 25 February 2019 13:52 (two months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

i’m in taiwan again and i’m FINALLY breaking through the shitty listening comprehension wall. it’s only taken eight years.

anyone who’s considering learning this language needs to factor in several years of trauma and heartbreak. worth it though. i’m not the same person but in a good way.

times 牛肉麵 (Autumn Almanac), Friday, 26 April 2019 04:04 (three weeks ago) Permalink

i've never had that problem, maybe the opposite though, was always able to follow a conversation even before i could contribute to it, and that feeling persists to now where in a conversation i've got things in my head that i'd love to say but usually err on the side of saying something i can confidently express, leaving my brilliant thoughts unspoken.

agree with the overall message, though. i know it's the thing now to say "no all languages are equally difficult and foreigners struggle to learn chinese because they start so late and learn in inefficient ways" but no, i think there is something to mandarin being tough for a native speaker of english to master (although yes, teacher mandarin as a second language is not exactly treated seriously or done in the best way, and yes, most people are starting it first year of university at the earliest, leaving aside those lucky few people that get a high school class).

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Friday, 26 April 2019 11:45 (three weeks ago) Permalink

No i think there's definitely something especially difficult about trying to master a tonal language if you're an adult native speaker of an atonal language. I learn most of my Chinese from taxi drivers now, fortunately the conversation usually seems to follow the same pattern. They do come up with some interesting questions about the US economy etc sometimes that are challenging.

viborg, Sunday, 28 April 2019 02:35 (three weeks ago) Permalink

i've never had that problem, maybe the opposite though, was always able to follow a conversation even before i could contribute to it, and that feeling persists to now where in a conversation i've got things in my head that i'd love to say but usually err on the side of saying something i can confidently express, leaving my brilliant thoughts unspoken.

i still can’t express full and rich concepts obviously, but it has been weird to be able to say most things i need to say only to have nfi what the other person says in reply. that seems to have changed now but it was horribly frustrating.

times 牛肉麵 (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 1 May 2019 00:43 (three weeks ago) Permalink

the other thing i noticed is that people are now speaking chinese to me nearly 100% of the time. not sure whether it’s my speech or my confidence improving. i’m now thinking completely in chinese a lot of the time, so maybe that’s helping things along too.

this week i came across a couple of foreigners whose speech was definitely worse than mine (not being a wanker, i could just hear the errors in their pronunciation and tones) who said most people in taipei were replying in english. that was definitely happening to me even last year but not this year.

times 牛肉麵 (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 1 May 2019 00:53 (three weeks ago) Permalink

i’m in taiwan again and i’m FINALLY breaking through the shitty listening comprehension wall.

well that didn’t last long. it’s not even two weeks since i left and it’s gone to shit again. what the fuck is going on.

times 牛肉麵 (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 12 May 2019 07:45 (one week ago) Permalink

is part of it taiwanese phrases or sentences in mandarin? i noticed that with taiwanese friends before, speaking mandarin, then i have to ask what a word/phrase is, and find out it's strictly taiwanese but still used when speaking mandarin (something missing from standard mandarin or slangy, whatever)?

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Sunday, 12 May 2019 15:20 (one week ago) Permalink

also and i'm sure i've made this point on this thread before because i try to make it all the time. "standard mandarin" is basically like bbc english or received pronunciation, learned by almost everyone but not actually spoken by many, even fewer as their mother tongue or what they'd speak to their kids or parents. so, you're learning to speak and understand a language that's used by newsreaders and language instruction materials but few other people. everyone understands it but god help you trying to understand most people in china or taiwan or beyond. and also even that "standard mandarin" (modern written chinese, too) was never really standardized or is still in the process of being standardized where with english you're at the end of a long process of standardization (maybe from a north american perspective mostly where accents and dialects are harder to find).

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Sunday, 12 May 2019 15:27 (one week ago) Permalink

but keep up the good fight!

i was just in shaanxi for a week and when i landed i was 60/40 on comprehension and by the end of it could pick up the bulk. slowly got the rules of shaanxi mandarin into my head, picked up the unique word usages, etc.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Sunday, 12 May 2019 15:29 (one week ago) Permalink

is part of it taiwanese phrases or sentences in mandarin?

nah because i didn’t have many problems in taiwan, it only collapsed after i left.

btw you are otm about “standard mandarin”, it’s so rarely spoken that it’s basically a con to tell students it’s the gold standard (it is as far as the chinese government and language bodies are concerned, not so much in the actual world where people say things). iirc everyone i’ve ever spoken to who speaks standard mandarin has confected it to some degree for my benefit, and even when they understand me they often don’t speak standard in reply.

at the moment someone online (in china) keeps sending me pure standard mandarin messages, but i can hear how hard she’s straining to make it sound standard. i don’t doubt she enunciates well day to day, but she still needs to put in some effort to go the full 普通話。.

times 牛肉麵 (Autumn Almanac), Monday, 13 May 2019 12:30 (one week ago) Permalink

unfortunately tough to teach a spoken language with a history of under a hundred years used as the lingua franca for almost 1.6ish billion people none of whom speak it as a native language (and some of those 1.6ish billion people, at least across the straits, disagree to varying extents on how exactly to pronounce it).

but it is a con to tell everyone it's the gold standard. i think there are lots of sociological issues related to class, identity, cultural hegemony and dominance with the way "chinese" is taught and some of that comes from the prc/rok directly and some of it from other sources, some of it from westerners engaged with china, etc. but i can't draw that together into something worthy of being posted to ilxor.com. i think part of that is expressed in the types of people chinese language programs even at elite institutions (a limited north american perspective here) hope to turn out, like, they don't necessarily aim to or expect to produce serious speakers and understanders of the language at a high level, and the people the language you learn is meant to help you talk to and understand are business/political elites/elites of other types. why the hell, the average professor of chinese would say and i'm sure the average confucius institute instructor would say, would you spend any time talking to someone that speaks nonstandard mandarin? maybe taking a taxi in from the airport, but otherwise why would that ever come up?

getting fluent in mandarin, you can figure out what's going on most of the time, and that's a high enough bar and one that most learners don't get over, so it's tough to propose and even harder for me at least to conceive of a program that could somehow prepare you to fly into a major city after learning chinese for years and find yourself barely able to follow the conversation. so, i suppose it would be nice, at least, if someone would tell you!

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Monday, 13 May 2019 17:52 (one week ago) Permalink

i was lucky in that i went to china first, picked up the basics without a grammar book, then decided to study chinese, so i had some idea that yeah i can study this for over a decade and not be able to understand most people outside of a big city or over the age of 45.

XxxxxxxXxxxxxxxxXxxxx (dylannn), Monday, 13 May 2019 17:54 (one week ago) Permalink


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