Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: so i'm decided now

  1. #1
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    de slips morts pour autobus à chats
    Posts
    248
    Rep Power
    11

    so i'm decided now

    i'm going to start learning mandarin in a few months (i just really want to refresh my german before that). i'll try slowly because my russian and my german also need to improve.

    as far as i know, grammar and conjugations (not sure there are any) are very easy.

    words are not to hard too learn if you have a musical ear (that i think i have despite tinnitus).

    but how complicated is writing? some people told me it was almost impossible to read chinese unless you practice for decades.
    is pin-yin a solution? is it wide spread (papers, street signs...), useful or even used at all?

    another question now: since most words are mono-syllabic, are there a lot of compound words?

    and more generally, how difficult would rate mandarin compared to...let's say russian (for en english speaker)?
    my apartment in paris : http://vacation-paris-apartment.com/

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    с. Хреновое Воронежской обл.
    Posts
    2,481
    Rep Power
    13
    as far as i know, grammar and conjugations (not sure there are any) are very easy.
    No conjugations, and grammar is, for the most part easy. It's an analytical language, so your word order can be extremely important; there are also some occasions when you have to throw in "le" or "jiu" or else it "just won't sound right", but in general grammar is easier than in most languages.

    but how complicated is writing? some people told me it was almost impossible to read chinese unless you practice for decades.
    is pin-yin a solution? is it wide spread (papers, street signs...), useful or even used at all?
    They were lying. It's true you will have to spend a lot of time learning characters, but reading is really the easiest thing. Oftentimes I can't recognize a character alone but if I see it next to others then I understand the context.

    As for writing, it takes practice, practice, practice, and I personally don't even try. I've been learning Russian for five years and I have had very few occasions where I actually needed to WRITE(with a pen and paper) something. Typing in Chinese is very easy if you know pinyin. As for pinyin it's not very widespread. So I'd suggest at least learning how to read.

    another question now: since most words are mono-syllabic, are there a lot of compound words?
    You guessed it; as Chinese words became more and more ambiguous, they started using more and more compound words to be able to distinguish between them.

    and more generally, how difficult would rate mandarin compared to...let's say russian (for en english speaker)?
    There's no comparison. The two languages are rather different in all aspects. The writing system is more difficult, grammar is easier, but I don't know. I think Russian tends to be a more "mumbled" language, while Chinese tends to be spoken more clearly; I noticed I have less trouble understanding spoken Chinese than spoken Russian(that is, in a situation where I know all of the words being spoken).

  3. #3
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    de slips morts pour autobus à chats
    Posts
    248
    Rep Power
    11
    very comforting thread, Pravit, thanks
    others are free to add something, of course
    do you, Pravit, speak other languages than english, russian and english?

    I've been learning Russian for five years and I have had very few occasions where I actually needed to WRITE(with a pen and paper) something
    russian natives told me my writing was beautiful
    but it's awfully complicated to read handwritten texts (depending on the person writing, obviously). ch, tch, chtch, n, i and other letters all look the same to me when mixed in a word. it really is a pain in the ass
    my apartment in paris : http://vacation-paris-apartment.com/

  4. #4
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    с. Хреновое Воронежской обл.
    Posts
    2,481
    Rep Power
    13
    do you, Pravit, speak other languages than english, russian and english?
    Besides English, Russian, and English, I also speak German and some French and a bit of Chinese.

    ch, tch, chtch
    I'm assuming you're using French transliteration; some of the letters do look similar, but I think your "ch" and "tch" look a bit different; the first looks like a cursive W and the second a cursive "r." Telling the first from the third, however, can sometimes be difficult.

  5. #5
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    de slips morts pour autobus à chats
    Posts
    248
    Rep Power
    11
    actually, sometimes a series of ch, tch, chtch, y (or
    my apartment in paris : http://vacation-paris-apartment.com/

  6. #6
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    303
    Rep Power
    10
    Not that I'm beyond early stages in Mandarin, but...

    The hard thing about tone languages is the mindset transition. I didn't want to learn any tone languages for ages, because I wasn't comfortable with them. For me it seemed that tone was personal domain, and that the language being tone-based meant it'd impede on my personal expression. Maybe that's just me, though.
    Tone is a different foundation of thought process. So, there's no one singular point I can honestly say is hard about Chinese, as it is so sensible and easy to see their pattern and reason. But in practice, that's where I think tone languages are difficult. Having scope. Listening skills is something I'm guessing would be hard even further down the line. But, in the beginning stages I've found the little progress I have made quite leisurely. It's been the easiest for me when I do it. But, it's been hard for me to feel like doing it, as it is harder to relate to for a non-tone language speaker. This is my experience anyway.
    The cliche "It's the spaces between the brush strokes that makes it great" is for once actually applicable to me, here. Emotionally, it takes some getting used to a totally different way of expressing yourself. Maybe all this sounded like gobbledigook , I don't know. Recently I've felt really comfortable with just letting the tones roll off my tongue (albeit, in my head most of the time). It's not as hard as it's proffessed to be. The early stages, at least. You have to learn not to try too hard to analyse the tones when you're speaking. Because, the speed of the tone changes are so quick. You just have to let it roll out once you know what tone you're to use.
    As for characters, if you find a book that tells you how the characters came to mean each given word, they're inspiring, therfore easier to remember. Like , well...pictures. It's only if you don't see how a character came into being that it is a chore to remember. You can actually predict to some extent what a character you haven't seen before may mean. Not with any accuracy, but I've guess a few off-the-cuff based on base characters and gotten fairly close. But, I haven't as yet tried to read properly. I'm just playing with the few I know, enjoying picking them out on a cd cover or shop sign etc.
    Funny thing for me was, the first 15 minutes after buying a children-style Chinese Character book, I already struck success. I read through it on the train. Then, waiting for a bus, I saw the sign for 'man' across the road inside a Chinese food store. Man, that was such an amazing buzz. It really took the scare out of the process to see how easy recognizing and reading may be like somewhere down the line.

  7. #7
    Старший оракул
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    China
    Posts
    860
    Rep Power
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    Funny thing for me was, the first 15 minutes after buying a children-style Chinese Character book, I already struck success. I read through it on the train. Then, waiting for a bus, I saw the sign for 'man' across the road inside a Chinese food store. Man, that was such an amazing buzz. It really took the scare out of the process to see how easy recognizing and reading may be like somewhere down the line.
    Man - power field, right? I know what you mean.
    Which book have you got? I've got at least one like that.
    Море удачи и дачу у моря

  8. #8
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    с. Хреновое Воронежской обл.
    Posts
    2,481
    Rep Power
    13
    Поздравляю, Brett! I agree completely about characters. It is very fun to learn about how they came about, even though the other 90%, alas, are formed of meaning + phonetic components.

    About tones I once felt that way too but it is still possible to sound angry, tired, sad, sly, etc. while using correct tones, I noticed. And about listening comprehension maybe it's just me but I feel Chinese is spoken much more clearly than, say, French. Have you tried this site? It's rather cute.

    http://www.ctcfl.ox.ac.uk/Chinese/lessons.htm

  9. #9
    N
    N is offline
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Moscow
    Posts
    377
    Rep Power
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by Pravit
    I think Russian tends to be a more "mumbled" language, while Chinese tends to be spoken more clearly; I noticed I have less trouble understanding spoken Chinese than spoken Russian(that is, in a situation where I know all of the words being spoken).
    It's because Russians tend to swallow word's endings - they are not as important as in English. That's why I have a trouble - I cannot bring myself to pronounce endings of English words as clearly as BBC speakers do.

  10. #10
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    с. Хреновое Воронежской обл.
    Posts
    2,481
    Rep Power
    13
    I think both English and Russian are languages that can be easily mumbled.

  11. #11
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    de slips morts pour autobus à chats
    Posts
    248
    Rep Power
    11
    oh, sir, as far as pronounciation, english is just terrible.
    german is a bit easier.
    my apartment in paris : http://vacation-paris-apartment.com/

  12. #12
    N
    N is offline
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Moscow
    Posts
    377
    Rep Power
    11
    I know I just wanted to say those languages are mumbled in different ways.

  13. #13
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    303
    Rep Power
    10
    Brett like Chinese little website Pravit give. Video help Brett learn.

  14. #14
    Завсегдатай
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    с. Хреновое Воронежской обл.
    Posts
    2,481
    Rep Power
    13
    Yeah, it's so cute how the same guy plays a hundred different parts, huh?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  


Russian Lessons                           

Russian Tests and Quizzes            

Russian Vocabulary