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19-05-2012, 01:34   #1
Crann na Beatha
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How difficult is Chinese?

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19-05-2012, 22:36   #2
Enkidu
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So,
I was looking into learning Chinese,but I must ask how difficult is it for speakers of indo-European languages?
Quite difficult. The US military after gathering statistics on millions of human hours of language learning in their intensive language programs rated it category IV, their highest rating (for speakers of Indo-European languages).

On average, for an English speaker let's say, professional fluency takes four times longer than an Indo-European language.

Of course it has the advantage of excellent courses and exceptionally good programs for learning the script (analogous to "Remembering the Kanji" by Heisig for Japanese).
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24-05-2012, 01:07   #3
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Of course it has the advantage of excellent courses and exceptionally good programs for learning the script (analogous to "Remembering the Kanji" by Heisig for Japanese).
You wouldn't have any links (online preferably) that you find good?
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24-05-2012, 01:26   #4
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I've a colleague in work that speaks Dutch, German and English fluently - he uses them all in work. He married a Chinese girl and said he gave up trying to learn Mandarin as he found it too difficult in comparison to the other languages he learned. Funny enough he said to me that he considered it about as difficult as learning four European languages together (as in it would take about as long for him to learn) which ties in with what Enkidu posted above.

My wife is also Chinese and I'm trying, but its, very slow going, there just isn't any similarity between English and Mandarin never mind getting into tones, but it is coming along slowly - it takes a lot of motivation to keep going
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24-05-2012, 10:22   #5
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Just to say Supercell, learning Chinese to even some level where you can talk is an exceptional intellectual achievement (in my opinion) and one you should be proud of. Learn enough and you gain access to the literature of the world's oldest continuous civilisation and its speakers.
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24-05-2012, 10:23   #6
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You wouldn't have any links (online preferably) that you find good?
I'll gather a list, be back soon. (I hope!)
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24-05-2012, 10:30   #7
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I studied Chinese (Mandarin and the Fujian dialect) in Taiwan for 3 years. The easiest thing to do is to start of utilising pinyin (the romanised version of chinese), build up vocab, practise pronunciation. If you're interested in conversational chinese, simply ignore all the written form as it can be mighty confusing.

If you're interested in the written form, that's a different ball game altogether.

I'd suggest the following :

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

http://pinyin.info/

http://www.quickmandarin.com/chinesepinyintable/

That's a quick start, but as with all things worth doing, you have to invest a ton of effort and time in order to progress. zhù nǐ xìngyùn!!
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25-05-2012, 02:24   #8
conor.hogan.2
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I'll gather a list, be back soon. (I hope!)
Cheers, learning Chinese has been slow burning for me for years now.
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29-05-2012, 09:01   #9
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Easier than Japanese or Korean IMO. No verb conjugation, no tenses, the grammar is almost non existent. Hanzi can be intimidating however and it's a highly idiomatic language. Tones are overblown as a barrier to learning it, listen a lot and if you're a good mimic you'll get them down eventually without to much hassle. No language is impossible, speak it lot's and with confidence and you'll get where you need to be eventually.

Caveat: You really need to be in country to learn it though, speaking with the staff down the local takeout the odd time (who are most likely native Cantonese speakers anyway) won't get you anywhere.
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16-10-2014, 10:29   #10
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I've only just started. I am ignoring the written form and concentrating on Pinyin for the moment.

The grammar is very easy so far - no verb conjugation re person or tenses, days of week and months of years are numbers, dates are numbers i.e. not "second of .., third of etc" .

The sounds are "stranger" than European languages and the tone concept is "strange" to me .

I still rarely understand what the teacher says , even when she speaks slowly, but I've only done 5 classes.
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07-03-2015, 05:30   #11
davwain
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Re: How difficult is Chinese?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enkidu View Post
Quite difficult. The US military after gathering statistics on millions of human hours of language learning in their intensive language programs rated it category IV, their highest rating (for speakers of Indo-European languages).

On average, for an English speaker let's say, professional fluency takes four times longer than an Indo-European language.

Of course it has the advantage of excellent courses and exceptionally good programs for learning the script (analogous to "Remembering the Kanji" by Heisig for Japanese).
Among Asian languages not written in a Latin script, I would say, transliteration-wise, Russian is the easiest to learn. Other Asian languages that use the Cyrillic script may not be the easiest to transliterate, but, writing-system wise, Japanese, Korean, Georgian, Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Armenian are very different from Latin writing systems.
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