U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Asia
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-16-2012, 03:32 PM
 
5,098 posts, read 8,082,851 times
Reputation: 3069

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Data1000 View Post
When I am in China at social gatherings, I like to be able to take part in conversations. I also like to be able to give presentations in Chinese. If I was forced to improve my Chinese, it would have been difficult. However, because it is interesting to me and a bit like solving a puzzle, it becomes easy to study everyday.

During the past ten years, I have noticed that Chinese people are less surprised that I speak Chinese. This tells me that more and more non-Chinese people have learned how to speak Chinese. I'm not so special like I used to be! : )
That's similar in some ways as my motivation in Thailand. We have a house there and are surrounded by locals who don't speak anything other than Thai. In a way, it's partially a necessity to know the language. If I'm at a social event, almost no one is going to be carrying on a meaningful conversation in English with me.

In addition, it makes more sense to communicate with people in their own language. It helps add interest and fun for conversation with neighbors, etc., when everyone can understand what eaxh other is talking about instead of just being a bump on a log hearing what would otherwise sound like unknown gibberish. Beyond all that, I just enjoy the language as much as I enjoy the people. If you enjoy a language and find it interesting, It makes it easier to learn the language. I used to be sort of a novel curiosity in our neck of the rice fields. But after a few decades, it's not such a big deal anymore, which is fine with me. I also think that knowing the language of a country, or region of that country, it can help open a few doors that might otherwise be unavailable to a foreigner. It's their country, so there's no reason why I should expect folks to know my native language.

I seldom ever run into any English speaking foreigners. Of the locals who know a little bit of English, that ends up being more of an opportunity for them to practice their skills. Their skills aren't usually more than "What's your name?" and "Where are you from?" My son-in-law is fairly skilled though and usually speaks in English with me, I suppose to keep his own skills fresh.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-16-2012, 05:39 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,492,106 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
I guess you mean Taiwanese Mandarin (Guoyu), which is very similar to mainland Chinese Mandarin (Putonghua) with a few differences. Taiwanese (Taiyu) is a dialect of Southern Min / Minnan / Southern Fujian, which is mutually intelligible with the Hokkien spoken in SE Asia. It is also more often heard outside of Taipei.
If you mean Min/Hokkien than it's nothing like Mandarin and the two are not mutually intelligible. To my ears it sounds more like a SE Asian language than Mandarin.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2012, 05:41 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,492,106 times
Reputation: 11862
[quote=Data1000;27366076]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Honestly I feel for Chinese schoolkids, but then again I guess for us we read each word as a word, not letter by letter, so in a sense we recognise words the same way a Chinese person would recognise characters. Still, having thousands of characters, it seems mind-boggling. And those characters are so like intricate, doesn't it hurt your eyes to read them? quote]

You mentioned something important. In English, we have more words than Chinese has characters. You can read a Chinese newspaper after knowing 2,000 characters, but need to know more English words to read an English newspaper.

Like our words are based on 26 letters, Chinese characters are based on a similar number of 'types of strokes'. When considering all this, Chinese isn't so difficult. In my honest opinion from teaching English, I think English is more difficult than Chinese.
The difference, of course, is that in English or most European languages you can figure out how to SAY the word phonetically, even if it may not be correct, although you'd need a dictionary to find out the meanings. So an English speaker has to memorise probably at least 40,000 words to converse at any high level. There are over a million words in the English language, but we only use a tiny fraction of those in daily conversation.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2012, 06:24 PM
 
1,100 posts, read 1,674,957 times
Reputation: 971
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
If you mean Min/Hokkien than it's nothing like Mandarin and the two are not mutually intelligible. To my ears it sounds more like a SE Asian language than Mandarin.
Yes. Taiwanese Mandarin (國語/Guoyu or "national language" in Taiwan) and Taiwanese (台語/Taiyu, which translates to Taiwanese) are two different languages which are not mutually intelligible. The former (as its name in English indicates) is a form of Mandarin while the latter is a form of Min/Hokkien.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2012, 06:32 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,492,106 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
Yes. Taiwanese Mandarin (國語/Guoyu or "national language" in Taiwan) and Taiwanese (台語/Taiyu, which translates to Taiwanese) are two different languages which are not mutually intelligible. The former (as its name in English indicates) is a form of Mandarin while the latter is a form of Min/Hokkien.
Yes, most Taiwanese speak Mandarin these days, I mainly heard Hokkien among the older people. My grandmother from Singapore speaks Hokkien, but it's dying out in Singapore as well since the government encourages Mandarin as a supposed 'mother tongue' of the ethnic Chinese, when people in Fujian province never even spoke Mandarin until recently. Few of the ancestors of Singaporeans would have spoken Mandarin as their 'mother tongue', but I do agree it's probably more useful to learn Mandarin than Hokkien or any of the other 'dialects.'
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2012, 06:53 PM
 
Location: Sometimes Miami sometimes Australia
1,093 posts, read 2,283,529 times
Reputation: 1057
I speak Cantonese fluently. I am not a native speaker, nor am I even Asian, but I lived in Hong Kong for several years in my teens and picked it up. People usually assume I was born in HK or otherwise have Chinese family. They have a hard time comprehending that a non-Chinese could ever achieve proficiency in it.

Last edited by tropical87; 12-16-2012 at 07:02 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2012, 06:56 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,492,106 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropical87 View Post
I speak Cantonese fluently. I am not a native speaker, nor am I even Asia, but I lived in Hong Kong for several years in my teens and picked it up. People usually assume I was born in HK or otherwise have Chinese family. They have a hard time comprehending that a non-Chinese could ever achieve proficiency in it.
That's like thinking an Asian could never achieve proficiency in English. Where do people get such closed-minded ideas? THere are many videos of non-Chinese kids speaking Mandarin, it shows that language is 100% learned, which should be obvious.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2012, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Sometimes Miami sometimes Australia
1,093 posts, read 2,283,529 times
Reputation: 1057
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
That's like thinking an Asian could never achieve proficiency in English. Where do people get such closed-minded ideas? THere are many videos of non-Chinese kids speaking Mandarin, it shows that language is 100% learned, which should be obvious.
Yes, I always mentioned that. Whenever people acted surprised, I'd say many Asians speak English fluently. They'd usually just say either English was an international language or Cantonese is far harder than English. I'd just say they weren't used to seeing it.

In fact many old-timers in HK who do speak Cantonese like a native prefer not to, as it attracts too much attention. You don't want to be sitting on a bus speaking on the phone only to have people secretely recording to put on youtube with titles like "FOREIGNER SPEAKS CANTONESE! SO STRANGE!" or have people laugh at you. This happened to someone I knew.

Even when this happens, HKers can usually be reasoned with. Problem is now there is a flood of village-idiot mainlanders in HK - many who haven't even seen a white person, least of all one who speaks a Chinese dialect. They think they have the right to laugh, point, stare and take pics/record you for speaking it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2012, 08:29 PM
 
Location: The Big O
590 posts, read 665,149 times
Reputation: 436
Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
That's similar in some ways as my motivation in Thailand. We have a house there and are surrounded by locals who don't speak anything other than Thai. In a way, it's partially a necessity to know the language. If I'm at a social event, almost no one is going to be carrying on a meaningful conversation in English with me.
Interesting. I'm actually going to be in Thailand in early January. I am flying from Shanghai to Bangkok, then onto Phuket. We have time to visit one island and stay overnight. My friend wants to visit Racha (Raya) Island, but according to photos, Phi Phi Island looks more beautiful and unique. Which part of Thailand do you live at? Have you ever been to those two islands? Any recommendations?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-16-2012, 08:47 PM
kyh
 
Location: Malaysia & Singapore
383 posts, read 1,064,381 times
Reputation: 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropical87 View Post
Yes, I always mentioned that. Whenever people acted surprised, I'd say many Asians speak English fluently. They'd usually just say either English was an international language or Cantonese is far harder than English. I'd just say they weren't used to seeing it.

In fact many old-timers in HK who do speak Cantonese like a native prefer not to, as it attracts too much attention. You don't want to be sitting on a bus speaking on the phone only to have people secretely recording to put on youtube with titles like "FOREIGNER SPEAKS CANTONESE! SO STRANGE!" or have people laugh at you. This happened to someone I knew.

Even when this happens, HKers can usually be reasoned with. Problem is now there is a flood of village-idiot mainlanders in HK - many who haven't even seen a white person, least of all one who speaks a Chinese dialect. They think they have the right to laugh, point, stare and take pics/record you for speaking it.
LOL, I know that. Let's face it - it's reality that Asians who speak European languages are considered as common but a white man who speaks any of the Asian languages is generally seen as a miracle.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > World Forums > Asia
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top