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Old 01-03-2013, 09:50 AM
 
Location: DFW
6,796 posts, read 11,765,661 times
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Well, since this is the Asia forum, chances are extremely high..
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:55 PM
 
Location: cold
5 posts, read 7,876 times
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I speak some mandarin - but there are no Asians where I live - if I don't use it I loose it - was learning extremely fast - but stopped to work more on my martial arts - a Chinese girl told me that this is the usa & there is no reason for anyone to speak Chinese - but it's just something I wanted to do
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:06 PM
 
5,091 posts, read 8,065,240 times
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Originally Posted by azguy14 View Post
I speak some mandarin - but there are no Asians where I live - if I don't use it I loose it - was learning extremely fast - but stopped to work more on my martial arts - a Chinese girl told me that this is the usa & there is no reason for anyone to speak Chinese - but it's just something I wanted to do
When I first began to learn Thai, I happened to encounter a university student from Thailand who for some reason decided to put my skills to the test. Although I knew some, I was still very much at the beginning stage. He took a Thai-English dictionary out, pointed to a word an asked me to pronounce it. I was close, but not good enough. He then proceeded say that I should forget about learning Thai because it's much too difficult and that I'd never be able to learn it well.

What he failed to realize is that learning the language was not something I had to do. It was something I wanted to do. I never gave up. After a few decades now, I'm not at a skill level that I would consider to be as fluent as a native speaker, I'm good enough that I can carry on a reasonable conversation with Thai people. Further, over the years, both in Thailand and in the US, I have been surrounded by Thai friends. In Thailand, when I make a mistake, most of the time people know what I'm saying from the context, although it may not be quite right.

One time on a cheap bus headed to the province of Saraburi, I was asking if some animals off in the distance were "water buffalos". However, I said it wrong and the word came out sounding like "testicles". Everybody on the bus within hearing range roared with laughter in humor, not ridicule. Several people gathered around me, impressed with my attempts none the less, and thoughtfully corrected me. The locals, those I know as well as those I don't, often express being impressed that I bothered to learn their language ae all, and go out of their way to help me improve my communication skills. It's people like this who have encouraged me to keep at it.

I agree that learning a language can be a use it or lose it kind of thing. The more you use or practice a new language, the better you become with it, to the point that it can become second nature and you don't have to stop and make a mental translation between languages.

Don't let anyone discourage you.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:26 PM
 
Location: cold
5 posts, read 7,876 times
Reputation: 10
If I had a choice I would not speak english at all
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:07 PM
 
5,091 posts, read 8,065,240 times
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Originally Posted by azguy14 View Post
If I had a choice I would not speak english at all
Speaking for myself, I personally wouldn't go that far. English is still pretty significant as an international language. However, in other countries, getting away from large cities and areas catering to tourists, and heading out to smaller towns and villages where English is seldom spoken, a person is more likely to encoiunter and be immersed in the native languages.

From what you indicated, some girl told you there's no reason to learn a language or dialect of China because you're in the USA. As to how useful a language might be, depends on what you want to do. If you plan to go to China sometime, it might come in pretty handy to better communicate with the locals. What I found in Thailand was that people are often surprised when a foreigner (a non-Thai) actually can speak the language with more than just 'hello' and 'thank you', even if it comes out rather mangled. I don't know, but I would think it might be somewhat similar in China.

If the problem is a lack of opportunity to practice your own communication skills, there are ways to do that. For example, if you're near a university, check and see if they have an English as a Second Language (ESL) program and see if they accept any volunteers to enable the student(s) to practice their English skills with people who speak English as their native language. You might also ask if they could pair you up for an hour or so each week with a student from China. It may be that the student would be willing to let you practice your skills in exchange. If that's a potential option for you, chances are that if you spend enough time with a student, you'll end up meeting others who are friends of the student and you'll probably find a growing circle of new friends providing you with even more opportunity. Just a suggestion.

It really gets down to need, priorities, and amount of time to invest. I agree with what you said, that it can be a matter of use it or lose it. Take advantage of every opportunity you can. Have you ever been to China or plan to go there at some point in time just to spend a month or two or however long?
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