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Old 02-14-2013, 07:10 PM
JL
 
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The Japanese and Korean native speaker probably feels Chinese is not that difficult to learn. Japanese and Korean grammar are more difficult with honorifics being nightmarish if you want to do it properly.The challenge in learning Cantonese for a native Japanese or Korean would be pronunciations. Kanji makes it easier for the Japanese to get a head start in learning Chinese.
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Old 02-14-2013, 07:11 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by JL View Post
The Japanese and Korean native speaker probably feels Chinese is not that difficult to learn. Japanese and Korean grammar are more difficult with honorifics being nightmarish if you want to do it properly.The challenge in learning Cantonese for a native Japanese or Korean would be pronunciations. Kanji makes it easier for the Japanese too get a head start in learning Chinese.
The tones would be just as tricky for a Japanese/Korean speaker as an English speaker. I don't get why any Chinese language would be easier for a Japanese, aside from a few loan-words, maybe it's just this idea that they're related because 'they're all Asian'.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
The tones would be just as tricky for a Japanese/Korean speaker as an English speaker. I don't get why any Chinese language would be easier for a Japanese, aside from a few loan-words, maybe it's just this idea that they're related because 'they're all Asian'.
The tones will definitely still be tricky, but the reason it is easier for a Japanese speaker to learn Chinese is because of the numerous loan words and the knowledge of about 2,000 kanji. They just need to learn a few hundred more common ones used in Chinese and that puts them already at the intermediate or even higher level right away in terms of writing. It is not just a few loan words but I believe more than half of the vocabulary in both Japanese and Korean are of Chinese origin. Both the proper pronunciation and tones need to be learned, but that still makes it much easier for them compared to an English speaker who knows no kanji and almost no Chinese loan words. Although the grammar is different, language learners need to spend a lot of time in building up vocabulary and that is where the easier part of it comes from, not because "they're all Asian".
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:27 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by JL View Post
The Japanese and Korean native speaker probably feels Chinese is not that difficult to learn. Japanese and Korean grammar are more difficult with honorifics being nightmarish if you want to do it properly.The challenge in learning Cantonese for a native Japanese or Korean would be pronunciations. Kanji makes it easier for the Japanese to get a head start in learning Chinese.
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Originally Posted by GoldenTiger View Post
The tones will definitely still be tricky, but the reason it is easier for a Japanese speaker to learn Chinese is because of the numerous loan words and the knowledge of about 2,000 kanji. They just need to learn a few hundred more common ones used in Chinese and that puts them already at the intermediate or even higher level right away in terms of writing. It is not just a few loan words but I believe more than half of the vocabulary in both Japanese and Korean are of Chinese origin. Both the proper pronunciation and tones need to be learned, but that still makes it much easier for them compared to an English speaker who knows no kanji and almost no Chinese loan words. Although the grammar is different, language learners need to spend a lot of time in building up vocabulary and that is where the easier part of it comes from, not because "they're all Asian".
I suppose it's comparable to English and French. But that would apply mostly to reading and vocab, the basic structures of the languages are totally different. Grammatically Mandarin is closer to English than Japanese.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Would u say Cantonese is the most difficult language for english speakers?
I won't.

I had met an English woman, who could speak Cantonese very well, gave up on learning Vietnamese after a several months.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
My opinion is Mandarin sounds much softer. The reason why Mandarin has more consonants (but fewer vowels) is that many consonants are "softened".
In Cantonese there are more consonants than in Mandarin at the ends, or 韵母 in Chinese.

Most Mandarin speakers can't figure out them though.

One, seven and eight (一,七,八) has a t sound at the end.
Three (三) has an m sound at the end.
Six (六) has a k sound at the end.
Ten (十) has a p sound at the end.
New (新) has an n sound at the end.
Port (港) has an ng sound at the end.

There are only two equivalent consonants in Mandarin, n and ng. And many Taiwanese don't differ these two, especially when i or e sound is preceding them, such as 親/青 and 晨/成.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Yanagisawa View Post
In Cantonese there are more consonants than in Mandarin at the ends, or 韵母 in Chinese.

Most Mandarin speakers can't figure out them though.

One, seven and eight (一,七,八) has a t sound at the end.
Three (三) has an m sound at the end.
Six (六) has a k sound at the end.
Ten (十) has a p sound at the end.
New (新) has an n sound at the end.
Port (港) has an ng sound at the end.

There are only two equivalent consonants in Mandarin, n and ng. And many Taiwanese don't differ these two, especially when i or e sound is preceding them, such as 親/青 and 晨/成.
That was not my point. I said mandarin has more consonants, period. Mandarin has no 入声 but that's another topic.
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:22 PM
 
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For most east asians, I bet Arabic and Russian are among the hardest languages to learn.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
Would u say Cantonese is the most difficult language for english speakers?

It has the most tones of tonal languages at 9. As opposed to mandarin at 4, etc. Additionally, the mainland uses simplified Chinese characters now, whereas cantonese hong kong/Macau use the much older Chinese characters.

Anyways, what would you all say? Agree or disagree?
One regional dialect in Guangxi province has 11 tones.
No, Cantonese is not the hardest.

Can I clarify again whether one speaks Cantonese has nothing to do with simplified or traditional Chinese characters? There exist no such Cantonese/traditional Chinese vs. Mandarin/Simplified Chinese divide.

Taiwan speaks Mandarin and uses traditional characters. The Chinese in Guangdong speaks Cantonese and write in simplified Chinese. HK+ Macau is really a tiny portion of the Chinese speaking population. Extremely tiny, like Monaco in Europe.
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Old 07-28-2015, 01:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
The tones would be just as tricky for a Japanese/Korean speaker as an English speaker. I don't get why any Chinese language would be easier for a Japanese, aside from a few loan-words, maybe it's just this idea that they're related because 'they're all Asian'.
I've been trying to figure this out for a while myself, but I've witnessed it first-hand as a former student in China. There was a Japanese student who was at the same level as us initially, and within 6 months managed to surpass everyone with seemingly little effort. His writing and reading were of course superior, but his speaking magically got boosted. Of course there are other factors that could have make an impact such as work effort, intellect, and the fact he had no other language to speak other than Chinese, but it was obvious something was happening. Though I think Japanese and Koreans are more familiar with hearing the way Chinese sounds, even if they don't understand what's being said, which actually has a major impact in being able to imitate others.

Regarding Cantonese, I tried to pick up some basic phrases but never made a serious effort. Even though I can understand some stuff here and there, it still sounds a bit alien.
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