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Old 07-28-2015, 02:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guawazi View Post
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.
The Japanese have some advantage in terms of reading and writing some characters (a small %), and that's all. Japanese is as different from Chinese as English is. I used to learn Japanese and I certainly didn't find it any easier than English/French/Spanish.

Your instance it could be because that Japanese student just studied harder or have a talent for learning languages. Speaking Japanese really doesn't give them much advantage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guawazi View Post
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.
Cantonese is almost useless. Even in HK people will respect you more if you just speak English.
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Old 07-28-2015, 03:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guawazi View Post
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.
There are still mapping rules between sounds of Sino-Japanese words and modern Chinese dialects, although the rules can be tricky and there are many exceptions. For example, when a Japanese speaker knows 唐 is pronounced as 'tang' in Mandarin, he can easily memorize the pronunciation of 堂糖棠... because they all exist in Japanese too.

Having studied Chinese for 6 months, he may have got the rules (he might or might not be aware of it himself). Westerners, on the other hand, can never use their native language to help.

Also, Chinese people are more likely to speak Chinese to a Japanese, than to a westerner.
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Old 07-28-2015, 05:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yueng-ling View Post
Also, Chinese people are more likely to speak Chinese to a Japanese, than to a westerner.
Right. And if you can't speak English at all, you'll have no option but to use Chinese which is probably an advantage if you're learning the language. English speakers will default to English when they can't get an idea across, or when the person they're speaking with pushes for it. A Japanese or Korean person that has poor English won't have anything to default to (in China) unless they know a bunch of people who speak their language.

However, I do think that there is an advantage in being familiar with how a language sounds before you start learning it. Having more exposure to a language through the media as well as people is an advantage for sure. I would think that a East/Southeast Asian learning Chinese for the first time would have more exposure to the sound and flow of Mandarin than Joe from Texas. Similarly, Joe from Texas probably has a better ear for Spanish or French, and could better imitate a native speaker then someone from China. Grammar might be another story, but certainly sharing a handful of words that sound the same would serve as an advantage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
Cantonese is almost useless. Even in HK people will respect you more if you just speak English.
I was actually surprised by the level of English in HK. Most seemed to be able to speak basic things pretty well. I did learn to not try to use Mandarin with natives though. I'm not sure about being the most difficult, but Cantonese seems to be one of those languages where the difficulty definitely outweighs usefulness. This changes obviously if you're Chinese or a resident of HK or nearby areas.
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
That was not my point. I said mandarin has more consonants, period. Mandarin has no 入声 but that's another topic.
入声 includes consonants.

I wonder how many consonants Mandarin and Cantonese have?
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guawazi View Post
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.
Only one Japanese there?

I know many Japanese and Korean people who learned Chinese for years and still can't speak very well.
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Old 07-29-2015, 09:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guawazi View Post
Having more exposure to a language through the media as well as people is an advantage for sure.
Yes, that's right. But when and where do you listen to Chinese language in Japan or Korea?
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Old 07-29-2015, 11:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yanagisawa View Post
入声 includes consonants.

I wonder how many consonants Mandarin and Cantonese have?
Standard Mandarin has 23 声母 (initials), while standard Cantonese has 19. It also depends on how you count.

Cantonese does not have zh, ch, sh, r. Many speakers do not distinguish n and l.

Of course, standard Mandarin only has -n, -ng as finals, while Cantonese has -p, -t, -k, -m, -n, -ng.
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Old 07-30-2015, 05:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yueng-ling View Post
Standard Mandarin has 23 声母 (initials), while standard Cantonese has 19. It also depends on how you count.

Cantonese does not have zh, ch, sh, r. Many speakers do not distinguish n and l.

Of course, standard Mandarin only has -n, -ng as finals, while Cantonese has -p, -t, -k, -m, -n, -ng.
Thanks!

Those finals have been counted as independent consonants?
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yanagisawa View Post
Thanks!

Those finals have been counted as independent consonants?
No.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:36 AM
 
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Cantonese does not have j q x either, while most Chinese dialects do.
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