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Old 07-19-2014, 01:04 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,904 posts, read 70,695,524 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
Is it true that kids even in China struggle to learn Chinese? I am told it is a very inefficient language. I have had friends who went to chinese language schools for some 8yrs, and still cannot read or write. They may be able to speak some though. They tell me if you are not immersed in it constantly, then you wont learn. So I figure the chinese in China can. Then I hear they too have trouble learning it.
That simply isn't true. If it were true, there would be no Chinese language courses in universities. The written language is a little challenging for Chinese kids , which is why the PRC simplified the characters long ago. In Taiwan and Hong Kong, they still learn traditional characters, which are much more complex.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:31 AM
 
340 posts, read 271,169 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 415_s2k View Post
Its tough for westerners because while vowels have different tones in, say, English, when you say "bath," whether you form it in your nasal palate or your throat, pronounce it long or short, it still just means "bath."

Now imagine that to communicate that you want a bath, you must say it so the vowel in bath has an upward inflection like you're asking a question. If you say it as a long vowel, it means "calf," with a short vowel it means nothing, and with a flat tone one octave higher than the rest of the word it means "sleepy." You still have to say the "th" and also haven't communicated whether you like baths, don't like them, need one yourself, or think they need one. Every word in the sentence will also have a tone. That's why the tones are considered "tough!"

Contrasted with Japanese, which is fairly atonal, I find Mandarin somewhat tougher because I am not an auditory learner... Japanese us bordering on atonal, so once I learned the written alphabet and could form a word, I was off to the races. Not the case with mandarin...
Is this a matter of communication? True, a person can get away with mispronouncing every word in English yet will be understood, not so in Mandarin, but I think this has to do with having so few possible syllables.

I still think learning how to say ma1 will be easier and faster than "gvprckvni" from Georgian.
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:41 AM
 
6,246 posts, read 6,385,177 times
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The written language has to be hard. They have no set and limited alphabet to form the words. It seems like just a series of symbols without any limit, or logical pattern to which to form the word.

How did they come up with such a written script? Wouldnt an indo european style or greco roman style of writing be much easier, and thereby more likely to have developed for everyday use?

It seems like the chinese written language is almost like a secret code that you have to break.

Last edited by NJ Brazen_3133; 07-19-2014 at 08:51 AM..
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Old 07-19-2014, 09:47 AM
 
6,726 posts, read 6,614,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
The written language has to be hard. They have no set and limited alphabet to form the words. It seems like just a series of symbols without any limit, or logical pattern to which to form the word.

How did they come up with such a written script? Wouldnt an indo european style or greco roman style of writing be much easier, and thereby more likely to have developed for everyday use?

It seems like the chinese written language is almost like a secret code that you have to break.
Japanese keep using Chinese characters for good reasons.
If you learn some Chinese you will see the advantages.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:20 AM
 
268 posts, read 325,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
It seems like the chinese written language is almost like a secret code that you have to break.
Kinda. Learning the radicals well makes it a lot easier.
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Old 07-19-2014, 12:41 PM
 
25,059 posts, read 23,196,156 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
The written language has to be hard. They have no set and limited alphabet to form the words. It seems like just a series of symbols without any limit, or logical pattern to which to form the word.

How did they come up with such a written script? Wouldnt an indo european style or greco roman style of writing be much easier, and thereby more likely to have developed for everyday use?

It seems like the chinese written language is almost like a secret code that you have to break.
Chinese needs characters because of the large amount of homophones present in the language. They don't need an Indo-European script to adopt, they already have their own. It's called bopomofo. It's still used in Taiwan to write the sounds out on a computer, while the PRC phased it out in favor of pinyin, which is the Latin letter system used for transliteration

Bopomofo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Although I think Chinese would need a writing system of accent marks similar to Vietnamese in order to differentiate words that are spelled the same but have different tones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guawazi View Post
Kinda. Learning the radicals well makes it a lot easier.
I may be wrong, but I think Chinese characters only have a few hundred radicals, right? More than half of Chinese characters are made up of 2 or more radicals, I believe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
Japanese keep using Chinese characters for good reasons.
If you learn some Chinese you will see the advantages.
I can't imagine Japanese ever phasing out Chinese characters from their writing. Japanese would be too confusing in written form without it, too many words sound the same but have different meaning.
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Old 07-19-2014, 02:22 PM
 
Location: Taipei
6,776 posts, read 5,131,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
Is it true that kids even in China struggle to learn Chinese? I am told it is a very inefficient language. I have had friends who went to chinese language schools for some 8yrs, and still cannot read or write. They may be able to speak some though. They tell me if you are not immersed in it constantly, then you wont learn. So I figure the chinese in China can. Then I hear they too have trouble learning it.
I don't think kids in China or Taiwan struggle to learn Chinese,it's our native language after all.

Anyway Chinese and Taiwanese kids could have problems for their mandatory Chinese classes in schools.The classic literary stuff could be quite difficult.Students are required to write articles as well,but usually those writing exams are really formulaic and uninspiring(typical Asian education problem),just come up with some cheesy stories and pretty words,you can get great scores(for instance,I scored 24 out of 27 in my college admission test,god knows how stupid and moronic that article was).Many students couldn't do that,so they suck on this specific subject.However,that doesn't mean they struggle to learn the Chinese language.


Quote:
I wouldnt say they struggle, but my coworkers and friends here all say that there are still characters they don't recognize and the tones still trip them up on occasion after a lifetime of using them.
As someone that minor in Chinese literature and have been in competition of the Chinese equivalent of Spelling Bee,there are still tons of Chinese words out there that I don't have the slightest clue how to pronounce them,not to mention the meaning of them.But I believe that happens in every language,Americans and British don't know all of the medical terms either,that's basically the same situation.
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Old 07-19-2014, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Taipei
6,776 posts, read 5,131,359 times
Reputation: 4566
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
The written language has to be hard. They have no set and limited alphabet to form the words. It seems like just a series of symbols without any limit, or logical pattern to which to form the word.

How did they come up with such a written script? Wouldnt an indo european style or greco roman style of writing be much easier, and thereby more likely to have developed for everyday use?

It seems like the chinese written language is almost like a secret code that you have to break.
Well,China isn't located anywhere near Europe,it's called Far East for a reason.

This kind of written script is based on drawing.Chinese characters have gone through thousands of years of history,like this.

They evolved from little patterns to the square characters nowadays.There are six(four fundamental,two supporting) principles of character-creating,but that's way too detail,you guys don't need to know that lol.

The reason why I don't like simplified Chinese characters is that this system was pretty much destroyed by the simplifying.It's a bit complicated so I can't really explain it here,but traditional Chinese is far better imo.I don't mind using this harder system at all.
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Old 07-19-2014, 03:15 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,904 posts, read 70,695,524 times
Reputation: 76870
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
The written language has to be hard. They have no set and limited alphabet to form the words. It seems like just a series of symbols without any limit, or logical pattern to which to form the word.

How did they come up with such a written script? Wouldnt an indo european style or greco roman style of writing be much easier, and thereby more likely to have developed for everyday use?

It seems like the chinese written language is almost like a secret code that you have to break.
Actually, you'd be surprised. Once you get the hang of it, it makes sense. Also, it's much more descriptive than an alphabet would be. There are so many homonyms in Chinese, it's necessary to use characters to make sense of it sometimes. If you romanize everything into a Western alphabet, you lose a huge portion of the meaning of the words, and you can wind up with nonsense. Even if you added tone marks to each syllable, it wouldn't solve the problem entirely.

For the record, I HATE having to memorize all those characters! And if you don't practice reading them regularly, you forget everything. Then you have to start over at Square One with the whole language, just to review the characters. BUT: I can see the advantages of using them. I'm just not a visually-oriented person; I learn languages via my ears. I'm at a disadvantage when it comes to the written aspect of East Asian languages. But I can see and appreciate how the system works.
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Old 07-19-2014, 05:05 PM
 
340 posts, read 271,169 times
Reputation: 162
This is not the 18th century though, most people in Hong Kong I've met don't know how to write each character perfectly, they just scribble it like the messy notes waiters take when you order food, you see it everywhere. Typing on a computer is easier, just type in the pinyin and choose the character, you just need to recognize it, not memorize it, and you can just use colloquial cursive elsewhere.
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