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View Poll Results: Which of Chinese or Japanese is harder to learn for a Westerner?
Chinese is harder 23 74.19%
Japanese is harder 8 25.81%
Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-08-2016, 11:24 AM
 
Location: San Marcos, CA
674 posts, read 438,123 times
Reputation: 792

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yanagisawa View Post
Good point. But



This is where Mandarin shines. The tones of Mandarin are simple.

And because of this, MANY words in Mandarin consist of two or more characters in order to avoid ambiguities. I think this is good news for you?

For example:

cheap, reasonable:

便宜 in Mandarin
平 in Cantonese



As I wrote before, that is not the case for Mandarin.

For example:
Monday:

Xing1qi1 Yi1 in Mainland China
Xing1qi2 Yi1 in Taiwan

*the numbers express tones



Would you give us some examples? I would like to try some

And it is the hardest part for a foreigner to understand poetry/lyrics, isn't it?



Agreed.


One of my favorites to hear is Biển Nhớ. I remember being unable to understand it without help (by which I mean I still can't). I've even run into that problem with prose, though I suspect that's more a matter of how I'm still getting used to native language materials. For more examples, look at any song by Trịnh Công Sơn or really just about any sort of nhạc vàng.

I'm also reminded of this paper, which discusses something that trips up learners but doesn't bother native speakers. I mean, the same thing shows up in English, so it's not some novelty.

One of the examples a high school teacher I had used to use all the time was a conversation between English speakers: "Djeet?" "Naw, djou?" I have absolutely no trouble parsing that when I hear it spoken (it's weird seeing it written). Not quite what we're talking about here, but I'm reminded of it.
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:29 PM
 
919 posts, read 602,331 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OwlAndSparrow View Post
One of my favorites to hear is Biển Nhớ. I remember being unable to understand it without help (by which I mean I still can't). I've even run into that problem with prose, though I suspect that's more a matter of how I'm still getting used to native language materials. For more examples, look at any song by Trịnh Công Sơn or really just about any sort of nhạc vàng.

I'm also reminded of this paper, which discusses something that trips up learners but doesn't bother native speakers. I mean, the same thing shows up in English, so it's not some novelty.

One of the examples a high school teacher I had used to use all the time was a conversation between English speakers: "Djeet?" "Naw, djou?" I have absolutely no trouble parsing that when I hear it spoken (it's weird seeing it written). Not quite what we're talking about here, but I'm reminded of it.
Very sorry but I don't know what you are talking about because I know nothing about the language...

The paper is interesting though.

The first sentence introduced in the paper is:
he return I return
And this can mean:
If he goes home, I'll go home too.
When he goes home, I'll go home too.
Every time he goes home, I go home too.
Because he is going home, I am going home too.
Because he went home, I went home too.
Since he might be going home, I am going home now etc.
This is similar with Chinese of course, and I believe I can understand the meaning when I hear the sentence. The context is the key.

And the abilities for decoding the context differ from person to person, but I came to believe East Asians are better at it than Westerners.

BTW, Pragmatics is my favorite branch of linguistics. Hope you like it too.
The sentence "You have a green light" is ambiguous. Without knowing the context, the identity of the speaker, and his or her intent, it is difficult to infer the meaning with confidence. For example:

It could mean that the space that belongs to you has green ambient lighting.
It could mean that you are driving through a green traffic signal.
It could mean that you no longer have to wait to continue driving.
It could mean that you are permitted to proceed in a non-driving context.
It could mean that your body has a green glow.
It could mean that you possess a light bulb that is tinted green.
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:32 PM
 
6,471 posts, read 4,066,328 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OwlAndSparrow View Post
One of the examples a high school teacher I had used to use all the time was a conversation between English speakers: "Djeet?" "Naw, djou?" I have absolutely no trouble parsing that when I hear it spoken (it's weird seeing it written). Not quite what we're talking about here, but I'm reminded of it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yanagisawa View Post
Very sorry but I can't understand what you are talking about because I know nothing about the language...
It's English.

"Did you eat?"

"No, did you?"
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:41 PM
 
919 posts, read 602,331 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saibot View Post
It's English.

"Did you eat?"

"No, did you?"
Oh, thanks. I thought they were conversation between English speakers and Vietnamese speakers

This kind of situations, assimilations, happen in many, if not all, languages.

itaiいたい means painful in Japanese, and when we say "Ouch!", we don't say itaiいたい but iteeいてえ.

干嘛 means "why" or "what are you doing" in Mandarin, it should be pronounced as gan ma, but gam ma is more normal in conversation.
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Old 01-08-2016, 09:14 PM
 
6,471 posts, read 4,066,328 times
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I remember having a hard time recognizing しらなきゃ (shiranakya) as the same word as しらなければ (shiranakereba).
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:44 PM
 
919 posts, read 602,331 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saibot View Post
I remember having a hard time recognizing しらなきゃ (shiranakya) as the same word as しらなければ (shiranakereba).
Good observation.

For me, it's hard to distinguish "can" from "can't" in English sometimes, hehe...

can't < can not
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Old 01-11-2016, 04:13 PM
 
Location: San Marcos, CA
674 posts, read 438,123 times
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Yanagisawa, yeah, I'm terrible with context in Vietnamese right now. I'm trying hard to improve my reading skills so I can pick up on things like that.

I could argue that the difference between that and the English example is that in the English example, most of the meanings are metaphors derived from the driving example, and the others are extremely rare. Then again, I only know that because I've spoken English my whole life. Incidentally, a similar statement in Vietnamese (about red lights) means something quite different. "Em có đèn đỏ." I... don't want to translate the meaning of that.


I'm a native English speaker, and I can't distinguish between can and can't when spoken except by syllable stress (even when speaking!). If it's stressed, it sounds like "can't," and if it's not stressed (stress goes on the verb after it), it sounds like "can."
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Old 01-11-2016, 06:51 PM
 
6,471 posts, read 4,066,328 times
Reputation: 16690
Default ʔ

Quote:
Originally Posted by OwlAndSparrow View Post
I'm a native English speaker, and I can't distinguish between can and can't when spoken except by syllable stress (even when speaking!). If it's stressed, it sounds like "can't," and if it's not stressed (stress goes on the verb after it), it sounds like "can."
Really? In my American dialect, they sound nothing alike. In rapid speech, unstressed "can" sounds like "k'n" and ends with a clear nasal sound. Unstressed "can't" sounds like "kæʔ" (with a nasal vowel) and ends with a glottal stop.
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:32 PM
 
Location: San Marcos, CA
674 posts, read 438,123 times
Reputation: 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by saibot View Post
Really? In my American dialect, they sound nothing alike. In rapid speech, unstressed "can" sounds like "k'n" and ends with a clear nasal sound. Unstressed "can't" sounds like "kæʔ" (with a nasal vowel) and ends with a glottal stop.
I'm comparing both with stress rather than both without, because I'm having trouble coming up with a sentence with an unstressed "can't." I'm sure there are plenty, but I have a mental block when I try to come up with one.
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Old 01-12-2016, 11:44 PM
 
20 posts, read 11,045 times
Reputation: 23
I feel chinese is more tuff when compared to japanese.
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