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Old 05-02-2017, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Mid-Michigan
171 posts, read 115,780 times
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Over the last few years, I've studied different languages to a degree, but the East Asian ones appeal to me the most. Especially Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean. Cantonese is cool, too! I'm having a hard time picking just one to put time into, because I would rather be fluent in one than intermediate in multiple.

Which leads to the purpose of my question, any encouraging experiences of people who have learned multiple Asian languages? Hearing success of other people would help me a lot in motivation to learn one or maybe more than that. I learned Japanese for two years in a university setting, Mandarin for almost a year with online and book studying, and Korean for only a few weeks.

It feels like each is so overwhelming... So I want to take learning seriously.
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:08 PM
 
25,059 posts, read 23,192,720 times
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From an economic or business standpoint, Mandarin is the only one worth learning.
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Mid-Michigan
171 posts, read 115,780 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theunbrainwashed View Post
From an economic or business standpoint, Mandarin is the only one worth learning.
That's not the kind of information I'm looking for, but thank you for taking the time to answer.

To be clear, I'm not asking which language(s) I should learn, just experiences of people who have successfully learned any of these, especially more than one.
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:43 PM
 
25,059 posts, read 23,192,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queldorei View Post
That's not the kind of information I'm looking for, but thank you for taking the time to answer.

To be clear, I'm not asking which language(s) I should learn, just experiences of people who have successfully learned any of these, especially more than one.
Mandarin still the easiest one of the 3 major ones. The grammar is the easiest to learn (subject-verb-object like English) even if the writing isn't. Pick the one you like the most. And always have an excellent reason to study it. I'm studying Japanese because my fiancee is Japanese and I'm part Japanese. So I'm learning for her and to connect with my Japanese side. That's my motivation. If you're gonna invest thousands of hours and a lot of money on a language, make it worth your while.

Last edited by theunbrainwashed; 05-02-2017 at 09:52 PM..
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:44 PM
 
Location: Taipei
6,776 posts, read 5,131,359 times
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I have an American friend who learned to speak Mandarin fluently by spending a few years in Taiwan. I think he was here for like 2-3 years (though I think he had learned it at home for a while as well) and he was really good. I could talk to him in Mandarin without any problem (for the most part) for hours, and he can read, too. I'm not sure about the writing though, but he can definitely type.

There are other foreigners who have been here for a varied amount of time and they speak the language fluently, and they go on (terrible) television talk shows to talk about their lives here. Their fluency is absolutely astonishing. Some of them have zero accent and master the tones 120%.
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:55 PM
 
25,059 posts, read 23,192,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greysholic View Post
I have an American friend who learned to speak Mandarin fluently by spending a few years in Taiwan. I think he was here for like 2-3 years (though I think he had learned it at home for a while as well) and he was really good. I could talk to him in Mandarin without any problem (for the most part) for hours, and he can read, too. I'm not sure about the writing though, but he can definitely type.

There are other foreigners who have been here for a varied amount of time and they speak the language fluently, and they go on (terrible) television talk shows to talk about their lives here. Their fluency is absolutely astonishing. Some of them have zero accent and master the tones 120%.
It helps to be motivated a lot. I could have been 90% fluent in Mandarin with the difficult 東北弁 with my stepfamily, but I wasn't motivated. If you aren't motivated, you're spinning wheels, IMO
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Old 05-08-2017, 08:22 AM
 
Location: San Gabriel Valley
509 posts, read 300,328 times
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I found Japanese to be fairly easy, Korean to be like Japanese but somewhat harder, and Mandarin to be really complex and confusing. I am conversational in Japanese, I can ask and answer simple questions in Korean, and nobody understands wtf I am saying in Mandarin.

Unless you are particularly gifted (such people exist, I am not one of them), you should probably focus on just one first to really deepen your knowledge in it. If I try to study more than one simultaneously, I always feel that I am not making progress in any of them and just confusing myself. Decide which language is most meaningful to your future plans (having a goal is very useful) and focus on that for awhile; immerse yourself in it. Then, if you feel like you have progressed, move on to another. However, people have such different ways of learning, so what I would do is not what might work best for you.
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:07 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,895 posts, read 70,695,524 times
Reputation: 76849
Quote:
Originally Posted by Queldorei View Post
Over the last few years, I've studied different languages to a degree, but the East Asian ones appeal to me the most. Especially Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean. Cantonese is cool, too! I'm having a hard time picking just one to put time into, because I would rather be fluent in one than intermediate in multiple.

Which leads to the purpose of my question, any encouraging experiences of people who have learned multiple Asian languages? Hearing success of other people would help me a lot in motivation to learn one or maybe more than that. I learned Japanese for two years in a university setting, Mandarin for almost a year with online and book studying, and Korean for only a few weeks.

It feels like each is so overwhelming... So I want to take learning seriously.
OP, college students majoring in Asian Studies generally learn at least two. I know several people who learned Chinese and Japanese fluently. What I found difficult was the writing system; spoken Chinese came easily. But some people are the opposite; they have an artist's eye and somewhat of a photographic memory, so the writing comes easily, while the tones don't, at all.
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Old 05-08-2017, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Honolulu
1,368 posts, read 550,220 times
Reputation: 1108
I know all four languages to certain degree (4 years Japanese and 2 1/2 year Korean in college). Frequent travel to both Japan and Korea. Learnt Mandarin in High School.

IMO Cantonese is the hardest. Even most Mandarin speakers have a hard time to grasp Cantonese. There are a lot of Cantonese words uttered by the nose like "ng" which is basically non-existent in other languages. On the other hand, like English, there are a lot of words pronounced by tongue-twisting in Mandarin.

And because there are so many tones in Mandarin and Cantonese, it is hard to master orally unless: (1) Live there for an extended period; (2) Know a girl friend who speaks that language; (3) Watch a lot of Mandarin or Cantonese movies.

Japanese and Korean are more simple in their oral form since there are no tones involved. But grammatically both are more complicated than Chinese. For example, written Chinese does not have tense while both Japanese and Korean do.

All these languages share some common vocabulary. Many Japanese and Koreans retain their words in the Classical Chinese form while modern Chinese imported a lot of loan words from Japan after Meiji Restoration.
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