It recalls me an article of wikipedia I recently read:
For a new beginner I don't think you should learn Cantonese and Mandarin simultaneously. Cantonese, just like many dialects of spoken Chinese (Wu, Min, Hakka, etc..) are very difficult to speak. I of course don't find any difficulties as Cantonese is my mother language. But if someone wants to learn Chinese, I would suggest him learning Standard Mandarin first. As you know Chinese are composed of characters, you could never figure out how to pronounce them by just looking at them. And I think one of the greatest differences between English and Chinese in pronunciation is that Chinese uses "tones" to distinguish the words, for example, Mandarin has five tones and Cantonese even has nine tones. But English has no tones at all! New learners of Chinese (especially Cantonese) would usually mixed the tones up. When we say "YES" in English, our tones will be different according to the situation,Definition of "language"
In addition there is no clear definition of what "one language" means. For instance the Scandinavian languages are so similar that many of the native speakers understand all of them without much trouble. This means that a speaker of Danish, Norwegian or Swedish can easily get his count up to 3 languages. On the other hand, the differences between variants of Chinese, like Cantonese and Mandarin, are so big that intensive studies are needed for a speaker of one of them to learn even to understand a different one correctly. A person who has learned to speak five Chinese dialects perfectly is quite accomplished, but his "count" would still be only one language.
As another example, a person who has learnt five different languages like French, Spanish, Romanian, Italian and Portuguese, all belonging to the closely related group of Romance languages, has accomplished something less difficult than a person who has learnt Hebrew, Standard Mandarin, Finnish, Navajo and Welsh, of which none is remotely related to another.
Yes. (to confirm something)
Yes? (with curiosity)
However we can't do this when speaking Chinese. Different tones mean different characters. If the tones of Cantonese are messed up then it would sound very funny and stupid! (but the classmates shouldn't laugh at you) The "stress" in spoken Chinese work differently from English.
As the same as other languages, many learners cannot pronounce some initial consonants such as "ts" or "tʃ", but that doesn't matter, just like many Eastern Asian cannot pronounce the Spanish rr and French r. Most people would understand though the word is not pronounce correctly. But wrong intonation is serious.
Writing Chinese is also very different from English as the character is a logograph. The only thing to do is learning and reciting them by heart (plus some imagination -- not a joke). Most chinese dictionaries have radical index and table, it should help you to remember the characters more easily. Although there are some books talking about the history and architectures of forming the characters, they are all boring literature stuff (I had to read them because of the exams, yuk) and I don't think they would help.
Though many people think Chinese is lousy, but there is a great benefit that Chinese only have one written form, and the grammar of the written chinese is the same everywhere(unless you want to study the classical literature too - yeah, that's a must for we chinese students ). If you bring a newsprint from Beijing to a person who only speak a dialect -- say Cantonese, Taiwanese or Hakka, whatsover -- I am 99% sure that he could read it, unless he's an illiteracy.
If you have to decide between Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese or all the other local dialects, then you should go for Mandarin as most Chinese people speak it. Also, Mandarin is easier. Cantonese is more difficult than it. It is not uncommon for Chinese people who only speak their own dialect but are able to understand it perfectly (maybe even able to speak a little) what a Mandarinian said. Personally I don't speak Mandarin very fluently but I know exactly what the others say. Yes there are too many dialects in Chinese and many of them are not mutually intelligible. I only speak a few dialects. Believe it or not, most dialects of Chinese are not writtenable! That means you can speak Cantonese but can never write Cantonese! There is no Cantonese characters! So it makes learning Cantonese even more difficult. But if you are interesting in learning dialects, i'd recommend Cantonese as it is the second-most spoken Chinese if i recall well.
For the traditional and simplified Chinese characters issue, actually they are just the same unless the simplified one have fewer strokes. No one ever teach me the simplified one but i learnt it "automatically" after reading a literature book ordered from the mainland China (yep, they were cheaper). Don't being scared by the names and think that they're two completely different things.
Sorry for such a boring post and bad English. Hope it helps.
P.S. How long have you learnt Chinese?
Last edited by afeasfaerw23231233; October 31st, 2008 at 08:16 PM.
Ubuntu 7.10 on P4 1.8G and PIII 933mHz
All hail the Slavic languages!
Many people make mistake while referring to Chinese language.
There is no such language as Chinese. There is either Cantonese Chinese which is a pure form of traditional Chinese, or Mandarin Chinese which is a modern form of traditional Chinese.
Mandarin Chinese is far much easier to learn as compared to the traditional Chinese or Cantonese Chinese.
So... Ubuntu is Chinese for human beings?
Last edited by samh785; October 27th, 2009 at 04:48 AM.
Computer: System76 Pangolin Performance
If a mod locks this thread I will burn them. WITH FIREEEEEE.
Loved the joke, I too don't care for the "not ready for desktop" threads.
Are you a trumpet player?
'On vacation for the week. In Yosemite National Park. A sign on the road said, “Speeding kills bears.” And all I can think is, “Who let them drive in the first place?"' -Stephan Pastis