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About Language-Student

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    Language Newbie


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    Chinese, Japanese
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  1. Perhaps it's just the complexity of the characters which makes learning Chinese appear very difficult to Westerners. The grammar, however, is very easy to pick up & often makes much more sense than the English Language arrangements. In fact, westerners are at an advantage over even younger Chinese-born students as far as grammar goes, or so I was taught! The pictorial-based characters make much more sense, when you think about it than many of the words in English, which more & more seems to me like a hotch-potch of borrowed words & expressions, often misspelt & mis-used from a
  2. My German learnt in my childhood is lousy... it's so bad that I'm not listing it on my profile as a studied language. And this is more than a little embarrassing seeing three quarters of my ancestry is German! So I ran a google translation for English and was surprised it came up with a fairly accurate rendition. Well Done :-) Regarding the fireworks that "must be had", isn't there an alternative to chemical explosions that don't cause fires? And mess? I thought there were some suggestions online sometime ago, but did they ever go down as well as the real thing? Or get developed?
  3. A Chinese Ghost Story from 1987 is up on YouTube. It's funny, romantic too, with a fair bit of medieval fighting and will keep you quite involved. It's so very riveting! The acting was exceptional for the time and that movie made a few of them very popular thereafter. If you know some things about Taoism and Buddhism and are interested in reincarnation, then this is a must-see. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p336xDjgJzg
  4. Off The Great Wall! I follow this one everywhere. They used to be much bigger long ago, but not so much now - I mean, their posting of new topics has declined. These guys are hilarious & also get right to the point. I don't think anyone would be disappointed following this. As there are so many people in China, they have to organize themselves well. Also, people there seem to crave titles and prefer those beneath their status to show respect. It looks very much over-done, especially as the title varies depending on their age relative to yours. Still, tradition is tradition and it sho
  5. In about five years from now, Chinese will be the world's most spoken language. Prepare yourselves now and you can be the teachers or tutors of tomorrow. I know this for absolute certain. You have only to look at current events to understand why. I will address this in greater detail later, if asked. I feel the need to address the second sentence regarding language learning participation rates both inside and outside of China. To have a complete understanding of the assertion that "Chinese people don't even bother learning English", I will need to know what part of China the poster comes
  6. I've since given this topic a little more thought and I'd like to share a couple of links / artists this time. Just like my Western music tastes, I tend to like artists who have a good personal story, write the songs they sing and have something worthwhile to sing about. I've looked at the above two posted artists and they are both very good, but one is from Taiwan, the other from Hong Kong. Modern day mainland China, as far as I can tell, doesn't have anyone on the popular music scene that really stands out or is worth following, for one reason or another. It seems to be much easier today in
  7. I think the difficulty must be "application" for me. Inside of the classroom, everything is fine, but where do I use it outside of the classroom, except online? I was recommended to study Japanese on the basis that all the top scientific literature of the future will be in Japanese, so if you want to get ahead in your electronic engineering, you will need to study Japanese! Well, that was back in the early 1990's when Japan was quickly emerging as a techno-hub in electronic engineering design. So after four years of intensive Japanese, I managed to finally get a job at a time when we were
  8. Aramaic, I read somewhere, is very easy for a Native English speaker to learn quickly and would have been very useful in studying biblical history. However, as this forum sub-section is dedicated unto the study of all aspects of Chinese Language and culture, I'm obliged to reveal the best single method for a novice, or anyone really, to learn Chinese. Now, the above contributions are all well and good, as is attending a popular class in a well-known University, but the one thing I can advise, from my own experience, that makes learning this language fun, inexpensive and easy is to
  9. I was taught the Kanji characters were standardized to 1840, so I'm not sure where the rest of those extra ones come from that I need to learn to get up to 2000 characters! I remember the whole lot being drawn up by successive Japanese Exchange Students in proper calligraphy and being pasted on sheets of paper reaching several times right around the classroom. I'm not sure how many I can recall at this moment, so perhaps I should test myself? I guess I'm still waiting for the need to arise! I'm surprised by the statement that says: To be fluent in writing or speech? I don't
  10. I have to suggest another completely different method now. This method is really quite ingenious and can get you learning more Chinese characters and words and even expressions faster than anything. It's also very devious and you need to prepare yourself for some of the possible side-effects. The method itself is quite simple to implement. It involves changing the language settings on your computer over to Mandarin and let the fun begin! This can also be a good time to learn how to swear properly in Chinese. Yet another level of complexity is added when someone else does this for you in
  11. All the formal classes and text books teach you words and expressions, etc grouped into themes. The themes run according to their level. The idea is to master everything to do with one theme: characters, words, sentences and expressions, grammar, culture, history, etc and then do exercises, tests and role plays to cover both the written and spoken aspects, before moving on to the next. This way, you are more prepared for situations in real life. Otherwise, what have you really learnt by writing the "top 500 characters"? At least this way, if you have to leave classes at some stage, you still h
  12. Well, you should be grateful that you have a choice! Here, I can only find tertiary institutions that will teach the simplified version. Our first year teacher did take the time (and with the help of a forest full of separate hand-outs), to show how each simplified character developed from the "original", depending upon how far back it was traced... to a point! My Cantonese wife, perhaps along with many of her countrymen, privately dare to disagree with the simplifications imposed upon the people by the Government in Beijing. The latest round of dramatic changes, I believe, was enf
  13. I ran this past my wife who knows many languages and comes straight from China's south. None of these are just one character in Mandarin, neither the first example, nor the second! It can be easily seen that one character has a single syllable pronunciation in English. The first one is part of a word; by itself it is pretty much meaningless. The second is never one character. It might be pronounced in a single syllable, but it is really one character repeated four times, as in 高高高,just meaning very, very tall or high. My Mandarin character text book, at the end of chapter 9, highlights t
  14. I've been to Shanghai for a couple of weeks, then Guangzhou for two more weeks. If you're a tall westerner "snowflake" or "ghost", you can go to any big supermarket where you can expect to be approached by beautiful young ladies who will chase you down in order to practice their English Language skills! One of the first questions they will ask you is where you are from. If you answer "I'm from England" or "I'm a New Yorker", they will be very keen to chat with you for as long as they have time to spare. If you tell them what I did, they will lose interest very quickly! Saying to them, "G'day L
  15. The easiest one I can remember was sung at the Beijing Olympic Games! I don't have a link; I learnt it from handouts given in class. I must admit I haven't looked into Chinese songs at all! My favorite would have to be the Butterfly Love Song, given to me on a very old audio cassette tape many, many years ago by the original owner of a popular Vegan Chinese Takeaway here. I also like the one on the other side of this same tape, but can no longer read the title in English!
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