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Linguaholic

overcoming the language barrier problem


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Hello everyone,

I was in China for the last couple of years and I remember very well that during the first few months I had a lot of problems adapting mainly because of the language barrier. Here are a few things I did besides learning the language/culture:

-I started making new Chinese friends 

-I started watching more Chinese movies

-I would try to read everything/recognize Chinese characters that I learnt while travelling

Did anyone had the same experience? What did you do?

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Definitely, I did the same while I was in France. I pretty much learned the basics of the French language before arriving in France and immersing myself totally in French culture so that I wouldn't be wandering about totally lost and clueless.

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Well the difficulty of learning a language is relative. I imagine for a native English or French speaker, Chinese would be fiendishly difficult!

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The good thing about studying Chinese in China is that MOST people on the mainland do not speak English. If you are not located in one of the few big cities like Shanghai and Beijing, there are just a few people that actually do speak English. This really makes language immersion much easier...you will be forced to speak Chinese all the time, while: shopping, eating, going out, etc.). When I was in Taiwan for a couple of weeks I did not improve my Chinese at all, as they were always answering me (I was speaking in Chinese whenever possible) in English. That was kinda 麻烦。

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a Brazilian friend in Paris who arrived there without a word of French. In 6 months he was fluent through having nothing to do other than watch TV morning to night. I too benefited from TV watching because that's where I could hear French as it was spoken. Excellent addition to grammar books.

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I have never been to China or meet any Chinese people ever, but I have had few interaction with people who didn't know any English or Hindi (my native language). I couldn't understand a thing that they were saying and neither could they. That's why I think leaning English is really indispensable no matter where you are from or how proud you are of your native language.

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