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Official... Chinese harder to learn than English


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I caught this piece while reading.

It seems after a scientific study that this is partly because the brain processes different languages in different ways and people learning Chinese use both sides of the brain rather than the one needed for English.

Read more here

http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/research/story/0,9865,987917,00.html

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Haha, no surprises there... it's definitely an interesting article. I've always thought that English is kind of an easier language to learn, at least when it comes to things like grammar. It's the stupid idioms people use that make it weird.

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This is something really subjective. English is a very easy language to learn, but Chinese is easy too, they almost have no grammar. The biggest difficulty in Chinese would be learning the sounds and the characters, especially because no one sees movies spoken in Chinese.  :tongue:

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Well, isn't this such a subjective concept. Obviously for people with Chinese as their mother tongue it is going to be a cake walk. Also Chinese is so different from English and hence we find it so very difficult!

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This is something really subjective. English is a very easy language to learn, but Chinese is easy too, they almost have no grammar. The biggest difficulty in Chinese would be learning the sounds and the characters, especially because no one sees movies spoken in Chinese.  :tongue:

I agree and when I was taking Mandarin lessons I was baffled at first about the tones, and each of the four tones can make a word meaning something different. for example, you may be saying the word for mother but by using the wrong tone you call her a horse :-)

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Chinese does not have a lot of grammar that is true, but I don't think you can call it easy just because of that. I would not say that Chinese is extremely difficult, but it is definitely one thing: "Time-consuming". You just need so much time to master all the characters and all the different combinations. Idioms and so called 成语 are another difficulty. And, as mentioned before, pronouncing the words is pretty hard and there are some people that just can't get the tones right, even after having studied Chinese for about 3-4 years!

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  • 2 months later...

I'm not surprised at all to be honest!  It's a really interesting article tho, but I think most people knows that learning chinese is way harder than learning english.  It's nice to have some scientific proof to back that claim up... way better than just assumptions ;)

I'd never dare to learn chinese! I've always thought this language isn't for everyone.  A lot people over here claim is becoming a really important lanugage for business, but despite that I'd not give it a try (too hard!).

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This actually doesn't surprise me at all, especially if you are talking about the written word. The Chinese written word doesn't even use the same alphabet as the Western world. Therefore, if you speak a Western language you would have twice as much to learn.

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Well, Chinese is my native language so I guess I have that advantage. i do notice that almost all Chinese language learners I know struggle with the tones and the writing system, which although time-consuming and requiring a lot of effort to learn, is not really that difficult to master.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very interesting post. I would assume Chinese is harder just because it is less globalized than English. People everywhere know at least a little bit of English, but that's not so with Chinese.

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It's not just that you'll have to learn how to speak Chinese but you must definitely know their alphabet which is the hardest part in my opinion. I don't think I'd completely learn everything about this language however, I can understand them when they are spoken. But still, not fully.

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I believe that there is no such thing as one language being harder to learn than the other. The key here is exposure. It all depends on your language background. For Chinese speaking people, some will say that English is harder to learn. For Japanese, they say English is harder to learn. The point is, whatever language that is not your native language will be harder to learn because it's not in your nature and your lack of exposure to the language.

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