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Would You Learn Mandarin?  
User currently offlineAM744 From Mexico, joined Jun 2001, 1779 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1270 times:

Considering the increasing weight of China it would sound as a pretty good idea if you had the time for learning it. Now. How difficult can it be? I'm under the impression that it is a somewhat complex language, maybe because it is so ancient. Considering most of us have to study for professional certifications, new technologies, etc... on a regular basis. Would you still take the time to learn it instead of getting training on some other areas needed for you job? Can we expect English to keep being the only lingua franca in the foreseeable future (say 20 years) ? Are you aware of some serious certifications like the University of Cambridge FCE, CAE and CPE or the French DELF and DALF? How much would it take to be fluent? Is being fluent a reasonable expectation?

36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAcidradio From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1874 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1265 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

What are the other areas of training for your job that you are thinking about? If you take Mandarin and pass it, you will likely be one of the few people in your workplace to know it, which gives you an advantage in today's market.


Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
User currently offlineLH648 From Kazakhstan, joined Sep 2006, 579 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1255 times:

Fully agree. But, unfortunatelly, I am too lazy to do it...

ohynhao...



I hate Lufthansa
User currently offlineOHLHD From Finland, joined Dec 2004, 3962 posts, RR: 25
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1248 times:

Quoting LH648 (Reply 2):
Fully agree. But, unfortunatelly, I am too lazy to do it...

Same here. I try to learn Brazilian for some time now and put the book away to often.  Smile


User currently offlineToast From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1240 times:

Quoting AM744 (Thread starter):
How difficult can it be?

Actually, not quite as difficult as it seems.

Grammatically, Mandarin is an exceptionally simple language. It dispenses with most of the fluff other languages have and is very informal, direct and concise.

The pronunciation and the writing system are the real hurdles.

Chinese is phonotactically very limited - i. e., it has a very narrow range of sounds while needing to express as much nuance as other languages. The effect is a staggering amount of homonyms - words pronounced identically but written differently and meaning different things. Like "there", "their" and "they're" in English. There are furthermore plenty of near homonyms that a Western ear doesn't distinguish at first. If your hearing/musical abilities aren't too good, you'll struggle to hear the difference between mei (buy) and mei (sell), pronounced identically but with a different intonation. This problem alone makes Mandarin all but impossible to learn on one's own, without exposure to native speakers.

The writing system is a fascinating thing to learn. Yes, there are tens of thousands of characters - no one knows how many exactly - but they're all built using a fixed set of only around 500, mostly very simple, radicals. Knowing what a radical means, you can work out the word's meaning even if you've never seen it and don't know how it's pronounced.

Go for Mandarin, the language of the next superpower.


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39887 posts, RR: 74
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1231 times:

I'd certainly would like to learn it but damn I am having a hard time learning Thai.
Most of the Chinese here speak Cantonese and already know how to speak English.

Quoting Acidradio (Reply 1):
If you take Mandarin and pass it, you will likely be one of the few people in your workplace to know it, which gives you an advantage in today's market.

 checkmark 

Quoting OHLHD (Reply 3):
I try to learn Brazilian for some time now and put the book away to often.

Never heard of that language.  confused 
Portuguese is the spoken language in Brasil.  Smile



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineAM744 From Mexico, joined Jun 2001, 1779 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1230 times:

Quoting Acidradio (Reply 1):
What are the other areas of training for your job that you are thinking about?

Mainly programming languages or technologies like SAP. And quality like Six Sigma and CMM, which can take time and money. You can't learn everything so that's why I'm trying to assess how much time and money it would take and if the potential investment would be worth it, given the apparent complexity.


User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1215 times:

Big version: Width: 225 Height: 270 File size: 10kb


User currently offlineToast From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1212 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 5):
I'd certainly would like to learn it but damn I am having a hard time learning Thai.

How much Thai do you need to Bang Sue?  duck 


User currently offlineKalakaua From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1516 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1210 times:

I've been taking Mandarin for a couple of years now. I enjoy it very much.


Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion.
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39887 posts, RR: 74
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1210 times:

Quoting Toast (Reply 8):
How much Thai do you need to Bang Sue?

I need to be able to better communicate with my Therapist.  Wink



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1194 times:

Would you rather try My Thai or Thai One On?

User currently offlineLHboyatDTW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1186 times:

Quoting Toast (Reply 4):
The effect is a staggering amount of homonyms - words pronounced identically but written differently and meaning different things. Like "there", "their" and "they're" in English. There are furthermore plenty of near homonyms that a Western ear doesn't distinguish at first. If your hearing/musical abilities aren't too good, you'll struggle to hear the difference between mei (buy) and mei (sell), pronounced identically but with a different intonation. This problem alone makes Mandarin all but impossible to learn on one's own, without exposure to native speakers.

I read somewhere that there was much debate about romanizing Mandarin Chinese (simply making it use our alphabet), yet never panned out because of identical words but change meaning depending on the tone of voice you say it. Either way, I would not be able to grasp that concept no matter how hard I studied.

No wonder I chose Japanese instead.  Silly


User currently offlineAM744 From Mexico, joined Jun 2001, 1779 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1185 times:

Quoting Kalakaua (Reply 9):
I've been taking Mandarin for a couple of years now.

That's great. After two years what would you say your skills are? Regarding reading, writing, speaking. How much training would it take to hold a business conversation? Schools and training material are excellent and well structured for English and I guess that's the case with French. Is that so with Mandarin? Or are you more dependent on your teacher and his/her own methods?


User currently offlineLTU932 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 13864 posts, RR: 50
Reply 14, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1169 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 5):
Portuguese is the spoken language in Brasil.

It's a slightly different Portuguese that is spoken in Brazil. There are a few differences between the Portuguese Brazilians and Portuguese speak.

The differences, from what I heard, are more significant compared to the differences between the Spanish spoken in Latin America and the Spanish spoken in Spain. Basically, between Spain and Latin America, they both speak the very same Castillian, while in comparison, between Brazil and Portugal (I guess this applies also to countries like Angola), they both speak a much more different Portuguese.


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39887 posts, RR: 74
Reply 15, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1166 times:

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 14):
It's a slightly different Portuguese that is spoken in Brazil. There are a few differences between the Portuguese Brazilians and Portuguese speak.

The differences, from what I heard, are more significant compared to the differences between the Spanish spoken in Latin America and the Spanish spoken in Spain. Basically, between Spain and Latin America, they both speak the very same Castillian, while in comparison, between Brazil and Portugal (I guess this applies also to countries like Angola), they both speak a much more different Portuguese.

That is the case with all the languages spoken in the Americas. There is no such thing as a language called 'United States' or 'Canadian'. The language is 'English' and 'French' for those in Quebec. It is slightly different than English spoken in England and the French spoken in France.
Any way you slice it, Portuguese is the language in Brasil, not 'Brasilian'.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineLTU932 From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 13864 posts, RR: 50
Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1160 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 15):
Any way you slice it, Portuguese is the language in Brasil, not 'Brasilian'

And I never disputed that.  Wink

I apologise for nitpicking though.


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39887 posts, RR: 74
Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1156 times:

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 16):
I apologise for nitpicking though.

No need to apologise.  Smile


AM744:
Best of luck in learning Mandarin.
Seeing that you live in Mexico, obviously you speak Spanish and you already Speak English. Now if you learn Mandarin, you'd be able to flirt and hook up with over 75% of the hottest babes in the world.  yes   Cool
Being a highly skilled software engineer also helps.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineFlyboyOz From Australia, joined Nov 2000, 1986 posts, RR: 25
Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1114 times:

Oh I was wondering why you are so excited to learn to speak mandarin?


The Spirit of AustraliAN - Longreach
User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1105 times:

I wonder what Manderin sounds like spoken with a Mexican accent.

I've heard Korean spoken by a man born and raised in Alabama. It was quite unique.


User currently offlineToast From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1099 times:

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 19):
I wonder what Manderin sounds like spoken with a Mexican accent.

I've heard Korean spoken by a man born and raised in Alabama. It was quite unique.

I'm often told I speak French with a British accent. I don't know where that comes from because I'm not British, but the chicks love it for some reason Big grin

I like this video of Tony Blair congratulating the French in French for choosing Sarkozy. It's extremely rare to hear a world leader speaking a foreign language, and Blair's French is almost flawless but heavily accented. Women I've spoken to say it's cute. Take note, guys: Belgian women dig an English accent!  Smile



User currently offlineSBBRTech From Brazil, joined Jul 2007, 722 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1090 times:

Quoting Toast (Reply 4):
Yes, there are tens of thousands of characters - no one knows how many exactly - but they're all built using a fixed set of only around 500, mostly very simple, radicals. Knowing what a radical means, you can work out the word's meaning even if you've never seen it and don't know how it's pronounced.

The writing always fascinated me, but how the heck do they agree on how to write new words, names, etc...?
Is the radical for describing "GSM" the same for "GPS"...??



"I'm beginning to get the hang of this flying business" - C3PO
User currently offlineToast From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1085 times:

Quoting SBBRTech (Reply 21):
but how the heck do they agree on how to write new words, names, etc...?
Is the radical for describing "GSM" the same for "GPS"...??

Chinese doesn't modify characters to accommodate new words or loans from other languages.

Every character represents one syllable and one idea. Neologisms are created like many in English are, by combining existing words. Airplane (something that flies in the air, from Latin) is "feiji" (fei=fly), (ji=machine). A computer is "diannao", dian=electricity (or lightning), nao=brain.

The fun comes in when you need to transcribe a foreign word phonetically. Chinese is completely unable to transcribe sounds which don't exist in the language already. Words high on consonants and sound clusters that don't exist in Chinese will inevitably get mangled beyond recognition. For instance, Alexander becomes Yalishanda. The 4 individual characters used for Ya Li Shan Da each have a meaning in normal Chinese but become gibberish when transcribing foreign names. So as a foreigner you have a choice between using a name based on its original pronunciation, or on its etymology, or you can make yourself one up entirely. It really is fascinating but I'm too tired now to keep the lecture running.  Smile

Zai Jian!


User currently offlineBoeing744 From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 1835 posts, RR: 23
Reply 23, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1080 times:

Quoting Toast (Reply 20):
I like this video of Tony Blair congratulating the French in French for choosing Sarkozy. It's extremely rare to hear a world leader speaking a foreign language, and Blair's French is almost flawless but heavily accented. Women I've spoken to say it's cute. Take note, guys: Belgian women dig an English accent!

Interesting. I don't speak French, but being Canadian I've learned a bit in school, and since I see it written on everything I can understand almost everything written, and a fair bit spoken. I also speak German and some Spanish, both languages which have some similarities.

I can definitely hear Blair's accent, but he still sounds better than our PM (in a country with French as an official language). As I said, I'm not even a French-speaker, but even I can tell how horrible Stephen Harper's French is (and Francophone friends of mine have confirmed it).

On a side note, does George Bush speak a second language? I am assuming not...

[Edited 2007-09-14 05:16:48]

User currently offlineBoeing744 From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 1835 posts, RR: 23
Reply 24, posted (7 years 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1073 times:

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 19):
I've heard Korean spoken by a man born and raised in Alabama. It was quite unique.

Lol... I know a man from Hong Kong (native language Cantonese) who learned English in Missippi. He now lives here, and his Canto-Southern accent is very interesting!


25 AsstChiefMark : I've heard his dad and brother Jeb speak Spanish quite well. Dubya never bothered to learn Spanish, despite being from west Texas. [Edited 2007-09-14
26 Post contains images Toast : I can't find any video of him in French, I'm really curious to know what he sounds like. He can glue a few Spanish words together to make a sentence.
27 Boeing744 : This is quite old. I will try to find another! EDIT: Here's a newer one: [Edited 2007-09-14 05:31:34]
28 Post contains images Toast : Wow, must say Jeb impressed me here. His Spanish is very good. I had no idea he spoke it fluently, and with no trace of gringo accent... [Edited 2007
29 Post contains images Toast : Merci! Harper's French is heavily accented indeed, and he makes some minor mistakes. It's funny how his pronunciation hasn't improved in the years be
30 KLM685 : Yeah I'm surprised by that too! No gringo accent! That's something positive on him as a governor ( no idea of positive or negative things he has done
31 Airbus3801 : Yes, this is my experience with learning it. The easiest thing about Chinese is no verb conjugations. Take the verb shì (the ' symbolizes a descendi
32 SWISSER : NO What part of Belgium are you from Toast?[Edited 2007-09-14 07:38:11]
33 Post contains images Toast : Brussels. No what?
34 SBBRTech : last may i heard a girl in Paris, saying "Canadians think they speak french..." (stressing "think" ironically). that didn´t make much sense to me, bu
35 Tootallsd : My Chinese business cards show my family name as ANGOLA. We all had a laugh about that last week. My Chinese colleagues have supplied a very auspicio
36 B747forever : Nope, to hard to learn
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