[lit-ideas] Re: Chinese -- ??

  • From: "Julie Krueger" <juliereneb@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 03:51:19 -0500

Okay, so Mensa would be Kindergarten to you.  And I retarded.

This list blows me away daily.

Re. how different is different -- I think it's more a matter of kind of
difference rather than degree --

I am fluent in Spanish and French.  I can understand Italian very well --
it's like a sub-dialect to me -- something akin to a New Yorker hearing
someone from Alabama and understanding most of it.  Most Spanish-speaking
people I know (those whose native language is Spanish, i.e.), understand
Portuguese with ease.  I have a very difficult time understanding more than
a syllable or two out of a Portuguese sentence.  I have yet to figure this
one out...

My interest is now piqued re. Japanese and Chinese -- I know the alphabetics
are very different; that symbols represent words, not letters, not
phonetics. (Did you learn Japanese or Chinese first?  Did knowledge of one
make the learning of the other easier? It absolutely must have...)   I know
that in the Chinese dialects the tonality is crucial.  Not sure where Korean
fits in linguistically -- I had a friend in College who was from Korea and
spoke only halting English -- I attempted to learn the language from her,
but she moved to NY too soon -- my recollection is that the Korean script
was more similar to the Chinese than the Japanese.  The difference between
the written and the aural language is not to be minimized, however, in my
POV.  I can read Portuguese more easily than understand it spoken, e.g.

And then, for several reasons, it has become something of interest to me to
compare the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures.  So similar to
Westerners, I suppose, and as far apart as any European countries could get.

Brimming with questions, not sure where to start, but with one pragmatic
application for all of this ...

Julie Krueger

On 6/27/07, John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:


I read Chinese and speak (though not as well as I once could) two
Chinese languages, Mandarin and Amoy Hokkien (the native language of
most Taiwanese). In Shanghai the local language is a member of the Wu
cluster of dialects. How different is different?

Suppose I want to say "How are you?"

Mandarin: Ni hao ma?
Hokkien: Li ho bo?
Shanghainese: Nong ho va?

There are also the tones to worry about. Mandarin has four, Hokkien 7
(5 for open syllables, two for closed syllables), and Shanghainese, I
don't know.



On 6/27/07, Julie Krueger <juliereneb@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Does anyone "here" read Chinese?  I realize there are fairly substantial
> differences among dialects -- Mandarin, Cantonese, etc. -- the missives
> receiving are from Shanghai .... I have no grasp of what the linguistic
> situation is there ....
> Julie Krueger

John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324
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