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

  • From: "Andreas Ramos" <andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 09:10:38 -0700

I've been learning Chinese in the last few months. I've taken Japanese courses several times; spoken Chinese is much easier. It's the easiest language I've ever learned (and I speak German, Danish, Spanish, etc.) No conjugation of verbs, no plurals, no conjugation of prepositions. The entire grammar is basically just "subject-verb-direct object".

The tones are a bit of a challenge. A sound can be spoken with four tones. We have tones in English too: the tones to indicate questions, exclamations, and orders. Once you realize that, it's not a big issue. Just learn the words. Canton Chinese has nine tones; Common Language Chinese (Mainland Chinese) has only four.

The real challenge is written Chinese; to be able to read, you need to learn a few thousand characters and the shapes are hard to memorize. I'm not bothering with written Chinese; I'll learn just the characters for basics (toilet, etc.)

My goal is to be able to have casual conversation and negotiate business in Chinese, so the basics is sufficient.

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