How difficult is Mandarin ?

Jun 29 11:28 2010 Jas Zhou Print This Article

We have a look at the basics of Mandarin. Peeking at the different aspects of the language and determining how hard Mandarin is to learn.

The Chinese language or Mandarin,Guest Posting at first glance could seem to be the most difficult of all languages. The complete alien style of the writing and speaking can put many learners off learning. The first thing they notice is the incoherent squiggles and strokes, making you realise how daunting this task actually is.

 Appearance can be deceptive.

The chinese language has a number of aspects that are actually simpler compare to other languages, spelling is phonetic(unlike english i.e souvenir) ; more logical naming of words(spit = mouth water), no complex verb declensions (as in German, Latin); no complex plurals (as in English) and no gender to nouns (as in French).

How can those squiggles and strokes be phonetic, I hear you cry. They can’t but the government has introduced a system called pinyin. This is a romanized version of the characters. After glancing at it you realise that it doesn't look that hard. The english alphabet has

“a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i.j.k.l.m.n.o.p.q.r.s.t.u.v.w.x.y.z”

In the English language you can put words together in many, many different ways, making some truly terrifing words :

PNEUMONO­ULTRA­MICRO­SCOPIC­SILICO­VOLCANO­CONIOSIS

FLOCCI­NAUCINI­HILIPIL­IFICATION

In chinese these is a set amount of sounds that you can use, so you won’t find any of the words above in chinesethose are really words by the way Below is where you can search for the Chinese Pinyin

http://www.sacu.org/roman.html

The biggest problem one must face when learning Chinese is the tones. The chinese language has 4 tones, which means the same word can have 4 different meaning depending on the way it is said. The biggest mistake of many learners is not bothering with the tones.

1st High and level.

2nd Starts medium in tone, then rises to the top.

3rd Starts low, dips to the bottom, then rises toward the top.

4th Starts at the top, then falls sharp and strong to the bottom.

Neutral Flat, with no emphasis.

This can make tongue twisters very fun and interesting.

m mQ mà mÎ = all different wordsˆˆ‚l m mQ zhÒng má wÒ qù fàng mÎ mÎ ch+ le má m mQ mà mÎ ˆ ˆ Í»  »>l l † » ˆ ˆ‚ l 

The characters take a lot more practice to master.There are around 50,000 characters but you don't need to know nearly that much. Characters are different from words, they are more like components that you can exchange. So the same character can be recycled by adding it to different characters.Using this system many people can get by with as few as 2,000. The writing of the chinese language is very formal, there is a set sequence to drawing each stroke. Once you master this method, writing becomes a lot easily.

Like any language Chinese can be a daunting yet truly exhilarating tasking, which require stamina at the heart of your learning. As language are never learnt over a day,week, month or year. Remember it can be fun as well.

 Many learners say that the learning difficulty in Mandarin starts off very hard; due to the tones, then gets easier once the tones are somewhat mastered, as the basic and intermediate grammar is fairly easy. Some learners go so far as to say that the grammar is so easy that infact there isn’t any. However more fluent learners say that when going to the more advanced stages the grammar and learning difficulty increases once more. There are many good/ great speakers out there but true fluent speaking is a difficult and long challenge and so it should be.

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Jas Zhou
Jas Zhou

My Blog - Giving you Information on learning Mandarin, living and working in china http://www.chinese-blossom.com/- Offering Cheap Mandarin lessons and Chinese classes in Shanghai

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