Author: cmknight

Having trouble learning Mandarin [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 1

Post time 2005-3-5 23:28:50 |Display all floors

My suggestion as a Chinese

As i used to listen to some foreigners( Japanese, Americans) speak Chinese. i  find the biggest problem preventing me understing them is their PRONUNCIATION.
Yes, other things is not so important as i can guess. But if the pronunciation is not clearly, i even dont know which language they are speaking.
i dont think ka la OK is a good idea, because its too hard for even Chinese to understand every words.
To make some Chinese friends helping correct ur pronunciation is essential, i think. Dont stop when u have a close pronunciation, just pronounce 100% Chinese, at least 95%. Say words one by one, slowly and clearly.

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Rank: 1

Post time 2005-3-6 02:18:10 |Display all floors

to say more

I am a graduate student in shanghai. I have been learning english since i was 11. Still i have problems communicating using english with others.
what is matter with me? Probably i think the main reason is i speak too little. i am living in a chinese speaking country, and seldom have the chance to talk with native speakers of english. Now you are in china, and needn't to face my problem. what you need is just to say more to your chinese friends. you cannot expect yourself to master chinese after two or three years learning. it's too diffcult. so you just need to learn some simple chinese in everyday life.

make friends with localnese and say more.
your friends will help you correct your pronunciation and teach you some phrase often used everyday.

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Rank: 4

Post time 2005-3-7 06:44:15 |Display all floors

textbook, tapes, dictionary, tutor and EFFORT

When I first started learning Chinese I employed a tutor (payment was one hour of English for one hour of Chinese) to help correct my pronunciation and tones. I also bought a good textbook and worked through it at a rate of about 1 chapter per week. In addition, I had my tutor record each chapter on tape so that I would get more comfortable with listening to Chinese. My tutor and I met two days a week for one hour each day. I always prepared for my first lesson with my tutor by first reading the passage in that week's chapter at least a dozen times and by attempting the exercises in that chapter. When my tutor came I was already familiar with the new vocabulary and grammar points. If there was any word or sentence pattern, etc., I didn't understand I would ask her. Usually, she cleared things up for me by giving me numerous examples of the usage of the particular item in question. My tutor and I spoke mostly Chinese together - which is essential for good study-time with a tutor, though she used some English when I first started learning Chinese. I spent between one and two hours a day studying in this way. In order to see marked progress, I think language learners should spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day in study. I highly recommend this as a core method for study.

There are many good textbooks for Chinese study in China now. For beginners, I highly recommend "Survival Chinese", Don Snow, The Commercial Press, 2002. I personally used "Survival Chinese" and then when I finished it "Chinese for Today" books 1 and 2, Huang Zhengcheng, et al., and highly recommend that series too (though it is both expensive and difficult to find). In addition, Peking University (PKU) and Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU) both publish a variety of excellent textbooks, eg., "Conversational Chinese 301" (BLCU), "ractical Chinese Reader" books 1 to 6 (BLCU), "Elementary Spoken Chinese" (PKU). There are also tapes to accompany some of these books, I know for certain that "Conversational Chinese 301" and "Chinese for Today" have tapes. You can always have your tutor make tapes to accompany your text if you don't have any.

I also recommend getting a special quide to Chinese characters, specifically "Reading and Writing Chinese", William McNaughton and Li Ying, Tuttle, 1999, and of course a good dictionary. Many foreign students from English speaking countries use The "Concise English-Chinese Chinese English Dictionary", published jointly by The Commercial Press and Oxford University Press, Martin H. Manser, et al. This dictionary is reasonably small and portable, though you're not going to fit it in your pocket. It is now in its third edition. It is ubiquitous at Xinhua Bookstores all over China. The cover is red.

If you obtain a copy of "Survival Chinese", found mainly at the biggest bookstores in the big cities, like Hangzhou, Qingdao and Beijing (or perhaps you can order it), you can use the audio companion that I had made for some of my friends back in the States who are using it to prepare for a short trip to China. It is a free download from my personal website

In the end, it takes a LOT of effort. I have heard many people say they are going to learn Chinese just by being in China and "picking it up", but I have never actually seen someone with this attitude make much progress, even people who've been in China a few years. In my experience, it takes traditional textbook study, at least 30 minutes a day, and then a lot of practice speaking Chinese with (even foreign) friends who speak Chinese, trying to read signs, etc.

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Rank: 4

Post time 2005-3-7 18:47:59 |Display all floors

no need to worry about that...

cmknight, my bf has the same problem as u do and he has inability to learn any foreign language.  However, not speaking Chinese actually is not a big problem for him and he finds the advantages of not speaking Chinese. Of course, he has some basic survivial phrases which he can get by on a daily basis.

For example, no matter how good a foreigner's Chinese is, most Chinese have problem understanding them unless they are like Da Shan who speaks better mandarin than most Chinese do.

If a foreigner speaks some Chinese, then Chinese will speak more and faster to them as they think they understand Chinese. It is very bad as most Chinese like to discuss the smallest thing to be done. So if you don't speak Chinese, there won't be much bullshit.

I don't know where u live, if u live in a small place, you might need to learn more Chinese, but if u live in big cities, forget learning Chinese if you don't have any language talents to save the trouble as more people speak English in big cities.

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Rank: 1

Post time 2005-3-9 09:22:00 |Display all floors

I have the same problem

I just arrived 9 months ago, and still I didnt speak so well, and the worstly thing is that my husband is chinese, hes from Beijing, some persons tell me if my husband is chinese why I didnt speak it, so when we stay in my country we only speak my native language that is spanish, and now here I have to study myself, I have friends from Indonesia, Tailand, Canada, all they speak english and from south america they speak spanish, so I also feel scary to talk with local persons around here all they looks very impatient, cold and rude I dont know how can I begin a conversation with them, sometimes I talk with the teachers of my son but no all the time, I just take noted of the books somebody recommend here, I think I should buy it.

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Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2005-3-9 18:09:37 |Display all floors


Thanks to all for your responses and suggestions.  I will just have to keep plugging away at it.  Maybe in 20 years, or so, I might be able to say, "How are you?", instead of saying, "Hello, horse".  LOL


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Rank: 1

Post time 2005-3-10 23:45:20 |Display all floors

my suggestion!

I think chinese language is difficult,but everything is possible. i have learned english for about ten years,i think a mansion can be built up just in one night,study is the same.i think your environment is suitable for your study in chinese,pay attention to the native speakers' talk,you have such chances every day!and some localneses are also willing to help you!such as me!i think we can learn from eachother!
my (also my MSN)

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