What's most difficult about learning Mandarin?

HomeForumsGeneral DiscussionWhat's most difficult about learning Mandarin?

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 21 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #8598
    Lucy 92
    Member

    Hey I am a college girl who is interested in teaching Mandarin as a foreign language.

    Mandarin is considered one of the most difficult languages in the world. As a native, we always forget that it is difficult to learn.

    I have been a Mandarin tutor for more than a year now and i wanna know where do you guys find the most difficulty…

    anyway, it is hard to learn but it is kind of important to learn at some point..

    an American investor and writer once said,

    “Learn Mandarin and buy the future of China.”

    “The 21st century is the century of China!”

    So, if you have been learning Mandarin and have your own opinion,

    choose one or two… or come up with some idea of your own

    1.the tones

    2.Chinese characters

    3.The “disordered” grammar

    4.the dialects…

    …..etc

    #16732
    Chris ZiichChris Ziich
    Moderator

    I’m Chinese ethnically so my mother tried to teach me Chinese growing up. I especially had trouble, and still do today, with the 2nd and 3rd tones.

    Now as an intermediate Chinese learner, I find it difficult to remember stroke order and remembering how to write characters altogether. I have to try to associate each character with a picture or a story consisting of the different parts of the character.

    I have trouble with conjunctions (if, although, but etc)

    #16632
    Chris ZiichChris Ziich
    Moderator

    I’m Chinese ethnically so my mother tried to teach me Chinese growing up. I especially had trouble, and still do today, with the 2nd and 3rd tones.

    Now as an intermediate Chinese learner, I find it difficult to remember stroke order and remembering how to write characters altogether. I have to try to associate each character with a picture or a story consisting of the different parts of the character.

    I have trouble with conjunctions (if, although, but etc)

    #16733
    Lucy 92
    Member

    Hey Chris

    Yeah the tones can be difficult and they really sound exotic.

    I have bought MANY books about teaching Mandarin as a second language.

    It is really funny for me,.. I am a chinese but I have to buy books to study Mandarin.

    I found that not every chinese can teach chinese… You need to be able to explain why.. Why this sentence is corret and the other is not… etc..

    I have been studying how to teach the chinese characters..

    cuz i found that some people give up learning Chinese because of the chinese characters are too difficult and each chinese character looks like a picture…

    but there are some connections between many chinese characters..

    they didnt just come out that way..

    i have written an article about that..

    Here are some of my ideas:

    many foreigners complains about the chinese characters are too hard to write and to keep in mind. (actually i should not say” complain”.. it is true that they are difficult to write)

    Yeah,it is hard. But you have to find some connection between some words.Also,memorizing the radicals of chinese characters is the best way to learn how to write and memorize chinese words. For instance, “イ” is a radical which is about people,so we call is “Ren Zi Pang”in Chinese. Many words connected with people and people’s activities are made with “イ” ,such as,”你(you)” You is a certain person. “他(he)”,he is also a certion person,right? and”休(rest)”,that’s people’s activities,right? And 木 means trees, people lying near the tree,that means people are taking a rest,See? There’s always some connections that help you memorize the words.Let me give you more examples, in ancient China, we use shells as our currency, and the Chinese charater for shells is 贝。Nowadays,many Chinese words that relate to money and currency still have the component of “贝”,I can give you many examples here. The chinese charater for currency now is 货币(You can see the component “贝” is still a part of the word. And the word for finance or treasure is “财”(“贝” is still a part of the word.) As for the word “贩(sell)”, “贝” is still a part of the word. Same with the words “贫(poor)”, “购(buy)”, “贿(bribe)”, “赌(gamble)”, “账(account,bill)” 。There are countless examples like these, once you find the connection, it will become a lot easier to master the Chinese characters.

    ^_^

    #16633
    Lucy 92
    Member

    Hey Chris

    Yeah the tones can be difficult and they really sound exotic.

    I have bought MANY books about teaching Mandarin as a second language.

    It is really funny for me,.. I am a chinese but I have to buy books to study Mandarin.

    I found that not every chinese can teach chinese… You need to be able to explain why.. Why this sentence is corret and the other is not… etc..

    I have been studying how to teach the chinese characters..

    cuz i found that some people give up learning Chinese because of the chinese characters are too difficult and each chinese character looks like a picture…

    but there are some connections between many chinese characters..

    they didnt just come out that way..

    i have written an article about that..

    Here are some of my ideas:

    many foreigners complains about the chinese characters are too hard to write and to keep in mind. (actually i should not say” complain”.. it is true that they are difficult to write)

    Yeah,it is hard. But you have to find some connection between some words.Also,memorizing the radicals of chinese characters is the best way to learn how to write and memorize chinese words. For instance, “イ” is a radical which is about people,so we call is “Ren Zi Pang”in Chinese. Many words connected with people and people’s activities are made with “イ” ,such as,”你(you)” You is a certain person. “他(he)”,he is also a certion person,right? and”休(rest)”,that’s people’s activities,right? And 木 means trees, people lying near the tree,that means people are taking a rest,See? There’s always some connections that help you memorize the words.Let me give you more examples, in ancient China, we use shells as our currency, and the Chinese charater for shells is 贝。Nowadays,many Chinese words that relate to money and currency still have the component of “贝”,I can give you many examples here. The chinese charater for currency now is 货币(You can see the component “贝” is still a part of the word. And the word for finance or treasure is “财”(“贝” is still a part of the word.) As for the word “贩(sell)”, “贝” is still a part of the word. Same with the words “贫(poor)”, “购(buy)”, “贿(bribe)”, “赌(gamble)”, “账(account,bill)” 。There are countless examples like these, once you find the connection, it will become a lot easier to master the Chinese characters.

    ^_^

    #16734
    Lucy 92
    Member

    P.S.

    I am considering writing a book about learning chinese characters…

    haha…

    maybe i am just kidding myself…cuz it is not easy i guess..

    #16634
    Lucy 92
    Member

    P.S.

    I am considering writing a book about learning chinese characters…

    haha…

    maybe i am just kidding myself…cuz it is not easy i guess..

    #16738
    CharlieCharlie
    Keymaster

    Tones. Everything else is pretty manageable.

    #16638
    CharlieCharlie
    Keymaster

    Tones. Everything else is pretty manageable.

    #16641
    Chris ZiichChris Ziich
    Moderator

    @Lucy Yes, I agree that learning the radicals is the best way to memorize the characters. Unfortunately, I think I have only learned less than half of them. Trying to memorize characters without knowing all of the radicals and other components makes it much harder.

    #16741
    Chris ZiichChris Ziich
    Moderator

    @Lucy Yes, I agree that learning the radicals is the best way to memorize the characters. Unfortunately, I think I have only learned less than half of them. Trying to memorize characters without knowing all of the radicals and other components makes it much harder.

    #16642
    Steeevyo
    Member

    The Grammar is easy compared to my native German.

    The Characters and the tones and everything else are not, but I am not really in a position to maked a qualified judgement with my rudimentary Mandarin skills and my lax learning attitude.

    #16742
    Steeevyo
    Member

    The Grammar is easy compared to my native German.

    The Characters and the tones and everything else are not, but I am not really in a position to maked a qualified judgement with my rudimentary Mandarin skills and my lax learning attitude.

    #16643
    WillWill
    Participant

    ditto. tones.

    #16743
    WillWill
    Participant

    ditto. tones.

    #16658
    RayRay
    Participant

    The hardest thing is the reaction of some locals. Walk into a shop or restaurant as a foreigner, and you often see the nervousness of the staff. They’re instantly on the back foot, and unless you speak flawless mandarin or sichuanhua, you’re probably gonna get the instant and infuriating ‘mei you’ or “mai wan le”….

    #16758
    RayRay
    Participant

    The hardest thing is the reaction of some locals. Walk into a shop or restaurant as a foreigner, and you often see the nervousness of the staff. They’re instantly on the back foot, and unless you speak flawless mandarin or sichuanhua, you’re probably gonna get the instant and infuriating ‘mei you’ or “mai wan le”….

    #16659
    Danielle
    Participant

    I’d say for me writing characters is the hardest. On my computer or when sending a text I can just use the pinyin input then select the right character, but actually putting pen to paper and trying to remember which strokes, radicals etc are needed is a different story. I have barely ever needed to write a character by hand in my day to day life here so makes me wonder how useful it really is to have whole classes dedicated to just writing characters out 50 times in university studies.

    #16759
    Danielle
    Participant

    I’d say for me writing characters is the hardest. On my computer or when sending a text I can just use the pinyin input then select the right character, but actually putting pen to paper and trying to remember which strokes, radicals etc are needed is a different story. I have barely ever needed to write a character by hand in my day to day life here so makes me wonder how useful it really is to have whole classes dedicated to just writing characters out 50 times in university studies.

    #16661
    CharlieCharlie
    Keymaster
    Quote:
    I have barely ever needed to write a character by hand in my day to day life here so makes me wonder how useful it really is to have whole classes dedicated to just writing characters out 50 times in university studies.

    It’s not a practical way to learn Chinese, but it is in line with the rote memorization learning techniques which are the status quo in China. It’s like us having to learn cursive as school children – mostly a waste of time and a skill that we never use as adults in the real world.

    The benefit of learning all the radicals and then inputting text using the Wubi system is more practical, efficient, and beneficial unless you want to pursue calligraphy in which case you will have to write thousands of characters by hand. The number of Chinese learners that fit this profile is very small.

    Preparing for things like high level HSK, where you’re required to write an essay by hand, is mostly just an academic hurdle to jump through that has little application in real situations. Like when Chinese students take English tests which require they remember an enormous list of technical words which they’ll never use in conversation.

    It’s funny though when you see a Chinese person who stuggles to understand simple questions like “What time did you wake up this morning?” while they’re intensely studying flash cards with words like “mercurial”, “hyperbole”, and “hodge podge”. This is really common. In my office there are about a dozen people who don’t really speak English at all but their way of trying is by setting screen savers that flash SAT vocabulary along with definitions. Of course this is completely useless.

    The point is to focus on what’s practical and suits your needs unless you’re in a Chinese school in which case you’re often at the mercy of their curriculum.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 21 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.