Second Language Learning

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by prime roller, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. prime roller

    prime roller 昔者莊周夢為胡蝶⋯

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    I remember one day, way back in my living with my brother in Vancouver days, he came home and I had the whole apartment covered with little sticky notes. haha, he freaked! But later thought it was interesting and actually started calling the things in the refrigerator by the Chinese name (butchered pronunciation from both of us at that time).

    Then, it was just pinyin on the notes (one of the phonetic systems used for learning). The thing about learning Chinese vocab is, there is the basic pronunciation that needs to be learned just like any other language, but unlike other languages the pronunciation is not how it's written, it's just a phonetic system. The pinyin needs to be remembered, the added tones need to be remembered, and then the corresponding character need to be remembered and be retainable without the pinyin or tone markngs.

    For each vocab flashcard, I have a minimum of 3 cards --
    one with character --> pinyin.
    One with pinyin --> English (with the words grammar usage, N., V. Adj., etc.).
    And one with English --> character.
    However some words have more meanings/ different grammar usages so that means more cards. I use a flashcard program called ANKI. Anybody else use flashcards?
     
  2. rob_charb

    rob_charb Well-Known Member

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    Not to be an ass, but don't you mean "I'm lucky to be learning Mandarin."? Cantonese is Chinese, too.

    Anyway, the hardest part of learning Mandarin for me is the damned tones. I'm a very monotone person most of the time, and pretty damn tone deaf, so I just can't get those bastards down. I pretty much gave up trying to get them, since most of the time people can pretty much figure out what I'm saying anyway.

    A couple years back, the wifey signed me up for Mandarin lessons at the local uni. In one semester, my vocabulary quadrupled and my sentence structure actually became understandable. Unfortunately, our school required too much time to run and I had to stop the classes. Since then my vocabulary has grown at a very slow pace and I've pretty much forgotten how to read and write all the characters I learned, but I've been trying to get it back lately.

    Picked up a few words here and there in Taiwanese, too, thanks to the in-laws. :D 
     
  3. Ace Convoy

    Ace Convoy Well-Known Member

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    はじまめした わたひわ nvccだいがくの matthewです

    どよrしく

    I'm taking Japanese at Norther Virginia community college.
     
  4. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Toy Designer

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    I say Chinese because when i say Mandarin, westerners have a habit of asking me what that is, or asking if it's edible. Yes, that's what happens in Perth. Hell, someone once asked me whether Korea and Japan were the same country (seriously). This place hasn't got the brightest minds around when it comes to Asian-related things. I just say Chinese to avoid that question. That, and most people around here don't even know what Cantonese is (they think there's no difference between the two...sad, i know). Guess i'm just used to having to Chinese so they know "Oh, that's the thing they speak in China".

    And you think you have trouble in Mandarin? That's 4 tones. We have 9 in Cantonese. 9. And since many characters can sound the same, each tone can have more than one meaning in oral Cantonese, because it's only the context that tells you which word is being said. So, given one basic sound and the tones it can be said, the most i've come up with is one word, spoken in four tones, giving seven meanings. And you thought your life was difficult... ;) 
     
  5. Dark Skull

    Dark Skull Well-Known Enabler Veteran

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    Huh?

    You mean.....he's "lucky to be studying 'Mandarin' because Cantonese is even harder."

    Right?

    *Edit*

    Nevermind :D  I didn't read far along enough in the thread. I speak Cantonese BTW. English was my second language, but you could hardly tell when I speak both. Reading and writing Chinese though, that is a different story.
     
  6. DecepticonSpike

    DecepticonSpike Member of the Scrappy Doo Fan Club

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    I really should learn a second language, if for no reason than to help me in the job market.
     
  7. joebot.

    joebot. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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    I learned Spanish in highschool and I had difficulty because of my dyslexia. I still remember some of it though even though I haven't really used it at all.
     
  8. Optimus1138

    Optimus1138 Minecraft Addict

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    Wow, I'm learning Mandarin now too! Well, technically not now, but I took it the last three years at school and I'll hopefully be taking it later this year. I also took German for a year, which, strangely, was harder, mainly because of gendered nouns (although Chinese has measure words, which are similar), verb conjugation, and the teacher not teaching us the sentence structure as well. For me, Chinese isn't all that hard, and I've done quite well in the class.

    你们好! 我觉得很多人在这儿不知道中文,但是要是你知道中文,请告诉我,我写中文写得怎么样?

    谢谢
     
  9. DecepticonSpike

    DecepticonSpike Member of the Scrappy Doo Fan Club

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    我不知道中國噸,但是,我可以用谷歌翻譯。
     
  10. jorod74

    jorod74 Psycholagnist (Ret.)

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    Mi espanol es muy malo...
    i took a semester of Spanish in college, but had to drop the class. i can read and stumble through spanish text, but my ear cannot separate spoken words. spoken, Spanish to me sounds like a drunk person slurring words together.
    i have to slow a person to a crawl to get anything done.

    so, learning spanish to me is:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Doug

    Doug Well-Known Member

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    Some people have told me if I want to learn a second language, learn spanish. But I'm interested in learning spanish.

    I want to learn french. I know several French-Canadians that I play fantasy hockey with and they have to communicate with me in english.

    I thought about taking a course in french at a junior college, but you have to learn french culture also and I don't care about that.

    I would like to try Rosetta Stone, but that would cost me around $500. Has anybody tried Rosetta Stone and does it work?
     
  12. Detroa

    Detroa Well-Known Member

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    I learned English (my primary language is French) thanks to video games like Final Fantasy 9, Chrono Cross, Xenogears and by watching anime with English subs. It's far from perfect but I undestand almost everything I read, most of what I hear and I can get people to understand what I write/say so, it's not that bad. One day I'll have to study it seriously though because I'd like to master it but right now, I'm more inclined to learn Japanese for a quite funny reason: I'm a big manga fan and I don't want to rely on translated ones anymore: too many mistakes and not enough choices for my taste.

    I also studied Dutch from primary school to the end of highschool (I'm living in Belgium where it is (was?) obligatory for the people living in the French speaking part of the country) but I almost forgot everything because I didn't see the point of learning a language I would only be able to use in a few places while I could have learned other ones used all over the world. Learning Spanish instead would have been cool so I would have known more than "chica bonita," "descargar," "juegos," "cliqua aquí" and "Los caballeros del Zodiaco". :p 
     
  13. jorod74

    jorod74 Psycholagnist (Ret.)

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    you know that to understand a language you have to understand a culture?

    like even though we speak English here in the U.S. similar to the Aussies, our president didn't know that our "V" finger gesture was a vulgar expression to them.

    if you do not grasp the culture, you may find yourself in situations you may find hard to get out of.

    what you imply is that you want to learn how to speak, but are not too concerned with communicating with people.

    it's like going to Juliard for musical training and refusing to learn how to play certain styles. i want to be a jazz pianist, so why learn classical or even blues music?

    you can't learn one without gaining the other.

    but good luck.
     
  14. Thenames9

    Thenames9 D-d-d-d-duel!

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    I learnt Mandarin as my mother's side is Taiwanese, and tried learning Farsi as on my father's side, it's Persian. I also do Italian privately and French in a course with a few others.
     
  15. Nachtsider

    Nachtsider Banned

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    放心吧; 你写得非常好! :thumb 

    Believe it or not, English was my second language. My English-educated parents were barely present during my earliest years; my maternal grandmother, who speaks mostly Hokkien and Mandarin, brought me up and had me conversing in those tongues first go. It wasn't until the age of three, when I was able to read, that my father introduced me to English (one of the few good things he did for me, but that's another story). I can also understand Malay, plus some smatterings of Italian, French, Tamil and German.
     
  16. Optimus1138

    Optimus1138 Minecraft Addict

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    哪里, 哪里!
     
  17. SCPrime

    SCPrime Well-Known Member

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    speaking of 2nd language, anyone here used Rosetta Stone? I want to learn Spanish and hear commercials about this learning program alot.
     
  18. Haloid1177

    Haloid1177 Hey, That's Pretty Good

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    "Chupa mi pito!"
     
  19. Yggdrasil

    Yggdrasil Banned

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    My first language is Serbian so like it or not I had to lean more languages since Serbian is only spoken in well Serbia :D 

    English is my second language I mostly learned it myself through video-games, movies and cartoons as a kid but my parent also sent me to a english language course when I was 7 and I kept going there up until I was like 15. Also going to America for a few months also helped me to learn conversation faster.

    Russian is my third languade and even though I don't know how to have a conversation in Russian I can read it and undesant written text.

    I'll be starting learning German soon since I plan on looking for a job in Germany or Austia one I finish studying (I'm studying electical engeenering and most of the guy that finish that go to work in some other country)

    Толико од мене и мојег знања о језицима :lol 
     
  20. prime roller

    prime roller 昔者莊周夢為胡蝶⋯

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    I'm having a hard time lately finding motivation for keeping my studies up. I do it for the marks, but outside that, Taiwan just may not be the place for me.

    I just posted something like this in the "what annoys you" thread, but because it's the most important factor in my language learning, I'll reword it here too:

    Unlike most other foreigners here, and unlike the locals, I know what it is like to first learn Chinese in China and then come to Taiwan. My comparisons can't help but be between learning in China and here.

    In both places I'm racially stereotyped many times daily. Some foreigners get over this by adopting some sense of self-superiority. But I've never traveled down that dangerous road. The stereotypes are there, they are heavy, and it is not my mission to educate the world to think like I do. However, some stereotypes are more easily dealt with than others. There is one in Taiwan that I'm having a hard time dealing with, as it is in direct conflict with my goals:

    -the overwhelming cultural assumption that foreigners (non-asian ones) don't speak Chinese, and to talk with them one must use English.

    The result is:
    1. people don't speak to me at all. And the really weird thing is, even after I initiate the conversation, it never goes anywhere with almost every Taiwanese person I've talked to. It has been over 2 years now, and I have had only 3 or 4 what I'd call conversations with people. Sad. It seems that the cultural social skills are generally low. Mix this with the stereotype, drop in a white guy trying to speak to you in Chinese, and you got just too much weirdness for a converstion to happen it seems. Some people have told me "it's just too strange to speak with a foreigner in Chinese".

    2. People embarrassing me with English (causing me to lose face, and to feel that everyone is assuming my ignorance -- due to my race).

    3. Most foreigners start to learn Chinese if they live here, but stop because it's not well received by the culture. This leads to a highly segregated foreign community, that of course, people must use English to communicate with, adding to the stereotype. I'm happy I lived in Beijing for 5 years before coming here and got my Chinese up and running. In Taiwan there is no easy way to practice unless you are at an advanced level already.

    In China, Chinese is thought of as a deep culture carrier. It is unique in what is thought to be the greatness of what it means to be Chinese. And people are generally proud that you have chosen to live in China, and have taken an interest in Chinese language. In Beijing, this means that it is common many times every day to come across someone who is interested in talking with you, just because you live there.

    In Taiwan, language is just a tool. The pride in the Chinese language is absent (here it is found in Taiyu -- local Taiwanese language, instead). And my interest in Chinese things is of no interest to the average individual. This is not a very Chinese place, as Taiwan of course indentifies itself that way. This means that the average person not only doesn't understand what Chinese culture is but strongly identifies against it, dislikes it, or thinks it's made up of 'low-class' people. Sad.
    [note: culture meaning what it's like to of that culture, not genetic designation.]

    In China, even from a basic level, I could have conversations with people, using whatever language skills I had at the time. Now however, even though my Chinese is better than ever, it is still not good enough to have a decent conversation with the average Taiwanese person, for whatever reason. And what I mean is, good enough to hang out for several hours, getting deeply into interesting topics, like was possible in China. I've read articles about the 'dead-head' culture of Taiwan, and whereas I wouldn't go that far, I'd still like to talk about more than shopping.

    I took a break from language studies because in Taiwan, really what's the point? Now that I've gotten back into it, I can't help but think of moving back to China again.