Discuss the Article : Chinese Is Really Easy: Here’s Why
<a href='/article/88/chinese-is-really-easy-yes-i-said-it-heres-why-' target='_blank'>Chinese Is Really Easy: Here’s Why</a>
It’s the Mount Everest of languages. The language that everyone tells you not to learn because you’ll never be able to master it. You’ll never be able to speak it. You’ll spend a full year trying to learn it, but you still won’t get anywhere. Chinese. But, is it really that hard? Are you kidding me? No!
I find this article, or any suggestion that professes Mandarin "is easy," as misleading. The United States Department of State has categorized Mandarin as one of the most difficult languages to learn, and its military spends millions of dollars annually training competent Mandarin speakers from within its ranks. I realize that the claim "It's Easy," is a very nice selling point to lure the inquistive consumer into embarking on a wonderful educational endeavor, but in this case, for the wrong reason.
Mandarin, especially for Westerners, requires hard work and the dedication to adhere to a study schedule three or four hours (or longer) per day. Unfortunately, there are no "panaceas" to Mandarin fluency acquisition, but the ability to master the language is possible and attainable. Overall, I think italki.com is a very good web site for the purpose of learning a language, however I find it somewhat irresponsible of italki.com for allowing this article to be written in a way to generate consumer interest.
Shahmir, to me your first example is exactly a counter-argument. It's so easy to learn long words, beause they are different, it's so difficult - sheer horror - to learn short words. They are so similar one to another.
Is it cheng? or chang? or chen? or chuan? or zheng? or jian? or zhen? or sheng? or quan? or chuang? or ruen? or whatever. Oh, it's chuan, indeed, but not chuan2, only chuan4, can't you see the difference?????!!!!!
That's a horror, pure and simple. It seems so simple when you see them new words, but when it comes to say them from your memory you are never, never ever sure.
With long words you have plenty of possibilities, with short words there is so little choise of forms for so many meanings.
With long words even if you mispronounce 30 percent of a word in the middle or in the beginning or in the end, there is a hoygh lavel of prebability you ill be wonderstout enuhow, with short words there is no chance, unless the topic is obvious before you even say a word (then, why bother saying a word, indeed?).
i think it's easy, and i'm going to keep thinking it is because when you think something is hard, things don't get done.
when i realised it had tones and what not, i almost gave up...until i realised i already speak a language that's also tonal and has a bunch of marks for tones and i can say and read that just fine, so i won't be giving up on this.
the thing is chinese also has hanzi (characters) but again that's to my benefit, memorising things is one of the ways i learn so i won't let it deter me, started learning in the middle of march and can now write a whole load of characters and phrases in the correct stroke order.
if you want to learn it, don't think its hard, but at the same time don't treat it too lightly, and take it one step at a time.
i started working on Chinese because I reached a learning plateau in my Arabic studies, and I used memrise.com for some brain stimulation. I selected a visual lesson learning Chinese characters on a restaurant menu and another one that taught written characters and the associated Pinyin for 15 Giants of Chinese History. I also selected a course in Arabic verbs.
To my delight and astonishment, I can read at least fifty menu characters and distinguish rice from noodles. I learned simple grammar and I was able to understand about half of the video made by the audio learner Baldeman and i think that he was signing the Mandarin tones. I learned to recognize the names of historical figures from the audio and read their names in written character.
The best part is that my Arabic moved off the plateau and I began to learn again. I am not sure whether I will continue to work on the HSK exercises as I still feel that Arabic is my focus. All this while living in an area where I am called upon to speak some Spanish daily in order to communicate with some of my neighbors.