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Thread: help with translation (Mandarin language translation)

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by xing_jian108
    Sheesh, you guys are long-winded....

    All I wanted to say in the beginning was it would seem easier to learn Shanghainese than Mandarin because you don't have to worry about tones. Forget about Chinese and foreign. I don't see how it would be easier having to memorize each word's tone.

    Anyway, being native English speakers allow you to be able to speak foreign languages more easily than others. You can make any sound you want, while the other country people aren't used to such a language that can make any sound like that. English is full of words from other languages anyway. Chinese always transliterate things rather than saying it like we do in English. So of course it will be more difficult for a Chinese who only makes the sounds in their language than an American who makes sounds of English and words borrowed from other langauges, as well as making up spoken sounds of random sounds you hear in nature. Chinese still uses only Chinese sounds to immitate sounds of nature. Of course not every American is good at other langauges. But I think Americans have the best advantage and natural skill with learning foreign sounds simply because of their native language.

    If there was a test done on it I bet it would prove to be true.

    Ok, now i am confused. Look, let me simplify it--

    Idea: "no tones makes Shanghai dialect easier for foreigners to learn"

    consensus: I have a problem, because even though it is not stated, it implies you mean that the chinese would pick it up faster than english speakers due to tones.

    Question: Is it the case, do you think, that Cantonese would be easier to learn for a Mandarin speaker than for an english speaker, specifically because the mandarin speaker already has experience with tones?

    point: were tones a factor, it would be easier for both foreigners AND Chinese to learn the shanghai dialect.



    zachsan- i'm sorry you are bored

  2. #22
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    I wasn't really thinking so deeply into that sentence like you guys are. Perhaps what I meant by foreigners is someone not from Shanghai. And in that case it would include other Chinese not from this local dialect as well as Americans and others. I still think it would be more difficult to learn a new language or dialect that has so many tones. Why would tones make it any easier?

    Originally my only reason for saying that was to let you guys know Shanghainese is a dialect without specific tones, and seems easier to learn.

  3. #23
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    Oh and before you get to it... I know English is difficult for Chinese even though it has no tones just like Shanghainese. But Shanghainese is still a Chinese dialect and shares many of the same basic Chinese sounds. So, in that case Shanghainese would be easier to learn than English for a Chinese... In my opinion.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by xing_jian108
    Shanghainese would be easier to learn than English for a Chinese... In my opinion.
    Okay, with that i can agree- because they have common grammar, often very similar words that are indeed from common roots, etc.

    but you said the following:

    "And a lot of Shanghainese is kinda nasal sounding, but the good side is... no tones. Easier for foreigners to learn." note you did not say "non-shanghainese, and i have spent enough time around Chinese to know exactly what they mean by "foreigners".

    I just disagree findamentally that tones really make it that much harder to learn.

    then, onesp1ng made this comment:

    "But I have to ask, what's with the foreigner comment? It may be so that Shanghainese will be easier without tones for people to learn, but the comment is a bit silly. I only take notice to this type of comment cause I live here, and, well, the reality is many Chinese have preconceived notions about so-called foreigners and how they are incapable of grasping the language, because of the tones, which is absolutely not the case. "

    I agree with this, and i would like to note that

    a- i am sure you means foreigners as in non-chinese because that is the general context of the word in a case like this.

    b- therefore, your words implied that , for example, if i only knew English and someone i knew only knew Mandarin, then in a controlled environment with equal teaching resources the other person would be able to learn , for example, Cantonese much easier than me specifically because of tones.

    I can see how this may be the case if you consider grammar, shared roots and origins of words, writing, etc. But as far as the tone thing goes, it is a myth that familiarity with tones makes it easier to learn a language. not only have i seen no evidence for this claim, i actually have evidence against it.

    Add to that, like i said, the slang nature of cantonese, and it is almost literally like starting over in some ways. Tones or not.

    I hope maybe this cleared up some confusion--- I think that while you are suggesting that i am overcomplicating this, i think you are oversimplifying it.

  5. #25
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    Well, I agree with you. Tones may not make it that much more difficult to learn, but it definitely doesn't make it easier.

    But my origninal intent was not to be so complex. I simply wanted to share that Shanghainese had no tones for each word and would be easier to learn by anyone, not just foreigners, but including foreigners.

    Shanghainese wasn't even part of our discussion, which is the reason I said what I did. Don't blow it up too big. Just wanted to share an interesting fact about Shanghainese.

  6. #26
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    Actually, I'm afraid i hate you now.


    J/k...ok, well that works then.

  7. #27
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    "If you can speak Chinese for 6 or 7 hours without being corrected, that doesn't mean you are good, it means you are fluent."

    I said, "continually!" And your scale (good, proper, fluent), which seems quite fair, is slightly different from the one I was working from: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. According to your scale I'm somewhere in the proper zone. I have to learn a lot when talking about specific topics, like gong fu, religion, or science for that matter. I'll run into problems cause I lack the experience. It takes time to accumulate the experience with all the various subjects, period.


    xing jian108,

    I really appreciate your help with the translation and will probably have some more questions soon, but you have to understand why we're a bit confused.

    I get four things from this. 1. You think it's generally easier to learn a "non-tonal" language. 2. "Non-tonal" languages are definitely easier for "foreigners" to learn. 3. a "foreigner" is a person who comes from outside a city that they go into, regardless of race or nationality, like Shanghai 4. And Americans can learn languages the easiest.

    Let's forget it..

  8. #28
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    BTW, don't you guys have anything else to do ? Are we posting every hour?

  9. #29
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    U kidding me? of course i dont


    But Xing, thanks a lot man ive learned a lot from this thread too, and i hope my arrogance dosent make you want to kick me.

  10. #30
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    No problem Dogchow. It's not totally bad to have people like that. It gives me a chance to practice being tolerant of other people and their views. I learn more how to handle situations and how to talk to people through seeing the way they think. Sometimes, I like jackasses. They teach me a lot about myself. Things I would never learn if everyone was perfect.

    I was teaching Yin Shou Gun to one of my students last week. He said to me, "Sorry I'm such an idiot with this. It must be annoying to you". I said, "No no, it's good to have students who aren't perfect. That lets me practice patients and understanding. Also it teaches me how other's minds work so that I learn how to become a better teacher. It's said you learn the most from teaching". And that's proving to be true. Through teaching you experience many different people and kind of get a chance to disect their brains. You can learn how their minds work and develope through time in training. Which helps the teacher learn about people's minds in gerneral because you have such a wide group of people coming through the school. You grow from experiences different people in teaching and in discussion. Then you can get even better in your fighting and uh.. social skills. Which don't really go together.

    Besides all that, I enjoy practicing languages with people.

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