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  #1  
Old January 5th, 2008, 5:49 am
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Chinese (中文)

Just thought some people might be interested in learning or brushing up on their Chinese.

I speak Cantonese, and my Mandarin really isn't that great, so I can't romanize most words into pinyin and there's not really a set romanization for Cantonese words. So sorry if my romanization is wrong...

There's a pretty big difference between Mandarin and Cantonese in terms of sentence structure and vocabulary in general, but the basics are similar for the most part:

我 - I/me (Mandarin: wo, Cantonese: ngo)
你 - you (Mandarin: nee, Cantonese: nay)
他, 她 - he/him, she/her (Mandarin & Cantonese: tah)

是 - to be (Mandarin: shih, Cantonese: see)

So "I am YellowPoofBall" is "我 是 YellowPoofBall."

Numbers
一 - one (Mandarin: yi, Cantonese: yut)
二 - two (Mandarin: er, Cantonese: yi)
三 - three (Mandarin: san, Cantonese: sam)
四 - four (Mandarin: si, Cantonese: say)
五 - five (Mandarin: wu, Cantonese: mm)
六 - six (Mandarin: liu, Cantonese: loc)
七 - seven (Mandarin: qi, Cantonese: chut)
八 - eight (Mandarin: ba, Cantonese: baht)
九 - nine (Mandarin: jiu, Cantonese: gow)
十 - ten (Mandarin: shi, Cantonese: sup)


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  #2  
Old January 6th, 2008, 10:58 pm
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Re: Chinese (中文)

Which is more useful to learn, Cantonese or Mandarin? I'm not thinking about business: Which version do more people speak and is more widely used?


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Old January 6th, 2008, 11:17 pm
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Re: Chinese (中文)

wow, i cant believe there was only just a chinese thread. And I think Mandarin is used more, well, more people know. Since in China almost each city has its own dialect but they usually know mandarin. I speak Mandarin and Shanghainese (since my family is from shanghai, well, actually dinghai, but they lived in shanghai for the most part then moved to the US), and im almost fluent with speaking, but reading and writing is horrible. If I were you, I'd go for Mandarin, for speaking. The actual language, as in the characters are the same. Well, there's traditional and simplified, but theyre about the same. And there is also a phoenetic language, which is more of for learning, since they don't really use it.


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Old January 6th, 2008, 11:24 pm
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Re: Chinese (中文)

I believe Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, with English right behind. It's ahead because the Chinese population is so large, so unlike American, there are many, many people that speak as a first language, and not so much as second. I think either is worth learning, though. A friend of mine was trying to teach me and a few others Chinese, but it was very difficult to learn. I thought so, anyway!


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  #5  
Old January 6th, 2008, 11:43 pm
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Re: Chinese (中文)

I speak Cantonese (albeit terribly and with a Canadian accent). I think for people who speak English, Mandarin is easier to learn.


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Old January 6th, 2008, 11:45 pm
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Re: Chinese (中文)

Really? Cantonese is harder than Mandarin for people who speak English? Why?

random thing i feel like posting:

Reasons chinese is hard: way too many characters and is very different from languages with letters

Reasons chinese is easy: fairly easy grammar and sentence structure (though thats probably because i can speak it almost fluently)


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Old January 7th, 2008, 3:51 am
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Re: Chinese (中文)

Would you mind explaining basic sentence structure? If it's anything like Japanese's, then I'm sure it's quite easy. Does the verb go at the end, like in Japanese? Since both Chinese and Japanese use the Chinese symbols, I shouldn't have trouble with learning them—the only problem is Japanese's multiple meanings. Otherwise, the pronunciations are so different, I'll remember which word be longs to which language (for the most part).


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Old January 7th, 2008, 6:31 pm
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Re: Chinese (中文)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pottercomics View Post
Which is more useful to learn, Cantonese or Mandarin? I'm not thinking about business: Which version do more people speak and is more widely used?
Mandarin is much more common, as the majority of people in China speak both Mandarin and the dialect of their region. Cantonese is mainly spoken in Hong Kong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voldemorts8thHorcrux View Post
Really? Cantonese is harder than Mandarin for people who speak English? Why?

random thing i feel like posting:

Reasons chinese is hard: way too many characters and is very different from languages with letters

Reasons chinese is easy: fairly easy grammar and sentence structure (though thats probably because i can speak it almost fluently)
Actually, I disagree. Cantonese evolved as a more English-sounding dialect. It seems to me that English speakers have a much harder time with the Mandarin pronunciations because the sounds are softer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pottercomics
Would you mind explaining basic sentence structure? If it's anything like Japanese's, then I'm sure it's quite easy. Does the verb go at the end, like in Japanese? Since both Chinese and Japanese use the Chinese symbols, I shouldn't have trouble with learning them—the only problem is Japanese's multiple meanings. Otherwise, the pronunciations are so different, I'll remember which word be longs to which language (for the most part).
I think Chinese sentence structure is similar to English. So to say "I want to go" translates pretty directly to 我想去, where 我 is I, 想 is want, and 去 is to go. (In Cantonese, pronounced "Ngo seung hoy" and I think in Mandarin "Wo shiang chyu")

I don't know much Japanese, but a lot of Chinese characters are derived from "pictures" put together. This site explains them pretty well: http://www.zhongwen.com/. Most characters are made by combining basic characters, or radicals.


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Old January 7th, 2008, 10:27 pm
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Re: Chinese (中文)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voldemorts8thHorcrux View Post
Really? Cantonese is harder than Mandarin for people who speak English? Why?
A lot of my friends(native English speakers) who have/are learning Chinese have problems pronouncing Cantonese, whereas they find pronunciation in Mandarin much more simple. They find that quite a few of the sounds that exist in Cantonese do not exist or resemble anything in english. With Mandarin they say once they get the tonal sounds it's much easier.


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Old January 12th, 2008, 3:39 am
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Re: Chinese (中文)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voldemorts8thHorcrux View Post
Reasons chinese is hard: way too many characters and is very different from languages with letters

Reasons chinese is easy: fairly easy grammar and sentence structure (though thats probably because i can speak it almost fluently)
I'm a native English speaker but I've been living in Taiwan for just over 4 years so have learned some Mandarin (although I'm not very good). I think my main difficulty with Mandarin is that one sound can have about 15 or more different meanings (ignoring the tones). Even considering the tones you still can often have 5 or more words which sound identical. This means that catching half of a sentence is usually not enough to guess what the person is saying.

The writing system is more difficult than an alphabetical system, but I found that once I began to recognize most of the components it became much easier. Also, I find it much easier to understand a sentence when I read it in characters than when I read it in pinyin (the most common method for romanizing chinese characters) because each character (usually) has a unique meaning while each sound does not.

I agree that the grammar is relatively simple. Certainly much simpler than most European languages.


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Old January 12th, 2008, 4:54 am
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Re: Chinese (中文)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8m57w6 View Post
I believe Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, with English right behind. It's ahead because the Chinese population is so large, so unlike American, there are many, many people that speak as a first language, and not so much as second. I think either is worth learning, though. A friend of mine was trying to teach me and a few others Chinese, but it was very difficult to learn. I thought so, anyway!
I share your sentiments. I have been learning it for my whole life, but I still am very bad at Mandarin Chinese, even though I am a Chinese myself. Speaking is OK, because I get to practise speaking Mandarin when I go and buy things, but when it comes to writing...I'm like ARGH! But I do love Chinese, because it is what I am, only thing that I find it difficult to study it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyra Black View Post
I'm a native English speaker but I've been living in Taiwan for just over 4 years so have learned some Mandarin (although I'm not very good). I think my main difficulty with Mandarin is that one sound can have about 15 or more different meanings (ignoring the tones). Even considering the tones you still can often have 5 or more words which sound identical. This means that catching half of a sentence is usually not enough to guess what the person is saying.

The writing system is more difficult than an alphabetical system, but I found that once I began to recognize most of the components it became much easier. Also, I find it much easier to understand a sentence when I read it in characters than when I read it in pinyin (the most common method for romanizing chinese characters) because each character (usually) has a unique meaning while each sound does not.

I agree that the grammar is relatively simple. Certainly much simpler than most European languages.
Oh, yes, pinyin is a slight problem, but most chinese words have two or four words together. So, if you see the other words beside it, you know you're on the right track. Also, I don't know if this can help, but some words with almost the same sound look alike. They may not have the same first letter, or the same sound, but you can tell two words are alike. It's a little difficult to explain, so sorry about my vagueness!


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Old January 13th, 2008, 7:29 am
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Re: Chinese (中文)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MC2456 View Post
Also, I don't know if this can help, but some words with almost the same sound look alike. They may not have the same first letter, or the same sound, but you can tell two words are alike. It's a little difficult to explain, so sorry about my vagueness!
I know what you mean, but can you give me an example of 2 words which have similar characters and sound slightly similar but are written slightly differently in pinyin? Obviously there are loads which are written exactly the same (shi 式 and shi 试 for example). I originally thought xiao 小 and shao 少 were good examples, but the I realized the 小 component in 少 would probably be more correctly called the meaning part rather than the phonetic part. Or maybe not. I'm not sure.


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Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea is quite staggering.

There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum.

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Old January 15th, 2008, 4:10 am
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Re: Chinese (中文)

mandarin has only 4 tones whereas cantonese has 6-7 tones...
so if u pronounce a character in different tone, it can also mean something else..


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Old January 20th, 2008, 7:45 am
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Re: Chinese (中文)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyra Black View Post
I know what you mean, but can you give me an example of 2 words which have similar characters and sound slightly similar but are written slightly differently in pinyin?
I did some chinese study today and answered my own questions: qian (前) and jian (剪) :)


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The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.

The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible.

Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea is quite staggering.

There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum.

Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008)
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  #15  
Old January 20th, 2008, 9:03 am
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Re: Chinese (中文)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyra Black View Post
I did some chinese study today and answered my own questions: qian (前) and jian (剪) :)
Yes...I was trying to hint at that...but I couldn't phrase it in English.


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Old January 20th, 2008, 11:42 am
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Re: Chinese (中文)

You explained it perfectly well and I understood exactly what you meant, but I'm just the type of person who likes lots of examples.


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The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion.

The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible.

Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea is quite staggering.

There is hopeful symbolism in the fact that flags do not wave in a vacuum.

Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008)
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Old February 6th, 2008, 3:54 pm
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Re: Chinese (中文)

Happy Chinese New Year!


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Old February 6th, 2008, 6:45 pm
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Re: Chinese (中文)

新年快樂 (Mandarin: xin nian kuai le, Cantonese: sun nin fai lok)

Happy New Year's eve


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Old February 6th, 2008, 7:28 pm
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Re: Chinese (中文)

Oh, I can't see any of the characters...they just show as squares on my computer. I don't speak a single word of any type of Chinese.

So, to start with basics, how would I say "hello" in whichever version of Chinese anyone feels like teaching me?

Thanks in advance!


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Old February 6th, 2008, 8:57 pm
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Re: Chinese (中文)

I had a Chinese exchange student graduate with me last year, and she tried teaching us some Mandarin Chinese, but it was pretty difficult. I know the numbers but that's the extent of my knowledge. I was considering minoring in Chinese in college, but decided on Arabic instead


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