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Back to say thank you Barry!

From: Australia South Australia Adelaide @melcyan Time : 2016-04-02 09:02:56

@Barry1 - thank you! Your failed attempt to learn Chinese helped me recognise that tones need full attention from the very beginning of learning Chinese. I now realise that my early attempts at learning tones were just not good enough.   For the last few months, I have been giving tones the attention they deserve and it is just starting to pay off for me. Thank you!


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From: Australia Queensland Brisbane @Barry1 Time : 2016-04-04 12:05:59 #1
@melcyan

Good news, Melcyan. You certainly are a more industrious person than myself.

The US State Dept recommends language students of Chinese to spend spend six months living in China, in order to consolidate their language learning.

I wonder if you plan on living in China for any period in the future, apart from normal short term holidays spent there?

If not, the obvious question is why put yourself through the burden of learning this difficult language?

From: China 山东(shan dong) 济宁(ji ning ) @paulfox1 Time : 2016-04-04 14:06:51 #2
@Barry1
Have you ever considered that Melcyan is not as lazy as you are when it comes to learning Chinese?(rofl)
From: Australia South Australia Adelaide @melcyan Time : 2016-04-04 16:52:41 #3
@Barry1

Hi Barry, I doubt that I am more industrious than you but I probably do have a very different learning headset to you ( and probably the US State Dept as well)

When I started to learn ballroom dancing I struggled for the first two years, trying several different approaches and then I finally settled on a path that suited my learning style and I made considerable progress over the last 5 years. After two years of learning I was unable to say “I love dancing”, but after 7 years I can say without hesitation that I love dancing.

I have been attempting to learn Mandarin for the last 24 months and the frustrations that I have experienced have closely paralleled my early dancing experience. Now I have a work pattern and a teacher that suit my learning style. My enjoyment of learning Mandarin is increasing and hopefully, in another 5 years, I will be both fluent and literate in Mandarin and be able to say without hesitation “I love Mandarin”.

My partner tells me that I am wasting my time learning Mandarin, but she also said the same thing about my dance lessons and now she is very glad that I put the time and effort to learn ballroom dancing. It is wise to spend time doing the things we love, but it is also wise to learn to love the things we need to do.

My advice to anyone who wants to learn Mandarin is to try to love learning it and once you love learning Mandarin, nothing will stop you. You don't need to spend six months in China. Any number of Chinese people can enter your living room via the internet any day of the week. If you seek a Chinese language partner on apps like HELLOTALK you will be overwhelmed by the massive number of choices available.

I wish someone told me two years ago that I had to nail all the sounds of the Pinyin chart early, learn all words as part of a tone pair and keep practicing tones until you have them 100% correct.
From: Australia Queensland Brisbane @Barry1 Time : 2016-04-05 13:09:00 #4
@paulfox1

"Have you ever considered that Melcyan is not as lazy as you"

Yes, I have considered this, Paul.

In fact, I agree with you. Melcyan is a great man indeed! (beer)(beer)

From: Australia Queensland Brisbane @Barry1 Time : 2016-04-05 13:18:15 #5
@melcyan

"It is wise to spend time doing the things we love, but it is also wise to learn to love the things we need to do."

Well spoken, Melcyan.

One reason I'm not learrning Chinese - apart from its difficulty - is that I know I won't be living in China for the long term. Sure, I may end up spending two or three years here (not necessarily consecutively), but that will be about it.

I feel my future lies more in Thailand. Or maybe even northerrn Queensland, around the heritage listed Daintree rainforests. I could never see myself retiring in China, as the place of life is just too frenetic, the roads are too dangerous and the pollution wouldn't be conducive to optimum health over the longer term.

In any case, thanks for your intelligent, common sense comments. And yes, maybe you could write to the language area of the US State Dept, telling them their idea about living in China for six months isn't necessarily correct.

Good on you, Melcyan. (clap)(clap)





From: Australia South Australia Adelaide @melcyan Time : 2016-04-06 19:00:03 #6
@Barry1
Barry, what is Tina's native Chinese dialect?
From: Australia Queensland Brisbane @Barry1 Time : 2016-04-07 16:13:46 #7
@Melcyan

Tina speaks with a Sichuan dialact.

She has taught me a few words that aren't quite the same as normal Mandarin. For example,saying "Goodbye" in Sichuanese sounds different from saying it in standard Mandarin (sorry but I don't know how to spell the word, to further iillustrate what I mean here).

Sp for a Westerner learning Chinese, the different dialects make it all the more confusing. You can learn the language applicable to one geographical area of China but they won't always understand you in another.

Life wasn't everr meant to be easy, was it! :^)
From: Australia South Australia Adelaide @melcyan Time : 2016-04-09 09:34:01 #8
@Barry1

I am fascinated by Chinese dialects. English has dialects but the Chinese dialects are so much more extreme that they just may as well be considered separate languages. I always find it hard to accept that two Chinese people who cannot understand what the other speaks can communicate in writing.

I can now distinguish the sound of Mandarin, Cantonese and Shanghainese dialects. You should be able to distinguish the sounds of Mandarin and Sichuan dialects. If you can't it is because you have not been fully listening to the sounds. It never used to bother me when my partner's family spoke Shanghainese but now that Mandarin gets more familiar day by day the Shanghainese dialect feels like a brick wall shutting me out. (I have been told that it would only take me a year to learn Shanghainese after becoming fluent in Mandarin. I hope this is true.)

If you are in a work environment that only uses Mandarin and Tina restricts her Chinese to Mandarin then you could make a lot of progress without even trying in the next few months. Just give up trying to understand anything and just hear the musicality and rhythm of Mandarin. Every now and again repeat sounds that you can hear clearly. When you hear words you know forget about trying to translate to English. Accept the words as they are and try to hear the words that you don't know just as clearly.

You don't realise how fortunate you are right now. We both have science backgrounds. Why not treat the next few months as a science experiment to see if you can change the clarity of the sounds around you? Forget about meaning and enjoy the "burden-free" experiment.
From: Australia Queensland Brisbane @Barry1 Time : 2016-04-10 09:24:24 #9
@melcyan

" Why not treat the next few months as a science experiment to see if you can change the clarity of the sounds around you?"

Thanks for the well meaning advice, Melcyan.

But the problem is that I have no real desire to learn Chinese. It just isn't on my radar.

I'm heading home in a few months. As soon as I hit Australia, all interest in learning Chinese will evaporate even more quickly than it's doing here.

If I intended to remain in China for several more years, then leaning Mandarin would be a greater priority. But as nice as the place is, I feel it's not quite right for me for the long term.

But more power to you if you've decided to learn Mandarin. It's a wonderful achievement if you can do it. It's a damn hard language to learn for Westerners. I respect your ability and drive, Melcyan.(clap)

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