studying chinese

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sai
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studying chinese

Post by sai » Fri, 23 Jul 2004 9:47 pm

hey guys

i wanted to study chinese. i was wondering if anyone out there wanted to study it with me in like september or october if classes are available. i speak english or rather american. i did not want to go by myself to the school or class.

cheers

NBB
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Post by NBB » Fri, 23 Jul 2004 10:54 pm

Sai, I like the idea! Have you done any Chinese before? I haven't but I'd like to explore the possibilities, see if it's feasible at all. Done any research yet, or are you going to dive in headlong?

NBB

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Post by sai » Sat, 24 Jul 2004 12:54 am

i wanted to study an eastern language. i guess chinese is widely spoken in singapore. so i figured it would be easier to pick it up what with it being part of the local lingo and all.

my chinese experience involves bruce lee movies and chinese takeout. how about you? i looked at some language schools to check out schedules and stuff. my company has yet to let me know where i will be residing in singapore. i was going to do more research after that.

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Post by NBB » Sun, 25 Jul 2004 6:03 pm

It's one of those whimsical ideas I think of occassionally. Although, having said that, I'm sure that being fluent in Chinese (Mandarin) opens up immensely useful avenues to any Angmoh (local speak for 'white guy' - actually literally it means 'red-haired monkey', but it's more of a tongue-in-cheek term than really derogatory) active in this region. Especially in China.

So perhaps we should seek out a Chinese Mandarin school, or at least learn about the main differences between Singapore-Mandarin and Mainland- Mandarin as we go through the various phases.

Let me know what you and your company decide. We'll go from there.

Good luck.

NBB

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Post by jpatokal » Mon, 26 Jul 2004 12:53 am

NBB wrote:It's one of those whimsical ideas I think of occassionally. Although, having said that, I'm sure that being fluent in Chinese (Mandarin) opens up immensely useful avenues to any Angmoh (local speak for 'white guy' - actually literally it means 'red-haired monkey', but it's more of a tongue-in-cheek term than really derogatory) active in this region. Especially in China.

So perhaps we should seek out a Chinese Mandarin school, or at least learn about the main differences between Singapore-Mandarin and Mainland- Mandarin as we go through the various phases.
<blink> NBB, old boy, you really should look at, say, any half-assed guidebook for a bit of a grounder on these things. Singapore's official flavor of Chinese is Mandarin (putonghua), which is the official language of both Chinas as well. But since it's based on a northern dialect (Beijing style), and almost all Singaporean Chinese come from the south, there are very few native Mandarin speakers here and most learn Mandarin as a second (or third) language.

At home, the most common flavors of Chinese are Hokkien (which is what Singlish mostly borrows its terms from, cf. ang moh), Cantonese and Teochew; all of which, mind you, are completely separate languages in all but the political sense. Let me emphasize this: Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien are as different from each other as English, French and Spanish, and you can't just "learn about the main differences" any more than you'd understand Italian after learning Dutch.

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Post by NBB » Mon, 26 Jul 2004 3:36 am

JP, I wasn't suggesting that the 3 main languages are mere dialects of the same language. I was aware of the fact that they are different languages altogether.

What I was suggesting was that if we're going to learn Mandarin we should slant towards mainland China Mandarin, as opposed to Singapore-style Mandarin. My reasoning being that Singaporeans are regarded as a little uppity in China (and dare I say, the rest of S.E. Asia), as well as the fact that China will be a more happening place in the next few decades than Singapore will be.

Thus, when I say "the main differences" I mean the main differences between Singapore Mandarin and mainland China Mandarin.

Now, if you're expecting me to learn all 3 Chinese languages, I say: dream on ;-)

NBB

Bubbles

Studying Chinese

Post by Bubbles » Mon, 26 Jul 2004 8:48 pm

Saw the link, looks interesting. I can't do it as I'm back here in Wales. Could go to coll to do it though, I suppose.

Anyway, what I wanted to know was this..........

Does anyone out there still write in the beautiful chinese script, in everyday life? Does anyone do it anymore? Do they teach it at junior school? What percentage of you guys know how to write a full letter, say, in it? It looks so beautiful, I wish I could do it.

Regards, Bubbs.

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Post by jpatokal » Mon, 26 Jul 2004 10:04 pm

NBB wrote:JP, I wasn't suggesting that the 3 main languages are mere dialects of the same language. I was aware of the fact that they are different languages altogether.
OK -- it would have been uncharacteristically dense of you not to know!
What I was suggesting was that if we're going to learn Mandarin we should slant towards mainland China Mandarin, as opposed to Singapore-style Mandarin. My reasoning being that Singaporeans are regarded as a little uppity in China (and dare I say, the rest of S.E. Asia), as well as the fact that China will be a more happening place in the next few decades than Singapore will be.
AFAIK what Singaporeans are taught in schools is 100% standard China Mandarin. But you're right, there is a distinctly Singaporean flavor of Mandarin born out of the need to communicate, with slightly wonky intonation and imported vocabulary from other dialects -- just enough to make it difficult for Singaporeans to speak "proper" Mandarin, and just enough to allow others to spot them quite easily.

Still, as a lao wai starting from scratch, I'd say this is the least of your difficulties. But if you want to play it safe, engage the services of a mainland Chinese teacher -- which many of them (incl. my former tutor) are.

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Post by NBB » Thu, 29 Jul 2004 1:06 am

Yes, it''l be hard on so many different levels - for me anyway. Still, even speaking a few sentences could open up doors I reckon. It could be a nice conversation opener for a start.

I'm gonna give it a go.

But you said "former tutor", does that mean you're fluent now? Or did you give up? Switch to Nihongo?

NBB

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Post by jpatokal » Thu, 29 Jul 2004 1:38 pm

NBB wrote:But you said "former tutor", does that mean you're fluent now? Or did you give up? Switch to Nihongo?
She packed up her bags and moved back to Shanghai (which, incidentally, is not the best place to find native Mandarin speakers!). My fluency in Chinese remains, um, a little limited.

miso

Post by miso » Thu, 29 Jul 2004 3:14 pm

Hi

it sounds like a good idea for me to learn chinese. I am starting in singapore in september so if you find any interesting course please drop me a note (mail: mik@host.sk). Thanks.

But is it possible to learn a little chinese, say in one year? It looks extremly difficulty especially because of its writing and pronounciation.

What about the Malay? Is it usable in any way in Singapore?

And what's concerning English, French and Spanish - yap they are quite different but when you learn one of them you have at least an idea about the others (which I do not have about chinese :-)

Miso

P.S.
I speak english, german and slovak (so if there is some slovak chinese teacher it would be great :-) (just kidding)

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Post by jpatokal » Thu, 29 Jul 2004 9:28 pm

miso wrote:But is it possible to learn a little chinese, say in one year? It looks extremly difficulty especially because of its writing and pronounciation.
Ordering in hawker centres and giving directions to cab drivers in Chinese after one year, sure. Negotiating multimillion dollar contracts in Chinese, bu keyi.
What about the Malay? Is it usable in any way in Singapore?
No. (Very useful in Indonesia and Malaysia though.)

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Post by sai » Fri, 30 Jul 2004 12:07 am

so waitaminute....after a year, i am going to only be able to tell the cabbie where i want to go. will i be able to hold a conversation with a chinese person? no business deals, just some kind of a decent conversation.

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Post by NBB » Fri, 30 Jul 2004 1:27 am

Sai, everything you've learned about the English language, when it comes to communicating in Mandarin, none of it is going to help you one iota. It's like learning a new lingo from scratch. Expect the worst, then square it - twice.

Although apparently JP thinks otherwise (then again, by the looks of it, he has a knack for oriental languages) I myself am going in with a virginal mind. No extra points for knowing English, Dutch, German, French or what-have-you.

It's gonna be a slog mate. Not copping out on me, are ya'? :(

NBB

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Post by Guest » Fri, 30 Jul 2004 1:43 pm

no way jose. i am in for the long haul. and it looks like we have a third. in college, it took two years to get a technical translator degree in japanese. so i was going off of that when i figured that in about a year, nbb and i would be able to talk to that hot chinese girl's folks and not sound extremely stupid. actually i will settle for just talking to the hot chinese girl. :lol:

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