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Mandarin or not Mandarin?

  Tags: Mandarin | Japanese
 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
26 messages over 4 pages: 1 24  Next >>
Mike
Newbie
United Kingdom
Joined 5717 days ago

2 posts - 2 votes

 
 Message 17 of 26
2005 13 July at 5:59pm | IP Logged 
Well I certainly admire you for getting so far with Japanese-I gave up after learning just the hiragana and a few kanji.
I certainly wouldn't suggest you gave up Japanese, but I think you could certainly benefit from studyng some Chinese, especially the writing system so you can understand some of the Chinese etymology of the Japanese words you already know.
For example the word 語 means "language" in Chinese and Japanese- This is made up of 言(yan)"word", 口(kou) "mouth" and 五(wu) "five" - the "wu" element is what gives 語 its Chinese pronunciation "yu". Because the Japanese borrowed the writing system I doubt you can break down words in such a logical way. For me it's this logic that makes Chinese so much easier than Japanese, and it might help you see Japanese words in a new light.
If you're interested you can look at my page of Chinese links at http://del.icio.us/mike2k5/中文
Hope this is some help.
1 person has voted this message useful



maxb
Diglot
Senior Member
Sweden
Joined 5826 days ago

536 posts - 589 votes 
7 sounds
Speaks: Swedish*, English
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 18 of 26
2005 14 July at 12:35am | IP Logged 
hokusai77 wrote:
Thank you Malcolm, I think I'll try. How long did it take you to master the tones correctly? Do you still experience some difficulties in pronouncing Mandarin Chinese?


Just would like to add my 2 cents on this. What has really helped me in pronouncing entire sentences in Mandarin is to try to think of them as melodies. I try to hear a melodic pattern in the entire sentence and then imitate that. If you are ever going to get past thinking about tones I think you need to be able to hear the tonal patterns in longer passages. So when you practice with audio lingual methods like FSI or Pimsleur my advice would be to try to hear the "melody" of the entire sentence and learn to imitate that. That is why Pimsleur is really good because it allows you to imitate setences from the very first lesson. Mandarin pronounciation isn't just about getting all the tones right. There are sentence intonation aspects of it as well.

Edited by maxb on 2005 14 July at 12:36am

1 person has voted this message useful



Languagelover
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 6019 days ago

41 posts - 50 votes
Speaks: French*, EnglishC2, German, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Ancient Greek
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 19 of 26
2005 15 July at 5:22am | IP Logged 
I completely agree with maxb. The trick is in the "melody" of the sentence. It is a much better way than trying to pronounce every syllable separately concentrating on the tones. If you do that, a Chinese speaker will not understand, because the way the tones interact together in a sentence is as important as the tones themselves.

I started Mandarin with Pimsleur without ever talking to native speakers. In the middle of the 3rd volume, I started private lessons, this was my first use of Mandarin with a real speaker and my teacher was very impressed by the pronunciation. My mistakes were minor. My pronunciation was much better than the one of a student who tries to learn the pronunciation by reading aloud Pinyin. This is why I warmly recommend Pimsleur or FSI.

Finally to answer the question of Hokusai77, I can tell that after 3 Pimlseur volumes, which means 45 hours, your level is not sufficient to have more than a basic conversation. To be able to do more than "how is the weather today ?", "when do you arrive ?", or "do you come by plane or by train ?" and have a real business conversation, more hours will be necessary.

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hokusai77
Triglot
Senior Member
Italy
Joined 5795 days ago

212 posts - 217 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: Italian*, FrenchB1, EnglishC1
Studies: GermanB1, Japanese

 
 Message 20 of 26
2005 26 July at 9:38am | IP Logged 
Mike wrote:
Well I certainly admire you for getting so far with Japanese-I gave up after learning just the hiragana and a few kanji.
I certainly wouldn't suggest you gave up Japanese, but I think you could certainly benefit from studyng some Chinese, especially the writing system so you can understand some of the Chinese etymology of the Japanese words you already know.
For example the word means "language" in Chinese and Japanese- This is made up of (yan)"word", kou) "mouth" and (wu) "five" - the "wu" element is what gives its Chinese pronunciation "yu". Because the Japanese borrowed the writing system I doubt you can break down words in such a logical way. For me it's this logic that makes Chinese so much easier than Japanese, and it might help you see Japanese words in a new light.
If you're interested you can look at my page of Chinese links at http://del.icio.us/mike2k5/ʸ
Hope this is some help.


Thank you for your link, it's very interesting!

To tell the truth, the same "decodification" system also applies to Japanese. The kanji is made up of (gen, "word"), (kou, "mouth") and (go "five") and this last element is what, like in Chinese, gives the kanji its pronunciation.


1 person has voted this message useful



vincenthychow
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Hong Kong
Joined 5747 days ago

136 posts - 145 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese, English, GermanB1, Japanese
Studies: French

 
 Message 21 of 26
2005 27 July at 11:07am | IP Logged 
That's pretty interesting, hokusai77. I have never awared of it before, thank you very much.
What I worry much about learning Japanese and Chinese at the same time is the possible confusion. So, it may be a good idea to use Pimsleur at the beginning. The possible confusion is the "音読み" of the Kanji and the written form of the Kanji. Japanese kanji and Chinese character, though look similarly, sometimes differ in quite a tricky pattern.

Edited by vincenthychow on 2005 28 July at 1:47am

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Kyle
Groupie
United States
Joined 5718 days ago

49 posts - 49 votes

 
 Message 22 of 26
2005 27 July at 2:53pm | IP Logged 
[view encoded in Chinese Simplified (HZ)]
I agree. Those phoentic clue radicals in Chinese really help with pronouciation. I think it makes reading/writing Chinese FAR easier than Japanese.
Look at these hanzi:

(yang4, yang2, yang2, yang3, yang3, yang2)
All of them contain the radical: (also yang2)

It sometimes works the same way with the Japanese onyomi (Chinese pronounciation) too:
Z 򡡡
(GO, GO, GO, GO, GO)
All containing (GO)

But in Japanese, there's a huge catch. In addition to these onyomi(s), they also have one or more kunyomi (Japanese pronoucniation.) Among other things, those same kanji can also be pronounced (in order):
(itsu, kata, aogiri, itsu, waga, sato)

I think this makes Japanese so much harder, because unless you truly know a word and how it's written, you can't be entirely sure about how to pronouce it. Sure, you can say that they usually use the kunyomi when the character is isolated, and onyomi when the character is in a compound, but there are many exceptions, for example:
:(HON, onyomi)
ӹ: (kodomo, 2 kunyomi)

I think if you have a good handle on Japanese kanji, learning Chinese shouldn't be a problem even with the characters. It's just like adding one more pronounciation to the many you already know from Japanese. In fact, it might even be beneficial, because your knowledge of hanzi and kanji can lend to each other. Besides, Chinese uses a lot of different or simplified characters anyway. I doubt you'd mix up anything important.

Careful not to mix up compounds though! Japanese ּ (letter) is the Chinese ּ (toilet paper).

Anyway, hokusai, whatever you choose to do, Фä!

Edited by Kyle on 2005 27 July at 3:05pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Shusaku
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5743 days ago

145 posts - 157 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: English*
Studies: Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese

 
 Message 23 of 26
2005 27 July at 3:05pm | IP Logged 
There are actually a fair number of characters in Chinese with multiple readings too. Often it's a tone difference, but there are sometimes 2 or more completely different readings as well.

Also, the phonetic clues do help, but are often misleading due to the fact that the many of these phonetic relationships were made thousands of years ago and the language has changed since then.

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Redy
Newbie
China
Joined 5703 days ago

29 posts - 11 votes
Studies: English

 
 Message 24 of 26
2005 27 July at 10:53pm | IP Logged 
unbelievable!! I just checked Malcolm's Mandarin pronounciation, that was amazing!

I am a native Chinese woman, I thought I was good at Mandarin until I heard Malcolm's Mandarin!

Malcolm, no doubt you have a great gift to learn a second language, go ahead!


1 person has voted this message useful



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