Chinese language

Why is Chinese difficult for a speaker of English?

THis was a conversation on Facebook I had with a friend…….. and is simply my opinion

i think that because English is so far removed from pictographic languages, where they use their characters to depict a thing, this is one of the reasons why folks that use an alphabet (ABC) to form their words, find languages like Chinese difficult. On the other hand, there are many things which make Chinese more simple than the European languages. For example, here is no verb conjugations, or adjective or noun declensions (where a word changes based on its usage)… which means go is always “go” … no “to go”, or “going”, “gone”, “went” etc…… thats easy, right? 🙂 ….. i studied some Greek, and even the word “the” has to change with the noun form, and the adjective with it….. (French has masculine and feminine, Latin has both those AND neuter….. German is even worse!) so the good thing about Chinese is that a character never changes….. so a word never gets changed due to its usage….. also there is “almost” no singular and plural… they just add words like “some” or “many” or “few”…. so folks joke about “pidgin english” where a newcomer to English uses an oversimplified version of things like “I go now, ok?”….. but that is because this is the way they speak in their native tongue…… the main difficulty with mandarin Chinese is learning the tones…. (but hey, there are only 4! … Cantonese has 9!!) so while we use tones in English to ask questions or emphasize, you can’t do that in Chinese…. as the tone changes the meaning… (that has caused me much trouble in my time speaking Chinese.. hehe) Also, a person has to learn all the characters if one wants to read Chinese….. so while a person speaking English only needs to learn a base of 26 characters, and learn how to pronounce them in different situations, there are alot more Chinese characters one needs to learn to be able to read….. but even those characters have “families”, for example, where the base character is “月” – which is the character for month (Yuè) but then an added part of the character becomes a different word. For example, many parts of the body have 月 at the beginning of the character. Intestines is “肠”… can you see the month symbol at the front of the character?……. so once a person starts to learn at characters with this 月at the front “often” refer to a body part, that helps in studying the characters….. sorry, more confused now?… hehe But there are ancient scripts where moon looks alot more like the moon, and dog looks like a dog…. but over millennia those old characters have evolved… and now portray and incorporate many of the philosophical concepts which have come down from the Chinese way of looking at things…… So…… learning basic Chinese isn’t that tough… especially if you have a “musical” ear….. but, just like English… it takes a long time to talk like a native English speaker….. 🙂 ni dong le ma? 🙂 qingchu le ba! Oh, one more note….. the mainland Chinese now use “pinyin” which anglicizes the pronunciation of the Chinese characters…. I learned Chinese by myself, and learned it using pinyin….. so when you see chan yue…. that is the pinyin version… and it needs the tone mark in order for a beginner to know how to pronounce it correctly. All the place names in China like beijing (north jing)and shanghai (on the ocean) are pinyin representations of the characters…… sorry for rambling so long….. this subject is very interesting to me. 🙂

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