is studying mandarin hard?

cam   Friday, July 04, 2003, 11:05 GMT
I'm an American, I wonder if studying mandarin is very hard especially the pronounciation and the accent of the mandarin people..can anybody here teach me how to? thanks.. email me ok?
Miguel   Monday, July 07, 2003, 17:18 GMT
It must be a very difficult language, you need it for work? I have already enough with english. good luck
karen   Thursday, July 10, 2003, 13:45 GMT
cam :

I'm Chinese, my native language is Cantonese Chinese. I have no problem in listening Mandarin but I don't speak very well.

I don't think Mandarin is that difficult for American, however, written is very hard. It's totally 2 different things comparing with English.
Ryan   Friday, July 11, 2003, 01:11 GMT
I heard Cantonese is more difficult than Mandarin because there are more tones to learn. Is this true, karen?

Guofei Ma   Friday, July 11, 2003, 01:15 GMT
Cantonese does have more tones than Mandarin. It also has many more colloquial expressions, slang, and idioms.
karen   Friday, July 11, 2003, 01:42 GMT

I think Cantonese is very difficult, it is my mother tongue, I have no idea how many tones it has but my English teacher said it has 9 tones!

The most difficult part is : for something we talk (daily conversation) is not able to write them in Chinese. Some 'sounds' do not have written version.

For example, when we say, "Wha's wrong with you?" in Cantonese, we will say something like, "are you mixing wrong?" (doesn't really make sense)

We always use "mix", it means many things, doing, making, playing, but it's only between families and friends. Not for business.
Ryan   Friday, July 11, 2003, 17:18 GMT
Thanks, karen. I heard though that Cantonese has some specially created characters to express those sounds that are not in Mandarin. These characters do not exist in Mandarin Is this true?

Karen   Monday, July 14, 2003, 01:35 GMT
Hi Ryan,

Yes, you are right. Some characters do not exist in written Chinese.

For reading & writing, we (Cantonese speakers) learn the Taiwanese version. Not mainland Chinese, mainland China use simplified Chinese characters which are same as Singapore Chinese. I can guess what it means by reading simplified Chinese characters but not very sure how to write them. I personally prefer to write the full version (Taiwanese) characters.

Cantonese speakers created some 'sounds' which are not existing in written. Only Cantonese speakers will understand what it means, they are not slang or dirty language, most of them are daily conversation.

In Cantonese, we always use "left" = it means haven't?

If I want to say, "Where have you been?"

The direct translation in Cantonese is, "You go 'left' where?"

But then, it's pretty easier as we don't have future tense, past tense etc...

If we want to use future tense, we only have to add "tomorrow" "next year" at the end or beginning of the sentense, the remain does not change. Same for past tense or present tense, you just add "last year" or "today" in your sentense.