French & Spanish versus Chinese Mandarin

Bill   Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:08 am GMT
Is it easier for a native speaker of English to learn both Spanish and French or learn Chinese Mandarin?
What about from the perspective of other languages?
Caspian   Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:06 am GMT
It probably depends on the individual. Here's what I have been learning:

French for 5 years, in education.
Chinese for 2 years, self-taught.
Spanish for a month, self-taught.

My French is undoubtedly better than my Chinese and Spanish - but I've learnt it for a longer time. My Chinese is intermediate - the grammar is easy, but the vocabulary is difficult, and the tones take some getting used to. And Spanish - well, after learning French and Italian, it's a piece of cake.

For a native English speaker, I think French and Spanish are easier - certainly the prospect of learning a language with many cognates and near-cognates is much more appealing than learning a language with no cognates, completely unrelated from English - and with its own writing system.

But - Chinese isn't as difficult as it's cracked up to be - once you've got the basics, it gets easier to learn.
Bill   Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:17 am GMT
Also consider for a native English speaker, Spanish and Portugese vs Chinese Mandarin. I don't think anyone could seriously argue that Cinese Mandarin is easier than Spanish and Portugese.
Whale   Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:36 am GMT
Chinese is one of the hardest and ugliest languages in the world, that's why it'll never be a world language.
sinophobe   Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:21 am GMT
Chinese speakers not only sound atrocious in their own language, but their accents when speaking English are equally atrocious! They ought to be gagged for life and forced to communicate only in sign language!
SJF   Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:13 am GMT
To Whale:
If you think the most difficult language is the ugliest one, then maybe the easiest is the most beautiful one.
You can make love with a slut very easily, so maybe she is the most beautiful female in your eyes.
Harman   Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:44 am GMT
I'm spaniard and i can comunicate with brazilian people without education in portuguese language.

If you speak spanish or portuguese, you can comunicate with other language speakers, especially in latino-america where both languages are closed than in europe.

Other latin languages will be easier to learn if you already know a latin one. All latin languages have the same mother language 'Latin' as you know.

So i belive that spanish + brazilian portuguese (it's closed to spanish than european portuguese)+ italian+ french+ others minoritary latin languages will be easier just than chinese.

What do you think?