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  #1  
Old June 08, 2008, 02:58 PM
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Difficult languages

Do you think some languages are more difficult to learn than others? Or do they all have their "sore areas"?
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Old June 08, 2008, 03:06 PM
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Mandarin is very difficult to learn. I quote someone else when I say 'everything is different.' The writing system, the 5 distinct tones you must master, and the vocabulary are all new.

Finnish is very difficult to learn. It has 8 noun cases (two more than Russian, four more than German). Usually, only Finnish babies can learn the language well. Another quote from someone else - 'endless noun cases.' The vocabulary is quite different from the rest of the 'European' languages, too.

I would like to learn more about these languages, still the same.
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Old June 08, 2008, 03:10 PM
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Want to know something funny? Mandarin has become part of the school curriculum in England. Can you imagine English children learning Chinese when they cannot even be bothered to learn European languages?
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Old June 08, 2008, 03:28 PM
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mandarin

My daughter is starting Mandarin in the fall for a three year pilot program. She will be in eighth grade. A teacher is coming from China for three years. I told her she has to teach me whatever she is learning.

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Old July 11, 2008, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Mandarin is very difficult to learn. I quote someone else when I say 'everything is different.' The writing system, the 5 distinct tones you must master, and the vocabulary are all new.
Well, there are 'only' 4 tones to master, and it's not THAT hard. Yes, learning the Hanzi can be a challenge, but it's also great fun when you get the hang of it. And yes, the vocab is totally different, but the grammar is just so straight-forward and at times easy, so that makes a lot better.

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how easy is it for us to learn two or more languages simultanously?
Depends on the languages. For example; French and Spanish. At the same time it'll confuse you. But for example Spanish and Turkish (like I do at the moment)? I think it's perfectly possible because the two languages are so completely different.

Last edited by Ramses; July 11, 2008 at 12:03 PM.
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Old July 11, 2008, 03:03 PM
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...


Depends on the languages. For example; French and Spanish. At the same time it'll confuse you. But for example Spanish and Turkish (like I do at the moment)? I think it's perfectly possible because the two languages are so completely different.
Ok, at least, now, I know I´m not completely thick in the head or too old.
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Old March 30, 2009, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Ramses View Post
Well, there are 'only' 4 tones to master, and it's not THAT hard. Yes, learning the Hanzi can be a challenge, but it's also great fun when you get the hang of it. And yes, the vocab is totally different, but the grammar is just so straight-forward and at times easy, so that makes a lot better.


Depends on the languages. For example; French and Spanish. At the same time it'll confuse you. But for example Spanish and Turkish (like I do at the moment)? I think it's perfectly possible because the two languages are so completely different.
It depends on the teacher and student; Some are taught 4 (like in Mainland China), while others are taught 5 (like in Taiwan). Where 5 tones is taught, they consider words like ma, and ba, and the end of questions and sentences (In other words, particles), to have a "dot" tone. Also, when a word is repeated twice it also has a "dot" tone.

Oh, and if you think Mandarin is hard because of tones, trying learning Cantonese. 6.

Grammar of Mandarin is actually relatively easy; relatively little conjugation compared to Indo-European languages, no cases, and very easy to modify words, making them adjectives, nouns, adverbs, etc. The hardest would probably be the writing system, which requires the memorization of every single character. Chinese is also slightly phonetic though. For more complex characters, there is the part called the "radical", which gives the basic idea or meaning. Then the other part can help with pronounciation.

For example, 铃. The left side is the "metal" radical, while the right side itself (令) would be pronounced "ling". This character is also pronounced the same way ("ling"), but it means "bell", as a bell is made out of metal.
There are also "top" radicals, like in the word 宇 (yu). The top is the "protect" radical (宀, it is not a radical by itself, but is derived from the word 保 [bao]). The bottom (于) is pronounced "yu". This word together is also pronounced in the same way, but together with 宙,it means universe. (宇宙)
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Old June 08, 2008, 04:03 PM
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It depends on what your native language is, or your other exposure to languages, but yes, some languages are harder to learn than others. It all depends on language features in your target language (the one you're learning) that don't exist in your L1 (your native language).

The examples of Finnish and Mandarin are valid for English speakers at least. English doesn't have a very extensive case system, while Finnish does, making it hard. English doesn't use tone to distinguish between words, while Mandarin does, making it hard.

Spanish differs from English mainly in three points: verb conjugations, subjunctive mood and gender. However, in general these differences are "easier" for an English speaker to learn than the tone and case of Mandarin and Finnish, among other differences in these languages.

Just my $0.02.
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Old June 10, 2008, 11:43 AM
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I started learning both German and French at the same time and although I'm quite proficient in French, my German is practically non-existent...But I'll learn, probably in the distant future...
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Old June 10, 2008, 12:52 PM
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Neat. I know a little bit of German, and almost nothing of French.
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