Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A struggle called Mandarin

I started learning conversational Mandarin a couple of weeks ago & its been such a struggle :)

Of course I knew it was a tough language to pick up right from the outset; but then the pin-yin alphabets & the pronunciations were not that tough. The difficult part is getting the tones right; and thats such a unique thing about Mandarin. There are 4-5 different tones...the word "ma" for example could mean four different things when said in 4 different tones. And to my non-chinese ears they are so ridiculously difficult to tell apart!

My encouraging tutor tells me that Mandarin is one of the easiest Chinese languages to pick up. Cantonese or Haukien could have upto 12 different tones!!

14 comments:

666 said...

ha ha.. but is the script same for all these dialects?

Parth said...

That's cool. What prompted this learning?

Radha said...

666,
I believe the script is common in all the dialects; but the words are pronounced differently. I'm not even going to try learning the script though!

Parth,
Nothing in particular. Just thought it would be nice to know.... Its interesting to learn.

J said...

and I so envy you for learning this language. Sigh!! Francaise or deutsche is sooo passe.

Radha said...

J,
Don't envy me yet!! I'm nowhere close to being fluent in this language!! :)

Keshi said...

wow u must be very smart to learn a language that aint so easy.

Keshi.

Happy Reader said...

Heard its one of the difficult languages to learn! Keep us posted about your progress :)

Kanishka Agiwal said...

Aaaazoo!! Chu chi ming mai?? Go ahead and use this. It will get you all around China.

Radha said...

Keshi,
Its really toooo soon to say that :)

Happy Reader,
Will do that :)

Kanishka,
I'll remember that :D

Fighter Jet said...

One of the easiert langauage :)
LOLOLOLO..thats really sent me laughing :)

Radha said...

Fighter Jet,
lol :)

clickable said...

Wow, kudos to your new hobby! I've heard that tonal languages are the hardest to learn.

Jas Bhambra said...

You are brave, Radha. :)

One of my chinese colleagues was teaching us "lao shu" which apparently means "a rat" if you say it one way and "old uncle" if there is a slight change in your inflections! :)

Radha said...

Clickable,
Will tell you abt how my progress is going!

Jas,
lol !!! I have a similar incident. The words for "thin" and "not-so-well-endowed" sound almost the same. So a friend who is learning mandarin called his colleague flat-chested thinking he gave her a compliment.