Chinese a difficult language? Tell me why.
November 5, 2008 9:35pm CST
have you learnt Chinese before? What are the difficulties you face when you try to learn the language? I'm a native speaker from Malaysia, so I'm kind of curious what makes the language so difficult in the experiences of those who are trying to learn it as a new language. Welcomd to share your experiences!
23 Dec 08
From my opinion chinese is hard for beginners for the reason you stated: it is difficult to write and remember precisely on how to write a specific character. Strokes that are used to construct a chinese characters can be split into five main ones only but there are way lot of combinations. Unlike the alphabets that form most of the world's language which have a clear suggestion on how the word is pronounced, you'd only see very vague hints (or none at all) about how to pronounce a chinese word. Grasping the first 1000 words is critical in learning chinese, it takes hard work to memorize the basic words, but when you make it pass that, you'll improve real fast and find it to be a very grammatically flexible language to command.
6 Nov 08
chinese is easy. chinese dictionary is about 2000 words, how about the English ,I am afraid there are 100000 words. so you only just learn the 2000 words, but the chinese is difficult to write.pay more attention and stick to practice ,you will learn chinese fast.
6 Nov 08
You have a got point there about chinese having less words than English. The chinese beginner's dictionary which I have consists of 2500 commonly used words and 1000 secondary commonly used words which makes 3500 words together. (That's basically all you need to learn to communicate). This would mean if you learn 10 chinese words a day, it barely takes you a year to grasp all the commonly used words. In comparison to Oxford Junior's Dictionary (2007 Ed.), which features 10,000 entries (about 3 times more than chinese!), at elementary level it is kind of true that chinese theoretically should be easier. However, I should note that in practice, things get pretty difficult when it comes to memorizing the structure of a character, linking the character with pronunciation (which a good number of them have variation in tones)...etc. Learning one single Chinese word may be harder than English in that sense.
6 Nov 08
Chinese is my first language too, I think it's not difficult to learn but it's not simple to master it too. I heard from my friends who want to learn Chinese and think it's difficult because of the characters. They told me it's difficult to recognize so many different characters. The pronunciation is difficult for them to learn too, because Chinese has 4 different tones for each word, and they told me it's difficult to pronounce these tones. What do you think?
6 Nov 08
To a certain extent, I believe that theories about learning Chinese is not as well developed as English, which makes teaching and learning Chinese less effective. Every language is unique in its own way, if we can grasp the uniqueness of a language, learning it will become much easier. For example, each Chinese character/word maybe unique, but they share similar building blocks. These building blocks can be hints of what the word means and how it is pronounced. Familiar oneself to the building blocks and you'd be able to comprehend and recognize chinese characters easier. I can personally understand the pronunciation difficulties. When I learn Japanese (which also have different tones), I struggled quite a bit to get it right. My lecturer always frown at me for mispronunciations. ^^
• United States
3 Jul 09
I think the things that make English hard are a) the huge amount of verb tenses and their periphrastic constructions and b) the irregularity. Chinese does not have either of those problems. It compensates for its static words (they don't conjugate or decline) and relatively small vocabulary with a writing system that is very hard for us Westerners and pronunciations completely unlike Indo-European languages.
20 Apr 12
I am interested to learn Chinese, and I bought some books for beginners on the lettering. I thought it was very hard, but perhaps I just have not found the most efficient way to learn it or something. I have friends who have learned the language successfully, so I am encouraged that it is something that I should be able to grasp as soon as I have enough motivation to do it.
12 Feb 12
hi,wingsanctuary. I come from china, and I am an english learner. I think learning chinere like learning other second language. If you learn more ,speak more if you have the chance ,and you can learn better. If you have diffuculty in learning chinese, you can send me message. we can talk about chinese and other things we like. Best wisher to you!
3 Jul 09
I never learn Chinese, but truly I said to you, Chinese is hard may be because its writing style, it has different kind of alphabet. It's not only Chinese, Japanese, historical Indian, Arabian, Greek, almost every language which has their own alphabet style is hard to learn. One thing for sure, because we must learn it at least by two level of understanding, we must learn the alphabet first then we good to go learning the language. It's also hard to teach in world wide online forum, because not every computer system have built in keyboard outside common alphabet.