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Mandarin

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by Fergal1982, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Well, I just signed away a big chunk of my wallet (allright, only £92 quid. but it feels like a lot at the moment) for Mandarin classes at the Uni.

    Its a 10 week course, running 6-8 on Thursdays. Should be fun (I hope).

    Mandarin is a Tonal system (The tone of voice you say it in determines the meaning), so a massive switch from our system of language. It has four tones:

    1. A High, even tone
    2. A Raising tone
    3. A Lowering tone
    4. A Tone that initially lowers, then raises at the end.

    Sounds crazy, but should be interesting at the very least.

    hmmm...... wonder if these courses count towards a degree, i was about 60 credits short on a non-designated when i dropped out....:hhhmmm

    ps - how strange, my Rep is the same as my year of birth/name!
     
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  2. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    I'm a linguistic moron so I can only envy you. My daughter speaks (in addition to English) Hebrew and Japanese and is working on German so she is the linguistic "genius" of the family. Good luck in your pursuits. Sounds challenging.
     
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  3. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    It does sound like an interesting language to learn, it's going to be a challenge too. :twisted:Good luck.
     
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  4. Rover977

    Rover977 Byte Poster

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    Yeah, I've heard here in Scotland they've been pushing this language quite a lot, in schools and in adult learning classes, I'm not quite sure why. What use are they saying it'll be for you?

    Its fun to learn a language though, eg I learned some basic Ukrainian from a web site recently - each language has its own sounds and intonations.

    If you go into a Chinese takeaway after the pub one night astonish your mates or girlfriend (and the guy behind the counter) by stating your order in Mandarin!
     
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  5. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Yeah, I never really took to french at school. Although Im not sure how much of that was because I wasnt interested, and how much was because I was inept.

    Wont know till I try at any rate.
     
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  6. BosonMichael
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    Let me know if you need any assistance, Fergal. You can use me to practice on, if you wish.

    When writing in text-based Pinyin, tone 3 is the "low tone" (which raises only slightly at the end), and tone 4 is the "falling tone", the one that... well... falls. :D So I believe you've got tones 3 and 4 numbered backward. No big deal... you've got the essence of the four tones down. Just wanted you to know which is which if you see something like mei3 versus mei4.

    There's also the rare "neutral tone", which doesn't really have a tone... for words like "ma" for asking a question, "ba" for presuming something, and "le" to indicate past tense or change in status. As the neutral tone doesn't really have a tonal sound, it's not considered a "fifth tone".
     
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  7. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Cheers mike. I may well need the help. I figure writing in pinyin will help with learning the words too, to start with. Although eventually I want to upgrade to writing in proper chinese.

    Maybe I need a chinese penpal.....
     
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  8. BosonMichael
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    Isn't that I just offered to be for you? ;)

    Learning Mandarin was my job for a year while in the Army... 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, plus "homework", for 47 weeks. Native Chinese teachers, and you could only speak Chinese during that time. You can guess whether I was fluent after 47 weeks. ;)

    Writing is difficult... concentrate first on the Pinyin and sounds... and pick up a few characters here and there as you go. The writing is ultimately not as important as being able to speak and understand it.
     
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  9. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Fair point. :biggrin That is indeed what you offered. Will have to take you up on it. muhahahaha!
     
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  10. BosonMichael
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    It'll be good for me as well... after 18 years (I learned it in '89-'90), I'm rusty, and I'm looking to brush up on it so I can take a trip to China sometime in the next few years.
     
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  11. Arroryn
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    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    That sounds awesome, Fergal - and nice offer on the tutorage Mike :)

    Let us know how you progress. Any chance of grabbing yourself a mic and doing some snippety uploads, that would be cool! ^.^
     
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  12. BosonMichael
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    ni3 yao4 wo3 shuo1 shen2me?
     
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  13. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    at a rought guess, "you want me to do what?" although im stabbing in the dark there, and grasping at straws with one of the books i have here.

    classes start a week tomorrow. should be good.
     
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  14. tripwire45
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    I thought he was asking you out on a date. :twisted:

    jk :D
     
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  15. BosonMichael
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    VERY close! shuo1 is "say". Basically, I asked Arro, "What do you want me to say?" :)

    EDIT: "do" is zuo4, if I remember correctly.
    EDIT2: It's zuo3 - had to look it up. :)
     
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  16. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Ah. so close. not bad for a first attempt though I suppose. :biggrin
     
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  17. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    One of the things that intrigued me from the first chapters of the book here, is that in the dialogues, they always greet each other with ni3 hao3 (How are you - lit. you good?), yet neither actually responds to it.

    Now, is that simply the whole not focusing on it because its not important in the chapter, or is it that they genuinely dont answer the question?

    We ask the same thing all the time, but to be honest most of the time we arent interested in their answer, are we? Maybe we should adopt the same practice. Nice to ask to be polite, but dont bother answering mate.
     
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  18. BosonMichael
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    It's more just a greeting than actually asking the question. :) We often don't answer a "how ya doin'" with a full reply in America, either... we simply say something like, "What's up?" "Hey, man, what's up?", but neither person really answers the question. So it's not so strange when you look at it that way. :)

    Sometimes, Chinese people will say, "Zenmeyang?", which basically means, "What's up?". I usually answered back with the same: "Zenmeyang?"

    Trick question time... when you have two low tones that follow one another, like ni3 hao3... how do you pronounce them? ;)
     
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  19. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    The second is toneless I believe.
     
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  20. BosonMichael
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    When two low tones follow one another, the first one is spoken with a rising tone, like "ni2 hao3", though it's still written as ni3 hao3: best link I could find quickly
     
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