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Is chinese grammar easy? don't you just love chinese words?


Guest mirela_violeta
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Guest mirela_violeta

How are you people getting along with chinese grammar. I find it is not that difficult, but it's so weird. They say evverything like you don't expect them to. And in order to make correct sentences you have to learn constructions by heart which I kind of hate. But what can you do?

Most of all I like the words and how they are made up of other words. This language never stops to amaze me. I like the characters like shou ming, where words like to speak /light are used to make up a new one and it makes sense when you speak and light appears it means that you explain. The same goes for mingbai, to understand( light/white). It is all crystal clear, cause there is no white clear...so you understand. I also like words like daxiao( big/small) which toghther make up size. And I could go on and on with other examples....

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I think a good deal of the grammar makes allot more sense than English.(dont quiz me on that just yet though - early beginner)

I never thought I'd be saying this but I'm actually looking forward to a whole heap of studying.

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Wow...a place to talk about stuff!

A lot of people find Chinese grammar to be easier and more sensible than, say, English grammar. Or, for that matter, the grammar of any Indo-European language. Vocabulary is easy to remember if you can just break down the compound words, grammar is usually straightforward.

I am grappling with the same problem you are now, OP - everything is said in the way you don't expect one to say it. What you have to do - what I am trying to do - is to start "thinking Chinese". Once you get far enough and are preferably in an intensive environment, try to forget that you even speak a language other than Chinese and say it the way you are used to other things being said in Chinese. It's hard at first but even that weirdness starts to make sense after awhile. Not that I'm terribly good at it yet. What I find myself doing is starting a sentence in the "English way", stopping when I realize that I either can't finish it that way or that the person just doesn't understand, and re-stating it the "Chinese way"...if I can. I still often can't. I too am technically a "beginner". I came to China nine months ago barely able to utter a "Ni hao". Things have improved at an astronomical rate, I can hold decent conversations - real ones that don't center around my work, food I like to eat, or learning Chinese - but I still have many thresholds to cross.

I described my feelings about Chinese once in this way:

English, and all romance languages for that matter, are difficult because they have those stupid prefixes, affixes and suffixes. What happens is that you learn them all, but they're like colored Play-doh. They all stick together, and you can keep the colors separate, but the way they squish and mash into one word always changes them where they meet in some weird way. And it's never the SAME way, you have to learn all these different rules and then all the exceptions, and be able to pull it all apart again and tell what's what, even if the separated bits don't look the same as they did before. And the colors get all smushy and mixed at the edges. In Chinese, it's more like Legos. You stack these one syllable words together, and they're like blocks that can be pulled apart, mixed, and changed without altering their essential shape. The problem lies not in the mashing and the weirdness, but in the architecture of things that cannot be changed at their source. You have to learn how to properly stack Legos if you're going to get a decent castle at the end that doesn't fall apart like a poorly stated Chinese sentence. You don't have to "stack" very much in English to get your meaning across.

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I also find it easy. I mean, it's a bit of a hurdle to assimilate a new structure, but I've actually got a few 'reference grammars' and now that I've read those (or skimmed 'em), I know I'm not too far off knowing most of the structures. Thus, I realise that it's really not such a hard language (hey, I'm a dumbass). Just some of the subtleties take disproportionately long periods to come to terms with though, such as the difference between various modal bits:

能 可以 会 (got these pretty much down now, still a bit vague on the keyi/neng distinction though)

应该 应当 (are these the same?)

得 必得 必须 (are these the same?)

要 想要 打算 愿意 (no comment!)

敢 肯 (dare 'n 'be willing', supposedly)

也许 大概 (got these down now)

要 一定 得 (quite unclear, other than i think yao is of lesser 'force')

...anyone got all the answers?

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Guest mirela_violeta

I'll try to answer some of your questions:

yinggai= must, have to; yingdang=have to, be necessary

neng=can,( possibility, capability) (wo neng gan=I can do this...),geyi=may, can(permission)( wo geyi gen ni yiqi qu ma=May I go with you), hui=can=be able to(sing for example)

bidei=to really have to, to be absolutely necessary;bixu =to have to, to be necessary

yao=to want, to have to, dasuan=to intend( that's the best word)(wo dasuan qu...I intend to go to), to plan,

yuanyi=to wish for something , to desire, to want ( wo bu yuanyi qu I don't want/wish to go)

gan is to dare

yexu perhaps

dagai aproximately=dayue+number dagai shi ren aproximately 10 people, also general dagai de neirong general content

yiding certainly, surely wo yiding lai I'll surely come

THat's about it. I've explained the best that I could. I don't know if it's clear now. Good luck with your chinese...

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest peach_blossom
The same goes for mingbai, to understand( light/white)

Sorry my friend to disappoint... but ming does not mean light. Ming = see as in 'Ming Zhu'= eyes and Bai is white, so ur right there.

Therfore understand Ming Bai, literally translated = see white (ie see all)

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Guest mirela_violeta

I'm not convinced with your explication, as I was sure ming2 which you write with the help of the sun and the moon radicals has something to do with light. So I checked in 2 dictionaries and ming means bright, so it has to do with light. You never know if a word can be an adjective and a substantive as well. In this case it's an adj and it means bright. Are you sure it means to see, cause I did't find it with this particular meaning.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

能(capable of) 可以(may, can) 会(have the skills/knowldege to)

应该(should, ought to) 应当(should be)

得(get/obtain/capture) 必(must)得(get/obtaincapture) 必(must)须(need to)

要(need to) 想要(want to) 打算(plan to) 愿意(willing to)

敢(dare to) 肯(be willing to) (you are right)

也许(maybe) 大概(roughly, approximately, about)

要(need) 一定(must) 得(get/obtain/capture)

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  • 4 years later...

Personally, I think Chinese grammar is beautiful in its simplicity. I think the fact that it expresses things like tense lexically is pretty awesome, given the fact that tense is one of the biggest obstacles for learners of the English language, or any other European language for that matter. I also love how they don't differentiate between number or gender categories - it makes you realise that grammar constructions such as these are pretty meaningless and unnecessary. Call me crazy but in my mind Chinese grammar is one of the most logical and straight forward grammars in the world, and I am utterly confused why the OP made such a comment as "you have to learn constructions by heart" - what constructions are you talking about?? Stuff like 因为/所以?? Big deal!

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