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Why do caucasians love English?


sthubbar
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Anyways, I could hear their conversation clearly and not only did their conversation include the odd English word, they would also drop whole English phrases in the middle of or at the end of their sentences.

It's probably because they speak mostly English at work, and as a result, sometimes English words/phrases roll off the tongue faster than Chinese ones.

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The likelihood that two caucasians mutually speak better Chinese than English is small, so when you do speak in Chinese together it looks/sounds incredibly pretentious to other foreigners and many Chinese, and just plain stupid to other Chinese.

I wholeheartedly disagree. Also the speakers could be just honoring a language pledge

If you're Caucasian then Chinese are constantly trying to corner you into speaking English, even when your level of proficiency in their language is much more advanced then theirs in yours. You have to take advantage of any opportunity you get to speak Chinese, and if someone is willing to speak Chinese with you then you can't afford to be picky abt that person's race. Instead of judging foreigners who speak English to each other, you might try imitating this habit, then you won't be jealous of their Chinese and insist on accusing them of being pretentious. (Okay, now I'm judging, but when we accuse others of showing off a lot of times it just sounds like we're jealous.)

Although it's true that practice with a native speaker is the best option, any kind of practice that is forcing you to think in and express yourself in Chinese has value!

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Where did that come from? Are we reading different threads?

Roddy, this attitude is far and wide. I'm surprised you haven't encountered it living in China amongst Sinophiles. You can see it in the very title of this thread: "Why Do Caucasians Love English?" The inference of course is that there is something wrong with "Caucasians" (what an absurd choice of a word) "loving" English. I'm sure you would never see a post about why the Chinese "love" Mandarin. Chinese is beautiful, and historically rich, and has so much cultural value, and blah, blah, blah...but English is just a "tool for communication." :roll:

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I can't see anyone doing that here and I'd have to sit down and think before I could claim to have encountered it in China. I suspect it's the kind of thing you've got to decide exists before you can see it.

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Sthubbar,

You may want to re-read my original post and work on your English reading comprehension before focusing on your Chinese... The conclusions you draw regarding what is pretentious and what is not are illogical. Having said that, it's clear that you're not here looking for answers, but rather simply intent on venting your anger at the seemingly rude way someone dealt with what appears to me (not having been there I can't be sure, so I'll apologize in advance if I'm totally off-base here) your prattish and/or insulting behavior.

I wonder what the OP would think of native speaking Chinese speaking English to native speaking Chinese. I see a lot more of that go on frankly. Not when I'm by myself - I'm not caucasian, but all the time when I'm with my husband (who is).

Sthubbar, what do you think? I find this equally pretentious, especially when their English is clearly not as good as their Chinese. However, as someone else has said more clearly than I did initially, if English is the best common language of communication between them, then I don't have a problem with it (Northern Chinese and Taiwanese visiting HK often have to resort to English to communicate). It's usually easy to tell from someone's body language, mannerisms and tone whether they're being "pretentious" or not.

Sthubbar, in all honesty, which language could you and the German student most easily communicate in? If it's English, then if I were the German guy I would feel offended at being approached in Chinese. If Chinese is really the more effective language, then there are clearly other issues involved between the two of you.

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I'm sure you would never see a post about why the Chinese "love" Mandarin. Chinese is beautiful, and historically rich, and has so much cultural value, and blah, blah, blah...but English is just a "tool for communication."

I think that's an unfair distortion of the meaning of the post.

In his own words:

Chinese, like any other language is a tool for communication, and I find it far more pretentious for people to advocate that the language you speak should be determined by your ethnicity

I think Imron meant that 'language' is a tool for communication. Not that 'English' is 'just' a tool for communication. I can't say that any fair reading of his comment can lead one to conclude that he was privileging one language over the other. In fact I'm quite baffled by the logical leap - that is, if of course, you were referring to Imron's comment - forgive me if you were just using his quote to illustrate something else entirely different.

Frankly, through my time living here, or anywhere else, I've seen no evidence of Chinese language worship at the expense of English. Sure, that attitude might exist - because every sort of attitude must exist - but I can honestly say that I've never encountered it.

y

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I think the spirit of the original post was something along the lines of “I have come to this school to learn Chinese. You have come here to learn Chinese. Why don’t you want to speak Chinese?” Perhaps some of the wording here are there could have been improved, but then again, we all make unintentional mistakes in phraseology.

Perhaps, in order to avoid casting doubt of the pretentiousness/worthiness of other human beings, it might be best to say up front, “do you mind if I only speak in Chinese? I know it may seem strange, but I’m really here to learn, and I’m kind of doing a language pledge thing (explain if need be)”. If they agree, they agree. If not, just use English, or whatever works best. No hard feelings. Maybe we could all decrease the negative feelings towards others.

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I wholeheartedly disagree.

Why?

Also the speakers could be just honoring a language pledge

This may or may not be a good language acquisition method, but it appears not to be the situation here.

If you're Caucasian then Chinese are constantly trying to corner you into speaking English, even when your level of proficiency in their language is much more advanced then theirs in yours.

This is getting a bit OT, but I never had this problem (and I'm as white as they come) when I lived in China or whenever I travel back there. But I do hear a lot of people complaining about it. Seems to happen here in Japan too, although to a lesser degree. I think it has more to do with the way other people see you - do you look like you'd be up for chatting in English? I'm often told I look "serious" (so probably not very affable), which might account for why I've never had this problem :)

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What irritates me is that all you guys who look down upon any Westerner who cherishes and values his own history and language as a bigot or zealot, will endlessly admire the ethnocentricity and, basically, cultural chauvinism and supremacism of the Chinese. To me, this is a pathetic double standard.
How does speaking Chinese to other westerners equal looking down at people who cherish their own values, history and language, and how does it equal endlessly admiring the Chinese? That's an amazing leap of logic you've made there.

To get back on topic though, language is shaped and formed by the things you mention, but at the end of the day, it's still a tool used for communicating those things and more to the people around you. My purpose in learning Mandarin isn't so I can change my identity to somehow be more Chinese or because I think the cultures and beliefs are somehow better than my own, rather it is to communicate with those around me. Sometimes those around me are other westerners who, as students of Mandarin, also like practising their Chinese. In such a situation I see nothing pretentious or wrong with doing that.

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Perhaps, in order to avoid casting doubt of the pretentiousness/worthiness of other human beings, it might be best to say up front, “do you mind if I only speak in Chinese? I know it may seem strange, but I’m really here to learn, and I’m kind of doing a language pledge thing (explain if need be)”. If they agree, they agree. If not, just use English, or whatever works best. No hard feelings.

Some sound advice!

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I'm sure you would never see a post about why the Chinese "love" Mandarin. Chinese is beautiful, and historically rich, and has so much cultural value, and blah, blah, blah...but English is just a "tool for communication."

I think that's an unfair distortion of the meaning of the post.
Yes, especially considering I said Chinese was the tool for communication :D
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Yonitabonita, I'm sure the irony of this post has not been lost on you. On the one hand, the original thread poster criticized a "Caucasian" for speaking to him in English, which I take to be a criticism of his ethnic attachment to language, yet on the other hand, the poster makes a sweeping and awkward generalization about all Caucasians.

Besides, this post spawned a number of silly responses, not least of which is that language is "just a tool." That's actually really surprising to hear coming from people who study language.

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I take to be a criticism of his ethnic attachment to language
A German ethnically attached to the English language? Well we sure could use more of these, maybe that'd help us get rid of our accents!
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To get back on topic though, language is shaped and formed by the things you mention, but at the end of the day, it's still a tool used for communicating those things and more to the people around you. My purpose in learning Mandarin isn't so I can change my identity to somehow be more Chinese or because I think the cultures and beliefs are somehow better than my own, rather it is to communicate with those around me. Sometimes those around me are other westerners who, as students of Mandarin, also like practising their Chinese. In such a situation I see nothing pretentious or wrong with doing that.

I don't see anything wrong with that either. I think that perhaps some would perceive language as just a tool because Chinese - or whatever second language they're learning - has no deeper connotations to them aside from being a mode of communication. But language is never just a tool and I'm glad you recognize that.

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A German ethnically attached to the English language? Well we sure could use more of these, maybe that'd help us get rid of our accents!

The emphasis was on the person being "white" or "Caucasian" and not German. Read the original post. Besides, why should a German not feel attached to English? English is a Germanic tongue!!

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"Caucasian" for speaking to him in English, which I take to be a criticism of his ethnic attachment to language

The Caucasian in the opening post was a German.

Sthubbar, you gotta relax. First, the 1000 yuan challenge about Chinese characters. Now, this walking away from someone for talking to you in English. I'm afraid of what you are going to do next. :mrgreen:

Remember those nice peaceful days of learning children's poems? Take it easy. It seems that you have all this pent-up anger or frustration in you. Maybe you've been studying too hard.

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A German ethnically attached to the English language? Well we sure could use more of these, maybe that'd help us get rid of our accents!
Yes, I've heard that's a serious problem for you Germans. In some
possibly even resulting in the unfortunate loss of life :wink:
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The emphasis was on the person being "white" or "Caucasian" and not German. Read the original post. Besides, why should a German not feel attached to English? English is a Germanic tongue!!

You might want to stop digging at some point.

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The Caucasian in the opening post was a German.

Which makes the original post all the more stupid by inferring from his encounter with a single German, whose native tongue is not even English, a sweeping generalization about the Caucasians love for English. I'm scratching my head as to why I'm the only one who finds anything wrong with that? You guys are exposed to too much toxicity. It's effecting your judgments. (I kid) :lol:

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