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Need to study with Chinese students to be fluent?

Guest yangbin

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Well, recently i met quite a few foreigners whose the chinese language was quite amazing.

I know some people who have been living in China for a while, and even if their chinese is good, it does not sound perfect, and their reading ability is still slightly limited.

A lot of the foreigners speaking chinese on cctv did a degree in chinese (dashan, daniu etc...). Im doing a degree here in china, but taught in english, and even if i speak chinese, im still not proficient. Now im trying to read a lot of documents and books in chinese, i dont know if it gonna help me.

So, do you think that studying with chinese students is the best way to get a good chinese?

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Hi, yangbin. Just think how children learn a language. At the very beginning, they listen to and repeat talking with adults, instead of reading books, newspapers or sth. So maybe languge exchange is a effective to improve one's oral Chinese or English. This is my opinion.

Good luck to you and your study book.

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So, do you think that studying with chinese students is the best way to get a good chinese?

The question looks simple, but the answer seems difficult to give.

Firsr, the answer depends on what your final aim in learning Chinese is. If it is of communication/exchange level, I will agree that studying with chinese students may be a good way to get a good chinese quickly. If your aim is of culture level, then that does matter much.

Second, Chinese language we are talking about here is actually Putonghua of Han language. And in Han language, as you may know, there are a lot of dielects. And about 50% of the students may come from Non-Putonghua area all of China, they themselves speaker Putonghua with heavy accent of their mother tongue dielects. Studying with them, you may gain in spoken Han language, and you may loose something in the same time.

Only sure answer, meesm to me, is that talking with the native speakers is the best way to get a good spoken Chinese language.

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in fact, this more the fact that in doing a degree in a chinese uni. you have all your books in chinese, the teacher teach in chinese, and finally you cannot do anything else than getting chinese lol !

They are a lot of koreans and some russians, who are doing a degree taught in chinese! today, i met a guy from egypt, he did a BA in chinese in his country, and then his MA and now his phd here in shanghai! And his chinese was amazing!

And so the question is, his level was great because he spent the last few years in china? or because he was a student in a chinese university?

My degree is taught in english, i live with chinese people, but even if my level is not bad,i am still not good enough to not stuttering when i want to speak about chinese history or politics etc.

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I think that there are lots of ways to get good Chinese. It really does depend on what your goals are. But from my personal experience and from what I’ve seen, studying at a Chinese university with Chinese classmates is one of the best ways to get to a great Chinese level.

In some ways, you can separate Chinese, or any language, into different categories. Just for the sake of argument, you might divide a language into two main categories:

1) One might be, colloquialisms, slang, and just the general way people talk.

2) The other might be a more formal, bookish, or academic Chinese.

Doing a degree in Chinese, with predominately Chinese people as your classmates, would be one way to get good at the formal, bookish, and academic Chinese. If you are then able to hang out with friends/ classmates in a social context, then you might be able to pick up a lot of slang and colloquialisms too. So, being a college student with Chinese people is almost certainly a good way to get great academic and colloquial Chinese. Of the non-Chinese people that I've met who have really great Chinese, almost all were grad students at a Chinese university (in this case Fudan). Of course, that's not to discount the fact that you'd have to work really hard, and your Chinese would still suck if you hang around foreigners too much, or stay at home in your bedroom playing video games...or whatever.

The question then is, is it worth the opportunity cost of going to a Chinese university for a year, three years, four years, or more? Would it be better to do the degree in your home country? Could you get equally, or comparably equal Chinese skills through other means (self-study, reading books, podcasts, watching TV series...etc)?

Those questions are hard to answer, and I think they depend on your career goals and where you come from. For example, I'd imagine that Egypt doesn't have a tremendous amount of great universities, and Chinese universities might be as good, if not better. Also, the percentage of native Arabic speakers who can speak English and the percentage of Chinese people who can speak English might be so low that it would be better to do business using one of the target languages (ie. Chinese). I've long had the theory that it's relatively more profitable to learn Chinese, career-wise, for people who come from countries in which the business community may not be able to speak English sufficiently (thus, they high number of Koreans, people from Africa, the Middle East....) Those people will be able to get jobs working for MNC's who do deals in the Middle East, or vice versa. Basically, no one in China is studying anything except English, except English majors, who are required to take a year or two of Japanese or German, which is essentially useless. Big multinationals in Shanghai often have English as their language of use in the office (even some French and German companies have that policy). I doubt that Korean or other companies could do the same, but I may be wrong. Therefore, that gives Koreans (and others) a big financial incentive to get good at the language.

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