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Jikolp

Skype in Chinese - beginner?

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Jikolp

Hi!

I was wondering whether even as a beginner I should look for somebody to talk on Skype in Chinese. I´d love to, actually, but I fear that I would sound too ´Zulu-Chinese´ to that native speaker and that I would make him/her angry or something, which is something I really don´t want to.

What do you think? Should I try?

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roddy

You're unlikely to make anyone angry. Generally Chinese people are amazed if anyone makes even a tiny effort to learn their language, so you'll probably get a sympathetic reception - you are more likely to have trouble with people being too complimentary rather than being realistic about your mistakes.

Give it a shot, let us know how you get on.

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rezaf

I started skype only after 2 or 3 months of studying. My Chinese was not good but I had many conversations for more than 20 minutes.

Most of them are students who want to practice their oral English. That means that they know what you are going through in learning a new language and you'll be surprised to see how many interesting subjects come up during the conversation even as a beginner. My English is not good and I didn't have the privilege of language exchange, but even so, they responded very friendly and helped me a lot. :mrgreen: Maybe you shouldn't tell them that you speak English! It will be all in Chinese.

edit: After a few chats you'll find out that there is a very basic formula for starting a conversation with them. Usually after a ni hao they tell you how good your Chinese is. Then you can start a conversation about where and how you study Chinese and ask them similar questions. I can extend this conversation to 10 minutes. It only needs a few sentences from the kouyu book. I think that all the Chinese are very predictable at the beginning of a conversation, so you won't have any problems.

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semantic nuance
Maybe you shouldn't tell them that you speak English! It will be all in Chinese.

Not to you personally, rezaf. I've read a few similar viewpoints in this forum. Yes, a better method to learn a foreign language is to expose yourself in that evironment. If those who learn Chinesee are expecting that native speakers of Chinese, in this case, can give them a helping hand, (the need to speak Chinese without exchanging any other languages is understandable.), why can't those people stand in the shoes of those who want to learn foreign languages? English learners are trying to find a way to practice what they've learned. Not everyone is so rich to go abroad studying in the big empires. I believe most people here are to help out of kindness. From altruistic point of view, wouldn't it be too selfish only want to take without giving?

Once again, not to you personally. Just feel sad when reading such a thought....which makes me sick.

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rezaf

我开玩笑,你就认真了!

OK tell them that you speak English! but don't let it be all in English because their English is much better than your Chinese and you won't have a chance.

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self-taught-mba

We have often done post-study follow-up tutoring using skype. The problem is that the sound quality sometimes is an issue and it makes it even harder to distinguish the different sounds for a beginner. Still not the same as in person.

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rezaf

Isn't it better to use qq?

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Lu

It's very, very unlikely that you'd make a Chinese angry during an honest attempt to communicate in Chinese (provided that you steer clear of the more sensitive topics, which shouldn't be a problem). More likely that, like others said, you'll be complimented to death.

Good luck!

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Jikolp

Wow, thanks for the many encouraging words! I´ll try it then, wish me good luck! ;)

And I´ll tell ya later how it was, of course!

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Scoobyqueen

I have skype lessons with my China based teacher every week and am a great supporter of this medium. The teacher can write quicker on the chat that in real life on the blackboard and I end up with better notes. the sound quality as was pointed out could be an obstacle for the complete beginner.

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roddy

Scoobyqueen, is that with a particular company, or just a private arrangement with a tutor?

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Scoobyqueen

Roddy - I take skype lessons with a small school in Beijing, by small I mean 3-4 teachers. they are a group of very bright young graduates. I first went on a course with them in Beijing and then continued via skype. I have four lessons a week. With a small school they are fully focused on your progress and know what you as an individual are capable of along with weaknesses of course.

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rezaf
More likely that, like others said, you'll be complimented to death.

Just wanted to test this theory, I wrote some polite and easy sentences in this forum:http://www.zhangjiang.cn/bbs/2008-5/29/200852910756116100.html

It's for Zhangjiang High-Tech park of Shanghai which is a small area where I study, just see how many compliments I got in less than a few hours. :mrgreen:

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imron

Haha, towards the end, they all think you're just a Chinese person faking it :lol:

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rezaf

yeah, but I somehow enjoy it :mrgreen:

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renzhe

ROTFL, that thread is gold. There's even a cute girl saying "加油". This is your chance, rezaf! :mrgreen:

As for no speaking English, I can understand it because I had the same experience myself (in other countries). It's not about not being willing to help people with their English, which I gladly do.

It's the fact that it only takes about a day before NOBODY ever speaks anything other than English to you. It's like a disease. There's a time to help people, to give back, but there's also the time to learn, to speak a language you're not good at. If you're doing it with a language partner, as an exchange, that's great, but you need to strictly separate the time -- 1 hour Chinese, 1 hour English. As soon as you start fleeing to the easier language whenever there is a difficulty in communication, it's over.

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roddy

Favorite bit:

-个人认为,“老外”是中性词

-那是因为没有人天天向你喊老外!

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rezaf

What should I do now? :help They are now sending private messeges and call me a liar! I don't want them to kick me out of that forum. The only one who defended me (某人) also registered yesterday. Now they think that we are the same person.:lol:

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imron

Tell them to come and have a read of this thread :mrgreen:

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renzhe

Maybe you can get them to register, and then we'll claim that they're all Americans pretending to be Chinese? :mrgreen:

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