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J.B. Frog

Newb's experience of non-inflectedness of Chinese

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J.B. Frog

Now, I'm 1 1/4 years into Chinese and I acknowledge that I'm a beginner so this is tentative, but, to my inflection (when words vary their form with their syntactic role in the sentence) -craving ears Chinese feels like wrangling meaning with two sticks, instead of manipulating it directly. Sure there'd be frustrations even with other inflected languages just because no two languages map perfectly but, by and large you'd still have the overall pattern of inflectedness. To me this is about inflection vs non, not Chinese in particular.

So my question is, did anyone else experience this sense, and does it go away? Did it ever stop feeling frustrating that you're not speaking exactly, and/or going the long way around jamming concrete things together instead of one or two abstract ones to say something? It never bothered me before but it does now that I seem to be absorbing it more deeply. Chinese is terse, which makes it easy to learn, but it's because you're leaving the fine points out, to be filled in by the brain of the listener.

There are nice features too for sure; the 'single signal' principle is elegant, the lack of inflection makes the grammar easy to learn and the concreteness of the language, which lets you watch the brain try to play 'Pictionary', building abstractions from the ground up is interesting, but once you have to start expressing meaning with it you (or I anyway) get the feeling described above.

For that matter, do any Chinese remember what it felt like to learn English?

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